Sunday, 30 November 2014


                                 YOU & ME
                                         Story of love & sacrifice
                                             By Birister Sharma

'You & Me' is a story of a young girl, Rupali. She became mother without getting married. Nobody knows who was the father of her child. And she couldn't disclosed either. Rupali's mother and the entire society cursed her, tortured her and humiliated her. She was sinner in their eyes. They punished her. They tried to sell her in bidding. But her father came forward for her rescue. Her family was about to banish from the society, when Rupali left her house forever carrying her child. Wherever she went, she got disappointments. Nobody came forward for her help. Rupali tried to commit suicide, but she couldn't because her child's innocent smile stopped her. Her child's sweet smile gave her new hope. She decided to live for her child. But how can she fight with the cruel human society? Can she give name and identity for her child?

It's a story of love, relationship, courage and sacrifice of a young girl who was alone in her journey.

Extract from the novel

                  YOU & ME
                                      Story of love & sacrifice


                                                                                                               Dated: 10: 02: 2006       


          My dear Vinod, it’s not only a letter that I wrote to you; it’s a tale about my every ups and downs that I went through since the day I felt my sense of intuition. This letter is for you my dear boy to tell you about my life. Don’t think that I give you something fictitious accounts of my life to bait you in the bond of my motherhood. In this letter, every event that I want to tell you, are true, that happened in my life.

I was born in a very small and remote village called Dharampur, there was nothing at those times the things which are available now days. My father was very rich man of his time. He exported cattle and farm products to distant places; and earned handsome capital at that time. In his local area, my father built the firm hands on every field. My father settled down in his early thirties. It was a great achievement for him to progress after countless number of successive hurdles in his life.       

My father hailed from a distant land called Gohpur. He came from his homeland when he was just only a boy of fifteen years old. My father had a big family. He had five brothers and two sisters. My father was forth of his brothers. My grandfather had scanty of capital and property to give his offspring proper care and livelihood. Sometimes my father had to sleep with empty stomach along with his brothers and sisters. There were a lot of intense hurdles in the family of my father; he was fed-up and dejected of his daily foments of life

My grandmother dote him very much from the time of his birth. The reason might be that during his birth time my father didn’t give her much trouble, but instead, my father was somehow survived by the grace of Almighty god.

My grandfather had a peace of land to be called as the asset he inherited from his forefathers. He couldn’t manage to provide all the basic requirements of his family. At that time there was nothing like a word family planning etc. There was only one blind faith that all the born children were the blessings of Almighty; whatever He blesses just accept with glee as something like accepting prasad. In order to maintain his big family my grandfather had to labor night and day. As his family grew bigger and bigger the daily maladies and dismays also turned into worst and grimmer; and a day had arrived when he was overridden by the burden of his family. He was morally and financially collapsed; indulged himself in drinking wine and gambling in order to lessen his tensions and to earn quick money. But nothing was come in his way at that critical point of time. Whatever the deeds he tried; everything turned against him. As a result his health was deteriorated and work level wrecked. My grandfather was bed-ridden; lied on the cot, waiting for the last breathe of his life.           
Then the whole responsibilities were laden on the shoulders of his elder offspring. The entire responsibilities were fallen on my father and his elder brothers and sisters.  All siblings of my father engaged themselves in some earning jobs to fulfill the requirements of their family. My father’s elder brother chose to stay in the house of a rich man as a servant; second brother chose to work in the garage as a helper boy, third brother chose to work as a labor, youngest brother chose to work in the hotel; and my father himself chose to work in the field.                     

My father loved to work in the agriculture. He chose to labor in a piece of land that inherited from his father. And my father’s elder sister chose to work in weaving industry at nearby town and younger sister stayed at home to look after my grandfather’s ailments and to help my grandmother in domestic chores.

As the time progressed swiftly, everything was upheaval in my father’s family. My father’s elder brother, Hari, married with a rich girl of a distant village; and he stayed with his in-laws. He was cut-off from his family’s bond. He freed himself from the responsibilities of his family.   

Then after some years, another diabolic incident was occurred, my father’s second brother, Ganesh, was dead. He was accidentally trapped under the giant crank while he was repairing it at the garage. Ganesh was very responsible sibling of my father, who loved my father very much. But before taking the entire responsibilities on his shoulder; he left this world forever.

The third brother of my father, Mahesh, who worked as labor; went somewhere in distant unknown place and never returned. He chose his own vagrant destiny; remained away from his family.

