We can never get more out of life. Every time we try to reach out to the “ultimate’, we realize that everything around is just another ‘sham’.
It had past six months since she last heard from her son. What is left out of earthly relations? What good did it serve to the race? To supplement one, another has to be killed. But then why is she still holding on strongly to Ramdin’s washed off body and worn out fate? It remained unanswered to her. The holy fire binds them and she must hold on till life’s fire burn out.
Vednabala was just 12 yr old bala of her grandma running around the courtyard playing marbles and “keet-keet”, when Ramdin brought her to Banaras. She still recalls her last child’s play the afternoon of her marriage. Since then life had taken her too far. Household work and her husband’s little earnings had taken a heavy toll on her life and desires. Being a daughter-in-law in India has never been too easy a job. With Shyamlal’s birth, things looked little brighter to her. Though Shyamlal’s birth had done no good to the household expenses but for Vednabala, it added a new meaning to her life. What element are women made of? It’s difficult to understand how women find pleasure in things which bring no tangible or intangible profit in true sense? Now Shyamlal works for a construction company in Delhi. He is a graduate. Vedna had done her every bit to give her son the best out of her husband’s meager means .Now she is a proud mother, her son is the first educated from the lineage. Her sacrifices and Ramdin’s hard work had paid off ultimately .Initially she had been skeptical about Shyamlal’s travelling to the city to make a living. People said big cities engulf one’s soul and conscience but they needed money, a lot of money to keep Ramdin going .Liver cirrhosis had almost destroyed the man’s living entity and their only hope to keep him alive was their son’s well paid job. Nothing comes free in this world, especially survival. It’s in human nature to presume things before they materialize but nature’s law make human life a subject to unpredictability. It’s been more than six months now that they last heard from Shyamlal. Rumors say that he had married a girl from some other cast and that is why Ramdin wouldn’t see him again.
But Vednabala still awaits his arrival, waits for any message to be heard from. How could she forget apple of her eye? How did it matter if he has decided his own life? All that mattered was a glance of him. She wept her heart out every evening laying on her mat, recalling the baby steps, the subtle voice. How could she even let down the man who had sheltered her from every difficulties through out, kept her safe, nurtured her desires. She was helpless.
Every evening on her way back from the town hospital, she would spend hours by the ‘ghat’, only companion to her woes. She would recall her first step to the town; recall Shyamlal’s first baby steps. The ‘ghat’ had been witness to her womanhood. It had witnessed her first bliss of nuptial pleasure and her first pride of being a mother. It had seen her every struggle of survival.
Today she recalled how she wept the entire night of her wedding grasping her mother’s saree tightly. That was a time when she wouldn’t even see Ramdin’s face and today she is struggling every moment to hold on tightly to Ramdin’s half paralyzed body till she breathes her last. What is left out of earthly relations? What good did it serve to the race? To supplement one, another has to be killed, another’s desires have to take up the entire plight?
Still why do we hold on so tight to things which are all “shams”…The deep dark water of the ghat changed its hue, from black to violet, from violet to orange and from orange to red as Vednabala washed the vermillion off her forehead. It was dawn, yet another day for another wait begins.
© Zinnia Mitra