I am in Bombay for my first cousin’s wedding. Its a happy festive time. The whole family is together after a while and the usual merriment prevails. The morning breakfast excitement, conversations and laughter has filled the air. That’s when I spot her, quietly
re-filling the fast deleting stack of stuffed parathas. She is one of the many helps engaged for the wedding. Head bowed low, agility in her gait, she goes about her business as silently as breeze. She is just like any other help around, the only difference being the deep and prominent burn marks on her neck, back and stomach. I am guessing there could be more but might be hidden under her clothes.
Working for an awareness drive such as this makes one far more perceptive. And so gathering some courage I approach her and make some small talk. And then when I see her open a little I ask her about the burn. She shrugs, says it happened when in a fit of anger her husband tossed a burning kerosene stove on her. She is glad her face is still
normal else she wouldn’t have got any work to do. She didn’t look bitter. It was like she had accepted it as something that happens in a marriage. She has moved on. Continues to live with the same man and is bringing up his children, moved on none the less.
After a while my pain numbs, and is replaced by seething anger. The state of our women breaks my heart into a million pieces. Will it ever change? Will they ever be respected for what they are and not just treated as an object. A voice although feeble, says it will. I am
doing my bit for it. Will you too by spreading some awareness?