Then, there only remained my father and his younger brother, Suresh to look after the family and their ailing father. But whatever my father and his younger brother earned were not enough to manage their daily requirements at home and for the treatment of their father. They had to adjust themselves even living without food for a day or night.

After couple of years, the convulsive incident was stroke again in my father’s family. There was never ending ails; ever striking of bad omens one after another in my father’s family. They were fed-up of these things but nothing was in their hands.
My father’s elder sister, Laxmi, who had been worked in the weaving industry, eloped with his lover one day. Then there were sudden strokes of sorrows gripped in my father’s family. My grandfather couldn’t bear the out come of these maladies, and he died; leaving his family in the state of woes.

In my father’s family, there were only remained four members after that. Once there were only clacking and cracking sounds of laughter; jokes and smiles, inside and outside; courtyard and backward, all around the house, but the time had arrived; everything was elapsed, a sudden paused, everything was mum. A big family turned into a small family.

These sudden awkward upheavals deeply hurt my father; he hated his life and fate. But my father was the only elder left in the house to take all the responsibility; he had to act with sensible and courage whatever the tactics that come on his way. He accepted the reality of life; decided to go ahead in his life’s journey.

My father toiled in his small agriculture land; shedding his sweats of brows day and night in order to earn better livelihood. He grew potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflowers, cabbages, brinjals, chilies, and gingers; and whatever his land allowed to grow on it. My father sold his vegetables in the local towns to the vegetable grocers and traders. Whatever he earned; spent in his family expenses. My father responded his responsibly very well as the head of the family after the demised my grand father. But his hard earned money was not enough to fulfill the daily basic needs of his family.

My father labored very hard to improve his meagre condition. Gradually, my father hired more agriculture land after taking heavy loans.                   

As a young boy, my father was ingenuous and immature; unaware about the tactics of business affairs; many times he was fooled by the venders, grocers and other traders. But my father never gave-up; adhered on his cherish goal. As the time passed my father learnt many things about business dealings, his bad and good experiences taught him enough lessons to face the tough world. But there is always a role of one’s fate. It might be my father’s good fate for the time being for more than five years whatever my father tried in his chosen field he succeeded. But there was another side of fate in one’s life that bad day arrived sooner or later.                    

Five years later, my father’s business was completely doomed. Nothing was coming in his favor; whatever and wherever he tried everything cursed him with failure. Though my father tried hard to regain his lost business, but his fate never took side with him. Then my father decided to quit from his business of vegetable.

One day my father called his younger brother, Suresh, asked him to take over the family responsibilities from him. He handed him all the documents of his purchased land and other stuffs; asked him to look after his old mother and sister till he would return from the distant land after looking the further better prospects for his business. My father was in search of new opportunity. 

In 1950s, after a journey of family hardships and business failure, my father ventured in the destiny of new life. He landed in a new place along with his closed mates, a place situated a thousand miles from his beloved families and homeland.

The land my father and his fellow mates settled down was a virgin land, an unexplored land with dense woods, opened laden bushy fields and teeming with wild beast. It was a place of numerous challenges that waiting them with its hissing hoods. There were only a handful of folks, five young men including my father, an aged old man and six other mature men. All the fellow men of my father were slapped by the fate of their lives. They were in the odyssey of life to regain something from that new and unexplored land. But in that new land nothing was possible for them to commence anything; every moment they had to fight for their surviving breath.

The new land was very strange, full of wild woods and beast; but there was a vivid of new prospects for them to begin their fresh livelihood. That new land blessed them with natural resources and rich treasures. They had traveled so many thousand miles from their homeland where there were only animosities, jealousies, hunger and sufferings.

In the very first instant my father and his fellow mates loved the place very much. They started a new journey of their lives in that new place. They had a lot of optimisms and longing desires to live a pure and genuine life rather than sufferings from ill fated lives in their native land. They wanted to begin a new settlement for them.

At first they cleared the forest and bushes which were laden all over the area. They chopped down the trees to build their houses; dug out well to get water before they explored the natural springs. The land was covered with dense forest; it was quite impossible for them to get anything easily. It took many months to make the land suitable for cultivation.

In the beginning there were many hunting problems for them to tackle the wild beast. During day and night there were the herds of wild elephants and bears roaming around the camp that my father and his fellow mates had camped; the roaring of lions and tigers raised the goose bumps; the howling of foxes and hyenas, and the numerous hooting of owls and the crisping of wild birds; created different cacophonies all around the land.        
Before the nightfall, everyday my father and his fellow mates had to enclose themselves in the safe havens in order to protect themselves from the wild beast.

