anshita sinha

Drama Tragedy


anshita sinha

Drama Tragedy

Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes

5 mins

I look outside the window. It’s a hot summer day. I wonder when they’ll take me back home, I don’t like it here. They say I should be out soon, that it’ll be just one more day, and every day, it’s just one more day. “Dadi, I’m back,” with that, my 5 years old granddaughter, Julie, climbs up and sits on my lap. She looks up at me and says, “Why are you sad?”

I answer “What makes you think I’m sad?”

Julie says, “You look sad.”

I make a face and say, “Do I look sad now?” and start to tickle her.

She laughs and says, “No!"

“So tell me, what did you learn at school today?”

“Well, my teacher taught us some words and, for the next class, she asked me to find out what “ugly” meant, what does it mean, grandma?”

I didn’t know where to begin, a lifetime of memories flashed in my mind and even before I realize, I’m back home.

It’s February 5, 1976. I sneaked a look from behind the curtains, I am not sure if it was him I saw or someone else, but he looked pretty darn handsome to me. Ma storms into the room, grabs me by my wrist, and whispers, “Savita, how many times have I warned you to not come out of your room when the ladkawalas come home!" She shouts,"Kiran! take Savita inside, and stay with her." Kiran, my younger sister, jumps up at the opportunity and giggling, pushes me inside. Still giggling, Kiran says, “Bhaiya was saying that he is the Probationary officer of Delhi." Sonali sighs. “Bitch, you became the lucky one, you get the handsome, rich prince I was dreaming about.” I retort, “Well, what can I say, it’s all karma, didi.” I catch the pillow Sonali di throws at me and laughing, drops down on my bed. They continue to tease me, but I don’t mind and we soon get immersed in yet another Bollywood painted romance movie, most probably turning into reality with my wedding.

The wedding was scheduled for the 4th of April. By now, everyone in the entire district had heard of my news. People were congratulating my parents, relatives poured in from time to time, to help in the wedding preparations, and I? Well, I was considered privileged to have my many Mamis and Chachis and Buas, shower me with their advice, albeit unsolicited ones, about how to make sure that my marriage became the subject of envy for every couple. A day before the wedding, I look into the mirror, I avoid to look into it, as much as possible because well, that’s another place where self-loathing and singular disregard for one’s uniqueness clouds one’s thoughts and appreciation, for everything else takes a back seat, but still, I look, just to wonder, as to how I got to be so lucky. I look and see a 19-year-old me. I am pretty but not Rekha-pretty. His gorgeous face comes into my mind and looking at my reflection, I think that maybe, I was just born lucky.

Bollywood painted romance it was, but not the kind you wished came real for you. I was married and brought into my in-laws' house. The first night spent there made me realize that I was in for a very rude awakening. They fought every single hour of every single day. Manoj was their only son. One night, I asked if we could move to a separate home, and that was the night when it all started. I spent the night outside in the rain, and the next morning, I learned to keep my mouth shut. One month later, we shifted to one of the government quarters. The change in the atmosphere didn’t bring any relief to me. My condition worsened, letters written to my parents were burnt in front of me, just to teach me a lesson. He said that I had grown wings. The intensity increased with every single day. I tried running away, but I was always made to return back, just telling me that I was being impatient, that with time, he will understand me.

I survived marriage, I survived life, and I think it’s only because of my child, Yuvraj. He came into my life like a saviour. Manoj changed, but only for our son. I was not sure that a monster like him was capable of actually loving another human being, but that perception changed. He still doesn’t understand me; we still fight, like animals, every single day. I look in the mirror and all I see are scars and bruises, which I hide from Yuvraj, but I think he knows, because some times when he was a kid, he would often take my hand and say, “Ma, I will take you away, just wait for some time,” and I would joke, “where will my raja beta take me?” and his reply would bring tears to my eyes, he would say, “I’ll take you home, Ma.” I can’t stand his face; every single day that I look at him reminds me of the futility of all the things that I was glad for when I was 19. I sometimes wish I had said no to that marriage, but how was I supposed to know that behind those perfectly god-like symmetrical features was a soul so ugly that you wished you stayed far away. I was asked to wait patiently, that one of these days, he will understand me, that he would change, and to this day, I am still waiting.

“Grandma!, what does it mean?” I look down at her pretty face and looking at her, I only hope that she never learns the meaning of that word, that all she ever learns is that meaning in the dictionary; and not the one that life will teach her, but I hope she gets spared, just this once. “Grandma?” I look outside and answer, ”I don’t know, my child, all I know, is that it’s all within.”

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