An Unletterd’s Letter

She woke up way before the alarm. At this age, she was getting used to it. The sole purpose of the alarm was to provide her respite from aimless wallowing in the bed on nights she’s afflicted with insomnia.

Things had gotten really tough for her after her husband had passed away about a month ago. Ever since the house seemed too empty, the front-yard looked unkempt, the television set turned rusty and the backyard grass had overgrown. She was a lonely inhabitant of a decrepit house whose existence seemed next to insignificant in the well-to-do neighborhood.

Yet still, she isn’t on her own in this world. She has a beautiful daughter and a 5-year-old grand-daughter. But she hasn’t heard from them in over a year, specifically from when her husband had a spat with her son-in-law. Her husband had turned callous after the feud and had built an invisible barrier for her too. She didn’t have the courage to transgress it by herself, even after he’d passed away. She submitted to that sickly feeling long ago and now vainly hopes for the ice to break from the other side.

It’s just another day in Brookside Avenue, and she withdraws from her bed to do her usual chores. Her feeble limbs barely support her senescent frame. Her once vivacious spirit lately seems to have no impetus to be so. The pedestrian tasks of the day drain her both physically and mentally, yet she wills herself to live on.

She steps out the door, looks at the unkempt front-yard and sighs. The front-yard, like herself, either had no one to take care of or had no one who had cared enough. She walks to the mailbox, as she does every day, with a tiny flicker of hope. She opens the rusty lid and half expects to find it empty. But it isn’t.

She finds some junk advertising mails about a world tour that she’s least bothered about. She almost throws them away in the garbage can when a lavender envelope catches her eye. She halts, holds it cautiously making sure she doesn’t crumble it and walks inside as fast as she can.

She forgets about the chores and even forgets about her morning coffee. She hasn’t missed one in the last five years. She sits on the sofa down the hall and carefully opens the envelope. It has small lavender hearts embossed on it and smells like sweet perfume and baby powder. She pulls out the letter inside and starts to read it.

Dear Grandma,

Its me!! I am dieing to see you. Mom says we’ll all come and tell sorry to grandpa next week. Then we will go have fluffy candy you promised me in the exhibition last time. Can you pleese get me the pony too?

And guess what grandma?? I can right write! I don’t need mum to call you now…we can talk ourselves. We can share…umm…what did you call it? Seacrets? Yeah! Seacrets!

I can tell you about school, my new english teecher. But she’s always scollding me for no reeson. I don’t like her.

You can tell me your seacret recipeas recipies and I won’t tell anyone, not even my Barbie. She told me she likes boys now…..ewwww! So I want a new Barbie too!

I miss your pickles grandma. I miss grandpa. I miss you.

Do you miss me????

Okay mum’s calling me….Sea you soon!!!

Love,

Your Marshmallow.

She pushes the paper away from her face to keep it from getting wet. Tears stream down her face uncontrollably. She doesn’t contain herself anymore, she doesn’t feel the need to. She knows a crisis is about to befall, but that seems the least bit troublesome. She thinks of an innocent 6-year-old who looks up to her, and she would face the storm for her.

It may be tumultuous. But like any other storm, this will pass too. She kisses the letter in her hand and thinks of her marshmallow. Her tiny glinting eyes and her slyly playful smile. She curses herself for being so craven. She never stood up for herself. It wasn’t fair what happened to her, but she felt like she had no choice. No one to help her.

But she was wrong.

She’s had a month to ponder over it by herself. Only now, she is sure. She has a newfound meaning for life. She hopes to present her life as a lesson to her grandchild. She knows she may have nothing to inspire the little kid. But she does have a lot to teach her. She may not be able to tell her what to do, but she can tell her what not to.

She’ll keep her strong. She’ll make her brave. She’ll teach her to be independent. And when she says, “When I grow up I want to be like you grandma!”. She’ll say, “You will child. You will be as wise as I am today, but without having to face the troubles I went through yesterday.

And I will be here to hold your hand and guide you for as long as I can.”

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Hope 1/3

Luggage is strewn across a little corner in the bus stop. Her clothes are all raggedy and her hair’s rubbish. People feel irritated by their presence and give them despicable looks occasionally. A little child wails in her arms, in want of milk. But she doesn’t have any. The child’s elder sister isn’t much of a help to her mother. In fact, she’s a burden. She’s busy staring at a stranger’s smartphone, gaping at it in fascination. She was once close to dreaming about having it, and that’s about the closest she ever got to owning it.