They built tree houses on the top most branches of the tresses. But there was a big problem for them because the big pythons, adders and boya were climbing on the trees for the young ones of birds and eggs as their preys; and the nuisance monkeys and chimpanzees played their wild vexed with them every day. Every time, my father and his fellow mates had to keep vigil day and night one by one as a guard. In the life of jungle every moment was full of danger. Every nook and corner was surrounded with uncertain possibilities of dangers. Everyone had to live together and in closed vigilance. 

The whole land was very vast; full of flora and fauna that promise a new life for my father and his fellow mates. The soil was very fertile; the wealth of manures. Whatever my father and his fellow mates cultivated, every crop was enriched with glowing fruits and enormous productions which they never imagine and earn such a prolific production in their native lands.
As days and months progressed, their tireless toiling gave them fruitful result. The new land blessed them with proprieties of wealth. My father and his fellow mates were very elated and contented with their hard works, and obliged the new land for their grand proprieties.

But as the moment of relish came, only six were survived out of twelve members to witness the fruitful result of their hard slog. They distributed their wealth equally among themselves. My father and remaining five fellow mates decided to send their hard earn wealth to their native homeland. They chose two fellow mates to go back home to export their treasures. The two men reached homeland with abundance of wealth. My father also sent his share wealth to family in his homeland.

Gradually, the new land was turned into a place of human habitation. They named the new place, Sonapur, a land of gold. People from distant land migrated there and settled down along with their families. It took more than fifteen years to turn into a well civilize village and later town. Then everything was changed, once the land was full of jungles with teeming wild beast and natural resources, were becoming a new look with vast agricultural lands surrounded by hundreds of big and small villages with glimpse of huts.
My father and his eleven fellow mates were the founder and explorer of Sonapur. When my father was in his early thirties, he was one of the richest men of Sonapur. All the people of Sonapur regarded my father very much and followed him like a god.

My father was away from his home for more than fifteen years, the day he left home he had decided not to return home before he earn something and become wealthy man. Then when he became a wealthy man; one day he went to his homeland to bring his old mother, younger brother and sister in his new found land. They all accompanied with my father in the new homeland that my father had built himself with his hardships.

As the time elapsed, one day my grandmother asked my father to get married before her death. She wanted to see her daughter in law before she dies. Then the suitable girl was searched for my father to be my mother.

After more than a month hectic searched and consulting the marriage agents here and there my grandmother finally got one, to be my mother. My mother was belonged to a rich family. She was the only daughter of a family. My mother had five brothers, who were very rich and powerful in their village. My mother lost her parents when she was just three years of age. Right from her childhood my mother was doting heir-sister of her family. All her brothers loved her more than their lives. My mother was very beautiful that mesmerize anybody. When my grandmother saw mother for the first time she was caught with the beauty of my mother; and she chose mother as her daughter-in-law instantly.

Then my grandmother convinced my father to get married and asked him to settle down in his life rather than running here and there for business and other hectic works. My father slogged as a restless horse day and night forgetting his hunger and thirst; he was in the race to get more wealth and prosperity for his survival. He had seen the hard days of his family in the earlier years; he knew the importance of wealth.

My father didn’t want to get married before his younger sister’s marriage. But my grandmother wished to get married my father before her daughter. At last my father couldn’t resist my grandmother’s firing desires, he gave his consent. Then my father got married.

After the marriage of my father, my grandmother only survived for three months. She was severely suffered from malaria and jaundice and one night she died. Then again the day of losing his mother had come in my father’s life. He took the responsibilities of his younger brother and sister again.

At the time of funeral the lost brother and sister of my father came. They all rejoined once again after fifteen years to pay homage to their beloved mother. My father’s elder brother, Hari, along with his wife and children, and elder sister, Laxmi, who eloped, accompanied with her husband and children; all were present in the occasion.

After the completion of demise obsequies of my grandmother, my father’s elder brother and elder sister, disclosed their desires to stay in Sonapur. The main reason behind was the affluent wealth of my father which they witnessed with their eyes. They all were longing cupidity to earn wealth like my father had earned. The elder brother of my father eagerly requested my father to support him. He gave his life’s accounts that he had faced after his marriage and the way he and his family was discarded from his father-in-law’s house.                                 

