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Awakening

About Sheela Bisht

Earlier Sheela worked as a lecturer (Computer Science). Now she is a home maker. She loves reading, mostly fiction.

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Prologue :

The House was full of relatives. Everybody looked happy and busy. Sarla was watching everything with a coy smile. She was a lovely 18 year old girl. Today family members of the boy were coming to fix the alliance. Her mother, Meera told her that she was very lucky. The family of the boy was very prosperous. They had large cultivable land and many cows and buffaloes. Having always seen a life of deprivation, now Meera wanted a better life for her daughter. Sarla had seen the boy’s photograph and liked it. But she wanted to meet him once before marriage so that she also had something to tell her friends. Her mother told her that the boy lived in Delhi. He had a job there. Her father-in-law was the Sarpanch of his village and thus, was a very famous personality in that area. She was happy that she would have a big house and a rich family now. Her friends were envious of her good luck. She was enjoying all the importance she was getting.

 

Part 1

Soon the date of marriage ceremony was fixed. Meera was happy that Sarla had got such a good family as her in-laws. This would help her younger daughter also to get good alliance. It was her dream to see her daughters well settled.
Sarpanch ji was a noble person. He wanted a simple marriage ceremony. He was aware of Meera and her husband’s financial condition, so he told them that he only wanted his guests to be treated well and that’s all.
Everything went well during the ceremony and Sarla was given a tearful farewell by her family and friends.

Her in-laws’ house was very big. She had spent all her life in the small mud house where they had two small rooms. But here it was a two storey beautiful cemented house. She was given a room with beautiful furniture and curtains. Everyone was good to her. Slowly she started feeling comfortable. That uncertainty and anxiousness of the new bride started melting.
She was very eager to meet her husband. At the end of the day when she saw her husband, she felt so proud and fortunate. He was very handsome.

After some awkward silence he said, “Sarla, are you comfortable here?” She nodded.

Then he said again,” I want to say something very important to you. Please forgive me but I can’t accept you as my wife. I am committed to someone else.”

Without waiting for her answer, he left the room. She couldn’t believe her eyes and ears. The whole night passed in a haze. Next day her husband went back to Delhi.

In the initial days she thought that only she knew about the truth. But later on, she realised that everyone in the house knew about it. When she went back to her mother for a few days she could not muster courage to tell Meera about her sufferings. Though Meera felt the sadness in her eyes but she brushed aside that thought thinking that Sarla was just having adjustment problems, which every new bride faces. She thought, with time Sarla would start enjoying her new life.

Sarla’s mother-in-law was a sweet lady. She took great care of Sarla. Sarla was her younger son’s bride. Her elder son was also married. He was the one who looked after the vast property and family affairs along with his father. She knew from the very beginning that her son was not ready for this marriage. But her husband insisted that his son could not marry outside their caste. It was a matter of their prestige in the village. Now she was in a fix. She had lost her sleep watching the innocent Sarla suffer. She contacted her son again and requested him to come back. But he never did.

 

Part 2

One day Sarla went to her Bua’s (father’s sister) house. Her Bua lived in the same village as her in-laws. Bua was very happy to meet her. She kissed her and touched her jewellery and silk saree with love. Sarla started crying. She asked her, “Bua, why did you allow this to happen to me. You are from this village only and knew everything. Why did you not tell me?”

After comforting her for some moments Bua said, “Sarla, you have everything today. Good food to eat, beautiful clothes to wear, lovely jewellery, servants and such a big house to live in. What else do you want? It was a dream alliance. See how happy everyone is… Your father, your mother even your sister is also getting good marriage proposals after this. You are so lucky.”

With teary eyes sarla looked at her and said, “Bua you are also a woman. Tell me, is this all a woman wants from a marriage?” Without waiting for her answer, she left.

With time her parents also came to know about her plight. But everyone was silent. She also tried to make peace with the situation and busied herself with the household work and also with the work in fields. But all these things could not pacify her. For one full year she tried to make sense of her life but in vain.

Then one day she met the new lady principal of the government school of the village, who encouraged her to study further. She felt so happy. Sarla was always a good student and loved reading books. But more than books, her family needed extra help in the fields so she had to drop out of school. Now, after such a long time, the thought of studies gave her much needed solace.

After a few days she decided something and took permission of her mother-in-law to visit her parents. Once home, she told Meera about her decision to study further and leaving her in-laws’ place for good. Meera was shocked to hear this. She never wanted Sarla to take such a step. She said, “Sarla , my child, think about your decision once again, who leaves one’s home like this? Think about us and also about the reputation of your family. Your father-in-law is such a noble person. What people will say about him? Think about your younger sister? Who will marry her? Why are you running away from hardships? Ups and downs are part and parcel of one’s life. Look at me, my life also is not bed of roses but see, I never left my family.”

