We called her Nani. She was a beautiful Khasi woman. I met her in Shillong, Meghalaya, while working there in a high school. It was my first opportunity to see a matrilineal society. I was observing the relationship of couples from a different angle. Being a woman from a patriarchal society, it was not easy for me to understand their thoughts, emotions and behaviour. But I was trying.
I met Nani regularly in a local market, where she sold dry fish and vegetables. Her bright smile and hard working nature made me her admirer. We started talking and soon became friends.In spite of coming from different backgrounds, sharing our personal thoughts, plans,and sorrows was no more an odd thing between us. She was totally independent. Many times I experienced her kindness – when a poor boy needed his school fees or an unmarried mother needed a shelter with her baby. I was deeply touched and inspired by her. And one day,suddenly, she opened the painful pages of her life tome.