The same accounts were also narrated by his elder sister, Laxmi. She told her anxieties and agonies after her eloped, and how her in-laws forced her husband and her from their house. All these accounts touched my father’s inner soft heart. Blood relation is always blood relation; it’s always mingling with each other at anytime.

Without further speculating anymore my father decided to share his hard earning wealth and land with his elder brother, Hari and with his elder sister, Laxmi. After few months, they all migrated to Sonapur; and settled down in the nearby villages according to their needs.

My mother was not happy with these developments. Because, she was feared that these closed intimacies with my father’s elder brother and elder sister would interfered her family matters. No doubt my father had shared half of his wealth and half of his land already with his elder brother and elder sister. My mother was upset with my father’s decisions. Sometimes there was quarreled between my mother and my father for these matters. One day my mother run away from home and went to her elder brother’s house at nearby village and stayed at least for a month. My father could not muster his guts to go to bring my mother from her brother’s house.         

After a month my mother came back along with her elder brother and sister-in-law. At that time my father fled from the house before their arrival. My father was very scared with my mother’s elder brother. Even I had heard that one day my father brushed on his open palm on my mother’s face by accident, and when that incident was known to my mother’s three brothers, they all dashed straight into our house and my poor father was bitterly trounced black and blue, hospitalized for a week. That incident was happened after six months of their marriage.

When my mother was returned home after a month, it was known that my mother was pregnant. My father was very excited and elated. It was great news for all, especially for my father. He would be father very soon. My mother was pregnant for seven and half months, and my entry in their lives was just away for one and half months. During those one and half months there was no more tiffs and tittle-tattles in between them, there was complete silence and peace in the house. Every now and then all relatives of my father and my mother came to our house. They all were concerned about my mother and about me inside the womb. My father was taking extra care about my mother.

It was in the year 1965 the time of my birth.

After nine months, after waking, kicking and slumbering inside the womb, spending in the world of darkness, I was born without giving any hard tiring vexes and pains to my mother. It was a normal delivery. I entered in the world of light to feel and to see all the faces of my family members. I cried aloud with shrill voice to proclaim that I was in the world to be part of human beings.

“O my baby!.... O my baby!…. I’m your Baba. Say Baba…Say Baba. Ale ....Ale ..” My father said; held me on his lap and coddled lovingly. He was thrilled with joy.

My father showed me all the rooms of our house, kitchen, backyard, front yard, garden and orchards. He introduced me with all the cattle and bullock cart we had and etc and etc. My father was in the heaven at that time. I had brought him the ecstasy and rapture in his life. 
But my mother was not happy; she was expecting a boy not a girl. Look at my fate my father was very happy; and on the hand my mother was very upset.

My father gave me my name, Rupali, because I was very cute and lovely right from my birth. Again my mother was not happy with my name. She wanted another name. What was in her mind nobody knows. My mother never disclosed anything to anybody.     

After my birth, when I was two months old she went in her elder brother’s home without informing my father, and stayed a month in her maternal house. My father was anxious and felt lonely at home. I became his part of life; he could not live without me. My father went to bring back us.

As the time progressed, I attained three years old. Then I got my brother. He was very cute and handsome. I loved him very much. I got someone along my side to play, to sing and to dance. That time my father gave my brother’s name, Ajay. My mother was very happy with my brother. There was not a single furrow of anxiety and tension on her outlook, she remained cheerful and pretty well in her manners.               

But I was not happy with my mother, not because she didn’t love me much, but she didn’t allow me to touch my brother.          

“ Maa, why don’t you give me my brother? I want to hold him. I want to love him.” I prayed my mother to hold my brother. 

 “NO! You can’t. Go away from my sight.” When I insisted my mother; she scolded me.  My own mother behaved me as a step mother. I started crying.

Then there was beginning of quarreling between my father and my mother. 

“What will happen if Rupali hold him, huh? What’s wrong with you? She is a little girl.” My father angrily said.

My mother didn’t reply. She just turned her face away from me and my father. It was the drama of our house everyday. My mother just needed a small tactic of drama to go in her elder brother’s house.

In the same way six years past, I was nearly six years old and my brother was three years old, my mother was pregnant again. That time I got second brother. My father named him Vijay. Now we’re three. I had another company in my group. I was their leader. Both Ajay and Vijay played with me. Vijay dote me much more than Ajay. Ajay was darling boy of my mother, and we were as always strangers to her. Whenever we threesome played together our mother always warned us.          

