Introduction 20th October 2016-No the day did not remark the birthday or death anniversary of someone special, neither it was a 'so-called' day of immense importance. It was somewhat important to a mother, a homemaker, a lady who had been leading a life which could be as much painstaking as we may imagine and her daily chores of married life has caged her, from where death is the only solace.
Just like any day of her 22 years of married life, Indrani woke up before any other member of her family, for she being the typical 'barir bou' she has no right to sleep after 6 a.m. As she opened her eyes and sat up on the bed, the thought of thousands of household work came pouring into her mind. Soon she stepped down and went to get fresh. Preparing some tea for her family she went to her daughter's room to clean her bedding and wake her up as she needs to go to school.
Reflections As she entered the room and went close to her bed, a shock made her shiver her like anything. With utter pain she remembered that one month has elapsed since her daughter went to Bangalore.
There she is pursuing Engineering from a reputed college. Suddenly her daughter's childhood days,the day when she first uttered "maa", the day when she went to school - all this flashed into Indira's mind.Tears trickled down her eyes and she realised her daughter, her toddler, has become a beautiful, charming young lady of 18, named Srijani. But she couldn't exceed her mother's beauty for Srijani's mother always wore the tag of being the 'Most Beautiful Woman in the world she had ever seen.
Indrani sat down on the bed. Clutching Srijani's favourite pink pillow into her chest, she cried uncontrollably. As her daughter entered into her teens, she somewhat understood her mother, felt her agony, her pain and held her hands tightly anytime she was in need of it. Her daughter became the Oasis in the barren desert. A month has passed within a blink of an eye to others, but to her it seemed to be a decade without her daughter beside her.
New city, new college, new friends, new lifestyle. Busy was her schedule. Within that, Srijani could manage only a few minutes to talk to her. But Indrani was imprisoned,she was unable to talk according to her will as she was always under the strict vigilance of her husband and in laws. Badly she needs to speak to her, to make her aware of what is good, what is bad, the pains and pleasures of being a teenager. Calling her wouldn't be a good option. So she decided to pen down everything and send her a letter.
After lunch, when all were sleeping, she managed to write to Srijani and the letter was somewhat like this.
The letter Dear Munai,
Beta, how are you dear? Are you having your food in a timely manner? Don't forget the medicines. And what about your studies? This is for the first time I am writing you a letter as I felt probably this is the best medium of our secret communication.
Today I thought to tell you something that I have never told you before as I waited for the day to arrive when I will tell you everything face to face. But it merely happened. Beta, as you know I got married to your papa when I was 19 only. Trust me at that time I didn't have any clear idea about marriage. As that was the time when people see everything through coloured spects! Luckily I got my looks. As a result of which there were a few boys after me. Though I was aware of that and ignored the rest, but your papa was an exception. He was well established that time and directly approached my father with the proposal of marrying me. You know beta that our family was financially not sound at that time. If one member leaves the family then also some expenses will get reduced. Thinking that, your grandpa also accepted his proposal. I and my maa though opposed it but it was not strong enough to stand against his verdict.
On 17th of January, 1994 we got married and that day marked my imprisonment. Your father was very protective of me and feared that someday I might leave him because I was good looking. Your aunts were jealous of my beauty. I being a teenager that time didn't know the abc of cooking and they used to laugh at every mistake I made. The worst thing that happened was I couldn't study further and class 12 pass was my limit. Previously I used to listen to every order he made-'Don't go there, don't talk to that person,don't do this'. Whenever I wore a colourful saree he said "For what reason you dress so well? You have been been married for 9 long years and a mother as well. Whom do you want to flatter by your looks?". I tried my best to come out of the house with you, but the thought that I alone will not be able to bear your school and tution fees, your food, your clothing, your career will turn into a hell, pushed me back each time. I even tried to get myself engaged in some job but your father said "Why the hell you need to go out when I am earning?My family will not run with your little income". Anywhere I go I am followed by him. I quarrelled several times asking "How many times I call you when you are outside?". He replied "I am a man, you are an woman, don't forget your limits". Each day as we sit for lunch or dinner, the biggest and best piece of fish or meat has to be served to him,then the rest of the family. If something still remains then that's for me. On all puja ceremonies I need to do the fasting as I am a woman. Each day I am the first person to open the eyelid and the last person to close it as I am an woman. I know beta that some times out of tremendous anger I quarreled with your father and hampered your studies, made you panic-stricken. But believe me dear, all these struggles I made, it's only for you, so that your life doesn't become as miserable as that of mine, so that you can understand that first and foremost you need to get established in life, do as much as possible for your parents then only think of getting married.
