She, with a red saree draped around her, henna on her palms and a bunch of bangles in both her wrists, was lost in thoughts. Those vast farmlands, dotted with trees and scarecrows; clear skies with flock of birds passing by every few minutes; cool breeze that swayed the crops. Hearing her husband’s voice, she comes back to reality and speeds up washing the utensils while squatting beside the hand pump. Her husband, a 26 year old, walks towards her, yells and kicks away one of the washed utensils. He has to go back to work and she is a few minutes late in serving him lunch. He steps out in anger and joins his friends for a game of cards where he, like every other day, loses all his money. Their ten year age gap seems to be increasing forever.

Its three in the afternoon. The Sun is gleaming through the windows in her living room. She looks at the calendar and realises how Sunday is still 3 days away. She serves herself some lunch and resumes working on her laptop. Both her kids would be home in about half an hour and the usual of everyday would kick in; tuitions and homework for both, music classes for one, art for the other. She turns on Youtube and the top recommendation reminds her of the time when she and her husband used to sit in the balcony and sip a hot cup of tea while listening to that song. She recalls how earlier it was a fairy tale for her to only have to be involved with household chores; how she loved tutoring her girls by herself; how much she hates working in parallel now; how tough life has been since her husband’s demise. Tears roll out of her eyes; she wipes them off as she hears her kids ringing the bell.

Waking up to a glass of freshly prepared spinach juice delivered to her bed, she checks her Instagram feed. She discovers a new pub in the locality where one of her friends got smashed the previous night. She wakes her boyfriend up with her elbow, murmurs a soft good morning wish in his ears and immediately checks on his evening plans. She gets out of bed, freshens up, changes into her running outfit and heads out. Her boyfriend makes breakfast for both of them, for its a weekly tradition for him to cook; and rushes out for office on his cycle. She, after her morning fitness sessions at the gym, comes back home, has breakfast and drives to work. Later in the day, they come home a little early and head to the new pub she had read about.

Her alarm wakes her up at 6 in the morning. She feels low and cranky. She doesn’t trust her colleagues would understand her mood and calls it a sick day. She moved into this city only around seven months back and that is when she joined this data analytics firm. It was very considerate of the manager to hire her. There was absolutely no doubts about her talent but she lacked confidence and wasn’t willing to cite the reasons for being out of work for the previous five months. She switches her alarm off and goes back to sleep. Her ex-husband, who moved abroad a few months back, wakes up and heads to office. Instead of driving to work, he takes a cab that day; the entire story of his wife leaving him exactly an year ago on charges of rape flashes before him. It cost him his job, his health and few months of court hearings to rightfully prove himself innocent.

She stays away from family so as to pursue higher education. Its eleven in the night, she is walking home; a little hurriedly, for the road is unusually empty. Its a ten minute walk, only supported by a few flickering street lights. She runs into a stranger who looks familiar; he introduces himself and although nervous initially, she realises that he is indeed a neighbour. They head towards their apartment together; walking a feet apart, but at a normal pace. Suddenly there is a noise; they follow the scream and find a girl who is in immense pain. No one else can be seen around; they book a cab, take her to a nearby hospital and register a case of acid attack.

Originally published at https://themarwaridimag.blogspot.com on March 10, 2020.

Marwari. Computer Science Graduate. Amateur painter & writer. Trying to achieve reading goals. Finance & cycling enthusiast.