“If Ajay will get hurt while playing with you two devils, I’ll kill both of you, will you understood?”  My mother warned us in acerbic way. We both bowed down our heads in silence. Sometimes I thought why mother behaved like this.       
 “Is she our real mother?” Vijay asked me one day. I felt very sorry and startled with his query.  
 “No, she is our own mother. Don’t say like this, huh!” I replied him. Vijay just remained silent.

There was always partiality in our every share in our house. Mother always gave more share of everything to Ajay than Vijay and me. But father loved us equally. There was no discrimination in his behavior. When father was at home we both were very happy, because mother was not allowed to do anything against us. Vijay and I, we were never complaint about mother and Ajay in front of our father. We knew that if we ever complaint anything to father about mother; he would never spare her.              
In one instance, Vijay had complaint about mother.

“Baba, Maa has secretly given all the biscuit packets to Ajay which you’ve brought yesterday. She didn’t give us anything. And Ajay has eaten alone” Vijay grumbled everything.              

When father heard he couldn’t stop for a fraction of second, he was just returned from somewhere; picked up one thick bamboo stick and canned mother mercilessly.

“You heartless woman, he is not your son; she is not your daughter? He is only your son, huh? Get out from my house.” My father thundered aloud. 

“Today is my last and final warning to you if you ever discriminate between my children, I’ll kill you.” My father was very aggressive in his mood.                

That day was still imprint in my memory, freshly. I was very scared. Ajay, Vijay and I nestled down in the corner of our house. My mother could not stand up herself easily. Majuli aunty held and led her to the bed room.                

At night I was scared to go in my mother’s bedroom. But somehow I approached her to nurse her.      

“Go, don’t come to me. I’m not your mother. Go to your father.”  My mother was angry with me and asked me to get off.          

I was silent and watching her from the door. Majuli aunty was nursing her. From that day she hated Vijay and me.

After a year, there was a marriage proposal for Majuli aunty from the far of place. The bridegroom was very handsome and hailed from a rich family. My mother was very happy to get Majuli aunty married. My mother appreciated the bridegroom to my father. My mother wanted Majuli aunty to married with the boy she chose. But my father didn’t want to go further in hurry without verifying about the bridegroom.             

For that matter there were much tittle-tattle between my father and my mother going on day and night for a month. At last my father assured my mother that he would decide after consulting the relevant resource about the true identity about the bridegroom and the family background, after all Majuli aunty was doting sister of my father. After clear cross examination about the bridegroom and his family, it was known that the bridegroom was one of the most spoilt men of the village and his family was defamed in the entire village. My father rejected the marriage proposal immediately after knowing everything.

Then my father decided Majuli aunt’s marriage with one of his business colleague’s son, who was well educated and highly rich cultured boy.        

After couple of months Majuli aunty got married. The marriage ceremony was very pompous and marvelous, all the relatives of my father and my mother were invited, both nearby and the distant relatives, all were present in the occasion. And our entire village was invited.                         

In villages, if the village folks were not invited even then they all whole-heartily present in any occasion. Majuli aunt’s marriage was lasted for two days and two nights completely; the day was for reception and the night was for entertainment. My father opened his warehouse of wealth for the occasion, after all Majuli aunty was his dearest sister; he didn’t leave anything unused; wanted everything in perfect order.
During the marriage I was stayed with Majuli aunty in the bride’s room. I accompanied with in her bathing in the pond and well; in her make-up; and in her final adieu. While leaving our house after the marriage ceremony, Majuli aunty shed tears bitterly; she cried hugging me, mother and her friends. That was the moment of emotion; the moment of departure from the beloved dear ones, and entering into a new life. My father wept at that moment when Majuli aunty came down to touch his feet. I too became hysterical at that moment; I too wept bitterly when Majuli aunty kissed me, lovingly.

When the marriage ceremony was over and our entire relative left our house one by one; the silent emptiness was engulfed in our house. In the beginning of marriage everything was great and full of excitements and in the end of it everything was awkward silent and darkness.

It was only a month elapsed of Majuli aunt’s marriage, my younger uncle; Suresh eloped with Jayanti, a girl from the same village. When my father came to know about the incident; he was very angry with uncle.          
“If he really wants to marry with this girl, why didn’t he inform me? I’ll talk with the girl’s father. He has spoilt my name, huh! In the name of brother I’ve looked after a man of bad character.” My father was very upset and disgusted.   

