There’s a very beautiful women sitting next to me with wrinkly face. For many years, I’ve observed that she sits on the same spot at a fixed time in the evening.
Holding cup of tea in her hands and a lot of stories on her face. Sometimes she whispers something and it sounds like a Garhwali song (Folk music of Uttarakhand) and at times she’ll clap and sing bhajan. Watching all this I could never imagine myself doing all this ever in my life. Being born and brought up in this modern world of technology and distraction I can’t even imagine how I’ll survive without all electronic devices which we are using now.
So, out of curiosity I approached her and I said,” At this age when I look at you, I see a woman with wonderful life and I assume that you had an amazing past”. After this statement of mine she took a long pause while looking at light as it fades away with the sun. She replied, “dear do you know why evening is so reddish here? This phenomenon is unique to our city and a part of some other country (Switzerland). This beautiful sunset (winterline) can be seen from the high altitudes in the winter dusks. I just want to say, everything before the closure looks wonderful, just like this sunset my life looks wonderful but once it was as painful as the scorching heat sometimes during midday”.
I remember once she told me that they were farmers and use to live in a village and they led simple yet happy life by sowing and reaping all the necessary foods they wanted. They never saw money as an essential commodity and much of the things were done through barter. Keeping all that in mind I begin to wonder their life has been easy compared to ours. Unlike them we have tricky life where we soak our blood every day for unwanted luxury. I told all this to her about how good their life has been and how we are today in sorrow.
“Pain and suffering are a part and parcel of life. God has distributed it equally amongst us regardless of time you have been on earth and if you think your pain is different or bigger than mine then your mind is surely twisted. Okay, lets not discuss about our pain. I’ll tell you a story and its not about me but about my time”. She said.
In early 80’s women in tehri district of Uttarakhand were empowered because of resent Chipko movement that practiced methods of Satyagraha where female activists from Uttarakhand played vital roles. Women including Gaura Devi, Suraksha Devi, Sudesha Devi, Bachni Devi, Virushka Devi and others set an example that women are capable of doing things beyond household and cattle.
Those were the days when people stated to think that traditional male dominance culture is near the conclusion. It bought confidence among the women specially who were married and they became more unbolted in their approach.
Back then there were few televisions but people usually listen radio for news and entertainment. I remember it was march, just two days before holi and someone informed the village that for the first time there will be a movie show in a village and they are going to show a Garhwali move( Jagwal).
People were thrilled and that no one ever saw any cinema they begin to wonder how people can be shown on a big white piece of cloth. I personally thought people will actually perform behind the cloth and they’ll show us their reflexion. Message was passed to every village and people were asked to join the show and it was all free. For a week all we could hear was about the show as it was the first time anyone from the hills of Uttarakhand showed the world that the so called “pahadees”, who were viewed as nothing more than faujees on the border or the people who took the pride doing low-paid jobs in capital could portray their hills, their hope and dismays with pride like any regular.
On that day hundreds of people were gathered on the ground and show was started around 7 when it was a little dark. Among them there were three female friend sitting in the first row they might be around 16 years old and married, they were from same village and they didn’t got permission from their in-laws so they just ran away and decided that they’ll make a story and be home before 10 at night and that’s how reckless you feel when you are at verge of adolescence.
Jagwal is a Garhwali word which means The Long Wait. Movie was a Family melodrama which revolves around a young woman. The story goes like this.. A young wife had to wait seven years for her husband as he is arrested and sentenced on murder charges. This happened immediately after their marriage. Her husband advises her to marry his younger brother or run away from home. However, she refuses to follow her husband's advice and decides to wait for him.
Movie ended around 10 and three of them were still sitting there in their euphorian dream, no wonder movie made an impact on them and at this age movie as good as this can easily shake your perspective and that’s what happened they decided to stay there all night and kept talking about the movie and criticised how miserable their life is.
Son, tell me haven’t you had a moment in your life where you took decisions just on the basis of temporary feeling and later had a great regret on it and that’s the difference between maturity and adolescence.
These girls woke up early morning with the fresh thoughts and the regret took all the charm from their face. Now they were worried about how they going to face their family and after figuring all the worst possible outcome they thought they’ll be scolded and threatened but later it will be okay with that possibility they came home but as its said it doesn’t always rains like it thunder, they saw a large gathering on the entrance of the village their family member started cussing them and they were bought home. They had all the beatings which they never deserved and humiliation which shacked their beliefs.
Same night family member found that all three of them were not at home and they figured out that they ran away together and eventually the story of their flee was spread all over the village.
Son, what you think had happened to them? People made lots of stories about them but finally it was revealed that all three of them jumped in deep water stream and took their life. Right at the time when we thought we are moving towards the better tomorrow we heard this devastating story of these little girls facing domestic violence. Imagine what was it that made them take their lives which they just started.
That was my time son, is it any different than yours? Is it any less painful than yours?
Well that beautiful wrinkled lady is my grandmother she made her point clear and I can’t argue that. It Might be possible that my grandmother knew those girls and might be possible it’s all made up but does that make my life more painful than hers?
And after all this story. I wonder what is the truth ? Why it happened ? Is my suffering and pain above this ? Should I be comparing ?
I think everyone comes with a their shares of happiness and suffering but it's still a mystery to me. This is life !