Raanu saw me trying to read this book. I had it since I left school in the first standard. I like reading books. I want to be Kalpana Chawla. She went into the sky leaving all this mess here on the ground. It is only a week since my father married me off to Raanu and I ended up here. I remember the time when my father saw me reading the same book.
"Raaji. You lazy girl. Did you feed the cows? You and your useless book."
"Yes Baapu," I said. My hands went cold seeing him.
"Did you make the rotis?"
"N...No ... I was.." I felt the chill and tears started rolling out.
"If your husband asks for food...." he slapped me on my cheek. "What are you going to answer him..?"
He picked up a tree branch beside him and shouted, "What is this stupid book going to do then? This is not your future. You....." And Whamm!! I could feel the branch on my back.
I ran gasping for breath. I could not even cry from the pain. A constant hum came out of my mouth.
Yesterday, Raanu saw me reading the book. My hands and feet are cold again. I can feel the same shiver. I am terrified. It’s late and he hasn't come home. Is he going to beat me when he comes home? Or is he not coming at all? I feel so alone.
Oh! I can hear a knock on the door. It might be Raanu.
"Raaji... I will come at this time every day from now on."
"Wh... Why? I will not even touch the book from now on. I promise. I am sorry."
Raanu reached the back. There was something tucked in his dhoti. I am sure it’s a cane. I closed my eyes in fear.
"Here.... That one is too soiled to read. I bought you a new one," Raanu said. I opened my eyes to see him smiling and holding a brand new copy of the same book that he had caught me reading.
"I know you want to study. I added the evening shift at my work to earn some more pay. From now on, you will go to school. I will manage all your expense till you want to study. Only thing is I will come late. What’s the big deal?" Raanu said with a casual smile.
My vision blurred with the tears accumulating in my eyes. Is this what happiness feels like? That moment was the happiest since I was born. Someone actually listened to me. It is not me who is sacrificing it this time. Someone is ready to make my dream his own. And he is my husband. I am not alone.
"Whatever your dreams are, Raaji, we will chase them together."