The news was spread in the entire village and amongst the relatives of our family. The village headman with girl’s father and village folks all came in our house to inform my father.

“Dineshji, your younger brother, Suresh, has eloped with Jayanti last night. So we all came here to inform you. Now you’ve to decide. What to do with both Suresh and Jayanti?” The village headman said; humbly.

“I’m extremely sorry my dear people whatever has happened. I’m ashamed. Now I can’t do anything. I just co-operate with you in this matter and whatever you people would decide about my younger brother’s fate, I’m ready to accept as your final word. I can’t say anything.” My father remained silent; accepting the guilty of his younger brother’s fault.

“My daughter is nebulous now, she is not in marriageable age, and your rouge brother has spoilt her life. I’ll go to the police. He must be punished for his wrong deeds.” Jayanti’s father angrily said.

 “It’s up to you people, whatever you feel right. I’ve nothing to say. I’m already upset and hurt by him. He has spoilt my name and our family’s name.”  My father replied calmly; feeling ashamed.

Finally, the village headman came forward and requested my father and Jayanti’s father to calm down and resolve the matter.

“Now both boy and girl are already eloped that we didn’t know where they are. So right now we’ve to wait for them till they come back. And we’ve to resolve this matter ourselves with mutual understanding rather than increasing the matter further. If they both love each other and wanted to get married than we should support them. What do you say folks?” The village headman said; gave his ideal opinion.                     

The village elders discussed the matter thoroughly. Jayanti’s father accepted the proposal that when both boy and girl would return home, they would be getting married in front of the villagers in traditional manner. At last the matter was sorted out peacefully.

After three months Suresh uncle came with his newly wedded wife Jayanti in our house.

Then another marriage ceremony was solemnized in our house with great pomp and grandeur. Thereafter Janyanti was becoming our family member. My mother got her sister. My mother loved Jaynati very much and in returned Jayanti respect and obey my mother as her elder sister.

As time passed, the true identity of venomous character of leading ladies came in sight; the drama between the two women began. My father was always busy in his cattle and fodder supply business. He got very little time to stay at home. On the other hand Suresh uncle stayed at home while spending the whole day and night with wife. He never showed his eagerness to support my father. His daily routine was to sleep the whole day and enjoyed the evening with his drunkard friends and spent night playing with his wife. My father and mother, both were very upset with him.

One day my mother asked Suresh uncle to help my father.    

“Suresh, why don’t you go with your brother to help him in his work rather than sleeping the whole day? Do some work at least, how long your brother will do everything alone?” My mother said while requesting him.

Then from the next day Suresh uncle started to do some work. But, Jayanti aunty was not happy.

One day without informing anything to anybody in our house; Jayanti went to her maternal house; carrying all her belongings and stuffs.

When Suresh uncle came to know that his wife had gone to her parent’s home, he quarreled with my mother without knowing anything literally.

“Bhabi, you’ve asked my wife to leave home. You’re so meant.” Suresh uncle raged with my mother.

“No-No, Suresh, you’ve misunderstood me. I’ve not uttered a single word to her. Jayanti has gone alone without any reason. She is like my sister. Why should I ask her to leave? Even I’ve asked her to stop until you return from your work. But she didn’t listen me.” Mother said with choking voice.

Suresh uncle also left our house the very same day and gone to his father-in-laws’ house; stayed for six months.

Then one day Suresh uncle came to our house to meet my father.

“Bhaiya, I want my share from our property.” Suresh uncle demanded.

“What property?” My father asked him with raged.    

“You’ve no share here. Whatever you’ve demanded as your share are all my own hard toiled wealth and property. I’ve not inherited anything from our father. Is it clear to you?” My father retorted; ruefully.

Suresh uncle remained silent. He didn’t utter anything.

“Haa, if I give you something from my wealth and property willingly, it’s up to me, in my own decision. But you’ve no right to demand like this. Now get off. You’ve already spent a lot of money and other stuffs of my hard earnings. Now I’ve two sons, I’ve to keep for them. Don’t come again in my house, you henpecked husband! You’re discarded from my house. Don’t ever dare to show your face in my house.” My father said; rudely.

From that day onwards Suresh uncle never showed his face again in our house. After a year it was known that both husband and wife had left for distant new land in order to begin their fresh lives as my father had once started here. He was in search of new opportunity in distant land.
Then it was come about me and my schooling.               