Sarla was confused, she never expected such a reaction from her mother. She always thought, at least her mother would respect her decision. Tears welled up in her eyes. She gently held her mother’s hands and made her sit beside her. “Maa, my decision is a well thought about decision. Even for me also it is very difficult to leave my home. What reputation are you talking about? I have not done anything shameful. I just don’t want to live there all my life waiting for my so called husband. I want to be independent. What happened to their reputation when their son left me? And don’t worry about my sister’s future. Let her study and allow her to make her own destiny. Maa, I am not running away from hardships of life; rather I am preparing myself to face them well. You were talking about yourself Maa, that you didn’t run away from the struggles of life, but you had Baba with you, and you had your children to look after. You were not alone in your struggle and you enjoyed your life with us around, didn’t you? I also want some meaning to my life Maa, I also want to enjoy my journey. Please Maa, I desperately want your blessings for my new life. Please support me.”

 

Meera was in a fix, though she could not understand fully what Sarla was talking about but this she realized that her daughter was not doing anything wrong. She had a brief discussion with her husband about Sarla. Finally both of them decided that they should support her and help her.

Meera contacted her sister (Sarla’s mausi), who lived in Lucknow to help her. Her sister called Sarla to Lucknow. There she started working in a garment firm and at the same time filled application form to complete her bachelor’s degree. She was happy now as she had got purpose in her life. She worked hard both in her studies and also at work. With time she completed her bachelor’s degree and then B.Ed. degree.

One day when she came back from work, she was surprised to see her father sitting with her mausi in the room. She was so happy to see him after a long time. He gently touched her head and with a quiver in his voice said, “Sarla today I am so proud of you. With your hard work you have changed your destiny. With your success you have made me successful as a father.” With this he handed over an envelope to her. She opened it and after reading the letter started crying… It was her appointment letter as a teacher in a government school, which had been mailed to her permanent address in the village. Everyone in the room had moist eyes. Her father was right … Finally, she was successful in changing her destiny. The sense of achievement and fulfilment was amazing. Yes, she had started enjoying her journey now.

The House was full of relatives. Everybody looked happy and busy. Sarla was watching everything with a coy smile. She was a lovely 18 year old girl. Today family members of the boy were coming to fix the alliance. Her mother, Meera told her that she was very lucky. The family of the boy was very prosperous. They had large cultivable land and many cows and buffaloes. Having always seen a life of deprivation, now Meera wanted a better life for her daughter. Sarla had seen the boy’s photograph and liked it. But she wanted to meet him once before marriage so that she also had something to tell her friends. Her mother told her that the boy lived in Delhi. He had a job there. Her father-in-law was the Sarpanch of his village and thus, was a very famous personality in that area. She was happy that she would have a big house and a rich family now. Her friends were envious of her good luck. She was enjoying all the importance she was getting.

Soon the date of marriage ceremony was fixed. Meera was happy that Sarla had got such a good family as her in-laws. This would help her younger daughter also to get good alliance. It was her dream to see her daughters well settled.
Sarpanch ji was a noble person. He wanted a simple marriage ceremony. He was aware of Meera and her husband’s financial condition, so he told them that he only wanted his guests to be treated well and that’s all.
Everything went well during the ceremony and Sarla was given a tearful farewell by her family and friends.

Her in-laws’ house was very big. She had spent all her life in the small mud house where they had two small rooms. But here it was a two storey beautiful cemented house. She was given a room with beautiful furniture and curtains. Everyone was good to her. Slowly she started feeling comfortable. That uncertainty and anxiousness of the new bride started melting.
She was very eager to meet her husband. At the end of the day when she saw her husband, she felt so proud and fortunate. He was very handsome.

After some awkward silence he said, “Sarla, are you comfortable here?” She nodded.

Then he said again,” I want to say something very important to you. Please forgive me but I can’t accept you as my wife. I am committed to someone else.”

Without waiting for her answer, he left the room. She couldn’t believe her eyes and ears. The whole night passed in a haze. Next day her husband went back to Delhi.

In the initial days she thought that only she knew about the truth. But later on, she realised that everyone in the house knew about it. When she went back to her mother for a few days she could not muster courage to tell Meera about her sufferings. Though Meera felt the sadness in her eyes but she brushed aside that thought thinking that Sarla was just having adjustment problems, which every new bride faces. She thought, with time Sarla would start enjoying her new life.

Sarla’s mother-in-law was a sweet lady. She took great care of Sarla. Sarla was her younger son’s bride. Her elder son was also married. He was the one who looked after the vast property and family affairs along with his father. She knew from the very beginning that her son was not ready for this marriage. But her husband insisted that his son could not marry outside their caste. It was a matter of their prestige in the village. Now she was in a fix. She had lost her sleep watching the innocent Sarla suffer. She contacted her son again and requested him to come back. But he never did.

To Be Continued in Part 2…

One day Sarla went to her Bua’s (father’s sister) house. Her Bua lived in the same village as her in-laws. Bua was very happy to meet her. She kissed her and touched her jewellery and silk saree with love. Sarla started crying. She asked her, “Bua, why did you allow this to happen to me. You are from this village only and knew everything. Why did you not tell me?”

