She kept knocking at the door of the room, pleading. She was a prisoner in her own home. They wanted her to give birth to a child, a son. To continue the vamsa parampara. She didn’t want to do this. She didn’t want to. Its not that she didnt want to be a mother, she did. She simply didnt want to be the mother of the child of her husband…
There was a time when she loved her husband, she did his laundry, fed him good food, appeared as a good and dutiful escort whenever he needed her, she fulfilled her duty on bed. She really loved her husband. After all who was there for her! She had no one in her own family except for a brother who was ruled by his wife and the wife of the brother did not want to have to do anything with her for that matter. So she just had her in-laws, her husband, parents in-law and brother in-law. True, she was never treated like a princess, but she was never mistreated as well.
Well you cannot call occasional taunts and criticism and demeaning comparisons as mistreatment and torture, will you! No one raised a finger on her… may be once or twice when her husband was drunk, he hit her, but only when he was drunk, never otherwise. And since he used to go around with big league people, he had to drink, to maintain a status quo and the PR, you know these things are so necessary when you are a budding entrepreneur. She was an educated girl, she understood and once sobered, her husband apologized, so she knew he didnt mean it. She was if not happy, quite content with what she had. She was no different than others in these matters. However things started changing for her when last month her husband was down with high fever.
When we have simple fever, what’s the best remedy? Go to a chemist, take some antipyretic drug, pop it in and sleep. Most probably its some kind of virus, it will go down in maximum three days, and it will also ensure at least three to four days of relaxation, guaranteed attention from people at home. And of course it will also mean a good break from the daily junk intake and result in healthy food for 3 days. A fever is a respite.
But in the case of her husband, the fever remained for a week and temperature kept fluctuating between 100 to 105. It started bothering her. She begged and begged but he didnt want to go to the doctor. It was a waste of time and money. She approached her brother in-law, who rarely talked to her. She requested him to take her husband to some doctor. The brother in-law was so surprised by her initiative to talk that he simply said yes and then realised what a time wasting activity he put himself upto. Well there was no backing up now.
The brother in-law and the husband went to the doctor at the local medical centre to meet their local doctor. However they were surprised to see a young fellow instead of the regular doctor. The new doctor informed that the older one chose to retire and the government appointed him here. This out-of-the-woods-babe was so enthusiastic about his first appointment as a doctor and his first patient that he wanted a thorough investigation of the cause of the fever. The husband was fully scrutinized and was made to undergo numerous tests. Medicines were given. Finally they came home, thinking all is over.
The all was not over yet. It just started.
The young doctor at the clinic was so eager with his new job that he run all the tests he could on all the liquid and solid matter he received from the poor husband’s body. The result was stunning. He wanted to deliver such a big and drastic and life changing diagnosis himself. He also was curious to see the reaction. Yes, it was sadistic if you want to think so. But it also gave him the opportunity to learn to deal with the ways people handle such news, it will help him in future. Who was to know that he will land with such a big case on his first day.
The two story house showed that the family was rich and opulent enough. He approached the house. He was welcomed in with warmth. After all, it was not unusual for the ‘people with post’ coming to the house and paying the visit. They were well networked and respected people. The heads of the family, that is all three males were present and laughing. The Mother-in-law, doctor guessed her to be the mother in-law, bellowed for her to come to the kitchen and prepare some snacks for the young doctor. After fifteen minutes of formal talking points she came with a few plates laden with sweets and snacks for his endeavor.
She gave a shy smile and the doctor was struck with beauty in her simplicity. He suddenly felt inadequate and wanted to protect her from the blow he was about to give her. He wanted to hug and sympathize with her. He wanted to just hold her. He rebuked himself for his constant rubbish thoughts. And spoke out to her to stay. He then turned to her husband. Saying that he wanted to say something about his falling health. He has run all the tests and now has a concrete result, of course if he wanted he can go for a second opinion in a better private hospital, but the result will remain unchanged. He has AIDS.
She was puzzled. AIDS. She knew what is AIDS. She learned about it from her first year in the medical college before she quit it to get married, before her parents left her in this sad world and died in a road mishap, before her brother decided that he cannot take the burden of her education anymore. She was still reminiscing about her first year at medical college when she realized she was not on her feet but lying on the floor. The young doctor’s face swam before her eyes. This doctor was too young and good looking. Would she had had this confidence which he has now if she were a doctor. She smiled at the doctor suggestively.
And she realized with horror that her husband was dying. The Doctor helped her to her feet, all the while her family sat there looking like zombies. The husband suddenly rose from his shock and rebuked the doctor, saying it was mean way of stealing money. Suddenly things started changing before her eyes. She suddenly swayed and realized that the doctor who was still holding her was hit by a force which was her brother in-law. The mother in law was screaming things which she never said, about her and the young doctor she just met! She smiled on her own, she keeps referring to him as the young doctor. Se suddenly felt someone calling her and looked up to see the person of her thoughts on the doorway, exiting. He turned and asked her to get a full check up.
The next week was whirl wind. Doctors, hospitals, tests. Not hers. Her husbands. Everything was confirmed. The fears were testified. It felt as if someone already died. His immune system was beyond repairs. It was settled that he would die. When, no one knew. It could be today, tomorrow or after a year. He was now in a hurry to settle away the remnants of his life. The will. Of course, he would get a life insurance but wont wont tell about his condition and jeopardize his chance of getting one. And the nominee will be his mother. The business will go to his brother. The house and land, his share of it shall go to his father and he shall decide whom to allot it to in his will whenever he wants. All the loans have to be paid. Everything has to be done. In all this stuff he forgot one thing. He was childless, by his own choice, in the three years of this matrimony.
And thus he forced himself upon her, blaming that she gave him AIDS, that she was a slut, and therefore she shall suffer- either she will give him a child, a son. Or She will die with him. Sati Prata was not dead as many claim. And here she was, locked in this room, given meal only at night just before her husband came in to pour all his fear and all his frustration into her since last three days.
Tonight. She resolved to end the drama tonight. She will run away. She will go to some Ashram or to that NGO that police lady was running. She will be free. Just a few more hours. Whole day she waited in that locked room. Night fell. She decided to prepare. But she had nothing with her! No, she had nothing to take with her, just the saree she is wearing will do fine and let her husband come, she will sneak some money from his pocket and may be his gold cufflink and chain. That should suffice. She waited for her husband to come.
All the while he was inside her, her mind was outside her- formulating what she would do once she is once she is free, where to go, what to do… her brother would send her back, and she was out of touch from her friends. She decided to run away to the doctor, she would get herself checked. And then she would ask him for his advise about continuing her education, if she has a chance of becoming a doctor. After three years of solitude, she knew she has chances none to next to become a doctor, but she can certainly become a nurse, and sustain herself. But from where will she bring the money for education…
Her husband yanked himself out and fell on her. She shivered with repulsion which her husband took as a tremor of pleasure, typical husband. He taunted her and rolled off. She waited. One hour passed by, then another. She stole her way towards the bathroom, draped her sarree properly, took her purse- saw she has around three hundred rupees and then she took a shawl- her husbands black shawl, this shall help her hide in the dark. She took from the night stand, her husband’s wallet, his watch and slowly unhooked the gold chain from his neck. He didnt even stir- it was a drunken sleep.
She opened the door of her bedroom, came out and ran away. She had no idea where she will be going, what kind of world she will meet outside, she just ran. Towards her freedom….