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Kamla tai had thought of hanging up her boots and relaxing. But life, her nemesis, still unfatigued and untired, had decided a to twist the knife in deeper, this time.
The second winner of our January 2020 Muse of the Month contest is Supriya Bansal.
After gently closing the dubbas and handling them to the delivery boy, Kamala tai glanced at the clock. It was just past noon; Little Chaya would be returning home anytime now.
She made herself a karak chai and decided to sit and wait in the veranda. She started meandering down the years gone by, the images of past slowly crowding and filling in the recesses of her conscious.
Fifty years had passed, but it seemed like yesterday when she had stepped into this city as a newlywed. A naive girl of sixteen, brimming with hope and excitement, was brutally twisted and warped into a sorry spectacle of crushed and crumbled spirit, a month later. Her husband had walked out on her, in the middle of the night, taking all her bridal jewelry and material possessions, never to return.
A tear rolled down her cheek as she looked back on her journey. A journey dotted with struggles, hardships and difficult decisions, every step of the way. It had all started with her resolution of not going back to the village. She could never bear to be a burden, an indelible black mark which would smudge and blemish all concerned.
She had spent her days glazed in her pain, as if caught in a horrible daydream, her life wretched and bereft of any joy as she remembered drifting from one menial job to another. And then, one day, she had discovered she was pregnant. A discovery that could have broken her already strained back, had given her power and made her invincible. It was this tiny spark which had illuminated her entire being and made her spirit indomitable, fearless, and bold.
Life had never spared her, it had tried to bend her, contort her into submission every now and then, but like an expert player, she had navigated through all the ups and downs and had emerged deft and unbroken.
After what seemed like a lifetime, Kamla tai had thought of hanging up her boots and relaxing. She had got Radha, her daughter married to Siddhartha, her daughter’s love and life. But life, her nemesis, still unfatigued and untired had decided a to twist the knife in deeper, this time.
She was left dumbfounded as she witnessed history repeating itself.
Radha was left stranded after a year, her bank account and her spirit barren and exhausted. Siddhartha had stolen from his own wife and in turn had ripped off Radha’s pride and dignity. It took time but Kamala tai finally succeeded to rekindle Radha’s spirit and slowly she came back to being a pale ghost of her old cheerful self. Life again threw a curve ball when it became apparent that Siddhartha had left more than gloom and misery in her daughter’s being. Radha was expecting a baby.
There was never a question about it, they both decided to invite Little Chaya to their lives. And this time it was different, there was no fatigue, there was no exhaustion. It was pure joy. No more an adversary, life seemed to be a favored ally. There was no more tussle.
And the cherry on the cake was that they did well for themselves. What had started as a small breakfast place with Kamala tai as the head chef, had finally blossomed into a small profitable dubba delivery business under Radha’s enterprising and industrious skills.
The school bus broke her reverie; little Chaya bounded up to her. Kamala tai picked her up and held her face in her hands, her Chaya (her reflection) smiled back… Her Chaya (implying, both her granddaughter and her own reflection) was beautiful, a magnificent celebration of all her decisions, a reward of her determination.
Editor’s note: It’s the new decade of the new millennium, and here’s a fresh theme for our beloved writing contest, Muse of the Month. In 2020, we bring to you quotes feminist women achievers around the world – we hope to bring you some food for thought, and look forward to the same engaging short stories that are a hallmark of our Muse of the Month contests.
Here’s the woman for January 2020 – sassy, bold, clear in her vision about what she wanted from life, an unconventional Indian woman who broke all rules about the ‘good Indian girl’, Sushmita Sen came into the limelight when she was crowned Miss Universe 1994. She then went on to do modelling assignments and films, but is better known for her life choices – be it adopting her two daughters as a single woman, being unapologetic about openly being in a relationship with a much younger man, or her dignified way of dealing with all that life threw at her. The cue is this quote by her: “The world would be a better place if the woman decides what she wants for herself!”
Supriya Bansal wins a Rs 500 Amazon voucher from Women’s Web. Congratulations!
Image source: pixabay
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A Radiologist by profession and a mother of two.
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