She is the woman of the world. She loves stars, those twinkling little stars that dangled on her poetry book and sparkled on cold nights to give her company and comfort. She slept on the soft grass and spoke on constellations to her lover, as he would be busy touching and feeling her flesh. But she would be busy always talking to stars, fantasising in their world of dreams. So this year end, she chose you, New Year Star, to send her New Year letter to. She had none else who she could ask for anything this New Year. Here’s Blue Eve taking on the avatar of ten women and sharing their woes, as the quintessential woman, in the regular column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Dear New Year Star,
I do not have ten arms like Devi Durga, the ultimate show of feminine strength worshipped in India, the female deity, the female goddess, but I do have ten wishes. Will you make them happen this New Year?
I rose from the ruins of my abyss, only a few months ago. But I didn’t turn a relic that you could showcase in your museum or plunder it to pieces. I lived to challenge your power and to establish mine. Yes, I was raped on the behest of a man who I had loved. He had fun, yes pure fun with his friends hunting and defeating me in the battle of life. Still, I never called myself a rape victim though my society and the legal system labelled me a victim. New Year Star never let anyone call a raped woman a victim, call those rapists’ victims. They are victims of their desires, their patriarchal upbringing and their power hunger. They have no control. I pity them. So, let 2017 teach all a new meaning of the word victim.
New Year Star, I have learnt to read the alphabets at last, and one day may be I shall go to a proper school and college too. I was sold to a brick kiln owner. My mom and dad only sold me to repay their debts. I was passed on as a bonded labourer to the kiln owner, from one man to the other. I became a property until I was rescued by a team as child labour is banned and sent to a ‘home’. Life here is difficult, abuse comes at times, but still there are kind hearts who hold evening schools. I attend them. Please let me go to a good school and college in future. I promise I shall do wonders. I shall be a good student.
I am marrying next year. My dad will pay a huge dowry in cash and gold. He is a rich man after all, and in our community, not even an educated girl like me can be married off without a dowry. Give me the strength to say ‘no’ to this marriage. I cannot tolerate my parents selling me off in a subtle way. I shall work, take up a job and leave all luxuries behind. New Year Star, give me the grit to win.
Dear Star, I was to be killed long back, in my mother’s womb. But the kind doctor gave a wrong information to my father and his family, deliberately, to save me. But then when they realized I was not a son, they turned my mom and me out. I shall be giving my Engineering entrance exams in 2017 and I wish to make ma proud. She struggled to bring me up single-handedly. Hope her and my wishes are fulfilled and I can teach my estranged Engineer dad that a daughter he tried to kill is as successful as he is.
Oh! Yes, I could not produce an heir. I was not physically fit even to go for an IVF. My husband kept on insisting, his family even wished to marry him off again. They had large businesses and they needed a son to carry their legacy forward. I had proposed to adopt. They refused, they could not ‘pollute’ their family blood line with someone else’s child, that’s what they said. But I wish to become a mother. New Year Star give me the strength to break all shackles of what they call home, and let me divorce my husband and raise an adopted daughter alone. Yes, I wish to be a single mother.
I am indeed enjoying my new old age home. I have made new friends and we take a walk every morning and evening along the river banks. We celebrate festivals together, we were even take to the Durga Puja pandals of the city last year. New Year Star, I am lucky, I do not miss my son anymore, the one who is settled abroad and refused to take me along, I wanted to, believe me. He stopped his visits to India too, said he was too busy with his family and work. So I sold my house and came to the home. New Year Star, I hold no ill feelings towards them. Wish them luck and happiness forever New Year Star.
I never wrote a letter before, I was more comfortable calling up people in person. But since the day I discovered love letters from my husband’s drawers written in great earnest, by the woman he was having an affair with, I took to writing letters. Only that mine are written to my daughter who lives in her college hostel. New Year Star, give me more words so that I can produce the best letters ever.
My mother-in- law always finds faults in whatever I do. I am an orphan girl, only because I was very pretty my uncle could marry me off without any dowry to my husband. But his mother keeps on mentioning that every time. I tried speaking to my husband on this but he feels I have no right to complain because I was a poor girl and had no money. I should feel grateful that he accepted me as his wife. My duty was only to serve them. New Year Star teach me the tricks to serve my in-laws. Will you?
I am the power of the universe New Year Star. I shall meet you some day in person. I am fighting cancer these days, doctors have said I might not sustain the whole year. Still, I am trying. They say cancer can be battled with the strength of a strong soul. I am trying. Yet, at times the pain is unbearable. New Year Star if I can’t take me to your land, I want to be one of you.
Photos from the internet.
Saheli Mitra is a journalist, blogger and internationally published poet and author. She is co-partner and founder of Talespin Media. Her poems have been published in several national and international printed and online anthologies. Her debut novel Lost Words was an Amazon bestseller. Her shorts stories have featured in printed collections like “Half Baked Love” and “Knitted Narratives”. She primarily writes on women issues. She also runs her Nature Group called “To Trees with Love”.