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That Woman Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by SANDEEP SAM ALEXANDER, Canada Sep 11, 2005
Human Rights   Short Stories
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This would be a story narrated before or else would have befell someplace in Kerala, a province in India. It was years back, during the reign of the British, when the states had local rulers mostly servants to the former. It was also the era of soaring delineation in social order and the exploitation of the inferior classes frequently occurred. The societal evils and misty superstitions prevailed in colossal figures. Expressions of justification were heard but that isolated voice submerged within the majorities, which preferred to live in comfort by the cost of other sufferers. Radical ideas also emerged but weren’t successful because of the terror they created.
This narrative ensued in Malabar, a northern district of Kerala.
A woman from the diffident class was standing before the youthful chief of her village. She was the daughter of the leader of her sect. Only about seventeen, she stood as her little brother hid behind her petrified. Her brother held a five month boy, the woman’s child. One might wonder why a teen is called woman, in those days it was customary that girls married very young, even before adolescence, another dire tradition.
The woman pleaded that she was going to be expelled from her faction for bearing a fatherless child. Sobbing, she continued to explain that she had no means to live or any other place to go to raise her child.
Chortling, the young man turned in his seat and whispered to his assistant who he was standing next to that the boy was a seed sown by his big brother. He then looked at the woman and told her that she wasn’t the only to get compensations but there were scores of other girls as well. He spewed out his chewing Masala into a tumbler and continued to explain that the person responsible is chained perpetually in a nearby store room and that it would be his punishment for his sinful life and declared there was no use standing there and crying.
The woman took the crying child in her hand and begged him again saying that nobody would give her work and not a soul would accept her. She beseeched him to show some forgiveness.
The young but lofty man loaded with gold ornaments stepped down a few steps, lowering his voice he told the woman that she was very young and beautiful unlike other girls of her sect. He questioned how it could be hard for her to earn with such a physique. He told her to go to the town where she could get clients with great ease and that he would even arrange conveniences. He paused and looked around, advised her in low voice that he would pay visits during his journeys and she could become wealthier; far beyond she could even dream.
After all this, the young woman by now distressed of her circumstances, lost her patience. Disregarding any consequences of her decision she spat on the soil, cursed and set out for the place where she knew would get no compassion.
On her way back, she saw the still body of her life spoiler lying on the ground chained to a pillar with blood around the cuffs. With her frame of mind totally unrestrained she spat out on the insane person as well.
As she started walking with the baby in her hand she heard somebody calling, she turned to see that it was the maid. The maid gave the girl a packet of rice and some money and informed her that it was from the chief’s wife. The girl took the packet of rice but gave back the money telling it was of no use to her. Stories would be spread if someone ever discovered that she had that much money.
At her hut she put the child to sleep, giving him milk. Sitting on the doorstep looking out into the moonlit night she didn’t know what to do but was sure that she would be debarred. She may wander like the cursed and would even be prey to those humans with uncontrollable senses.
In a flash something sped through her mind – self destruction. She wasn’t ready to acknowledge the situation she was in. She wished that she could raise her voice against all the terrible things around her but the unfriendly prevailed everywhere and she was just a woman, the weaker gender and moreover a downcast.
She, with firm outlook, went inside and was taken back for a moment by the sight of the life she’d given birth to sleeping so innocently. Her sudden strength to embrace the mysterious friend took over her body. Nothing could hold her back. She took a handful of the noxious powder used to kill rodents and consumed it. Soon after she fell unconscious due to her weary body and mind awaiting the carriage to come and take her.
Sometime later she awoke hearing the child crying and numb to the feeling of what she had done she took the baby in her arms and gave him milk like any mother would. A terrible commotion started turmoil within her and she fell backwards. Her hold on the baby was not loosened. She tried to get up but her body was so frail. She had already begun to leave reality and enter into another world, she couldn’t do much. She had set out to a world were no prejudice or tribulations exist.

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Himakshi Piplani | Oct 21st, 2005
Well-written piece, brings tears to the eyes. One wonders how man can be so cruel to his fellow beings? Makes one ask where is the love? where is compassion? where is forgiveness? Where is humaneness????

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