Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Self sufficiency

She kept blabbering something. I couldn’t make out the guttural whisper. I suppressed my nausea as the stench of blood, urine, sweat and tears wafted from her, filling my nose.

One half of her face was swollen. She had multiple contusions all over the body, fractured ribs and bleeding from her ears. The right eye looked grotesque. The pulse was feeble and the BP, not record able.

She was in shock.

I started an I/V line, sutured a gaping lacerated wound on her forehead. A batch of tests, painkillers and antibiotics were advised. Neuro, ENT, Surgical and Opthal consultations were ordered.

No, sedation would have to wait much as I would have liked to sedate her.

The bleeding from the ears looked ominous. Head injury had to be ruled out first.

“Sister, tell the bystanders to come to my room.’

I told the sister as I walked out of the ER.

I felt furious.

It took about 20mts for someone to turn up. A middle aged bulky woman. She stood near the door.

‘Come, sit.’

‘No I’ll stand’.

‘No you sit.’

She sat.

‘Her sister?’

‘No, neighbor.’

‘Her husband?

‘The Police is searching for him.’

‘What happened?’

‘Her boy came and called me.’

‘Boy? How old?’

‘ 8yrs’

‘He was in tears. Told that his amma was hurt and crying. I went with him to see what had happened.’

I could feel her panic as she recounted what had happened.

‘ I didn’t find her in the house. Then I found her.. In the verandah at the back. She was lying on the steps leading to the backyard. ‘

‘Didn’t you hear anything?’



‘No, the TV was switched on in both the houses.’ She shifted her eyes

Where is the child now?’

‘He wouldn’t come to my house. I left my kids with him’

‘Has this happened before?’

‘Don’t know.’

‘C’mon you must know.’
‘ Oh. Ok. Yes.’

‘You spoke to her about it?’

‘ No’

‘But why?’

‘It’s a personal matter. These things happen’

‘But you never discussed it?’


‘She didn’t tell you anything too?’

‘No. She was a very quiet woman’


‘Yes. Quiet… Soft ... Timid… Shy… She never spoke about it to me. And I didn’t want to ask her’

‘What about the husband?’

‘ A good for nothing fellow. Drunkard…Involved in Petty crimes. Never gave her peace’ .She shuddered. ‘We avoided him, my husband and me.’

She rose up again. Eager to leave.

‘M’am I’ve to go. The kids are alone. They must be scared and hungry’

‘But some one should stay back.’

‘We have rung up to her father he is on the way.’

‘Where do they live?’

At Neendakara.... They are on the way..’ She repeated as if it was an excuse for her to leave.

‘I have to go. My husband will be here till they come’

‘Ok. Tell her father to meet me.’

The Causalty was busy that day. I got time to talk to her father only late in the night. A shriveled, defeated man. His shabby terlene shirt hung loosely around the frail old body.

‘Ganga’s father?’


‘You saw her?’


‘Understood her condition?’

The sunken eyes beseeched me. The gaunt face looked tired and drawn.

‘Do you think she will survive?’

The softness in my voice made him jerk in pain.

‘To be frank I doubt it.’ I persisted.

I knew that I was driving the arrow in his heart deeper. But I had to be open in this hopeless case.’

‘We will try for the best. . But...’ I left my voice trailing.

Yes I had to be open. Her reports had come
She had fractured skull. Intra cranial bleed, ruptured spleen, fractured ribs and Contusion in her lungs.
There were cigarette burns on her cornea.

She was already in coma .It was highly unlikely that she would survive.

‘You know what happened?’


‘ You know that she was often being battered?’


‘Yes?’ I couldn’t keep my anger out of my voice.

‘ Yes. I know that her suffering started the day she married him. She would come to my house and weep’

‘First it was for dowry. Then a scooter. Then whenever he had problems
He was involved in petty crimes. Didn’t have a proper job.’

‘Was she admitted before?’

‘Yes twice.’

He wouldn’t look at me.