 

Long before she could fully marvel at it, her eyes fell upon yet another luxury. This one, she could never have dreamt of. She saw a girl, only a few years older than her, who had her arms wrapped around a guy’s arm…..her boyfriend. She had always despised men, more correctly, she was taught to. What her dad had done to their family was unforgivable, and her mom was quick to generalize her dad’s malevolence to all men. All men are the same she had said. Her mom had warned her to keep away from them, and so she did.

 

It was easy until she began to develop feelings for them. “Ehh! They’re not that bad”. But her mom’s vexed remarks still echoed in her head. “Men!”, she’d say with a sigh…..eyes rolled upward. She struggled to suppress the infatuation. She begged to differ from her mom, but couldn’t dare talk back to her. She felt crushed between her mother’s ideals and hers. But she decided to give up hers, cause her mom was always right.

 

Her thought train derails when a dog starts barking loudly at her mom. She tries to shoo it away, but the dog seems adamant. What a pity? Not even the dog was afraid of them. Earning respect in the society was becoming costlier than earning money. Those who didn’t know them despised them, and those who did know, just pitied them. Every passing day was a bitter reminder that they were on their own.

 

Amidst the shouting and noise, a bus comes to a screeching halt. It was what they had been waiting for. The bus was getting cramped and crowded as more people tried to get in. They quickly grab their belongings and board the bus as fast as they can. But not surprisingly, they were the last to get in.

 

They didn’t seem to mind. They had gotten used to it. But now was not the time to worry….cause things were about to change for good. The bus would take them to their village. They were going home.

Women Empowerment

Hindus celebrate numerous festivals throughout the year, every year. 330 million goddesses are worshiped, knowingly or unknowingly. But it is ironic that a woman is raped every 15mins, every day. The reports are unsettling. These staggering rape statistics are something to be ashamed of. Gender bias still has it’s roots in our society, it never surfaces but it reeks the whole community. Male dominance is still considered okay in many households. This form of thinking has to change.

We live in a country where even uttering the words “rape” or “molestation” is taboo. If rape is a crime, then it’s a sin not to talk about it.

It is a topic of a conversation that never happened.

Doing wrong is a sin, but knowingly letting wrong happen is unforgivable. To do right, one needs to know what’s wrong. It’s a frame of reference that lays down essential restrictions. In this case, it more relevantly applies to men. Boys, at a tender age itself, need to be groomed to become gentlemen and not just ‘men’.

The streets are filled with brutes who pass lewd comments on women passing them by. Sexist slurs and vulgar name-calling, for them, are a form of amusement. Makes them feel more powerful and manly.

What goes through a women’s mind when that happens is heart-breaking. She feels immensely embarrassed. Fear grips her heart and chills run down her spine. Her breathing becomes heavy, as if she’s been suddenly hit by claustrophobia. Her hands and feet start to go numb and indecisiveness kicks in. The incident traumatizes her for a long time, giving her nightmares. It scars her for the rest of her life.

Directly or indirectly everyone is responsible. Kids must be taught to value men and women equally. A good parent has to inculcate in the child, feelings of respect towards women. It all starts at the family level.

It’s high time that one’s opinions and views on this topic are debated openly. When the crime takes place and the victim is so publicly shamed and outcast by this hypocritic society, it is only fair that it’s solution be discussed openly too.

One should learn to be more open minded. Our conscience must be right and refined. A community, as a whole, has to make sure that it is safe for women.

Most importantly, women must create themselves opportunities to voice their own opinions. A strong platform that gives them the chance to emotionally connect to their male counterparts. To explain their plight better and expose the evils of harassment.

Women must grow to be independent. They are of equal, or even more, caliber. Intolerable behavior must be publicly shunned. Friends and family must correct each other. An issue left unattended is something that keeps magnifying. And issues resolve by talking.

Disdainful behavior cannot be overlooked. It is in no way ‘fun’, or ‘just a harmless tease’. Feelings of lust and love have clouded the judgment of molesters. They live in a dreamy world that’s far from reality.

Lack of human touch and proper social interaction can actively develop such feelings. Wrong peer groups or improper guidance also have the same effect. These emotions build up subconsciously and poison the mind. Modern day’s mechanical lifestyle can further suppress these emotions which one day boil up and vent out as frustration, resulting in a crime.

It is thus of grave importance, that media, which this generation is so hooked on, portrays women as strong personalities and not as easy targets. Which would in fact be true. More focus must be laid on quality of character and not on aesthetics.

Considering the present situation, women need support. The day it’s proved otherwise, is most awaited for.