Monday, July 16, 2007

A long lost monsoon..




The rain had been merciless. Had been the whole night. Beating down on the rooftops. Washing down the dust and grime..


The op was almost deserted. It always was during the first few days of rain. Then slowly, as epidemics of viral fever and respiratory infection erupted and spread, the op would get crowded, the wards overflowing, the staff too falling sick one by one.


My first case was a very draining one..I looked into the worn out eyes of the woman. Her daughter cowered besides her scorched by shame. She wouldn’t look at me.
The rain was gathering momentum. I had to raise my voice to make myself clear.
‘Accept it. Your daughter is four months pregnant. There is no question of abortion now. She will have to deliver the baby.’
The woman stared at me leaned back on the wall, bent her head as if in deep shame, and started to weep.
I glanced at the girl again


Why were women so stupid?


'Yes why so stupid ..?' I wondered again as I drove home that evening.

The wipers wiped off the raindrops falling on the misting windshield. But the rain was persistent. New drops. New patterns on the glass… to be wiped away again and again. I switched on the dim lights of the car, driving cautiously. The wet gleaming roads were skidding. The drains overflowing.


I made a mental note to add more soups in the menu.
Boiling water steeped in tulsi leaves to drink. Panikoorka leaves in the hot bath water…To prevent fever..



I remembered another monsoon and another sixteen year old.. guilty of yielding to empty promises and cajoling lips.

I walked into my house. my younger son was sprawled on the sofa, watching TV.


‘Didn’t go for tuition?’


‘Not feeling well.’


‘Hmm’. His chubby cheeks were flushed. The huge eyes drooping
I stroked his forehead pushing back the long hair. His forhead burned.
‘Ate something’?

‘No.’
‘But you must. Along with your tabs’.


‘Soup?’


“No tummy aching’.


‘Toast and hot milk.’?


‘Ok’
‘As I waited for the milk to boil I thought about Gayathri again.

She kept intruding into my thoughts today... after a long time..

The rain.. the pregnant girl… my son's fever..

I had been in 6th std. It was monsoon..My folks had gone to Kumily to attend a marriage. I had fever. I was to stay back with the new servant girl. Gayathri.

The day passed off fine.

She sat besides me on the floor. Served me hot kanji and pickle.

I felt a bit sick but loved all the attention being lavished on me.

It was drizzling as I slipped off to sleep in the afternoon..

I woke up dreaming that I was drowning in water.

The rain was pattering wildly on the roof. The windows had been closed. The curtains drawn across.

There was no electricity but Aa candle was burning and I was covered with a blanket.

Gayathri looked up from the book she was reading and smiled at me.

‘Chechi called. They will be late.’

‘The road is blocked. Some huge tree fell on the road.’

‘Don’t worry’. The dark gentle eyes smiled at me. Her nose stud flashed in the dim light.
‘I am here. You sleep for some more time’

I closed my eyes. The rain was persistent. Gathering momentum.


It started from the pit of my gut. A small shiver. My core felt frozen .. waves of chill spread all over my body. My teeth chattered. I was shivering.

‘Molu.. Molu..’ I could hear gayathri call urgently. She was rubbing my hands and feet. Running here and there covering me with more blankets.

‘Molu take this..’

I opened my mouth ,she poured hot kanji water into my mouth. The hot scalding liquid scorched my throat pleasurably. I opened my mouth gulping down more and more as I felt it warming my core filling my hunger..

I slowly opened my eyes the dark eyes smiled reassuringly. The nose stud flashed.


‘Sleep’.She whispered.

‘I am here’
She sat besides me on the floor and started to sing.

'What’s that ..?' I murmured sleepily.

‘Narayaneeyamm’

I lay with my eyes closed. Drifting off to dreamless sleep..

‘Molu’.
I woke up to feel soft hands on my cheeks.

‘ Better?’


My mom sat on the bed. Morning light flitted in through the open windows. Raindrops dripped softly the leaves of the guava tree outside. It had stopped raining.

‘Hmm better’. I smiled sleepily hugging her.

‘My son drank the hot milk and ate the toast. I gave him the tabs and tucked him in his bed.I looked forwards to the rainy evening ahead. My hubby was out of station. He would be coming the next day only. The trains were cancelled.


Some tree had fallen on the tracks.

I looked forwards to reading late into night cocconed under the blanket ..drinking coca.. while the rest of the world slept .. the rain pattering wildly on the roof .. the wind howling at the windows..

But somehow I couldn’t read.. I kept thinking about Gyathri..

I adored Gayathri after that. I loved the way her tummy jiggled under the half sari as she ran around cleaning, cooking and washing. Her glass bangles clashing, her payals dancing.


She made unniapams for tea.. sweet crunchy ones..

