It’s neither Basonti Pujo nor Durga Puja but still I felt like writing this blog. Right now I am in a small village at Seemandhra. Everything is just more than perfect here. Although this is village but people live here more in pomp and show than in cities. There are big designed houses with all more than required comforts in daily life. I had made couple of visits here and enjoyed some local festivals over here named Sambhralu (the festival relating to the worship of the village goddess who protects and feed the villagers). This is however going to be the longest visits and stay in this village. The weather is kind of hot and dry here but the breeze blowing from the sea shore nearby creates a fair ambiance to soothe you with green everywhere.
It’s not that I am explaining the environment of the place and deviating from the topic. It’s just to create the aura. Here, in every home they owe cashew nut plantations known as ‘tauta’ in local language. It’s a tough job to collect the cashew nut fruits, clean them, then dry fry them over pyre of fire and then finally get the cleaned white cashew nut ready to eat thing in the market.
Ahh!!! Here the language local people understand is Telugu. Yesterday, I went to the house of a local lady nearby since some construction work was going on my besties home so we sifted to their home for that evening. She was slim, dark-skinned , medium-height lady around thirty-five years of age with a long lock of hair trailing over her buttocks and a bottalu (bindi) , mangalsutra (a chain that resembles her marriage) , red bangles in her hand and silver anklets in her ankles. Yes and not to forget the bicchis (toe rings) in her toes. She looked divine and her red cotton saree made her look more divine. Her beautiful eyes were however sad. I could feel the sadness in her eyes. She had just returned from tauta and was cleaning her home in the evening to get ready for dinner preparations. She spoke Telugu but could understand Hindi and our communication through sign language and broken Hindi of hers was great. Throughout the evening I saw her working all around the house constantly with a sweet smile over her face every time our eyes met. I was reading a novel then but at one moment just grabbed her hand and said to her, “Hey, sit down for two minutes”. She said with a smile and sign language that she had loads of work to do”. I said, “Come on two minutes of sit won’t destroy everything you have been running, running and running”. She said that’s what we are meant to be like, Ammuru (Goddess Durga”). I could feel the sharp pain in her eyes as if I had unknowingly touched some of her unseen wounds. I was startled and left her hand for my mild grip. Seeing my astonished look she stood for some time silent and then sat beside me on the floor. I slipped from the chair and sat down in the floor. She saw towards me and smiled again, “No one has told me like this to sit for the last twenty years”.
I was startled, “What?”
She waved her hands as a sign of nothing and rose up to leave. But I said, “Hey what happened can you please share, if you feel like?”
With a smile towards me she called me to the kitchen and said, “Sit over here and let’s talk for I have a dinner to make for my two boys.”
I asked, “Where is your husband?”
“He is in Dubai doing some job over there. Visits once in a year, say for about a month and then go back again”.
I asked her, “Mmmm big fat money haan, you might be very happy?”
“Yes, if this is happiness then happy I am with all satisfaction in lie accept self-satisfaction”.
I said, “What do you mean?”
With her hands constantly busy cutting vegetable for the evening supper she answered, “I was married when I was only fifteen. I was the first girl of my school and had many dreams to live in. But since this is village my parents needed to get me married soon or else my capability of becoming mother would be shredded with age. And the man with whom I got married was my mama (mother’s brother). He is around fifteen years elder to me. I am his second wife because the first wife died while delivering her first baby.”
I nodded my head in acceptance and said, “Oho that’s why your elder son is a big guy”.
“Ya, he is a big guy only a few years younger to me”. Saying so, she placed the pan over the wooden fire of her kitchen and poured oil in to heat.
“I had attended my mama’s marriage and my mami very much who treated me just like her daughter. My nanamma (maternal grandmother) pampered me since I was the only daughter in both homes and never allowed me to do any work. But, one day everything changed suddenly. They decided my fate. The relations changed and my world just turned upside down. I was dressed like an offering to be given to God, wrapped in beautiful costly saree, laded with heavy golden ornaments too heavy for me to wear and walked down from one home to another with changed surname and relations. In a day from a daughter I turned the wife of the person, whom I respected like my father, mother of the boy who played with me like my friend and bahu of the saas who was my grandmother. I thought it was a dreadful dream and wanted to flee from it but Alas! It was the deadliest truth of my life.”
The oil had been over heated. She hurriedly gave the talimpu (tempering) and put the vegetables in it along with salt and spices. I stared at her quietly and thought, “Did I do something wrong that her unhealed scars started bleeding again”.
With a wooden stick she started mixing the vegetables with the spices and continued. My husband fucked me like hell in the first night when I didn’t know anything about sex. Till today my body shivers to think about that night where I cried like hell in pain and he placed a towel within my mouth so that no one could hear me. He tortured me that even today nightmares leave me shivered and sweaty. I couldn’t get up the next morning from bed. My saas came in the morning and knocked the door and asked me to cook food fifty people. When I said I cannot cook so much of food she looked towards me with betrayal in her eyes and said me that I have to. She turned to a lady demon to me.”
She blew to lit up the fire again of the wooden pyre over which she was cooking her vegetables and continued, “I woke up at 4 in the morning, did all the house hold works till mid afternoon, then go to the field for work, come back home and cook food again for the family and at night again get slaughtered by my husband. For a month this was my routine and after a month my husband left me. I got pregnant and before I even understood what motherhood is all about I went through the unbearable pain of labor and became the mother of two”.
She remixed the vegetables again and continued, “For twenty years the only thing which I have seen flourishing is this home. I sleep everyday with the doors of my bedroom closed because my elder son’s eyes lure me when I pass him. He has his wife but still I can feel the lust in his eyes. He calls me amma but still dreams of sleeping with me. I crave for sex everyday but not with my husband. I have good food to eat, nice clothes to wear but no self-satisfaction. If this is being content then I am happy”.
Her vegetables were cooked and she brought her pan down from the fire and said, “My life is just where my husband or m near ones doesn’t want to understand me but need me every time they are in some sort of want alike this cooked vegetables, which is beautiful to relish upon it but no one every tries to understand the cuts it have been through. Ammuru’s life is also the same whom you pray to relieve your pain and even at times of lust just ravish her like a carnivore to relish your need. I walk over the same routine everyday afraid to even change it. Yes, this is my destiny and I have to leave by it but somewhere where if there is another life I want to relive my life at my choices. Taste this now and say how this is.”
I took the plate full of mixed vegetable and tasted it and thought, “Am I blessed to lead my life on my own vows or one day will my life will turn if not like this someone similar to this. Are we all linked with the same circle of pain? I kept the plate and hugged her tight; she embraced me back speaking some words in Telugu which I didn’t understand. But I felt that she thanked me for listening to her and understanding her pain”.
While leaving her home I understood why she called herself Ammuru because she is strong enough to compile everything within her with her smile and this was her silent betrayal with this orthodox society where you worship the same lady and then let her suffer to hell.