Monthly Archives: April 2014

An Excerpt From Abhaya’s Diary…. 15th April 1997

I was really excited that day. It was my brother’s first day at school. Though it was for the very first time, my mother did not help me get ready, instead it was my father who helped me put on my uniform. I like it when my father does something for me. Before that day, I had never experienced my brother sharing a single bite of his food with me. But in order to save time my mother served breakfast on the same plate and without any complain, I offered my egg to him. And without any hesitation he returned ( contrary to his nature) back the egg. My father dropped us to school.
Throughout, I was very excited. I did all my schoolwork far more sincerely than other days. Whenever, I got a little time, I thought about the morning. It filled me with excitement. My mother always taught me to share food with my brother and friends. She always said that * from me that he would learn the pleasure of giving. But that never happened. I thought school could change everything. School is really the ideal place that could change anybody. From the very first day of his school my brother learned a lot. It was fun going to school together. We could always share the food happily. No fighting anymore. I was lost in my thoughts. As a result of which I took the wrong bus for home. I got aware of it just after a while when I saw that I couldn’t see the same roads anymore but  all I could see was water and only water through the window. Our township is situated near a big canal. I realized I was moving towards a different direction, Not towards my home but somewhere else. I called upon the conductor and asked him “where is the bus going?”
He informed me that it was going towards the permanent township.

I was not panicked a bit because that was where my uncle stayed. I knew the way to* his house. At least, I was not lost. I told him where my uncle stayed but he insisted me to take out my identification card and find out my address. I told him where I stayed. The senior students in the bus panicked but I laughed at their stupidity. After all, whole of this place belonged to me, at least I wouldn’t get lost, and my heart filled with joy as I contemplated the water. I had a feeling of unrestrained, unshackled freedom. But yes I did want to get back home. I knew my mother was waiting for me at the lunch table. The conductor checked my card, and found out that I was the daughter of their “Gate Pass Madam”. My mother was quite well-known in the township. It was her responsibility to issue Gate passes to the outsiders. She was working with the “Town Administration”. Oh! It is so hard to spell! Very often, I used ask my mother, what she actually did ?, but never got a satisfactory answer. I only knew that she issued gate passes, sometime discussed the problems of the laborers and workers with my father, and if someone committed theft or robberies then they were first brought to my mother and then handed over to the police. The last thought actually added a bit more to my relief. I knew the conductor  wouldn’t offer me  chocolates and candies and I won’t be taken away to any selfish giant’s cave. After all I am the daughter of their “Gate pass madam”. He said” Wait for a while, we won’t leave you here with any * uncle. The bus will take you back to your mother’s office”.
“She is not in the office right now”, I blurted. “She is at home. This is lunch time. Drop me at my uncle’s house and then I can make a call to her.”

My words were given no importance.

Right then, right there, the gardens and fountains, all the panoramic vistas that my baby eyes could fathom… This particular township was so much better than ours. I just wanted to make a call back home but never wanted to get back so early. This break of routine was really amazing for me. I wanted to see my cousins as well. But the bus driver and conductor were so stubborn.

On my way back home, once again I could see those “water, water everywhere” scenes through the window. They dropped me at the bus stop near my house. I saw my mother and aunt standing there. My mother grabbed me at once. I could make out that she had cried a lot but was now trying to hide her tears in front of me. My aunt was crying aloud. The conductor exclaimed that I was really brave and cooperative. I was taken home. I don’t know what it was, but something strange filled my heart. Somehow I was not able to face my mother’s tear. I had never seen her cry before. At night my favorite food was cooked.Now, I really felt like crying. I wanted to hug my mother and scream but something held me back. I managed to hide my tears but it was really hard. We all sat down together to cherish a “sweet family” dinner. Despite all the bit of adventure I had enjoyed, I could feel that I was glad that at last I was back, “back to home, sweet home”, back to the warmth and safety of my mother’s arms, to the place where I could now enjoy a serene night’s sleep. And I was happy, because I could feel that everyone else was happy, happy because I was back to them, happy because to them, food tasted so much better when I was at the table. I blinked a tear, a drop of my peace and joy and felt it drop on my plate where it glistened like the costliest jewel.