She gave me warm water steeped in tulsi leaves to drink and mixed crushed panikoorka leaves in my hot bath water ( To prevent fever she would smile at me ).


My uniforms were dazzling and neatly pressed.. she braided my hair deftly..

She would sit besides me singing narayaneeyam as I slipped of to sleep at night.

The sky was over cast when I returned home from school, one evening to find that she had gone.

‘Why?’

My mom would not tell why.


'When would she be back?"

No she wouldn’t be back.

‘Go out and play.’

My mom looked distracted. Upset.

‘Play’?

Didn’t She notice that it was drizzling outside?

I never saw gayathri again.

My confusion about her was cleared years later..

My grandfather had been buried the previous day. I sat watching an old man poking the canvas roof of the pandal from below with his huge umbrella. The pandal was sagging with the previous night’s rain. I watched water flowing down from the sides of the canvas with each poke..

‘Molu’.

I turned around to see my mom with a seven year old girl.

‘Remember Gayathri ?’

‘ Gayathri’?

Memories of a long lost monsoon.. Deft hands braiding my hair.. sweet crunchy unniappama.. The sound of rain gathering momentum… Fever and chills..Hot liquid burning my throat... Nose stud flashing in candlelight… Gentle eyes smiling reassuringly… A husky voice reading narayaneeyam..

‘Gayathri? Where is she?’

‘Didn’t you know? Gayathri died in her childbirth.’

‘Oh..!’

I looked at the skinny girl. Huge lonely eyes gazed at me. Unruly curls framed the cute face.

‘Her father married again…?’ I guessed

‘What father?’ ‘Molu, Gayathri was betrayed.’

‘Betrayed? But you never told me?’

‘You were too young at that time to understand.’

‘She trusted the new police constable. Didn’t know that he was already married. He never returned to the village. She was expecting him to come for her when she came to work for us.

Oh..!’

‘It was too late when I came to know.. she was almost four months pregnant .

Why were women so stupid..?' I wondered again.

I slipped into the bed hugging my sleeping son. His body was cool . The fever had left him.

I lay sleepless hugging him..

The rain was gathering momentum.. again..

44 comments:

silverine said...

why are women stupid?

hmmm I guess people will be asking this question a million years from now too.

I was so totally gripped by the narration. You are an enchantress of words :)

Thanu said...

I love the way u write....

More than women being stupid, it has got to do with the fact parents do not let the kids feel comfortable coming to them with things like pregnancy. Or not talking to kids about sex, dangers of sex, safe sex.

hope and love said...

silvie,
hmm true.. wow..! txs for the lovely compliment..
:))
thanu, txs a lot. i was not talking abt unwanted pregnancy alone. but the attitude women generaly have to love and relationships..

Nariyal Chutney said...

Hmm :( , I agree with Thanu It has got to do with the fact that parents still sees sex as a taboo while talking to Children . Hope all those people who are against sex education in schools will read this story . Lot of this can be prevented if proper awareness is inculcated among these innocent girls :( and those !#!@#! are punished and brought to light :(

cOOL_aLIEN_fRM_mARS said...

the story was beautifully woven..was hooked till the end...

and the question...is it meant to imply that men are not? :)

hope and love said...

nariyal, hmmm true..
cOOL_aLIEN_fRM_mARS ,

thank you..
regarding the question.. well i think women stupidly belive false promises and declarationg of love.cos they have more emotional needs ..
maybe im wrong but that what i feel..

Prashanth M said...

my first visit here... wonderful narration..

cOOL_aLIEN_fRM_mARS said...

:)

wanderlust said...

you have a mesmerizing way with words :-)

Alok said...

ur post was beautiful ... like a play present .. slap recoil ... present ... slap recoil .... never lost

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Beautiful narrative... you captured me thoroughly with your words!

Beena said...

its true that women dont learn still..
girls missing in masses from vayanadu, part of tourism development, girls being cheated..
still our girls dont learn..
may eb they feelso insecure and helpless
good post

mathew said...

excellent narration..woven between the words there is a underlying sadness of why all is not fair...

Only wish people think more rationally and things get better..

AF said...

Yup ! Women do believe ppl easily and get carried away..! Education and proper upbringing of children....making them understnad thier responsibilities,importance of character,values etc etc etc...aall have a role tp play here i think.
and got to know that Dr Anu was called "Molu" in her childhood...well,well ...well narated memories Molu!

hope and love said...

prashanth, wanderlust,alok,sudipta,

txs a lot :))
beena, so true.. sad isnt it..?
mathew,
txs.
af, :))

lash said...

beautifully written. This i guess is your best post so far. Beautiful.

