Ding..dong- the doorbell rang.Renuka wiped her hands covered in white flour, with her apron and rushed to get the door. The advocate stood there, with droplets of sweat on his forehead. She invited him in and went back inside to get a glass of cold water. The weather was hot. The leaves were motionless as if they had no energy left for any movement. There had been no rainfall, even though it was June. When she came back with the water, she had a strange anxious expression on her face.
“What is the progress with the case?” she asked
“Not good. Your sisters are not ready to compromise. They want to sell off their whole property and are not ready for any kind of negotiation”, said the advocate. She gulped back her tears.
She decided to spend some time alone. Thinking. Remembering. She went to the nearby park. Amidst the fallen petals and faded leaves, she stood beside the bench, thinking deeply. The soft light of the setting sun fell on her face and made it glow. She was untouched by the cool breeze that blew a strand of hair across her face. She was too old now to remember all of it so clearly, yet she could picture the pain she felt and it was visible on her face.
It had all begun after the death of her father, when the rifts between the three sisters began. She was the eldest. Life had been throwing lemons at her at frequent intervals, but she always stood strongly and never gave up. But this time, her very own blood had betrayed her. Both her sisters wanted partition of the property. She did not have any issue in that but the only problem was that a part of the portion in which she had been living with her children, also came in her sisters’ share. They had insisted her on vacating that portion. But she had offered a negotiation that she would pay for the extra land that she had. Call it destiny or karma, her sisters never agreed. They did not consider anything about her. And here she was today, fighting her own family.
At a very tender age she had lost her mother, who was suffering from Leukemia. Since then she had been managing the house herself. Taking care of her siblings and helping them grow into better individuals was never a burden for her. She took care of her father too and simultaneously managed to complete her post graduation from a reputed college. It was very brave on her part to endure and accept the harsh reality of life and keep on moving forward. When she completed her post graduation, her father started looking for a match. A year later she was married. But that was not an end to her problems. In fact, it was the beginning. Although her in-laws seemed nice people, but that was true only in the face value. Her mother in law treated her very badly. She had this unusual problem of making remarks at everything. But as time passed, Renuka learnt to deal with all of them. She chose silence over words. And it worked wonders. She did not speak to anyone, except her husband. And gradually things became to normalize. Luck favored her and her husband got a transfer in the job. Moving away from the in laws added some hopes in her life.
Meanwhile, her two sisters also got married. Her father managed alone but he was happy that after a long sad journey, things were settled. But the worst was yet to come. Some years later, Renuka’s husband again had a transfer, but since it was sudden he could not make proper arrangements for housing and admission of the children into a good school.
Therefore, she and her husband decided that for the time being, Renuka and her two children would stay with her father. They executed the plan successfully and shifted to her father’s house. Her husband had to leave for Delhi after three days. Until then he helped Renuka get the task of admission done and also arranged for other utilities. Finally the day came when he had to leave for Delhi. He bid goodbye to all and drove off early in the morning.
Her daughter cried a lot as she could not endure staying away from her parents. But Renuka consoled her and reassured her that he would be back soon. Later in the morning around 7:00 AM, Renuka was startled with the ring of the telephone. It was an unusual ring. She had a feeling that something bad was about to happen. With a shivering hand she picked up the receiver.
“Is this Mrs. Kapoor?"
"Yes, who is this?"
"Hello mam, I am calling from Moradabad. Your husband has met with an accident. There is a minor injury and we have admitted him in the local hospital."
Renuka was in state of complete shock. The worst of her nightmares had come true and she did not have enough strength to fight that situation. Somehow she completed the conversation on telephone, noted down the address of the hospital and finally broke down. By that time her father was also awake. He came to know about his son in law and was also in tears. The next moment Renuka was ready to leave for Moradabad. She woke up her children and told them that father had met with a minor accident and that she was going to bring him back home.
Renuka had reached Moradabad in three hours. She entered the hospital only to find that her husband was no more. She was completely broken. Not in the wildest of her imagination, had she thought that God would do this to her. Her faith in God had been crushed.
But yet again she tried to rise above all the
high tides. She faced a great battle with her thoughts.
"It's impossible," said pride.
"It's risky," said experience.
"It's pointless," said reason.
"Give it a try," whispered the heart.
And eventually she followed her heart. She had to live. Live for her children. Live for her father. And live for every other person who mattered to her. Right after her husband’s death, her in laws broke all ties with her. Though it pinched a little, yet she accepted it. After all there was no other option. She had been taught that never ever she should beg for anything, if she was right. And thus, she never bowed before anyone.
Her father supported her in every possible way. She started working as a teacher so that her mind remains active and she is able to counter the negative thoughts. Things started falling into place when her children also adjusted and started doing well in school. Time flew in the blink of an eye. Her daughter gave her first board exams and everybody waited for the results. It was a matter of pride and honor, though she never really imposed this burden on her children. But after her husband’s death, everybody had underestimated her. Therefore, she wanted to show the world that she was capable of shaping her children into good individuals. When the results were announced, she was the happiest camper. Her daughter had scored a respectable 86%. Her head was high with pride.