It was my last day in the city of Ayodhya.
Husband had asked me to leave, knowing fully well that I was carrying his progeny.
How easily his manhood was threatened! By mere hearsay!!
As I sat watching the helpers pack, I couldn’t even cry. The hot scalding anger, refused to flow out as comforting tears. They could pack my clothes, my jewellery.
Could they pack in my reminiscences too? Or my youth spent in the shadow of the epitome of human virtues?
My eternal love, in spite of it all? My unwavering belief in the man? My bravery, my vulnerability, my dreams or my hopes?
Why didn’t words of anger come out, questioning the skewed justice of it all? Why didn’t anyone feel that they owed me an answer? Why this abject all-around acceptance?
Why couldn’t I say, when I was served my sentence and pronounced guilty, “Dearie, May I be allowed to feel the same about you? Can you promise me that, you didn’t even think about another paramour?”
Those questions stayed put, deep inside and I was left with this gnawing ache.
Was that due to the conditioning of generations of us – ‘the so-called fairer sex’? To accept and to endure without any questions asked? Did I do myself any favor by staying silent?
I surveyed my palatial quarters, the gilded cage of righteousness!
I heard some of the staff wondering, if I could cope with the harsh jungles. Would those be more constricting than these opulent, uncaring walls?
Soon, it was time to go. I searched for the same affection that I carried in my heart, in His eyes. I barely found any.
I then surveyed around, took a deep breath in, filled in my senses with memories and walked out with my head held high, to embrace the unknown newness with open arms and dignity.
I lived again.
Author’s note : Narrative changes often due to changing social mores. Only when faced with adversity does one find strength to move on. If she had found the strength to question, the story would have been different across generations.