Azhar. ” She stared at the written words in the novel again.
* * *
The novel was about a man who had lost all his memories and was now left at the mercy of some of his friends. They for the sake of their own entertainment each day told a different story about his identity. And the novel was written from the perspective of this man.
Devyani was so lost in the words woven on the page that she hardly heard her father’s footsteps.
“Will this continue all day? Why don’t you go and help your mother in the kitchen,” his deep voice broke the tranquility of the narration in her mind.
She stuttered through a , “Dad I will,” and almost ran entire length of the corridor to reach the other end.
“What’s the hurry?” her mother who was silently standing and stirring the curry, felt startled.
Devyani didn’t speak, she only pointed towards hallway, knowing fully well her mother would understand.
* * *
“You must not speak to her like this anymore. You know she is not a child now,” and it was over a cup of evening tea that her mother spoke to her father.
“You don’t teach me what to do. She is a grown up woman I know and hence I react in this way. In a couple of years she will get married, you think all these fantasy novels she reads will be of any help to a decent husband,” he snapped back.
Devyani’s mother knew better than to continue the discussion, her twenty tears of marriage had taught her one thing. Her husband never quite got a woman’s perspective. First it was she not it is her daughter.
* * *
Rajlakshmi was only fifteen when her father decided she no longer needed to go to school. Her brothers who were just starting to find their footings in the world outside village needed money. And her books, uniforms and the everyday rickshaw filled the coffers of the school for all wrong reasons. She could also not sit at home idle and hence her father did the next best thing. He married her off to the most eligible bachelor his money could buy.
Of course it was not that simple. The bachelor himself needed some extra convincing that Rajlakshmi who was not so pretty and definitely not educated would make a wonderful wife and mother. Whether she could prove herself either was still a debate in itself. But she knew that she failed as a woman on many counts.
And it was just then that she heard Devyani sob again. The nightmare had returned again. Her daughter’s screams reincarnated the image of that fateful winter night.
His lifeless body lying in a puddle of blood.