My mother didn’t want me to get admission in the school. According to my mother that girls are born only for working in the field; learning the entire household chores and become expert in knitting and weaving before getting married and later give company to her husband as an ideal housewife. She too wanted me to learn the stuffs that other village girls of my age were learning at their homes.          

But my father wanted me to get educated, so he sent me to distant village school. At that time there was no school in our village. I was accompanied with the other girls of the distant villages. I was seven years of age when I join in the L.P. (lower level) school.           

Everyday I covered nearly five km journey to school from my home. Sometimes my father carried me on his bicycle to the school. During those days there were no mode of car, scooters and buses in our area, only bicycle and the bullock cart were the mode of transport.                  

I was the only girl from our village that went to school and the rest of school going students were all boys from our village. I accompanied with them. One boy from our village named, Mohan, also went to our school. Usually, I got his good company up to school. He was very good and friendly with me. Mohan belonged to a very poor family. He was elder sibling of his family. He had three sisters and an old mother. His father was poor peasant, working in other’s hired land. Mohan helped me a lot in my studies. Whenever I missed my class he gave me his own notebooks, and I copied from his notes.

When I entered in fifth standard, my mother got pregnant again. At that time I had to stay at home; I missed my classes at least for a month. When I resumed my class I got hard canned by the teacher because of my prolong absence. In those days our teacher punished us very bitterly. Even the thick stick would be break after hitting the student, but there was no mercy. Teacher means “Dand Nayak.” Their every word was like unmoved mountain. So, absent in the class means be ready to get detention from the Dand Nayaks.                 

My mother gave birth with a girl child. That time also my mother had expected a boy. She was not happy. My father gave her name, Purnima. My father was as usual very happy because of the inclusion of new member in our family. She was very cute and lovely. Everyday after my school I used to play with her. I called my little sister ‘Purno.’               

A year later, both Ajay and Vijay also joint in the same school with me. Then I got Ajay and Vijay as my company. Now we were threesome studying kids from our family. We were the first in the whole generation of my father’s family who went to school. Before that no one went to school. My father supported me in my studies, he wanted to see me as a teacher, but my mother never supported me; she always wanted to see me as a decent housewife like her, quarrelsome and stubborn typical woman. She only allowed me to go to school because of my father. 

Everyday my mother played a new drama at home in the morning when I was about to get ready for school. She always started shouting right from the rising of sun to the setting of sun. So, I never got chance to study in the morning.     

Whenever I started to study, she began her early out bursting with her high pitch voice.     
“Who will clean these dirty utensils, maharani? Your nani or your maa?” Mother began her first morning out bursting.

“First of all clean these utensils and sweep all the rooms, then do whatever you want to do and go wherever you want to go.” My mother kept her sharp like tongue swinging.

“I’m not anybody’s servant here; your beloved father hasn’t kept anyone to do all these things.”  My mother yelled continuously.

“ Maa, I’ve to study now. Let me study for a while.” I retorted her ruefully.

“After studying who you want to become, one day you’ll have to become a housewife after all you’re a girl, the property of others.”  My mother kept her bitter words without break.        

“If you’ll not learn the household chores right from now then who’ll marry you. One day people will laugh at me and your in-laws will curse you. Do you understand?” She was ever ready to spoil my morning everyday.

Then she started feeding little Purno. I stopped my studies in the middle and I cleaned all the unwashed utensils, swept all the rooms and courtyard, and cooked early meals for all. As a result everyday I was getting late for my school.      

“Didi, be quick! We’re getting late.” Both Ajay and Vijay called me to get ready for the school.                        

Sometimes I asked them to go before me, since sometimes there were huge burden of household chores, even I forgot about my school; while doing and finishing all the stuffs, I was getting very late. And I knew that if I would be late in the school I would never spare from the punishments of our school’s Dand Nayak.             
So sometimes I had to bunk my classes purposely, but all thanks to Mohan; he always gave me his notebooks. And if I ever reached school at the nick of the hour I felt tired and somnolent in my class.

But when my father was at home in the early morning I got total freedom to study; and on that day I reached my school in time. Usually my father left home for his works early in the morning and I had to do as the servant of our house.

One day I asked my father to get me a bicycle, because due to heavy household chores at home I was late in my class and I got punishment everyday. I was fed-up with daily harassment at home and daily detonation in the school.          

“Baba, I want something from you today…….I want something from you today….” I said to my father. I repeated the same words like a crazy child.

“What do you want, Rupali?” My father smiled; looking at my innocence eyes and childish acts.