‘Once with a twisted arm and once with fracture ribs.’

‘You never reported it to the police?’


‘He told he would set fire to her body. Pour acid on her face.’

He paused for a moment and looked into my eyes as if it was a confession.. Then he continued.

‘Last month she came to my house. She refused to go back to him.

‘It was I who convinced her to go back.’ The old man started to shake.

‘You convinced her? Why?’

‘I told her that she must go back to her family.’

I felt the nausea rise up my gut again.


‘Yes. Her husband and kid’

‘But why?’ I didn’t ask that but it my silence did.

‘My Ganga was a timid girl. I felt that she wouldn’t be able to manage alone. Who take care of her after my death? ? But she has left before me… I can’t bear this…!

He started to sob again.

‘Ok ok.’ please calm down.’ What has happened has happened. You did what you felt was the best for her. Don’t torture yourself... Please. ‘

My heart went out to the old man. I could feel his deep pain. His regret... His guilt.

‘Take some food and try to get some sleep. I’ll tell sister to give you a mild tranquilizer.’

That was all I had to offer him.

Also, I too was tired and hungry. I needed some rest badly.

Quiet. Soft... Timid… Shy..

The words kept resounding in my ears, as I lay sleepless.

Quiet.. Soft…. Timid.. Shy...

Ganga didn’t pass the night. She died during the early hours of dawn.

Quiet ,Soft, Timid, Shy , Ganga.

The words often used to describe a woman

High time it is changed to Bold. Spunky and Smart …

And of course ‘Self-sufficient...’


Adorable Pancreas said...

Cigarette burns on her cornea? I just can't get over that.

What about that @#$*%&! of a husband? I hope he's in real pain.

It's still a woman's duty to stay with her husband until she's dead, no matter how fast he's speeding death on its way.

Alexis said...

High time it is changed to Bold. Spunky and Smart …And of course ‘Self-sufficient...’

Yes, that is it. But this has to begin when they are young; only then it will work...

Really touching...

Ann said...

Oh gosh. Here we sit in our luxurious cubes, mindlessly working at some corporate grandiose plans and complaining of the minor trivialites in life, and you face such anguish and gut wrenching horror. Tears are burning as I write this, how many of these cases must be going on in the world. Think of the child she left behind.......Ur work must cut into your soul, I'm sure you have figured a way to not let it permeate into your home life, right? I hope your wonderful blog and writing gives you that release.

Life said...

hello anu :)

me after long time. How ru ??? Me doing fine.
I hope u remember me ?

As usual its intresting read ur posts

Take Care

Dhanya said...

It's really painful.. I also come up with such situations during some volunteering activities.. You feel so helpless.. I donno what can be done to change these conditions..

mathew said...

am lost for words..I dont understand how man can behave irrationally like this.

Infact most of these stories are never heard outside.I have heard more of it in blogs than in print media.

I hope people change...stop being animal.

Anonymous said...

The issue is a complex one. Main reasons are poverty, illiteracy and other social factors.
POVERTY and SELF SUFFICIANCY do not go hand in hand.

Emmanuel said...

i'm not able to say what i feel now.....is it pain for the poor woman and her father? i don't know.....is it anger against her so-called 'husband'? i don't know......i feel emotionless.....

hope world would be better for Quiet,Soft,Timid,Shy women in future....and they themselves and others help them, to be Bold,Spunky, Smart and Self sufficient.....and i pray that the hope comes true.....what else can i say?

venuss66 said...

It's very touching. Just couldn't stop my tears. Why some people are so cruel? Ignorance? :(

-Poison- said...


