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Dr.Shweta Prakash Kukreja

Abstract Inspirational


2  

Dr.Shweta Prakash Kukreja

Abstract Inspirational


Widows are humans first.

Widows are humans first.

4 mins 220 4 mins 220

It was a usual thing for me during my childhood days to see old ladies of my huge family go bald. As a child, even I used to tease them with various names. They always wore a 'pallu' over their bald head, slept on the floor and cooked their food.


Even during some occasion like marriage, 'mata pujan', these old ladies were not allowed to enter the place where rituals were held. They were always dressed in tattered saris and that too only two or three in number. My great grandmother, whom we fondly addressed 'jijji' was among those group of old ladies. I have never seen someone so old with a criss-cross of wrinkles all over her face, skin hanging from her forearms, mouth without teeth and weak eyes.


Gradually, I understood that these were widows of our family who had to live such a sedentary life in the name of traditions. There was a complete change in my views and thoughts as I understood their plight. Every time I visited 'jijji' room, I was filled with rage and anger for my family. Once it was my birthday and I offered her 'kheer' to which she denied. But she gave up as I pestered her to have it. She was in tears as she tasted the first spoon of the sweet.


"I thought I might have forgotten the taste. But I was wrong. This still pacifies my taste buds." she relished every spoon and cuddled me in return. Now it was a daily regime where I stole whatever being cooked in the kitchen for her. My mother knew about all this but she never stopped me. All elders of my family were aware but everyone kept mum. As if I was getting invisible support from them. I was happy at least my granny was getting delicacies to relish.

But all this didn't go on for long as 'jijji' passed away. After a year or so my 'chachu' expired leaving our whole family in extreme shock. He was the youngest of all five siblings my father had and left with two kids both under five. The family was under utter grief and our pain knew no bounds.

The greatest shock came to me when my 'chachi' was asked to move out of her bedroom after all rituals. Her bangles were broken by hitting her hands on the floor. I was pained to see her wrist bleeding. But she was sitting lifeless like a statue with no agony, no tears. A razor and scissors were brought near to her, I understood what they had planned next.


"No....not this time...not her.Enough of these stupid practices in the name of traditions. She has lost her life partner. Isn't it a punishment for her? Why she has to do all this for no fault of hers? She has lost 'chachu' not her right to live as a human." And before I could utter something else, came a slap on my face. It was 'dadi'.

"Not a single word now....just shut up. Don't you dare to mess up with our traditions? We have been following all these for ages. Your 'chachi' is not an exception. Even we don't like to see her in such a way. But it's her fate and she has to bear this."dadi chided me holding my hands.

"But dadi times has changed." and yet another slap.

"Don't you understand what I asked you to do? You just keep your mouth shut. Even if it was you at her place then also I would have done the same." she pushed me hard and I was on the ground.

A lady came forward and held chachi's braid in her hand to cut with scissors. The moment she was to cut my mother snatched the scissors. It was like a thunderclap for my dadi. Before she could say something my father came forward and stood in front of chachi. And then came all my aunts and uncles of my family and surrounded her. My dadi didn't utter a word and left the courtyard in rage.

I was filled with joy and pride as I won the battle for my chachi. She wasn't aware of what happened around her.


Today whenever we meet she never forgets to mention me for her new life. I think no loss can be compared with the one a lady faces when she becomes a widow. And all these superstitious practices enhances her pain and makes her a weak and vulnerable victim of our society. It's our responsibility to make her stand on her own feet rather than putting shackles around her. 

Even before being a wife or a mother, she is a human being and she has all rights to live her life like a human.


pallu- a kind of veil kept on forehead

mata pujan- an ocassion when Goddess is worshiped

jijji-a term used for elder sister 

kheer-a desert made with milk,rice and sugar

chachu-uncle,father's brother

chachi-aunt


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