“If you don’t speak-up clearly, then how could I know what you want exactly?” My father said.

Before I could say something, mother poked her nose in between.    

“Now you want something that’s why you stood first, but when there is a work in the house to do then you always stay a hundred miles back, huh?” My mother said bitterly.

My mother always searched an opportunity to let me get down in front of my father. But my father loved me very much; whatever I wished something from him, he never denied. My father didn’t heed my mother’s complains about me; and I stood in my words, firmly.

“I want a bicycle, Baba.” I said; there was seriousness in my voice. 

“Why, Rupali?” My father understood my request, but he wanted to know the reason.

“Baba, I’m always getting late for school. After completing all the household chores in the morning it’s not possible for me to get the school in time. So if I have a bicycle then I can manage it. Baba, please give me a bicycle.” I coaxed him; continuously.

“Ok, give me a week time. I’ll buy you one and for Ajay and Vijay too.” My father assured me. I was very happy and excited; but my mother was not happy.

In the middle of the conversations, my mother swung her poisonous tongue again.

“Have you ever heard that a girl ride a bicycle, you’ve no shame, Rupali? Always be a girl; don’t try to be a boy. I hate these things. There is no one in our family that a girl will ride a bicycle. What a girl you are?” My mother fired me with sour tongue.

I said nothing; I just looking at my father’s reactions. I was angry with my mother.

“You don’t know anything…You just shut-up your mouth.”  My father got angry with my mother. He fired back a heap of blazing fire. My mother kept silent, busy in her household chores.

I was very happy. And both Ajay and Vijay, they too very excited.

“Didi, you’re great. Because of your kind request to Baba, now he’ll give us bicycle each.” Vijay thanked me; jumping with joy.

But Ajay was his mother’s son; he was always in the side of my mother. He didn’t say anything.    

“O, I knew everything before you know…..” Ajay said; haughtily.

“What did you know?” Vijay asked; angrily.

“…that one day Baba will buy a bicycle for me.” Ajay replied.

There were tiff arguments between the two brothers on that matter. Then I came forward to stop them.

We three of us waited for two complete weeks then father bought us three bicycles. We were very delighted and excited after getting our bicycle.

When I was in high school, I got good news that I got little sister again. That time also mother was not happy. Almighty had always displeased her wishes. I didn’t know why. And because of her unfulfilled wishes all the curses and accuses were on me; and I was victimized by her. But I was then gained a shell proof resistant from her.   
That time my father named my little sister, Anima. Thereafter I got two more little sisters, Rupa, who resembled like me, and my youngest sister, Padmini. Then our family became a big family, we were five sisters and two brothers. After expecting more male child my mother eventually gave up her wished and settled down with her five daughters and two sons.

My father was very happy and contented with his big family; but on the other hand my mother was very unhappy and discontented; because her wishes were remained unfulfilled. Still Ajay was her favorite. Then my father was very concerned about our family and his business more than before. My father’s work load increased more than earlier. My father always remained busy in his business.

Season by season my father’s business was started booming up. There were grand progressed in his every approach. But somewhere my father’s good fortune reflected with his own shadows. My father was accompanied with his elder brother, Hari, and elder sister, Laxmi’s husband, Sukhi in his business. They always contacted my father in their business and for their own selfish works.

 Hari and Sukhi, both were working in my father’s business. My father was very elated and satisfied with their co-operation in his business. My father helped them in all their needs and why not he helps them after all they both were his own closed kin. My father trusted them more than anyone.

A year had elapsed, both Hari and Sukhi worked along with my father in cattle and fodder business. And with their presence my father gained more confidence than ever before. My father completely relied on his elder brother, Hari and his brother-in-law, Sukhi. Hence, sometimes my father gave all the responsibilities to them and he engaged in other works. My father felt very carefree when they present besides him. In similar way another year was about to pass, when I was in eighth standard, my father was fell ill for sometime. At that time all the business works were looked after by Hari and Sukhi; my father had handed over all the responsibilities to them.

When my father rejoined in his business after his illness, everything was ruined by Hari and Sukhi. They both usurped my father’s business and other properties. Hari and Sukhi, became the owner of my father’s hard earning business, which my father had set-up with his hard sweating brows. Everything was looted and snatched by Hari and Sukhi, even they had case file in the court against my father that my father had forged money from them in order to set-up new business. My father was robbed by his own brother and brother-in-law, once he gave shelters, land and properties to them; they betrayed my father’s faith and deceived him.

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