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Brita Roy

Drama Romance


4  

Brita Roy

Drama Romance


Women's Lib

Women's Lib

9 mins 131 9 mins 131

         

I am not a protagonist of Women’s Lib, but I do believe that the opposite sex is not very essential for our existence. We can be perfectly happy without them, and will be able to function minus them without a hitch; Men are like the tail we once had. Now it is superfluous, and having that particular appendage in the present, would prove not only cumbersome, but embarrassing too! Having these progressive notions in my mind, I set out on my excursion to Digha all by myself. My favourite teacher had ingrained into my mind, that if I had the confidence in myself, I could do anything. It was all in the mind. But I must admit that at first I was nervous. I thought of the women who had ventured on a world tour all by themselves, driving their own car, why should I not be able to be more adventurous? If I did not have a broad-chested, chivalrous man to be by my side, so what?! If there is a will, there is a way! Perhaps the way would not be very smooth, but why have such doubts in my mind?!


              I set the alarm at four in the morning, as I had to board the train at six o’clock. But there was something lacking. Though I was going on a fun-trip, the enthusiasm was not there. Anyway I went rushing to get a cab, breathless, and tensed up, with my bulging trolley trailing behind me. I was behind my set schedule, so there was reason to be all worked up. Late as I was, the bargaining with the taxi driver posed a major irritant. The man sitting behind the wheel, looked me up and down, as if I to assess me, then thinking me to be a helpless inconsequential female, asked for an exorbitant amount as the fare, demanding double the rate. For a fleeting moment the thought came to my mind that if only a man had been with me, the driver would not have dared to blackmail, and his attitude would have been different. But I blocked the thought, as it only indicated that I did not have the required confidence as a woman, and took refuge in the excuse that I belonged to the weaker sex. I frantically looked around to spot a police man, who could have at least driven some fear into the driver’s bones, but there was no such luck. I tried the second and the third taxi, but they seemed to have some unspoken understanding, and they stood by each other as comrades of the same profession. Compelled by the situation, I had to agree to the unjustified demand, and got into the cab. But needless to say, though the winter temperature in Kolkata was not quite freezing, I, in comparison, was boiling with pent up rage. I wondered if a Tom, Dick, or Harry had been with me, would I have started off my excursion with a lighter heart!


            I reached Howrah Station. There were only two minutes for the train to leave, and seeing the length of the train, I knew I would miss it. I had to walk down the platform to the very end to get to my compartment. I was hardly able to drag the bag full of warm clothes, which felt like a ton of bricks, and having given up the practice of running the 200metres since I left school, I unconsciously wished there had been an entity stronger than I, to help me in the crisis, and had reached me to my destination!


              Somehow I managed to get on, running a small distance with the train, till I could hop on, and hang precariously, like a chimpanzee from a branch. But I thanked my stars, or more correctly, my presence of mind, that I was able to get on to a non-reserved coach. Being pushed this way, and that, like a champion in a Rugby Match, I found a cramped up seat at the corner. I was compelled to place my over-filled bag, warning me of impending disaster, on my lap with the result that there was no scope to move my legs. Then when I was pinned down in that vulnerable position, it happened- the greatest catastrophe on this earth! From all the crevices and cracks, battalions of cockroaches ushered in, all the generations together, in one united attack. They marched, jogged and flew, right up my legs, and inside my blouse. I screamed and I shouted, I wished there were some strong arms to protect me, to save me from the onslaught of the fiendish monsters. I tried to escape from there, as fast as I could, with my heart pounding. The crawly creatures were literally after my life! But the crowded compartment made it almost impossible to even squeeze my way out.


