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She loved everything. And she would laugh freely and love even more freely. She was unaware of how the man felt about her. His heart, it skipped a beat.
Long long time ago, when life had just started, and rules had not been formed, man and woman were trying to figure out love. Why was love such a complicated feeling? Could you love just one at a time? Or more than one? Were we meant to be monogamous beings? Mating for life?
If so, why was monogamy not followed by other creatures of nature? Nature has always been about selection of the best seed of life by a female member of the species to carry forward the genes of that species. And the choice lies with the female… of every species.
A peacock has beautiful feathers which he uses to woo the peahen. Lion’s mane is supposed to show his prowess to lioness.
Why did this trend reverse in human beings? Since when? Why was a woman supposed to be the creature who would woo men by being slim/fair/pretty?
Going back in time, even in Harappan Culture, it was the Mother Goddess who was prayed to. In fact, in most ancient civilisations, we find female power being supreme and encompassing.
She was the Janani… the originator of life. When she nurtured life in her womb and gave birth to a new soul, she went through a myriad of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual changes which were painful in very many different ways. It was a pain which could not have been borne by a man surely.
Men knew this, and hence the praying around the Mother Goddess happened. But one fine day, due to one weak man, the things started changing.
He realised deep within that he was weak. And he got insecure. What if she knew she had ultimate power over me? Or if she knew she had ultimate power over everything? What if she knew she could make the world do around?
Worse still…. What if, she doesn’t need me anymore? Who would I hunt for? She really doesn’t need me the way I need her. It’s true that she is the ultimate creation of nature, so mesmerisingly magical, that I sleep with her thought and wake up thinking about her. Does she crave for me the way I crave for her?
And then, this weak and insecure man… he tried to reverse the circle of life (and successfully so for generations of men to come). God had made him physically stronger to help the woman in her times of need.
This was because there were times of the month when she was physically weaker and more vulnerable. That was the only way she could give birth to another soul. So he was supposed to bring the hunt on those days.
That is the basic nature of a man. Since times immemorial, and now as well. Hence movies for men? Still violent.
There are still violent sports which are played. And violent wars that are fought. Because inherent nature cannot be changed.
That GI Joe you gifted your boy? He never grew up.
God also made him physically stronger to please her. As she was mentally and emotionally stronger, it took more time for her to get happier too. And he needed to give her that time and attention.
Him, he just needed her to be there and bury himself in to forget about the pain of the violence he had just perpetrated. Also, because he had this deep craving since he saw her.
He was never emotionally strong enough to handle the mental agony himself. And when he tried, he became even more violent and angry. The further violence he perpetrated, it tormented him at night. He would wake up sweating and scared. So, he desperately needed her to forget this. And only she could help him out of his misery.
And while all this was going on in his head, she was blissfully unaware. Now she… she was a creature of love. She loved everything… the sun, the earth, the breeze, the trees. And she would laugh freely and love even more freely. She was unaware of how the man felt about her. What’s more, she was actually unaware of his presence even.
One fine day, he woke up as now he knew the answer to all his torment… he had to find her and make her his own. He went out in the jungle, and there she was, like a breath of fresh air. The morning sun, it kissed her hair as they gently blew in the slightly chilly breeze… she was bent over the water pond and as she washed her face. His heart, it skipped a beat.
And then, he saw it. There was this other male, who was lusting for her just the way he was… and that other one, collecting fruit from the tree?
He was watching her every move… Oh the third one… eating meat? The man knew that he actually wanted to gnaw on his woman. ‘HIS’ woman.
This woman who smiled on the way back only at him. But what if she? What if she saw what he did? Oh what if she knew she had a power over him? What if she knew she had a power over all of them? Or what if… she chose one of them over him? Where would he go?
And the beast in him rose, the violence in him grew and the anger reached the level of madness. He decided he had to control this woman. She could not be anyone else’s. He dragged her inside and violated her… again and again.
He couldn’t hear her begging, pleading, crying out to him, asking him to stop. He broke her down; physically, mentally and emotionally. Till she was so broken that she could not think about a man… any man.
She did not understand what had overcome him? How could he be so barbaric? And she started fearing him. Very deeply.
As she lay crying, writhing in pain, the animal in him was satisfied. Now she could crave for no other man ever. This misery that he had perpetrated? It actually deeply pleased him. And this satisfaction, it was addictive.
He decided that he needed to continue this violence. This was the only was he could ensure that she was his, and only his. If he loved her, and she blossomed, that would make her even more attractive to others. And what if she chose someone else over him? He could never let that happen. So he needed to continue this… every single night.
As for her, she cringed every time she saw him now and that hurt him even more, all he wanted was to keep her for himself, right? She knew he deeply wanted her, which is why he acted the way he did and he was the man she chose right? How could he be wrong? He must have his reasons. The hunt today? And the violence? It must have been too much for him to handle… so he needed to do this to her.
She tried to love him even more to ease his hurt for she knew he needed it. So she kept given more, but his need, and greed? It just kept increasing. She tried to give him everything- a home, warm food, love of a child. He loved them all, but more he knew she had more to give, the greedier he became, he wanted more. He wanted it all, till she had no more to give anyone or anything else.
And did she get anything to nurture her? That thought never even occurred to her- she was a giver, and nurturer. She never thought someone needed to give her something, though she did crave his love and that seemed her only desire. So she slept fitfully, while he snored away to glory, satisfied each night that he had drained her all and she would stay, yet another day…
This continued for time immemorial- the more beautiful she was, the more he wanted to control her. She must be in a veil. Her neck, her chest, her legs, her face, nothing must be seen by anyone.
But her eyes? That conveyed the beauty of her soul, how could he keep those covered? So he ordered her to be inside the home! Who would take care of his elders? And the children? And cook for him? And keep the house clean? She should never be let out- that could be dangerous.
She agreed… sometimes out of love, sometimes out of fear. And sometimes coz those children’s eyes. They looked so pleadingly, she chewed her lip in pain and carried on smilingly. She still did not understand his behaviour. Sometimes he acted as if she was his world, and then at the others, he destroyed her entire world. There were times when he would protect, and she felt maybe, just maybe, she could laugh again…
But then… night dawned… and the protector? He just became a perpetrator… and he wouldn’t stop… he didn’t see her pain… Her fear grew…
Then one day, the sun rose… she expected the animal to retreat…. But that day, it didn’t. It continued the perpetration… in front of her children, in front of those other men and women, in front of the world to see. Now she was badly hurt. She had kept up her smile for so long. Had she ever told anyone? He knew that right? The boundaries… they were broken… and the flood gate of her tears would not stop. She did not need to keep up the pretences anymore. She was afraid no more.
Now she broke all the shackles. That veil covering her was thrown off the first thing. It had been restricting her for far too long. And that tight band in her hair, it was thrown away. Her hair, it could fly wildly now, have a life of its own. And her laugh, maybe it will echo again one day? So she gathered courage, and she ran and ran, and ran. She ran till the legs under her, they could run no more.
But she knew she was stronger than him. She could outrun him, after all, he could never really destroy her completely. Though he tried each night for ages. She also knew, with her away, he had no strength to feed on, he would become weak.
She realised her own strength, she never did need to fear! He could do her no harm. She was stronger than him. No. She was stronger than all of them!
She had outrun him on her weakest day. The day she had bled and the colour of blood had mixed with earth and Mother Earth had risen and given her more strength. Now she was immensely powerful.
And oh, the other men? With her veil off, they couldn’t help fall for her magic.
But she? She had found her strength, she did not need them! Even for the hunt!
And then she lived happily ever after!
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Pexels
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