AND THEN SHE DIED

This is a human drama - the story of Maya, born in a village in South India into a poor family. Circumstances force her to come to Bombay as a child of ten years.

Maya sets out to live her life in very trying conditions at a tender age. Her chance meeting with Gokuldas, her future husband, brings some respite to her otherwise dreary life. They are a very loving couple. Gokuldas tends to stray which leads to corrosion in the relationship. His cruel streak surfaces and manifests itself till it could no longer be borne by Maya.

This is a story of courage, determination, loss and triumph of an illiterate woman born in poverty and thrown to the wolves by circumstances of her birth and birth-place. This story will give hope to countless women who compromise with their circumstances and remain where they are. It encourages a destitute woman to no longer be chained to her fate but create her own fate and her own life. Some succeed …. some keep on trying……some die!

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5. MOTHER

Laxmi was nearing sixteen and her first pregnancy had reached the seventh month, when her father-in-law died. He was only about 45 year’s old when he died leaving his widow desolate. The villagers all came to mourn his death and to condole the family. Laxmi’s father also came and helped in the preparation of the funeral. Puttanna observed the rites required of the only son and soon the pyre was lit in the nearby fields. The widow cried out aloud and then shamelessly wept beating her breasts and the weeping gave way to sobs and then only tears remained.

 

The women folk gathered around the widow and the wiped off the big red dot on her forehead and broke her glass bangles. The widow was too stunned to protest. She had loved to hear the tinkle of the red glass bangles and he too was fond of the same and now there was no one to hear the same….and no glass bangles to create the sweet tinkling sounds.

 

The thirteenth day ceremony marked the end of the mourning period and was observed by performing pujas and other religious rites. Puttanna had to borrow a princely sum of Rs. 200 to meet the costs of the ceremonies and the feast prepared to appease the souls of the dead ancestors who were now joined by the soul of his father.

 

About a month later, Savitri was born in the hut with Laxmi’s mother-in-law performing the mid-wife’s role. Savitri was born very weak as she came into the world before the gestation period was over and the labour was very prolonged leaving Laxmi almost at death’s door at the young age of sixteen. She was too weak even to take the child to her breasts and it was at least seven days before she could give the child her first feed.

 

Luckily for Savitri there was another nursing mother in the neighbourhood who nursed the child for the first six days of her life. Yet Savitri ever remained a weakling.

 

Time flew by and it was nearly Savitri’s second birthday when Krishna was conceived.

 

Normally her mother-in-law slept outside while Puttanna and his family slept in the hut. This day was however different. Puttanna’s cousin was visiting the place and it was a day of festivity for the entire village. His cousin, Shankara, was about the same age as him and they hit off well. Due to the delay in the day’s festivities Shankara decided to stay back and after a lovely repast cooked by Laxmi, Puttanna and he went outside the hut to chat and then to go to bed in the courtyard. Laxmi fed Savitri, gave some food to her mother-in-law and also ate what remained. The lamp was blown and then darkness settled in the hut as the three females lay down to rest for the night. It was pitch dark inside the hut.

 

It was quite late in the night that she felt herself being entered into. She never wore any underwear at nights. And the rhythmic movements, the grunting and heavy breathing began. She too rocked with the movements and enjoyed the same. The pleasure was simply heavenly and different from what she had ever experienced before. Only when the climax was reached she realised that it was not Puttanna but Shankara who had coupled with her. Yes, this was different and she felt quite embarrassed that she had enjoyed the union with someone who was not her husband.  

 

Shankara went out pulling his lungi around him as she watched his silhouette formed at the door. She slowly crawled to see outside. Puttanna was in deep sleep being dead tired. She suddenly remembered with a start that her mother-in-law was sleeping nearby. In panic she went to check her sleeping mother-in-law and found that she was awake. “Malagu, go to sleep,” her mother-in-law commanded and a chastened Laxmi crawled back to her corner. She was not aware that her mother-in-law had not observed the difference in the darkness and had thought that it was her son who had just left.

 

Laxmi spent a long time feeling guilty and at last drifted off to sleep….till she felt herself being penetrated again. She began to protest which was stifled with a smothering kiss on her lips and mouth and….elsewhere as she began to relive the golden experience she had felt a few hours earlier and she felt too weak to resist the opportunity that fate had bestowed on her. Her movements began to synchronise with the powerful thrusts that Shankara made. When the volcano burst with their almost simultaneous reaching the peak of the pleasure, Laxmi was glad to hear the snores of her mother-in-law as her heart and breathing came back to normal. After lying for sometime besides her, Shankara left after fondling her and giving her a farewell kiss. She embraced him tight and was thrilled and ecstatic. Nineteen is too young an age to deny oneself life’s pleasures especially when it felt so good.

 

Next day morning Shankara left for good and was never seen again in the village. Nine months later Krishna was born….a replica of Shankara. A few months later, the likeness was very evident. The villagers did not bother. Puttanna gave to Laxmi the news of Shankara’s death, a few days later and told her that he was killed by an unknown person. It was much, much later that she learnt that Puttanna was drugged to sleep on the night that Krishna was conceived and she also realised that Krishna was not in the village the day Shankara was apparently killed. 

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