              I managed to reach my reserved compartment, huffing and puffing, after going through the inter-connecting passages and the never-ending overcrowded coaches. I must have developed prominent biceps with the tough and rough exercises I had to undergo. At the end of it all, when I thought I could relax in the luxurious comfort of my air conditioned reserved seat, I found an old lady sitting in the place allocated to me. When I claimed it, showing her my seat number, a gentleman told me off very rudely, as if I a mannerless student of a school, and he were the Principal. I was told that I should be ashamed of myself, asking somebody fit to be my grandmother, in the eighth decade of her life, to vacate the seat. I looked everywhere for the ticket checker, but he was nowhere to be seen. My legs pained, my back felt as if my spine would disintegrate, but I had no other course than to keep mum, as if an adhesive plaster had been put, so that I did not open my mouth. I felt like an over-inflated balloon which was going to explode. A thought passed my mind then, perhaps if there were somebody to see to my comfort, it would have been nice! But mind you, it was just a fleeting thought!. 


                 We reached Digha. But what a scramble for the vans, the only most convenient mode of transport to the hotel. How I wished I were also like the smart men to grab hold of one, but what with my six yard sari, and the bag loaded with woollies, I only desired, and envied, and at the end managed to reach my destination on a horse! Can you imagine the comic situation?!


                When I reached Sea Hawk Hotel, I was famished.I felt I was feeling so ravenous that I could gorge down a massive whale, if that was on the menu. I ordered their Special Thali, which was luckily available. When the lunch arrived, the very sight of it, made my gastric juice work. The white dimpled loochis are my favourite, accompanied with Potato Curry. But as I had my fourth one, I wondered what I would do with the rest of the food. I could hear my grandmother’s voice resonate in my ears, “If you waste food, in your next life you will be a hungry street dog”.  There was Fried Rice, prawns and mutton curry. I definitely did not want to be a hungry dog. She used to say that our stomach is elastic and it can accommodate even a horse if need be. I went on pushing in more and more, but I came to a stage when I realised a little more in, would mean everything out. If only I had a foodie partner, who could have eaten all that was too much for me, I would have been saved from the ordeal! I drove the intruding thought out, as soon as it dared to encroach on forbidden grounds. Wasn’t I happy as a self-sufficient, independent woman?!

       

    It was then time for some frolic and fun! I took out my rubber sandals, and suitable attire for a swim in the ocean. I almost hopped, skipped and jumped to the beach, like a little girl, despite the fact that people would think me to be a bit crazy .The weather was glorious, the waves were not too turbulent, and the sun was mellow. I placed all my belongings on a rock, not too far off, so that I could keep an eye on them from the water, two eyes would have been better, as there were many riff-raffs loitering around! But even before I could feel the temperature of the water with my toes, all of a sudden a voracious giant-like wave came roaring, with its mouth wide open, and gulped down all my belongings in the matter of seconds. Dazed I looked on, how was I going to walk back to the hotel room?! But dismissing the thought of the loss instantly, in the peak of high spirits I rushed into the water. Higher and higher leaped the breakers, and higher somersaulted my spirits. It was exhilarating buffeting the inky-blue waves. It was sheer enjoyment. Then all of a sudden I felt a current of water pulling me in, into the depths. It was a frightening experience. I was all alone in the midst of the vast ocean of water, and it was pulling me in, drawing me into the womb of all eternity. I gasped, I spluttered, I screamed for help. I knew there was no one, and there would be also no one in the future to know about my tragic end. At least one does not like being forgotten and unmourned for, after death.  If only I had not come out all by myself professing my exclusive identity. But regrets have no use when one is being swallowed by Death!

      

       It was then that I felt a hand supporting me from my waist. I heard a voice telling me not to panic because he would reach me safely to the beach. When the speaker finally deposited me on the sandy bank, I discovered that he was no stranger. He was laughing at my acrobatics and making fun of my false bravado. It was Nitesh, my College friend. Then with the same boyish charm, he said,” Lady, this is not the right time for me to say this, as the sun is not spreading its golden glow as in all romantic episodes, but I repeat, What I had told you five years back, I would be honoured if you accept my proposal of marriage”.


            Nitesh had spotted me earlier at the Hotel and had trailed after me, without my knowledge. I had come to realise that a woman can be as independent as she desires, only up to a certain degree. Once she has given away her heart to somebody, she cannot exist without that person. I looked up at Nitesh and put my arms around him. That is what there is to say about Women’s Lib!       


 


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