You could call me Sita, Jahnavi or Vaidehi but the narrative remains the same!
It was my last day in the city of Ayodhya.
Raghav had asked me to leave, knowing fully well that I was carrying his progeny. How easily had his manhood been threatened! By mere hearsay!!
This incomprehensible diktat, broke my faith, my spirit. As my husband, wasn’t he duty bound to protect his five months old pregnant wife? Raghav reckoned that his duty as the king, to be more important than his duty as a husband. By doing so, he might have been eternally deified as the ideal flag bearer of dharma, or as someone who exemplified and taught detachment to his citizens. But was he now, the ideal or coveted life partner?
His need to sustain his thus far unblemished reputation was greater than my needs. Didn’t he realize that by choosing so, he had pierced my tender heart?
Or was it my fault, that my attachment to him, gave him the raw power to hurt my soul?
How many times was I required to prove my purity, my chastity? Probably, as many times as the number of his subjects!
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 unwavering belief in my man? My eternal love, in spite of it all?
My bravery, my vulnerability, my dreams, my fears or my hopes?
Why didn’t words of anger spew out, questioning the skewed justice of it all?
Why didn’t anyone feel that they owed me an answer, at the very least? Why this abject all-around acceptance of this harshness? They all simply averted their eyes and went about their business. Closing your eyes or your senses to the injustice meted out, didn’t quite make it disappear!
Why couldn’t I say, when I was served my sentence and pronounced guilty, “Raghav, May I be allowed to ask you the same question? Can you honestly promise me that, you didn’t think about another paramour, even for a second?”
Those searing questions stayed put, buried deep inside and all I was left, was 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 am tired, and I am fed up. I don’t want to fight anymore.
Still, something deep inside me cried – I couldn’t give up now. I had to keep on fighting. This fight was not about ME alone. It was about, what is right and what constitutes as fairness!
As I looked around my palatial quarters, the gilded cage of righteousness, I heard some of the staff wondering, if I could cope with the harsh jungles. Especially in my present condition. 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 Raghav’s eyes. I barely found any.
I then surveyed around, took a deep breath in, filled my senses with my fragrant memories and walked out with my head held high, to embrace the unknown newness with open arms and innate dignity.
Because, sometimes, walking away from injustice is also ensuring justice to self.
I lived again.
To write another enthralling chapter!
And that, would be my story!
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.