Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Fresh Departure For Kanta

" What shall I say sir, except that my family needs me no more." recalled Kanta. " I've been turned out of the house because they have brought some one else in my place. They can't feed  my extra mouth. Moreover, they say I'm useless for them." she added and breaking the dam of her pent up emotions she began to tell her tale and her pain rolled down her cheeks as tears.

"Scars are scars  sir! They malign and project a tainted life. They are no badges of honour!" showing the scar on her fore head she said . Col. listened to her attentively, along with his doctor friend.

After the family got her discharged from the civil hospital, she needed care and prolonged rest., instead , she received none at home. Having drained family's wealth for her own treatment and then giving birth to a daughter became her fault and she was penalised severly for this. When she wished to see her child, she was locked up and beaten by all who could  lay their hands upon her. With badly bruised  body and soul she  yearned and cried for her baby but was neither given space nor time to heal. She had to go up and down the steep hill with the break of dawn to fetch drinking water from the river below and then as usual had to get hey and green grass - feed for their sheep. With barely any morsel in her stomach she often found the world reeling before her but some how pulled through.Slowly  the most basic need for survival, her food, was also stopped when the family learnt that she could bear no more. Living off water for days with daily hard chores, drained her strength and she  fainted one day on her way to fetch water. Village folks were called and she was brought home on piggy back. This incidence established for her family that she couldn't keep up with usual daily pace of the house hold work and so they had  to think of an alternative and that was to get her husband married off again. And so they did. The new bride was indifferent to her. Beggars can't be choosers and so she managed to stay on maintaining a very low profile.But soon the things were to change.

It was a haat day(village fair). On her husband's return from the haat, things began to look a bit brighter. Soon, she saw that the family bolted themselves in one of the rooms, for some serious discussion and Kanta was deliberately left outside, alone ,in the care of sheep.Next day she saw her husband and his uncle leave the house in their best attire. It quizzed herand she asked timidly one of the older children but was thrilled to know that they had gone to fetch her baby. Hiding her excitment she asked the reason behind their move and gathered that the child  had turned the previous predictions false. She was a good omen. The village folks thought so and believed that her baby possessed some special charm which brought good fortune to which ever house she visited. So they desperately wanted the child back and that too after five years. She even over heard her father-in-law say that they would  watch over the child for a little while if she turned out to be as usuless as her mother then they would bury her alive- a common practice to sniff the life out off little girl child.ren to get rid of them.

But they returned the next day battered and low. The heaviness of their empty hands detonated Kanta's life. She faced complete imprisonmentin her own house, imposed on her by her very own people. The circumstances lasted for two long years till that day when they dragge and threw her out of their house complaining that she had too big a mouth to be feed and all without any returns. After throwing the bundle at her they slammed the door of the house at her face. She, on the other hand didn't have the strength to resist. Instead,Kanta looked at the long road vaccantly for a long time and  then slowly began her aimless walk. It was this road which brought her at their door steps.....to be contd.

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