I was around seven or eight years old. Those aching cries continue to run deep with shrilling echo in my ears. Agony of ‘KAKI’ was evident through her cries. I was too young to recognize things in right perspective at that tender age. As I grew up, it was not hard to know, connect and paint an honest picture to myself.
She was a usual visitor to our house in the village. I had seen her meeting my mother on a regular basis. Those meetings were generally aimed to share and get some solace from her ongoing grief and anxiety. She lived two houses next to ours. In a village, relationship hierarchy is well defined. By relation, she fitted in the definition of an aunt, ‘KAKI’ in our regional or local language. She was married for some years. She had no issues. I could see her busy the whole day. She was full of energy. She was cheerful and generally happy, as I could make out as a child.
The man to whom she was married was of unstable mind, as I perceived through his conduct. Their family had eight members, including two women in addition to her. Mostly, it was during early hours of the night, when I generally could hear her crying loudly with pain. This was more or less on very regular basis. Beating her with a cane and kicking her with legs by her husband was a regular ritual. Many a times, I was an eye witness to it. Rest of the members of the family used to be mute spectators. Rather, I used to get a feeling, as some of them appeared to be enjoying this. None of the family members came to her rescue. As I heard, even her parents were not ready to step in. Probably, they thought that after her marriage, they had nothing to do with it. And their responsibilities, no longer existed towards their daughter. Her pain and agony, I could feel throughout as scars in my memory. Life was a pain for her.
She was alone. No one was there to stand by her. Most of her meetings with my mother were full of tears. A day was not far, when she decided to end her life by jumping into the village well. She had no more stamina to compromise with her pain. She had had enough of it. She was no more ready to stand and withstand her misfortune. It had become unbearable.
Probably, that was the way; she chose to turn her wounds into wisdom through path of death. It looked like as if she knew quitting lasts forever.
I could hear whispers of fear in the family and its members. Strategy of cover up was ready to hide the lie. All activities were directed in hiding the truth. Death of the lady appeared to concern none.
I don’t wish to be lonely in my journey. I don’t wish to hold memories of her pain to myself. Otherwise, I will feel lonely. There is a realization; wounds do not heal with time. Wounds remain and they are never gone. Her pain reminded me of a very famous quote by Bernadette Mosal, “When men are oppressed it is a tragedy, when women are oppressed it is a tradition.” I had no doubt in my mind as a consequence of this sad episode that women’s slavery and her oppression have never been accidental; it has always been a man made tragedy.