SEARCHING FOR A SAFER GLOBE By Namita Rani Panda
Life is not only roses and roses. With the roses there are inevitably thorns and sometimes some thorns pierced into our hearts so deeply that the wounds can never be healed. Here is such a painful wound that I am going to bare before you. It was in the month of May of 2009 just before the reopening of my school after the Summer Break. The next morning we were about to go to my place of posting. My husband Asish went out on his bike to purchase some daily necessities. But to my shock, after sometime my sister received a call from some unknown number. What was the conversation I could not know but she asked me to accompany her. Leaving my two sons in the custody of the maid we went out hurriedly. I was quite apprehensive but could not ask her what had happened. The car parked in front of Jyoti Nursing Home, Sambalpur. Then she told me that my husband met with an accident and was admitted in that Nursing Home. I was so shocked that I could neither speak nor cry. My main concern was to see him, to know his condition. Being a DSP in that area my sister was well known to the employees of that nursing home. I felt relieved when I saw my husband in good condition. Except certain external bruises there was no severe injury. Only there was a fracture in his right knee. All the tests had already been completed. He was shifted to a cabin. My sister introduced me to a young nurse.
“She is Mamata. Take her help if necessary.”
Then she introduced me to Mamata, “She is my sister. See that she doesn’t face any problem as long as she stays here.”
Mamata smilingly said, “Don’t worry Ma’am. I’m here to look after everything”.
Then she left to attend the call of the doctor.
I asked my sister, “How do you know Mamata?”
She said’ “She had filed a case against her lover when I was Inspector In Charge of Women’s Police Station, Sambalpur. He betrayed her and got married to another lady. She is neither accepted by her in-laws nor her own parents. She is staying here with her daughter Pari. Anyway she respects me a lot. She will be a great help to you.”
“How painful her life is? More painful is the life of the little innocent Pari who is unaware of the cruel customs of the society.” I said.
“Every day we deal with innumerable cases related to atrocities to women. We encounter many such cases daily and you are becoming so sentimental listening to one story! Anyway I have some official work. Let me leave. See you in the evening.”
During my stay in that Nursing Home Mamata became closer to me. She herself supervised the cleaning of the cabin as well as giving medicines and injections in time. On the day of operation she was there to support me mentally. She was loving and kind to everyone as if justifying her name as the incarnation of Maternity. Sometimes she used to bring her daughter Pari with her. I still remember our first meeting. A girl with pearly skin, large inquisitive eyes moving gleefully around the corridor like a fawn. When I called her she jumped on to my lap. I felt as if a bundle of lovesick all-embracing joy embraced me for warmth love.
“Your name please!” I asked lovingly.
Promptly she replied, “Pari. Aunty, do you know what a Pari is.”
“No. You tell me.” I said.
With great enthusiasm she said, “A Pari is very beautiful and a source of happiness for all. A Pari is auspicious. Isn’t she?”
“Yes you are completely correct.” I said carving a sweet kiss on her forehead.
Mamata gave a stern look at her and said, “Please don’t make noise. Uncle is resting. Go outside and play.”
When she left, with a sigh Mamata told me, “You must be knowing about me from Ma’am. Pari is a cactus flower, an oasis in my desert. I’m living for her and will die for her.” Tears rolled down her cheeks. Her voice choked.
I tried to console her, “Don’t worry. You haven’t done anything wrong. God is there. Have patience dear. You’ll see Pari will be a fountain of happiness not only for you but also for the whole world.”
She wiped her tears and left the place to attend other patients.
Days passed by. The life in the nursing home was not so boring and difficult due to the presence of Pari and Mamata. The knee of my husband was operated, two nails were fixed. On the day of discharge I left the nursing home with a heavy heart. Both Mamata and Pari bid us farewell with tearful eyes. For a few months we were meeting during our visit to the Nursing Home for the regular checkup of my husband. But slowly the bond became thinner due to the pressure of job as well as other responsibilities.
For two years Asish tried to avoid the second operation. He is so chicken hearted that he avoids an injection if possible. He used to say, “What is the need of removing the nails. Let them be inside. When I die, I will wait for you in heaven. How can you recognize my skeleton? These nails will help you darling.”
I would howl at him, “If you become air also I can smell you as I know your scent. Any way who told you that you’ll die first?”
He would smile and remain silent. Such is our bond. He has given me the monopoly to howl at him. He says that he can sense my intense love for him in my howling. I’m thankful to God for giving me such a loving and caring better half in this life. The understanding in between us is such that sometimes he speaks out my thought. Our choices match. What he likes I love to like. So in spite of nervousness he agreed to undergo the operation. I contacted my sister to do all the arrangements.
Then I remembered Mamata. I was anxious to meet Mamata and Pari. My husband said, “Don’t forget to take some gift for Pari.”
In the evening we purchased some toffees and a white and pink floral frock with frills for Pari. “She will look like a real fairy in this frock.” I said with satisfaction.
The next morning when we went there my sister was waiting for us. She had already taken appointment with the doctor. When all the formalities were over I looked around for Mamata and Pari but in vain. I asked my sister.
She said in a solemn voice, “I have forgotten to tell you. Mamata is now in Central Jail.”
“And Pari?” I asked anxiously.
“Pari is no more.” In a solemn voice said my sister.
“But how did it happen?” my voice choked.
“Mamata poisoned Pari.” Replied my sister.
I was stunned. “How could she do that? And why?” Tears rolled down my cheeks.
“Really very sad. She was betrayed by her second lover. While working here she had become closer to someone. That man had assured her to marry. But when he got married to someone else she lost her heart and hope. That night she had dressed Pari in a new frock. She first poisoned Pari .Then she herself consumed poison to commit suicide but unluckily Pari succumbed and to her bad luck Mamata survived.”
My heart bled for Pari and Mamata. What was her fault? She was so loving, lively and innocent! A bud cruelly crushed before being fully bloomed. I asked my sister if I could meet her.
She told, “I will see but first let the operation be over.”
On our journey back I, with my sister, went to meet Mamata. She was looking calm and serious. Her hollowed eyes were dry like the wells in summer. What she said still rings in my mind.
“I know what I have done is a sin. But I had no wish to send her alone. I feel sad because I could not accompany her. She is alone there. But one consolation for me is that she is happy there. At least she will not be a victim of atrocities like me. She is safe there.”
Our words failed to console her. We left the place with heavy hearts. In spite of so many advancements in the society, we are lacking somewhere. When will we be able to make a safer globe for the girls? A big question that haunts my mind still unsolved.......
About the Author
Mrs Namita Rani Panda (M.Phil. English, M.Ed) is born and brought up in Sambalpur district of Odisha. Now she works as Vice-Principal in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Mundali, Cuttack under the Ministry of HRD, Deptt. of School Education and Literacy, Govt of India, New Delhi. She has been conferred Academic Excellence Award 2017 by NVS, RO, Bhopal for her outstanding performance as a subject teacher in English. Her two published anthologies are Blue Butterflies: A Bouquet of Poems and Rippling Feelings. Her poems are highly acclaimed in many national and international journals. She proclaims her voice boldly against social injustices and inequalities. She glorifies universal brotherhood, sense of patriotism, love for life, nature and peace. She is a regular contributor to the online poetry site www.poemhunter.com. She can be reached through her web page:namitaranipanda.com and n