Anonymous said...

how prudish, sentimental, saddistic.......cooked-up stories!!! Expectation: Scoring comments?

hope and love said...

txs everybody.
i know it is brutual and sad. maybe its the brutuality that made you respond like that.yes part of it is fiction. i cant report my case exactly cos of professional reason. but my intention of the post was the feeling that its high time we consider characters like quietness timidity etc features of an ideal woman. for eg the word 'pavam' for a woman. a pavam woman will find it difficult to live in a brutual world. but i request you to plz google search 'hina fathima'. she too had corneal burns'.
as for comments if you read my other posts and the comments you will realize im not eager to increase my comments. infact i often feel that i dont take enough time to answer the comments compared to the time i take to prepare my posts.
ps. i have never told anywhere thats its true life stories that i report i here. i just wish to get some points across. i may use fact or fiction for it. its my right as a writer. there are lot of fiction novels and short stories written as 'I' ie first person view point. . that doesnt mean they are all true life incidents of the writer.
txs for the feedback

Unnikuttan said...

i am a regular reader of your blog and this time i couldnt stop me from putting this comment...

your blog is a very good one....

dont bother about some of these childish comments.....some people will not ever change...

please continue.....
we all are eagerly waiiting:)

Adorable Pancreas said...

There. I've done your tag. :)

silverine said...

I don't know what to say or write. Sometimes words fails you. I have a cousin who works in an NGO. She tells similar stories and worse :( And you know what, even though we are shocked to hear this, people who work in NGOs and other govt welfare bodies come accros such cases everyday!!

wanderlust said...

true. the sadder part is there are many so called 'spunk,brave, self-sufficient' girls who put up with lots of such nonsense for the sake of keeping their famil together. to what end is the question.

Anonymous said...

high time, yes!

I am notsure how to respond to this. the issue is not just this one case.

But yes, the women folk need to be educated

Prats said...

Your post's given me the goosebumps of a lifetime. I keep hearing of such things in the media and around us, but never ever got to hear it like this....and i'm pretty sure its a lot like this out there in the vicious world.
Now i'm in half a mind to put that useless husband through the same treatment...cos nothing else will give him salvation.

aMus said...

SHOCKING!!! but sadly there are many cases of abuse which don't get publicized...u're right hope the day soon arrives teh victim ceases to be one and learns to stand up....

ap said...

I just dont understand why people are like this .....feeling very sad..... :(

what will happen to that kid ??
Why is the world like this !!!!

Aashi said...

yea Anu...uv again brought up an important issue....yes women themselves can and should learn to help themselves..
abt the annonymous comment....well,all i have to say is that someone somewhere is awefully jeoulous of u...ur kind nature and ur goodwill...so jeolous that he/she writes such things to u in a public place like ur blog...dont worry anu...the person himself is making a fool of himself....u carry on and write whatever u feel like.!

Fighter Jet said...

its really sad to hear incidents like the one u have narrated.its precisly events like them which makes me agnostic.looks like there is lot of manufacturing defects in the factory of god....or else how come such rascals are born?if only there was court of law where God could be sued,I would have been the first one to sue him.for all his negligence,for all his mal administration of this world.for all the poverty and hunger,for all the misery of living being.

Di said...

It tears my heart to hear of such stories..and angers me enuf to beat up the criminal :-/ I've no idea how docs manage to witness this day after day and remain sane!My kudos to u..really.

Surya said...

ahhh... my fellow native, but who will call us bold, spunky and smart?

... other female friends who feel bad that we are still single, while they are all happily married and have two kids (all within a quarter century of existence)??

... parents, who are being pressurized by their friends and the extended family to get us married off and that we are helpless without a man to look after us?

... male colleagues and friends who think that we are arrogant, snobbish and need to be 'taught a lesson' in good manners?

... other women who tell you to live like a small town girl and not to forget one's roots?

I dont expect such words from them - i will be happy of they call me a bitch because i did not adhere to their definition of me.

Winnie the poohi said...


It is really sad that such things happen.. And this happens not just in some good for nothing places but also in uber ultra modern society too.. isnt that sad??

Broke my heart! this did!

Suparna said...

women's helplessness is so painful and frustrating. It's time women rise and voice out their suffocation and frustration. Last but not the least....people like Ganga's *&^%$# husband should be shot in public!!!