The story about a village where women where scarce due to infanticide and foeticide – about a woman who is abandoned and abandoned once again.
This is part two of the story where a woman narrates her experience of being in a village with almost no women. It is loosely based on true events.
She began crying hysterically on hearing the news, she said that only if this news had come a day earlier, she wouldn’t have been thrown out of the house like that. I looked at her puzzled. Had she no self respect? I wondered.
My father said that there was no need to attend the panchayat as legally we weren’t doing anything wrong. We left from our place like thieves and only five minutes later, we were treated like prisoners.
A group of young men from our village made a human barricade and blocked our way. They held hockey sticks and knives in their hands and seemed extremely willing to use that on us. We had to attend the panchayat. We had to do as the villagers please.
Savita’s family was already present. His father eyed Savita with venom-filled eyes. Savita, as if she was ashamed looked at the ground.
“How dare you abduct someone’s else’s wife, Kishore?” The sarpanch asked my father. When my father told him what exactly had happened, he looked at Savita’s family for an explanation who were quick to accuse her of being barren and of having hidden the truth of her first marriage from her family, ‘justifying’ their stand. They said they would rather die than take Savita back. They said it was not about her being barren but about ‘ethics’ and ‘morality’.
The sarpanch was silent for two minutes. Then, he looked at me. I knew what he was going to say next. I wasn’t going to marry his son. No matter what.
Dad and the sarpanch got into a huge argument. I felt that this was going to end into fight just when I heard a police van come our way. I breathed a sigh of relief. My father, had an excellent foresight, we were saved.
“But wait. What about Savita?”, I asked my father. He said that she was going to come with us. Savita looked up. For the first time she spoke something. She told the people that she was pregnant, she murmured.
Her husband got up. He was overjoyed. In under a minute he told the sarpanch that it was a ‘normal fight between a husband and a wife’ and now he would like to go him with his wife Savita. I was aghast. So were my parents.
Rajesh’s parents also nodded in agreement with their son. These were the same people who had a while ago said that they would die rather than take Savita back. But what shocked me more was Savita’s behaviour. She smiled and readily agreed to go back to the same people who had been so abusive with her!
The police officer asked Savita if she would like to press charges against her husband and their family because they had been harassing her. She shaked her head, indicating a no. I stood there dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe what had just happened.
Expecting something like this to happen, dad motioned me to get into the back of the police jeep so that we could be escorted out of that village. We were going to live at our uncle’s home in town until my father sold the village property and made a new living. Today, we are doing fine, I will soon finish my degree and get a job.
That day, when we left our village forever, I looked back at Savita…one last time. Then I never looked back again.
Photo: Flick River