Sands of time (Part 3)

Written By

Geeta Yadav

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(Contd from part 2)

‘Women need to first give in and then give up with a smile,’ I mutter to myself. At this, the sea of anguish gushes up and splutters angry bubbles to prick my old eyes. My daughter Tulika desires to pursue her dreams, but her husband Dhruv wants her to give them up for the sake of love.  This time it is serious. Tulika has received a scholarship from Harvard for a study programme but Dhruv is not ready to let her go. He fears further opportunities will hinder their future together. I understand Dhruv’s insistence to give up more than Tulika’s persistence to take it up. It’s easier that way. Isn’t it? Everybody will be at peace. Jia, my daughter-in-law also suffered the same fate. One has to forgo a lot to buy tranquillity after marriage.

Now! Once again the incisive thoughts in my mind are up in arms against my decision; throwing questions at me to needle my conscience. Once again I will have to confront my own desires that call out from the dungeons of my mind. I had chained them but they still wag their nasty tongues … just listen to their heartless tones!

My ambitious desire says, ‘Shami, Are you a coward or are you feigning helplessness?’

Then another one screams, ‘Shami! Are you peaceful after trading your personal desires with the ego, appeasement and sacrifice?’

Many sneer in chorus, ‘Shami! We wish you could show your children that you live and don’t just exist.’

All rattle my being with, ‘Shami, spare a glance; just look at the state of your daughter. Doesn’t she resemble you in so many ways …Yes! Shami, times haven’t changed for women as most women still do not take a stand for their married daughters or daughter-in-laws.’

Oh! I can’t bear these fatal truths and that too at 69! Have I given up in life to show such apathy?

I steal a glance at my daughter Tulika’s sleeping form. She looks like an orphan who shudders in agony even in sleep. Maybe because I don’t have the empathetic hand that strokes, coaxes and consoles. My daughter-in-law Jia walks in with food and I search her expressions. Jia’s face softens as she caresses Tulika’s forehead who opens her tearful eyes for her. Hope flickers in their emptiness as Jia hugs her to show her support.

I feel like an apparition. I see them cry amidst hiccups. I cannot offer solutions to Tulika as they demand acceptance of problems. I don’t have the guts to herald a change … Yes! The social change that will promise support to women at large. My breath is the only proof that I am alive as I neither react nor respond in life. I escape with downcast eyes and shut the door to my dressing room for I pull out the letter that I had written to my Mom long ago.

Dear Maa,

I was an asset that was given away too soon. I was denied higher education. I helped Baba to prove my potential, but after him, you did not support my credentials. I wish you had not sided with the inheritance of loss that I suffered. Baba had left me an opportunity that would have given me the free will to change my life, but alas! You favoured my brothers and pushed me into the same drudgery that denied words to feelings, upheld patriarchy and disfigured my smile that never reached my eyes.

I am a mother now; blessed with a son and a daughter. I promise to herald a change and remember that both deserve the same. I love you Mom but I wish you had adorned opportunities instead of a dowry of sorts.

Yours,

Shami.

Oh! God, I have done it too. Jia is a fashion photographer but she lives my life. I should have ushered in the change but I failed like Maa. Now I want Tulika to resign to my fate. Women do not take a stand for fellow women, and men are of course from Mars, but I will give a Martian a chance because they are born from the womb of Venusian? Where is Sana, my granddaughter? I think I can take her help and communicate with Dhruv in the best way I can… a letter.

Dear Dhruv,

For years I have communicated my feelings on paper that are still tugged away in secrecy. This time Sana will help me with just a click of the mouse. Martians and Venusians complete each other. Then why the noise and turmoil! I wonder. The universe brings them together in love and showers equality in more ways than one. If the breeze sings the song of life then water creates lively ripples and the sunshine sets the tune for all to sing a love song forever.

Venusians and Martians need to know that love grows wings of respect when one allows the other some freedom away from the nest. Let’s know that the birds fly away every morning to return to their nest. The sky nurtures the ascent of all and by evening they come home to rejuvenate as love nurtures and gives strength.

With love,

Shami Maa.

Later that evening, the doorbell rings. With an apprehensive heart, I open the door to Dhruv who hugs me and surprises Tulika with arrangements for her flight. They leave in a jiffy! As I sit back again with my evening tea and go over the events of the day, I realise that a small act of mine may have made a huge difference. Wistfully, my mind takes me back to my youthful times.

The sands of time baffle me for a lot is lost but some adorable memories still remain. I still remember when my son was born. I was his world. Cuddly and bubbly; he would put his little arms around my neck for a swift, ‘Merry Go Round,’ and round and round we went till life changed him or do I need to look within again?

(Read Part 4 next week to see if the change will continue..)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I am a writer by choice. I’ve been writing for the past 18 years. Luckily my creative writing skills were enhanced as varied opportunities came my way. If contributing to newspapers groomed me to honour deadlines, then writing books for school children rekindled the spirit to enquire, question and explore. My experiences as a mum have been interesting and entertaining and found expression in my blogs with poems on Parenting for a website called www.mybabycart.com. I know that God loves me and keeps me so energetic and alive through thick and thin. My gratefulness finds expression in my service activities and writing for the Art Of Living Foundation and White Print ( a magazine for the visually impaired).

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