Lord as a best friend…………

Today while reading some articles on religion and mythology, I got attracted towards two mythological figures from the great epic Mahabharata. One is Sree Krishna and the other is Draupadi and the friendship they shared. Based on these two figures, I would prefer to share some of my views on true friendship. We often hear people calling Krishna, a womanizer. Considering, Radha Krishna’s story, his past-time with gopies and then having so many wives, from a very general point of view, many times, I too got blown away with the common impression that people have for him. But When I give emphasis to Krishna and Draupadi’s relationship, a certain voice from inside always tell me to respect them both.
Draupadi was not just blessed with beauty but also the virtue. She was always submissive towards her duty. Many a time people have raised questions about her character but no one ever realized that getting married to five husbands was never her luxury but compulsion and struggle as well. In fact, she did so for the greater good of all without even thinking about the bad consequences she would face. She did not even have the right to love just that one person who achieved her and whom she desired with all her heart before marriage. She stayed committed to all five equally. She had five husbands but no one was truly committed to her or stood up for her when needed. Each one of them brought another wife or wives for themselves without giving importance to her feelings and sacrifices. Well, we can consider Bheem as an exception because he got married to Hidimba even before he married Draupadi and avenged most of her insults. She had a powerful father, powerful brother, extremely talented and five powerful husbands but none of them was completely successful in protecting her respect and chastity. Actually, none of them really had respected her enough. It was Lord Krishna who guided her through all dark ways, protecting her chastity and never left her alone. In fact, the Lord was her only philosophical guide.
During Sisupal Vadh, Krishna got his finger cut and Draupadi without any delay covered the wound tearing a piece of cloth from her Saree and in return Krishna promised to repay the debt of each thread when needed and he kept his promise saving Draupadi’s chastity when Dushasan tried to disrobe her in front of the whole court. At that moment there was no one to help her out. No fatherly figures, brother and all-powerful husbands were helpless. When she repeatedly questioned her husband specially Yudhisthir, he was numb. Yudhisthir didn’t even respect her individuality as an independent human being and put her on a stake while gambling. When she questioned Bhism Pitamaha, though knowing that Duryodhana is doing evil, he got more stuck with his duty towards the kingdom and finding answer to the questions “Whether a man owns his wife or not or whether a master has the right to do anything he pleases with his slave?”,then to the lamenting woman standing in front of him asking for help. If he wanted he really could have helped Draupadi, who was daughter like for him from being disrobed.
But she never disrespected any of her husbands or elders of the family. Rather she was the only one who followed her husbands to the forest absorbing all the suffering but never put aside her duty towards her husbands. Pandavas’ other wives were not seen during this phase. Well, I do understand that it was needed for Subhadra to stay away and raise Abhimanyu but Draupadi had to stay away from her five sons for a period of whole 13 years. She had always shown respect to Gandhari and Dhritarashtra and had sympathized with their misfortune after the war. But it was in Dhritarashtra’s court where she faced the most insulting misfortune and her husband lost everything for a period 13 yrs.
During their 13 years of exile, it was her best friend Krishna who saved her husbands from Rishi Durvasa’s curse on her request. Krishna along with his own niece Abhimanyu looked after all five Upapandavs during that exile and made them trained and educated.
Lord Krishna always knew whoever it is, a queen or a maid, a friend or a friend’s wife, anyone or any lady belonging to any class is respectable and dishonouring or disrespecting another man’s lady or even looking at her with lust is an unforgivable offence. Therefore, we all know that he became the medium to vanquish all evil Kauravas from earth avenging Draupadi’s insult. Though he himself did not fight but helped Arjun and Bheem to fulfil their vow.
Nobody except Krishna whom Draupadi used to call her best friend gave her the deserved respect and fulfilled all his duties towards her.I know many would say that due to Arjun’s ignorance, Draupadi’s heart desired Karna many times when she realized her mistake to call Karna a Charioteer’s son at her self-choice ceremony but even if it is true, she never forgot her duties towards all her husbands and never left them alone in bad time. And then even being a man from that age, Karna believed in monogamy. If she would have wedded to Karna, nobody would have ever dared to insult her in front of the whole court. But she rather chose Arjun, who was on Dharma’s side in her eyes, at least for that moment when her self-choice ceremony was going on. Karna was the man who had all the qualities she desired. Other than being just a great archer, he was handsome, strong and full of humility, ethical but as he was on Duryodhan’s side, she preferred choosing Arjun. But the son of Dharma and devotees of Dharma remained silent when the whole world saw her destruction and except Krishna, no one came to her help. All her expectations got crushed.
Even in today’s world, we view the friendship between a man and a woman with filthy and doubtful eyes. But there are some other truths as well.Even in today’s world woman is considered as husband’s property, the man forces his dominance over the woman. Teachers, mentors, fatherly figures look upon to the daughter -like -girls with lustful eyes. Even if there are few who don’t, they are afraid to protest the evil, by hiding behind the veil of reputation and social status. I being a woman really understand that a woman should be the reason for man’s pride, glory and respect but it is also the duty of a man to protect his woman’s respect and should be the reason for her pride, glory and respect. Staring at other man’s lady with lustful eyes has always been a sinful act and would always remain that way. One should understand that staring at your brother’s or friend’s lady with lustful eyes brings disrespect to those men as well and the curse could anytime touch you and your family. According to Bhagvat Geeta, it’s our Karma that determines our future. What matters is the present moment and how we do justice to it. We too were born out of lady’s womb whom you call mother, we too have other relations like sisters and daughters who would also be someone’s wife someday. As a man you should understand that it would cause the same pain to that man as it would have caused to you if your lady or wife were watched with lustful eyes by other men. There is a difference between your brother or friend’s lady and a prostitute. But a girl should also keep in mind that your activities should also be such that it doesn’t harm your man’s dignity and you should always understand your own value and should stay beside your man during the crisis. Lord Krishna served Draupadi as his best friend because she herself never did anything wrong and was duty-bound irrespective of all the suffering she had gone through. God always stays with the right person. If you are talented, you are bound to get success in your work. Maharathi Karna has proved it many times but if you are not righteous and use your power and talent selfishly for yourself, then the tears of a duty-bound women and insulted men would never let you sleep peacefully, and would haunt you every night and be the reason for your downfall as happened to Duryodhan, Dushashan and Karna. Even Bhism Pitamaha, Kripacharya and Drona Acharya got penalized for remaining silent. Draupadi’s life was difficult but successful because it was Lord fighting for her and Lord knows everyone’s heart. Draupadi got the punishment for some of her mistakes from past but still, she was a better person as compared to others from that age and was rewarded for that. Draupadi and Krishna shared a better relationship with friends.
Dipanwita Mitra