It was raining heavily outside. Anjali opened her eyes slowly and saw that the room was in a complete mess. The cupboard was empty and wide open, and all the things were scattered all over the floor. She was lying on the floor with bruises on her hands and felt extreme pain in her body. She slowly helped herself to get up and sat on the floor. Gave a good glance at the entire room and sighed. She got up and stood slowly on her feet, controlling her balance and started to pick up things one by one and kept in its places.
Soon she found a big cover full of albums. She opened one of the album and flipped the photographs. It was her childhood photographs where she had posed with her parents sitting on her first cycle. She thought, "I was five years old, and I was so happy to get my first cycle as a birthday gift. I still remember I rode in the park along with my parents.' A smile emerged on her face and she forgot about her pain and enjoyed thinking about those days of her childhood. She then decided to spend some time on these photographs to relax and warned herself to clean up before her husband comes back home.
She went into Kitchen and made herself a cup of tea and walked back to the room. She kept the coffee cup on the side table near her bed adjusting the pillow on the wall to give her back, a proper rest. Then brought the big cover full of albums and poured it on the bed. She sat on the bed comfortably and started seeing each album.
One by one she flipped the photographs, and her mind relived the moments of her beautiful life. Her pictures of holding trophies for winning a couple of sports matches, for the best group inter-school competitions and also as the best student of the year. She felt happy and thought about the days when she was the most energetic and hyperactive child who participated in all the competitions, no matter whether she knew anything about it or not. She believed in participation. She remembered one of her best friend who was handicapped and how she helped her to accept the day to day challenges and to move on with her life. Now, she was working with one of the NGO to support the physically challenged children to study and helped them to look at life in a different perspective.
She started sipping her tea and opened the next few albums which were of her college days. As she flipped the photographs, her tears started rolling down, and her thoughts took her to the college days; She was the President of the college and took all the major decisions for the year and fought a couple of times with the principal to make things work. She was also a member of Youth Welfare Committee, where they visited few places to educate the people on the social problems faced by youngsters.
She wiped her tears and took another album which was of her marriage photographs. She opened and admired her beauty and the sarees which she had worn. She had never seen her parents that happy before. It was a grand celebration. She also remembered her parents dancing in the marriage party and thought, ‘Papa was so happy that day. He spent all his money on my marriage. Gave this house, car and thought I would live like a princess. But….' (Sighed) ‘I guess if my parents were alive, Papa would have helped me to come out of this hell. (gasped) Why didn’t you take me along Papa, I don’t want to live anymore. I miss you. I feel lonely and helpless. Please take me. I can’t take this abuse anymore.’
With the emotional battle going on within herself she threw all the albums on the floor and started crying out loud and screamed, ‘I am useless. What did I do in my life to get such a punishment? I was a good daughter, a brilliant student, a helpful friend and an understanding wife. Then why? Why does he do this? I did everything that he said but still why does he abuse me? Am I not worth living in this world?'
After few minutes, she got up from the bed, wiped her tears and started picking up the albums one by one and put it back in the cover. She saw a paper popping out from her marriage album and picked it up and started reading;
My Dear Anju,
I am extremely happy that you got promoted today from a daughter to a daughter-in-law. I still remember when you were born and when I carried you for the first time in my arms and felt the happiness of my life.
I wish you all the happiness in life and hope to see you getting promoted in few years as a MOTHER. Though it is a difficult task in life, I am sure you will handle it very well. I know, now your life is going to take a turn, and you will have to face a lot of things to change yourself according to your new family life. There will be times when you will feel rejected, over utilised, underloved or even asked to sacrifice many things for the sake of better future. Don’t get depressed, just remember that life runs on three things; Choice, chance and change: You must make the best choice, to take the chance and if you want anything in life to change.
I always saw myself, in you but a better version. You are much more smarter, stronger, have lot of patience and kinder than me. The world is never friendly, just accept it and face it with a smile. People will try to manipulate you to change you according to their wants. As you grow, I want you to understand that the battle is not with others but with your inner self. We are like an onion; Many kinds of beliefs cover us; Social, Physical and Mental. But, the day we peal all these we find our real self.
People don't achieve in life because they are educated, smart, or physically strong but it’s because they firmly believe in themselves and their potential. So, my only advice to you to tackle your problems is; Believe in yourself, be who you are and not what others want you to be.
Yours loving Papa.
Her tears acknowledge the letter by making it wet, and Anjali hugged the letter and sat for few minutes to feel her father's essence. After some time, she took a deep breath and wiped her tears, kissed the letter and kept it in a safe place. Then she walked towards the balcony, opened the door and stepped out. The rain welcomed her, and she stood in the rain with her arms wide opened. She slowly felt a peace entering her body through her head releasing all her pain, built up frustrations and buried sorrows.
Soon she thought, ‘I won't let you down, Papa. I choose to live the life, for what I was born. I had lost my identity till now, thanks for reminding me. I know, what I need to do.’
She quickly went back to the room, changed her saree, took her handbag and walked out of the house and locked the door. She opened her car door and sat inside and said to herself, ‘You are strong, you can do this, and I want to do this. No one has any right to hurt me. I have full right to punish the person who hurts me, and I will take my first step towards my new life by teaching him a lesson.'
She quickly started her car and drove to the nearest Police Station.