After comforting her for some moments Bua said, “Sarla, you have everything today. Good food to eat, beautiful clothes to wear, lovely jewellery, servants and such a big house to live in. What else do you want? It was a dream alliance. See how happy everyone is… Your father, your mother even your sister is also getting good marriage proposals after this. You are so lucky.”

With teary eyes sarla looked at her and said, “Bua you are also a woman. Tell me, is this all a woman wants from a marriage?” Without waiting for her answer, she left.

With time her parents also came to know about her plight. But everyone was silent. She also tried to make peace with the situation and busied herself with the household work and also with the work in fields. But all these things could not pacify her. For one full year she tried to make sense of her life but in vain.

Then one day she met the new lady principal of the government school of the village, who encouraged her to study further. She felt so happy. Sarla was always a good student and loved reading books. But more than books, her family needed extra help in the fields so she had to drop out of school. Now, after such a long time, the thought of studies gave her much needed solace.

After a few days she decided something and took permission of her mother-in-law to visit her parents. Once home, she told Meera about her decision to study further and leaving her in-laws’ place for good. Meera was shocked to hear this. She never wanted Sarla to take such a step. She said, “Sarla , my child, think about your decision once again, who leaves one’s home like this? Think about us and also about the reputation of your family. Your father-in-law is such a noble person. What people will say about him? Think about your younger sister? Who will marry her? Why are you running away from hardships? Ups and downs are part and parcel of one’s life. Look at me, my life also is not bed of roses but see, I never left my family.”

Sarla was confused, she never expected such a reaction from her mother. She always thought, at least her mother would respect her decision. Tears welled up in her eyes. She gently held her mother’s hands and made her sit beside her. “Maa, my decision is a well thought about decision. Even for me also it is very difficult to leave my home. What reputation are you talking about? I have not done anything shameful. I just don’t want to live there all my life waiting for my so called husband. I want to be independent. What happened to their reputation when their son left me? And don’t worry about my sister’s future. Let her study and allow her to make her own destiny. Maa, I am not running away from hardships of life; rather I am preparing myself to face them well. You were talking about yourself Maa, that you didn’t run away from the struggles of life, but you had Baba with you, and you had your children to look after. You were not alone in your struggle and you enjoyed your life with us around, didn’t you? I also want some meaning to my life Maa, I also want to enjoy my journey. Please Maa, I desperately want your blessings for my new life. Please support me.”

Meera was in a fix, though she could not understand fully what Sarla was talking about but this she realized that her daughter was not doing anything wrong. She had a brief discussion with her husband about Sarla. Finally both of them decided that they should support her and help her.

Meera contacted her sister (Sarla’s mausi), who lived in Lucknow to help her. Her sister called Sarla to Lucknow. There she started working in a garment firm and at the same time filled application form to complete her bachelor’s degree. She was happy now as she had got purpose in her life. She worked hard both in her studies and also at work. With time she completed her bachelor’s degree and then B.Ed. degree.

One day when she came back from work, she was surprised to see her father sitting with her mausi in the room. She was so happy to see him after a long time. He gently touched her head and with a quiver in his voice said, “Sarla today I am so proud of you. With your hard work you have changed your destiny. With your success you have made me successful as a father.” With this he handed over an envelope to her. She opened it and after reading the letter started crying… It was her appointment letter as a teacher in a government school, which had been mailed to her permanent address in the village. Everyone in the room had moist eyes. Her father was right … Finally, she was successful in changing her destiny. The sense of achievement and fulfilment was amazing. Yes, she had started enjoying her journey now.

The End

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7 Response Comments

  • Aditya Kajarekar20/01/2019 at 10:53 AM

    INTERESTING PLOT!!! LOOK FORWARD TO PART 2 AND MORE 🙂

    • Sheela Bisht21/01/2019 at 1:12 PM

      thank you….

    • Sheela Bisht06/03/2019 at 3:54 PM

      Thank you..

  • Aparna Mondal21/01/2019 at 3:42 PM

    Read the second part Sheela . What an optimistic story . With simple words you have penned such a beautiful story. Through Sarla you have shown that a woman can be the architect of her own destiny. It’s hard to Ignore the pain of the pricks of the thorn strewn in the path of life , but it’s not impossible to overcome and reach the end of the road . Sarla made that possible . She sincerely worked and gallantly shaped her own destiny which would me example for others to get inspired . Beautifully crafted story . Loved to read this .

    • Sheela Bisht25/03/2019 at 6:57 PM

      thank you so much Aparna….

  • Swetha Amit22/01/2019 at 10:53 AM

    A simple story which gives a good message that everything works out for the best. Showcases the need for women to be independent and break conventional barriers. A story that will resonate with many people.

    • Sheela Bisht06/03/2019 at 3:53 PM

      Thank you Swetha.,. You summed it up so beautifully.

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