Arya and Komola’s new wings
The night was dark, magnificent and warm. It was a Saturday night in the Bilaspara village, which is in the Jorhat district of Assam. The village sleeps by 11 p.m. and becomes extremely quiet, as everyone starts their day early here. It’s around 11 30 p.m. right now. A tall, young girl in a salwar kameez and a ponytail is trying to jump from a tall gate, which is made up of bamboos and wood. She is Arya, a resident of Jamuna street. Arya has a big potli bag on her back, two huge handbags on both her hands and a water bottle tied with a rubber band on her head. She removes all the pins which are put on her house gate. They are put every night as thieves are pretty common in her village. Arya is surprised to see just 11 pins on her gate. 7 pins were missing. As she does not have much time in her hand, she decides not to investigate and to rather quickly jump on the opposite side- the roadside. She falls down terribly on the ground and there is a loud thump.
After hurriedly arranging and keeping back the clothes which fell down from her potli, she runs at her best speed because two men start shouting, “Who is it Barua Sahab? Just check, there could be a thief, please check. I am coming out with my torch.”
Arya almost trips and falls down in the mid-way. Even though she has hurt herself on her nails and toes, she does not stop running. She feels lucky to see that no one was on the road she took. Her aim is to reach the Pukhuri (pond) side. She quickly hides behind the bushes and starts looking for her phone after she reaches the pond side. Suddenly, she hears the sound of someone breathing. With a lot of courage, Arya looks behind to find out that there is a lady wearing a saree. The lady is now aware that there is a girl in the area too. Arya starts chasing the lady. After two minutes of chasing and running, Arya finds out that the lady is none other than her own mother. Arya’s mother Komola is wearing a pink cotton saree, her hair is tied up in a messy bun, she is wearing her homestyle flip-flops and her big suitcase is lying on the grass near her.
Arya’s eyebrows are still raised up. Komola is shocked to her death.
Komola starts shouting, “Is my daughter trying to run away from her house?”. Komola starts howling.
Arya comes closer to her mom and instructs her to put her finger on her lips, “Mom, please. Stop howling. Everyone will get to know. It’s out now- we both know we are running away from our house. Just that it is very coincidental and weird too. But, let’s just help each other now.”
Komola starts crying and bangs her head with her hands several times. After she drinks some water from her daughter’s bottle, she starts mumbling continuously. When Arya asks her to calm down and sit down besides the pond, Komola does.
“Your father Bolu is a mad man. I told him producing another kid won’t be easy for me after that operation. He never understands me. He kept beating me, beating me, beating me for not giving him a son. Until yesterday. The bastard finally made me pregnant again”, said Komola while crying and wiping her tears at the same time.
“What?”, questioned Arya, to her mother. She looked startled and nervous at the same. Arya coughed and kept looking here and there.
“He is after my life, if it’s not a son, he will kill me. I ran away with some money”.
Arya hugged her mother tight and consoled her. She wiped her mother’s tears and kissed her on her forehead. When Komola showed her all the bruises on her body with the help of Arya’s phone’s torch light, Arya almost vomits.
“Arya, you stole your father’s phone, the only phone we had?”
“I did, I needed it. And anyways, he never gave me anything, he never loved me too”.
After a while, Arya makes fun of her mother for wearing a pink colour out of all the colours in a dark night while running away. While both of them were giggling, Komola suddenly realizes to ask Arya the main question- Why was she running?
Arya kept looking here and there again. She told how bad her mental state was because her father always neglected her, treated her like no one and how he always separated her from her mom.
Komola bursts out laughing. She looks into Arya’s eyes.
“I might be illiterate and a bit stupid, but I am a mother. Don’t lie. Now tell me.”
Exactly at that moment, they hear a siren nearby. Then they spot a police car around. It starts pouring heavily. Arya and Komola run with their bags immediately. Arya tells Komola that the Jorhat Police were investigating on the 9-year-old girl’s rape or murder which happened near the pond, as the girl wanted to study. Komola becomes numb listening to the news as she had no idea about it.
She falls down on the ground and mutters, “A 9-year-old girl? Even she does not have freedom? Beta, what is this? How could they kill her?
Arya asks her mother not to speak as the police might think them to be murderers.
“What kind of a society we have become? Cheh…….I wish we could have saved her too.”
“Mom, quiet, please understand. This is a big case. I forgot that the police could be here. If they get to know that we are running, they will kill us”.
Komola pulls her daughter’s hand and asks her to sit down.
“They cannot kill us after knowing why we are running”.
Arya realizes that her mother was right. And she sits down on the ground. They both pause for a moment and get into their own zone. After the police went away, Arya looks for her phone as she misplaced it when the police had come. While looking for her phone, she stumbles and falls down on the pond. She starts shouting and calls her mother for help. As the water was not that deep, her mother brought her out immediately. Arya starts panicking.
“You are 16. A grown-up girl. Why are you panicking so much, suali (girl)? Breathe”.
