Urmila carries a copper dish in her hand and goes from house- to -house in the hamlet . She adjures not very costly things but cheap materials like ;raw rice, saree, betel nuts vermilion , milk and oil.
She desires those on the special occasions of SANKRANTI ,(the first day of the month), Purnima (the full moon day) and other festival days.. As soon as collection is over, she luvabs in the pond Ghat intended for women. On her way home she collects hibiscous flowers . With the necessary stock pie, she moves to the the deity The celestial of the goddess is under an archway exfoliation. She dautches the goddess after oiliing Her She decorates her with flower and vermillion. No sooner does the preliminary work is done than she prostrates before her and prays for the well being of the villagers. She utters silently,"Be kind to your generation and save them from all sorts of calamities."
In special occasions like wedding and festive days of the deity she earns some extra money. She is on succession of worshiping the deity as no one of her two brothers took interest on it and left for distant places to earn more money.
After they departed, she heaved a sigh . She became quite alone. She decided to live in her ancestral hut invariably. Her ugliness was a boon to her.As the tresspassers reluctant to her black complexion, dwarfness, thick lips . All the demerits were blessings to her. She is so ugly that when she walks through the village street the young people spit on the ground. Because of her ugliness she never curses herself for the deity is ugly and black in form but people pay reverence to her. Urmila takes pleasure on it . She laughs to her self; how lucky she is!
She sleeps in the hut comfortably without anybody to guard her. She has firm faith on the deity that ,in case, any body pushes and opens the door her most trusted deity is there to protect her.
In the deepest part of her heart she dreams of a decent home with her husband and a little baby with whom she will play. She will tell her the tale of the princess who rides her horse and kills the anti-social elements who are harmful to the society. The picture of her past reflects in her mind's eye. She feels how sweet were the days before her father brought home a second spouse after her mother's pyre turned into ashes. Her life became hell. She tortured her like anything else. One after another hurdles mounted on her. No sooner did her father die, the woman fled aw[ay . Life became worrisome. Anyhow ,she managed and it became easier by and by. She threw away the memories of the past and became as usual.
She has a childhood friend,Usha. She belongs to a well-to-do family. At times she comes to her thatched cottage and shares with her weal and woe. Usha inspires her to have the courage to fight against the daily triffles and hard realities of life. "There are countless hardships in life but I do not care about them when I realise the smallness and nothingness of the world. Every thing is pre-ordered. We cannot design our lives. Having every thing I feel I lack something. "
She says,"My father earns a lot but he has no peace of mind. He is worried over anything. He feels helpless. I have never seen him laughing. He drinks to his neck and returns home at the dead of the night. "
One day she came to Urmila's cottage and hugged her. She wept listlessly. Urmila hung round . She wanted to know the reason. She stated," My parents forces me to marry an aged man double of mine for his affluence."
Urmila encouraged her to fight against the injstice .
She said nothing and bade adeiu.
Urmila feels loss and pain is part of life. She will have to be strong to face everything that comes her way. She feels that her little cottage is God's home. She resolves not to weep under any circumstances.
For her honesty and truth fullness some people like her and call her in different festivals and insist on to worship the goddess on their behalf. They offer her some remunerations in lieu of her service. After mitigating her mandatory expenditure, some surplus amount remains with her which she saves in the account opened in the bank.
If any body asks her,"What is the need of saving money and for whom?"
She answers,"Who is there to support me besides my deity and the savings?"
She does not care what people say on her back. She knows they are all back biters. They laugh at her poverty and helplessness.
She is very kind-hearted. She helps those in trouble. Of course ,Usha reaches her hut during her illness. She provides medicine and looks after her till she is cured.
One night Urmila dreams of the deity who warns her against the up coming danger. She wakes up in the midnight,sits in folded legs and prays to Her. Her confidence and daringness remained unbeaten till the perilous night.
That night Urmila was fast asleep. Suddenly she woke up with a long knock noise of the door.
She shouted at the top of her voice ,"Who are you disrupting me at midnight?"
The voice outside laughed loudly and threatened her to force open the door.
To her bad luck the light was out. She searched for the cellular telephone . She got it. She frightened him to call up the police if he does not leave immediately. The outsider laughed more loudly and kicked open the door. As the door was moth eaten and rusted it opened easily.
Urmila used her cell telephone torch and flashed upon the trouble maker. But he forced forward and snatched lt away from her. She did not give in so easily. There was a cat and dog fight between them. She got the long stick despite darkness;she used to dance with the drumming as the deity empowered her. But the stick slipped away from her hand. The scoundrel managed to push her aside. She fell on the ground senseless.
It was dawn when she got back her sense. She was fastened by the rope she used to draw water from the well. Everything had finished. She was bleeding all through. The sun shone with all its redness but the colour of her blood superseded it. Its rays spread every where except the hut and heart of Urmila. She was rolling ,crawling and gasping for breath.
After freeing herself she fetched water from the pitcher to wash away the gush of blood that sprayed out everywhere. But the more she washed the more it flowed. She thought did she really lose everything which she preserved with vigilance? She became numb -worthless. The beast plundered her invaluable asset for which she was proud of.
Since then she spoke little, ate little, slept little. She did not laugh at all. Tears rolled down her cheek day and night. She came out of her cottage in darkness. At that hour she bathes in the pond ,draws water from the well. Neither does she worship the goddes nor prays to her who has broken her faith.
Months pass by. The embryo makes different postures. It giggles ,snorts. She fears it will get the shape of a baby and touch the earth. At last the illegitimate baby will be born for whom she will be accountable to the people. She decided to commit suicide. She adopted many means but failed each time . Does it mean that it will leave her womb to torture her more and more? She consoles her self. Behind it there is God's will. She became strong. She gave up the idea of self killing.
She was prepared to face the public.
They whispered when she walked in the village street. She overheard it. It is time a baby girl left her mother's womb and saw the broad day light.
In the end, the village chief summoned a meeting of the senior citizens of the village to decide the fate of Urmila who illegally gave birth to a baby girl. Deliberately it was discussed. The majority agreed to apply some statute on her. She was denied all sorts of facilities enjoyed by her before: common pond,tap, barber,washer man-so on and so forth. The last one - she was declared an outcaste.
After the final verdict Urmila left the place silently. She was not perturbed - rather calm. She thought nowadays abduction is taking place in large scale but the abductee is moving comfortably. She was surprised no one present in the meeting raised voice against this injustice. Nevertheless, she accepted it pleasurably .
She reasoned what is the use of living in such a male-dominated society where a woman's freedom is a far cry. It is time all women should be united for their empowerment.
The very night she packed her requisites. She came out of her ancestral hut. With her baby on lap and the luggage she had a last look at it. Tears rolled down her cheek. She did not wait there a minute . She advanced on. Afterwards, nobody has seen Urmila far or near.