Punyasloke Bose



Punyasloke Bose




7 mins

There was a mixed reaction when the news broke into the household of Murmu . A baby girl was born to the wife of Prasun. While the rest of the house celebrated the welcoming of the girl but Prasun was far from happy. Prasun had lost out before on his demand for dowry while marrying his wife Bela. Now he had to compromise with the birth of a daughter which he never wanted in the first place. So according to him, he was holding on to something that had no value or was valueless. 

Prasun wanted to start a business and he had wished that his marriage would bring in the capital by way of dowry. But his mother put the brake on his demand. Prasun had wanted to get out of farm and start a small business due to the uncertainty involved in farming. 

But as his hopes were dashed, so his dissatisfaction was vented on his wife Bela in a twisted way. Bela being a meek woman, bore all of it patiently. Now after the girl Mira she gave birth to, Bela knew her troubles were far from over or rather they were acerbated. A cold War sort of broke out between her and her husband Prasun. He never liked his daughter Mira and never doted on her. Bela was very pained but she withstood it stoically and promised that she would make someone out of Mira one day. 

Mira grew up like any other lower middle class girl. But her mother took special pains in her upbringing without the active support of the father. Prasun had detested the girl because he knew that girls are all expenses. According to his school of thought boys added value and girls were valueless. They would drain him out of dowry one day when she would be married off. They wouldn't be able to help in the field work and even if she helped the output would be less than that of a boy. So overall girl was a loss acquisition. 

Mira had to struggle to go to school as her father was not at all interested in spending money on her. Only because of her mother was she able to go to school. She was a first generation learner, so it was a solo journey for her. There was no help from her parents regarding studies and they couldn't afford after school tuitions for her. So began an uphill task for Mira. But as she was very intelligent, Mira knew how to adapt to her challenging situation. Slowly, she came to know the benefits of an education and knew that at any cost she must exploit whatever she could get from her education.

As Mira grew up, she found out how the society treats girls differently. She felt that boys were so free and life was so cumbersome for girls with so much of clothing and all to keep themselves safe and secure. All sorts of mental battles went on in her head. But as soon as she got out of her reverie, Mira again forced upon herself not to lose focus and be determined. As she was growing, she had to fend for herself as her mother was not there everywhere. All the men with their evil gazes were always on her. She had to protect her womanhood from all these human hyenas and wolves. Not too gentle touches on her body parts and groping on her womenly form were part of life. Her mother would say that she also had to go through all this and even now she has to 'compromise' a little if she has to have her way. At first, Mira felt disgusted hearing and seeing all this but slowly she steeled herself. Slowly she learnt the art of how to protect her body from these wolves.

Completing school was a big challenge in the first place. But she did well and went on to secure a college admission. She was good in studies and now she got the opportunity to participate in many sporting event. Her body was built like a sportswomen as she came from a working class family. She found that those girls and boys that came from rich families, got easily hooked on to the sports where lot of expenses were involved like cricket, tennis etc. So Mira was drawn towards football, basketball and volleyball as these were not so expensive. Continuing with one sport Mira found that was advantageous to take her education forward. She got the benefit of sports quota. She represented her college in these sports and later played for her district and state. 

In college Mira met Rohan. With Rohan, Mira quickly bonded very well. Both were good at their respective sports. So they met for the first time on the sports field. Rohan was very good at basketball and having good height he exploited the game to his advantage. Mira was very impressed with Rohan 's style of play. So she approached him to help her in her game. Within a few months of practice Mira became a deft basketball player. 

So they now jointly started participating in inter district matches and later on inter state level matches. Both got their jobs in railways basis of their sports quota. 

Mira was now a working woman. This was a proud moment for her mother Bela. Her hard struggle had given her reward of a working daughter. Prasun was also now changed and after so many years his daughter seemed more of value than ever before. His eyes were now awakened to the changing perspective of the society towards the women. How he had grown up in a society where the culture was such that the women were treated just as a commodity. Now it was an eye opener for Prasun. 

Mira however found that her battles were far from over. She and Rohan working in the same department with the same qualification and on the basis of the same games quota of basketball but were having different pay scale. Rohan was drawing higher salary than Mira. Because, strange it may seem to Mira, who after lot of diligence found out that being a woman, 'obviously' having lesser experience was put in a lower pay scale. Also she had to put in half an hour of more work than Rohan due to her being a woman. All this, Mira took with a pinch of salt, hoping some day she would see her at par with Rohan and for that with all other men. 

Mira was a very sincere and conscientious worker and with her grit and hard work successfully competed to become an engine driver. It was an almost impossible feat for a woman till a few years ago. Rohan had already become a driver of a prestigious express train. 

Now, the time had come for marriage. It goes without saying that Rohan and Mira were very fond of each other and in friendship now close to a decade. Both the families knew them as best of friends. But objections were raised due to the caste of Mira who belonged to that section of the society who earlier had been relegated to the fringes. In recent times had they been allowed to mingle with the rest due to the changes sweeping across the society. 

However, Rohan stood firm and was steadfast in his decision to marry Mira and no one else. They were married soon but as a punishment they were told to live away from their families. 

This came as a sort of a boon for the new couple. They could now live like in a honeymoon state in their own quarters with full freedom and away from the interference of the in laws. However, Mira's mother, Bela had a special access to their home. Bela was now a happy and proud woman and a doting mother in law to her darling son in law, Rohan. 

On the international women's day, Rohan took his new wife's hand in his and boarded a flight out to Mauritius, on their honeymoon. The once considered of having no value, Mira was now a valueless or of immense value to all concerned with her, her husband, her father and her employer. To her mother she was always of immense value or valueless. 

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