Try to voice your protest every time you see something abusive or insulting is happening to any woman. Remember a girl is born by birth, becomes an Woman by aging but becomes a Gentlewoman by Choice. So try to choose the best path of life. Make a strong standpoint from where you can vent your grievance, from where you can fight. Live a life your mother had always dreamt of living. Lead a peaceful and contented life, where you are your own decision maker, where you are the speaker while the remaining are the listeners, beta.
I know that my efforts will not be fruitless, my fasting, my puja-aarti will do the needful and my daughter will turn into a Woman- one who will be the idol of other girls who are in dire distress, a woman of my dreams,a beautiful, caring, loving and established woman.
Work hard,study harder dear. Your mother's best wishes are always with you. Muuhhhaaaa. Love you dear.
Your beloved maa
The author has touched the core point by giving a message to the girls in the society in the form of a letter to the daughter. Basically the mother is the first teacher to her child and a child learns the very basics of life from her parents. Both father and mother are responsible for a disciplined growth of their children. We very often blame the society and the companionship of the children but parents can't absolve from the responsibility of checking them periodically what they are doing and how they are moving outside the world. For a daughter, she may be a lovely one to her dear father. But she can tell her problems and share her thoughts with her mother only as she can't share certain things with her father. So, mother plays a predominant role than a father in a girl's life and this letter to the daughter has been in its true spirit as an ordinary mother would do for her child. Really it was very touching and it was quite natural in daily terms of a woman's life.
Thanks a lot. This is my first article here. The article is not a story but it is the life of my mother and I am her little daughter who tries her best to be with her creator, her idol.
Truly an inspirational story,not only for all women out there but also for those egotistical men who think themselves as the dominant force without knowing that a true,selfless and dedicated woman is a force to be reckoned with.
Thank you Srijita Dey for sharing your story.
Sreejita, this letter is an excellent effort to put forward the thoughts of your mother. I hope you become a leading lady in whatever field you are qualifying yourself in. I have one suggestion here. Since you have mentioned that your mother could not leave the family as she did not have the financial backup to support herself and you, you can pay her back beautifully if you can move out of the house. Get a job and work hard for 2-3 years. I am sure you will save enough money to stay in a rented flat. It will be just the two of you, your mother and you in that flat. Nobody will be able to mentally agonize your mother or you.
Secondly, If you can earn enough to support yourself and your mother then ask your mother to take a legal separation from your father. It is quite evident that your mother is not happy with your father and there are no chances of leading a peaceful family life in future. So why not become independent? Ask your mother to complete her education now. Nothing is impossible in today's era. Ask her to get enrolled in distance education institutes and complete her education. She will feel more independent and empowered. She can even try for some jobs at NGOs and help out other women like her.
Wonderfully said Joyshree. I have a similar planning to be very honest. The articles that I write are the reflections of my own life. The true scenario basically, which is too hard to accept and too tough to bear at times. Love you for your valuable advice. Thanks a lot.
I read this letter as a mother, as a woman and as a human. I am honestly shocked at the contents. Even if I had a life as miserable as that of the woman in this letter I would still not act in the manner illustrated here.
The mother wants her daughter to be strong-willed and speak up against injustices, but this is not the way to send the message across. Is it right on the mother’s part to berate the father? To show the man in poor light and cast herself as a self-sacrificing martyr!
I am all for women’s rights and social justices, but will not support such attitude by any woman.
1. Not once does the letter mention of how good a father the man is
2. The woman had colourful saris to wear but fails to realize the husband was a good provider
3. The circumstances that led to conflicts could have been addressed with maturity
4. I think the woman is too absorbed with her physical beauty
Impart values in daughters, but not this way. A mother shouldn’t attempt to create a rift between the father and the child, which is what this letter does. It portrays the father as evil – which is wrong. Women and mothers must lead by example. The letter should have highlighted strong, positive qualities of the mother, instead of ranting about the deeds (misdeeds) of the father and his sisters.
A strong woman should set an example, stand up for herself, so her children watch and learn. Walking out of a bad marriage is an option open to every person. Divorce provides alimony and child-support. Getting a job is another way of supporting oneself.