She was staring at the lamp, unsure whether she should keep it lit or not. Tomorrow it may very well be a choice between warmth on face and food in stomach. So here is the main character of our story, let’s call her Radha, staring at the lamp hoping that the oil burns slow, so that she does not have to buy it again tomorrow. Staring at the lamp, Radha knew in her heart that it only offers a false promise of heat in a freezing night. The night was going to be long. She put out the light. Lying in the dark, shivering and hoping for sleep to finally takeover; at times like these, the most difficult part was not to fight the present, but to avoid thinking about happy moments of past, to avoid the thoughts of the man in her life. The man who wasn’t.
She had little ambitions in life. Majority of our population may not even understand the meaning of the word ambition. It is a luxury available to only who do not have to worry about making the ends meet. She could not fight the memories. The memory of the day she came to her new home, her warm welcome and memories of her first night. That day is probably the highest point in life of girls like Radha.
She could not sleep. She was feeling thirsty. ‘Not thirst’ she cursed herself for not going to well in the evening. There wasn’t a drop of water at home. She tried to fight with the dry throat and then after a point she could not win. She picked up a pot, covered herself with a tattered blanket. She hesitated for a moment but her throat did not. She got rid of her anklets. The quieter it is, the better it would be. It was pitch dark. She did not know whether to curse the fog or be grateful for it. She was not born in this village but after years of carrying water, she could reach the well blindfolded.
She quenched her thirst. She filled the pot and started back. She was near her hut when she heard the footsteps. At first she thought she was imagining things, but all the doubts cleared when two strong hands strangled her from behind, one holding knife on her neck and other holding her hands. He did not allow her to make any sound except for the sound of her pot dropping on the ground. The intentions were clear. He started dragging her most probably to a nearby hut or to fields. She could not help but recall when her husband used to drag her holding her hair. She had become habitual to the daily torture. Her fists clenched. With extreme pressure she bit on the hand and jumped on the knife. In a moment, she was sitting on the man and stabbed him in his chest and she kept stabbing.
Sometime back she could not stop shivering. Now she was sweating, but only till she came back in her senses. She wasn’t going to leave the body there. It belonged to her now. She dragged it to the backyard and started digging. She just dropped the body in the grave and covered it. Nothing what happened today had happened to her for the first time. She had lived the nightmare all over again. After all, the grave was adjacent to the place where she buried her husband.
If she could kill her husband a thousand times, she would. She was not shivering anymore. She slept like a child. The sleep offered a false promise much like the lamp and her wedding day. A false promise of a better tomorrow.