EK AUR VAIDEHI
Usha got down from the scooter and went straight into the house not even waiting to answer the question shot at her by her neighbour.
She knew she will have questions to answer and accusations to face --she had stayed out the whole night and had a colleague drop her home early in the morning .She had actually been stranded on her way home from the office , caught in a religious procession which had entered into a small communal skirmish and the police had clamped a curfew in that area to prevent any serious disaster.
When the curfew was lifted early next morning the police allowed them to leave in small numbers to avoid any mob fury and she in her eagerness to reach home as soon as possible had asked her colleague to drop her home on his scooter as he too took the same route .
As she entered the room her ma-in-law asked her anxiously where she had been and that they were all so worried for her safety and why didn't she ring up home ?
She was in tears as she told the old lady about the happenings of the previous evening and said that though she had tried to ring up home there was no network coverage .Mrs Sahay her mom-in-law consoled her and said not to worry as she knew that Usha was a good girl and the whole family had full faith in her .Her sobs of relief were uncontrollable as she clutched the old lady's hands in gratitude.
But tongues went wagging and gossip began its rounds courtesy Mrs Goyal whose query was left unanswered by Usha earlier in the morning .Mrs Goyal had felt insulted and had to vent her anger by making the poor girl her target .
In the railway quarters the day was ablaze with Mrs Sahay's bahu's escapades and by the time the gossip reached the railway officers club... Usha was supposed to have sneaked out late at night to reach a local maternity home for an abortion and her boyfriend was there beside her all throughout ---and they had both been very cautious to reach her house before daybreak in order to avoid the neighbours, the family' and also her husband who was in the night shift to supervise some mechanical repairs. .
But here she could not fool the ever vigilant Mrs Goyal who had caught her red handed .
Senior Mr Sahay could not bear the sneering looks and wagging tales at the club and reached home red in the face.
"SUCHETAAA..." roared the patriarch "SUCHETA" where are you ?
"What is it why are you shouting ---whats wrong something serious ....." she was concerned .
"SOMETHING serious ??? the whole town is talking about it and you are asking me what the matter is ---is this how you look after the house and your family???"
"will you tell me something or will you go on shouting "
"This thing about our daughter-in-law staying out the whole night and returning home with a stranger!!!"
"Oh she got caught in a curfew --and that man who dropped her home is a colleague and not any stranger "
" Doesn't all this demand an explanation from her ??? couldn't she have called us up ??"
"she tried but there was no network coverage---and I would request you to stop all this .you seem to have more faith in those gossip-mongers than in your own Daughter -in-law"
"Maa I think dad is right. Usha needs to convince us or she goes out of this house I have no place for a characterless wife "
"SHOMU.... YOU are talking like this !!!Is this how I have .brought you up !!? is this the kind of ethics I have taught you ??"
"No maa I can't stay with her --she has to leave --even if she is innocent --- I can't face all those wagging tongues and sneering eyes I can't face the world whenever I go out ----I will feel people sneering sneering ,throwing looks of pity at me to have been tolerating all this .to have been unaware of all this happening behind my back since God knows when.." .
"I am only human I am not GOD to forgive her sins---WHY even Ram sent SITA away so why should I bear all this ???"
The shocked Mrs Sahay flared up and screamed --"YOU are comparing yourself to RAM .!!!RAM the Maryada purshottam !!! who was bound by duty to please his subjects to convince them-- he had to prove to them that to a KING its HIS SUBJECTS who should matter the most and a king should be unbiased .As for his feelings for SITA he never remarried and all throughout his life he kept a statue of her's beside him as his consort .At home too he slept on the floor and denied himself all the luxuries because he knew Sita was living without them ...comparing yourself to RAM ..HAH!" she scoffed
"and please listen to me you both father and son if you are trying to act RAM and sending USHA out of the house as SITA ....yes I will call her SITA because I know she is as innocent as SITA ...then you have one more VAIDEHI I am also walking out with her I will not stay with men who don't know how to respect their women. ---I am ashamed to have been the wife of one and to have given birth to another man with such chauvenistic attitudes and who are so week as to give in to such gossip .
"Bholu..she called her younger son will you please go and call Mr and Mrs Goyal tell them its urgent"
She confronted Mrs Goyal as she entered their house
" Mrs Goyal will you please tell us the story of USHA and her boyfriend as we want to punish her and please tell us the name of the hospital where you saw her because we will need some documents before we file for divorce .."
Mrs Goyal of course was caught off guard and stammered that she had said all that just in fun she did not mean any thing bad .and that Usha was the sweetest girl ever etc etc..
Mrs Sahay rebuked her and asked her to clarify the whole thing the next day to all in the railway colony and she asked Mr Goyal to please see that USHA's tarnished image was restored to respectability and the truth told to all .
She then turned to the two men of her family and said that she was leaving together with Usha as both of them had a woman's dignity to protect and their self respect did not allow them to stay with men who were so unreliable .
That is the story of another Sita EK AUR VAIDEHI
VAIDEHI is another name for SITA
ps---being a story a few incidents may have been slightly exagerated--moreover I was trying to show the bad effects of gossiping ---and I may have drifted a little BUT the fact remains that none of what I have written is impossible it happens everywhere all around "if you can believe in the cases of female infanticide and dowrydeaths ----then what I have narrated is an absolutely normal case.and the male dominated society all over the world is excercising its superiority in some manner or the other .