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Ten years down the lane, fingers pointed, accusations hurled, and still, she had managed to come this far.
Sitting on the chair of her room, she opened the letter she had just received. She, Ms Riya Kapoor was invited to speak at one of India’s biggest literary fests. Her happiness knew no bounds. She had never dreamt of something this big in life. The text slowly began to fade out as tears made their way down. Ten years down the lane, fingers pointed, accusations hurled, and still, she had managed to come this far.
As she wiped off her tears and put the letter down, her eyes once again fell on the large black scars that adorned the back of her palm. The sight of it was all it took to break the dam of restraint. Memories of the past gushed in as water gushes out of a broken pipe.
His hand hit, and she fell with the force of it. Violet coloured bruises showed up on her body only to be covered, shattering her beneath each one of them. She could remember the first slap by her man for whom she had fought the world. Her parents had disowned her after she chose to marry him. Her in-laws refused to accept her. He was no longer the man she had loved. They barely spoke to each other. She knew his work schedule, and her only duty was to pack his lunch in time. She felt defeated and betrayed. Memories of all the nights she had spent wiping the blood off the bruises and of times when she simply lay lifeless on the floor until all the pain sank into her system just surfaced.
Amidst all the chaos, her only source of happiness and hope was their 4-year-old daughter Aasha. She had chosen the name. He was least bothered. It seemed like he refused to acknowledge they had a daughter. Only once he had taken the little one in his arms and gave her back when she started crying. She lost her job to his ego. Her dreams of becoming a writer crashed. All her literary work had been mercilessly set ablaze by him. She was living but wasn’t alive.
Aasha was everything she had. Seeing her little one smile would temporarily, cure all of her pain. She was the happiest woman when she heard Aasha say “Mamma” for the first time. She could see her yearn for her father’s warmth and embrace but could do nothing about it. She didn’t know how to tell the little one that her father doesn’t acknowledge her existence. Tears on the face of her little girl were the last thing she ever wanted to see. They would play and sing rhymes all day. And finally, with those tiny steps, she would come running into her mother’s embrace when she was tired of playing.
Riya had almost accepted her life to be this way until that one fateful night. Riya was sitting on the bed after putting Aasha to sleep, preparing a list of groceries she had to buy the next day. He was home drunk. He got in using a set of spare keys he carried. Seeing her writing something again irked him. Struggling to balance himself, he walks inside the room. She could smell the harsh scent of drink as he approached. It was not something new to her. He used to come home drunk, have food and sleep. If he wasn’t in the right mood, her shrieks and tears, gave him solace. She was at first shocked at the grin of satisfaction he had on his face seeing her crumple beneath his fist, but probably she let herself accept the gruesome reality. Realizing his presence, she immediately stood up,
“Oh! I am sorry. I didn’t see you. I’ll get your dinner ready.” she said and left for the kitchen. He silently followed her to the kitchen and watched her light the gas stove. He moved behind her. Fear overpowered her senses. Sharp, cold breath on her back sent shivers down her spine.
“Wanna be a writer? Pretty girl.” she heard him whisper near her ear. “Pretty girl” was how he used to address her back when they were in college. She heard him say this after a long time, but this time with a pinch of mockery. She immediately turned around. His cold, red eyes, shooting daggers at her. Before she could realize, the utensil on the stove tumbled down. Replacing it was her hand which was held firmly by his. “Wanna be a writer? AH!” she heard him say as he gritted his teeth. All her shrieks and tears went in vain. His hold was too strong to let go.
Frightened by the sounds, Aasha came into the kitchen. The little girl began to cry seeing all this. She came forward and held her father’s leg tightly, in a way asking him to leave her mother. In a fit of rage, he almost kicked the girl, and she fell, hitting her head to the wall. All she could remember after that was she hit him with came to her hand and left him in his house. The little one was fighting for life inside and her hand treated. They declared it to be a full-thickness burn. The layers of the skin completely damaged. Tears streamed down continuously.
She sat there all by herself, completely shattered. The fear of losing her daughter to his ego, like everything else was horrifying. Grief consumed her, the emptiness deep down, flushed out as soft sobs, and later hysterical cries. All alone in the room, no one to hold on. She was robbed of everything she had, only because she had chosen the wrong person. She had endured enough, not anymore. Wiping the tears off, she dialled her father’s number. This time he didn’t disappoint. After an emotional reunion, she narrated her story. He promised to stand by her now. After Aasha recovered, their battle began.
Her husband and in-laws accused her of not being a good wife. Thus, justifying the abuse, she endured. It was a long battle. She emerged victoriously. Pursuing her dreams, bringing up her child, she moved ahead in life. There was no looking back after that. Time flew, ten years passed and today, she stood as an inspiration for lakhs of people out there. Leaving no place for the misery of the past, she only adored the beauty she had- Aasha.
Image Source: Pixabay.com
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