But then what is so stupid about this? Its only when we attach too much sanctity to pregnancy that such a thought arises. Look at it as just a process of reproduction. In this case it would be easier since she was not physically violated. Maybe the promise was broken but then promises are barely kept. I fell in love with this story. You have written this exceedingly well. I miss kerala and unniappam..

hope and love said...

lash,
txs :))
but can reproduction be taken so lightly ? what about the fate of the child..?
btw. how was the trek..? send pixs if any plz..

Candid Confessions said...

Women are gullible and naive! And by the way, You have a way with your writing! :)

emmanuel said...

Why were women so stupid..?
i don't know why everybody asks the same question in these contexts.....i feel it's the same old mentality that "women shud take care and if she doesn't take care, it's her fault" kind of thought......i don't agree with the statement......but as u wrote, can't help thinking like that when we see such things...... :((

honestly, it was a disturbing and painful narration......beautifully written..........wondeful post... :))

hope and love said...

candid confessions,
hmm.. i also feel so..
emmanuel, what i meant was women act stupidly when it comes to relationship with men.. actualy women should be more careful than men cos they have more to lose.. not only unwanted pregnancy but otherwise too.. that is a fact in the society in which we live whether we like it or not.. but stll women are more suceptible.. thats y i wrote like that

emmanuel said...

i have to agree with u doc when i see things like this....
btw, how is ur son?? paniyokke maariyo? :)

soul&body said...

how can u inspire so well? i wonder how?! because my imagination is empty!!

pophabhi said...

Quick magic. You are becoming quite a magician with words. The way you shifted between past and present without losing the tempo of the reality - adorable. You're a special doctor, doc! :)

hope and love said...

emmanuel, hmm.. i read it.. so sad..
soul&body,
txs.. i too feel like that often.. i think we have to keep trying..
:))
pophabi,
txs a lot..! so sweet of you..
:))

Poison said...

i hate it when this happens. like many have stated, what happens to fate of the child? who will bring him or her up. what will she or he become with all the scorching back talk whereever he or she goes. it will be pretty hard. sad. sadder knowing that this will keep on happening.

Liquid Oxygen said...

First time here

I must confess, was completely gripped by your words till the end, loved the writing more than the theme - beautiful & mesmerizing...

:)

Benjamin said...

"why are women stupid?"- not always, sometimes men too.

Benjamin said...

liked your narration. touching and contemplative!

Arti Honrao said...

Liked the way you wrote this ...
Sometimes, some people are never erased from our memories!

why are women stupid?
God Knows, perhaps! Or does He?



GBU
Arti

Vikas said...

why are women stupid?

its not this..it why humans are stupid??
We can never clap with one hand !

gr8 narration and always pleasure to read !!!!

Take Care
Vikas{V}

Shahrzad said...

hi dear friend,

I wasn't around for a while, but I'm back again.
Stories like this happen all over the world for women and girls who trust men and boys easily without even thinking about their future!
I wish there could be a stop to this chain of stories, but ...alas!
Wish you the best and hope all is now well with your lovely son.*hug*

Arunima said...

a beautiful post...
wonder why humans are so insensitive in relationships..

neermathalam said...

came through silverene post...
:(...

Now I understand her provocation...
it is heart drenching....

Awesome post....

jobypk said...

'Why were women so stupid?'

In my opinion, it is not so much women are stupid as they are uninformed.

Geets said...

Hi,
Lovely writing!

Too bad I did not get your number before I left. I did not visit Trivandrum but I could have spoken to you...

Venkatesh A.R. said...

excellent narration... gently switching between events... 1st time reading ur post.. came via silverine's post.. great work!!!

Celestine said...

powerfully written...

i think the whole idea of women being reliant on men isn't true anymore. even w a baby, there are so many choices open to women in accordance to what they feel is right for themselves.

we bring the heaviness of societal's ideals upon ourselves most of the time. the first step to be free should begin from ourselves.

mayenfeld said...

your prose is lovely, your experiences and your interpretation of them edifying...i am enjoying my visit to your abode on the web.

Kiran said...

hi doc,

happened to be here via silverine's journal... Hats off to you... and yeah, speaking about cases like these, it's only the victim who get to suffer at the end of the day, while the culprit pulls his head off the situaton and walk away.. :(... Period.

Jaalakam said...

It is not easy to forget Gayathri.
She was cute and innocent.
So she could be betrayed very easily.
She gave birth to an orphan.
Another girl for this society to betray….
Every thought about her pricks my heart,
Because I am also a part of this society
Which could not protect her..

Jaalakam said...

Hi friend,

Yesterday I forgot to add one more sentence in my comment. Shall I add it now?

Congrats for your simple and beautiful way of presenting a serious subject.

Wishing u, all happiness...

hope and love said...

txs everybody..
:))

venus66 said...

Hi, enjoyed reading your post. A good one. Take care.

Lizy said...

I throughly enjoyed reading your narration.
It just awakened some emotions within me especially today when I was so detached.
Thank you Hope and Love. :)