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“I think you don't get to decide what is freedom for someone else. But you were doing that for me, Dev. Eventually, I did the same for you."
Trigger Warning: This deals with domestic violence and may be triggering for survivors.
“Lata, you have again worn this white colour suit? You know I don’t like such colours. Why dress like a widow when I am still alive! You want me dead or what?” Dev taunted her.
“No no… why are you talking like this? I like this colour, but I will go and change. Please don’t say such things.”
Lata, draped in white sari, sitting near the photo of late Mr Dev, was reminiscing about this incident. Dev passed away this morning. He was her world, her duty, her schedule. 20 years of being in a bond, now she was alone.
Lately, Dev’s health had been deteriorating. He was on medicines. Medicines that Lata had to give without fail. Lying in bed each second of every passing day felt confining. Lata was always there, beside him. She didn’t know exactly what she was waiting for.
Lata Sen was a B.Com graduate, trained classical dancer and an avid reader. She also used to write. Once when she was in seventh grade, she had written an essay on “How population growth affects environment”. She had won the competition and her essay was printed in her school magazine. She had brought that magazine with her when she got married to Mr Sharma at the age of 21. People now call her Mrs Dev Sharma.
She got up and went to their room. It felt like a prison. Had it always been like this? She opened her cupboard and took out her pair of ghunghroos which were boxed up here for 18 years. Dev never liked her dancing, he felt it was not elite. She started banging her ghunghroo on the floor, initially slowly, eventually with best of her force until it broke into innumerable pieces. Sitting on the floor, she sobbed. She cried. She yelled. She was numb. She smiled. She laughed.
“I think you don’t get to decide what is freedom for someone else. But you were doing that for me, Dev. Eventually, I did the same for you. You didn’t need these medicines, you were in pain. I set you free.” Lata thought.
She sat comfortably on the bed, opened her book. It was the same magazine, torn around the edges, still had the capability to fix her. She gave a silent read to her essay, then aloud. She wanted to prove to each corner what she is capable of.
She stared at the vacant room, it didn’t feel like prison anymore.
Twenty years of being in chains, now she was free.
From Mrs Dev Sharma to Lata Sen – B.Com graduate, trained classical dancer and an avid reader.
Published here first.
Image source: a still from the film Agnisakshi
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