“I can’t fall down. Nothing should happen to me now, especially now. Otherwise the baby…..”
“Not a big wound. It will be fine. Wait, what? Whose baby?
Arya becomes scared for a while. She covers herself with the towel her mother handed her and moves away. Komola understands that Arya is hiding something big.
“Answer me Arya, whose baby?
“Mine, maa, mine. My bacha. I am also pregnant.”
Komola almost faints on the ground. She goes near Arya to slap her but does not slap her. She sits down near her and howls again.
“Did someone rape you?”
“No maa, no one raped me. My boyfriend Bulu da, we were having a secret affair. It just happened. I really had no idea….”
“You are 16, my child, how can you…. Wait, so you ran from home because of this? Oh my God, Oh no…….”
“Maa, please calm down, please. I knew the whole gaon (village) would have questioned us. But we really love each other. And in your and aita’s (grandmother’s) generation, you both also got pregnant at that age, in fact around 14.
“Only your grandmother. I was pregnant around 18. But now it is different.”
“How? Anyways, the plan was that he would come near the pukhuri around midnight to take me to his kokaideu’s (big brother’s) house.”
“Have they already accepted you?”, Komola has a smile on her face.
“No, not yet. He has planned something, probably. I don’t know. I just know that he wants the baby and we have to keep the baby. That is why I had to run”.
Komola feels senseless for a while.
“How many months….”
“Just 3 days since I got to know, he only got the test for me, he was happy and he wanted it. So, I thought I could escape from our mad house.”
“Midnight has passed. Where is he? And I am coming along with you for now.”
“Mom, how can I take you?”
“I will come, I need to see what kind of a guy he is. Discussion ends here. Now call him”
Arya is confused for some time. But looking at the situation, she also thought about her mother and her condition. Where could her mother have anyways gone? Arya freezes to see that it’s almost 1 a.m., one hour had already passed and Bulu da was nowhere to be seen. She called him about 15 times, no one picked up the call. The 16th time, the call was cut and. The number was now switched off. Arya’s look of consternation left her mother horrified.
“What happened, he is coming right?”
Arya does not reply.
“Tell me Arya.”
Arya does not reply again.
“I don’t know”.
Arya sits down on the ground bending her legs and yowls. As Arya was going through her first heartbreak, Komola could not stop herself from crying too. She holds her daughter from the top and they both cry their hearts out.
Arya’s condition was worsening. Komola gave her some warm clothes and placed Arya’s head on her lap.
“Beta, right now you need some rest. Close your eyes, think about something good. Think that at least we are together and the men are not with us. Sleep for a while, around 4 a.m. we will leave for our nearby village. I know 2 ladies there. They were my last option. They can help us for sure.”
“Alright mom, as you say.”
“We will carve our own journey from now onwards.”
While gently patting on Arya’s head so that Arya could sleep, Komola also got off to sleep.
Around 4 30 a.m., Arya opens her eyes to see a beautiful clear sky with birds flying around all over. The pond looks fresh and shiny. Arya immediately has a smile on her face. She puts the warm clothes on her mother and pats her. She gets up comfortably without disturbing her mother, who was sleeping like a baby. Arya wandered around a bit and stared at the luminous sky.
After Arya saw that the battery on the phone was dying and it was about to be 5 a.m., a time when everyone starts their day in the village, she quickly wakes her mother up. They pack everything properly and wash their faces.
“Beta, can we have a cup of tea in Lengkuchi Tea House, from Aurobindo da?”
“Maa, they will catch us. Are you mad?”
“No, why should we be scared? We are not doing anything wrong; we are just running away from the torture.”
“True Maa, you are right, even I feel calm now. I feel relieved. I have actually came to a conclusion. I might sound wrong, but I do not want a baby now. I want to abort. I know it is a sin to kill someone, but I can’t take care of a child now, my life is messed up. I never wanted a baby, it was Bulu da, he kept forcing, he kept…. I am done with his dominating nature. I want to live my own life in my own terms.”
“Yes, Arya, you have a long life ahead. You are very brave. I wish I was half as brave as you.”
“Maa, please. I am so happy to see you being brave. Finally, you decided to leave our father. His bad days have come now”. Arya giggles.
“I wish I understood all of this back then. I lacked the smartness. But I cannot deal with torture anymore. I am going to start my life with someone else. Because I want to”.
“Are you deciding to keep the child?”
“I am. I want to. I want to start it fresh. About how to earn my living and all, I will plan all of that while having the tea”.
“Mom, I am with you on this journey. Let us start our relationship afresh as well.”
They both hug each other tightly. They order two cups of tea and khari biscuits from the tea shop.
“This is a rare sight. Mother and daughter so early, that too in a tea shop. Is everything fine? How did Boloram da let you guys out?” asks Aurobindo da.
“We actually have got legs, uncle.”
“The Mother-Daughter duo are glowing.”
“Yes, we brought new wings from the market right now”, said both Arya and Komola.