Its been 70 years now that I have known this city. Mumbai! My relationship with the city is far deeper than any kith or kin. Seven decades ago I was born to a Marathi family, our little home had seen many generations coming and making way for others.
You must be wondering, why am I here, sitting in an old age home! Well, destiny. It is because of a single incident which happened when I was 12 or 13.
My family was about my mother, father, a younger sister and two elder brothers. My father was always very cruel to all the family members, he never loved us. He was always in foul mood, abusive and impatient. I just studied till 3rd standard, my elder brother studied till 5th and then they started working with him. Studying was more like a luxury and wastage of money. Working would fetch butter!
My father never allowed me to do anything except the household stuff. I was very scared of him, so I used to obey all his orders. But once my sister protested. She refused to get into household chores. She loved going to school and wanted to study further. She requested him again and again to send her to school like all her friends did. Her constant nudging made him so upset that he started beating her. Everyone came to rescue her but still my father did not stop.
Obviously, he was the head of the family. How could anyone stop him? According to that generation, whatever the man of the house does is right. My sister was bruised badly and blood was oozing out of affected areas. My father did not even allow us to take her to the doctor. He knew that if she was taken in front of the people, everyone would know his misdeed and he might be in trouble. So he warned us that if anyone of us dared to take her out of the house or uttered a word about anything, there would be great trouble. It felt so terrifying and horrible that I decided to run away from the house and that was what I did the very next day.
Life hadn’t been easy since. The wrinkles on my face is not just age. Each one of them are the tales of many hardships. But they always felt less severe than the torture of “home”. I had only one real relationship in this life. My only possession, only friend. That is with this city. Mumbai!
Storyteller : Upasana Rane
As told to Ritika Jain