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Saturday Fare

My ‘Shero’

RituparnaGoswamiPande

I secretly adore RakhiSawant! She is one gutsy woman, no doubt about it. Controversy’ s child, she has sure been there and done it all… call her badass, call her a publicity monger, call her what you deem right…but she scores brownie points with me as she has always held her own in every step of her life.

But my subject is not RakhiSawant today but another iron lady who transformed from being a timid object of persecution to a woman of power right before my own eyes… It happened one night a few years ago when a loud shrieking noise tore into the stillness of the dark…making me sit bolt upright on my bed. I hurried outside towards the terrace to find out the origin of the unpleasant wail. The voices were coming from the Assam type house across the road. It belonged to the woman who lived in the house along with her husband and a child of probably two years…. I used to see her and the baby sitting on the charpoy outside on many sultry afternoons.

Her husband was a wife beater… therefore such disturbances became a regular feature in the neighbourhood.
My heart went out to her…I often passed her on the streets and came to know she was also a lecturer in a local college. She was young, she was pretty,she was a mother and she was a career woman too…the pages of her life began to unravel to me one day at a time. And that she was a victim of domestic violence too came as a shock that fateful night as I helplessly stood there unable to do anything about it.

Days passed and one evening, as I stepped out of my apartment I saw her face and couldn’t help but admire her beautiful kohl lined eyes as she stood there adjusting her yellow chiffon saree…there was a certain innocence in her eyes which somewhat explained her condition of being unable to stand up for herself….

Years passed…I don’t know whether I got used to her wails or my own life took over me but she seemed to fade from my consciousness. Until I came to know that her husband left her. I secretly revelled at this piece of news and thought she was better off without that tyrant.She was an object of my pity till the day I came to know that she had driven her husband away! Pity was replaced by admiration and my fondness for her grew by the day as I kept hearing of the feats she was achieving. The caterpillar had morphed into a butterfly or vice versa, whichever suits your view…
She had swindled her mother-in-law out of the family property, her goons manhandled her estranged husband when he came to protest, she siphoned off money from her clients by promising them fake schemes…. she had resigned from her post as lecturer and was now a practicing lawyer… she was wanted by the police for swindling money from banks….she was going places!

The people of our locality were wary of her now as she had earned a reputation for herself.
And one day when I saw a speeding car screech to a halt near our house, I couldn’t help but notice a fashionably dressed woman alighting from the driver’s seat and going up the steps of the now three-storied building that had replaced the former Assam type house. She tossed her aqua green shades into the dashboard of the car just before alighting from it, giving me a glimpse of the heavily mascaraed eyes whose innocence I realised had been replaced by a hardened steely gaze that seemed to pierce through my soul as if silently threatening me to stay away….

I admire this gutsy lady who held her own in times of adversities…who singlehandedly made a mark in her life, who didn’t let society overpower her with its clichéd norms….

I know, she does not fall into the category of a straitjacketed concept of a protagonist…. but never the less she is a ‘hero’….a “shero” to be more precise, her own hero….saving herself from becoming another figure in the statistics of persecuted women. Instead she took the reins of her life in her own hands and took cudgels against those trying to bog her down….

The stereotyped concepts of ethics are not applicable or important here…but the determination of the spirit is….

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