Shankari’s past and present are far removed from each other and she’d lived many lifetimes in between breaths.
Today she’d completed her happy second year of city life. Shankari wasn’t equipped for so much happiness, hence often she gets dragged into her past.
“Too much education ruins women” hollered Zamindar Narayan.
Shankari was a bright young girl who nurtured disparate dreams. Though her parents coddled her uniqueness, her grandfather Zamindar Narayan was hell-bent on making her dreams follow the mundane route.
Her quick-witted young teacher Hari took extra care to hone Shankari’s academic skills which all the more fueled Narayan to impose his decision on his son Mahesh.
A reticent individual, Mahesh succumbed to Narayan’s pressure and got Shankari married off pronto. Mahesh had pleaded with folded hands requesting his son-in-law Raghav to allow Shankari pursue her studies. Alas! The pleas fell on deaf ears. She was forced to lead the humdrum life within the four walls of her palatial mansion. Her relationship with books almost dissipated.
At night, when the darkness expanded her angelic arms, she lost herself in the world of books. It was the only time for her rendezvous with books and knowledge. Within a year, she was blessed with a baby girl. With overwhelming maternal responsibilities, she could barely find time for herself, let alone the books.
When Shankari’s daughter Parvati displayed the same penchant for books Shankari was adamant to stand against society and her husband to let Parvati fulfill her dreams.
Time moved at warp speed and Parvati just attained her adulthood.
“Parvati should be ready by 5:30 PM, the Zamindars of Phulia will be visiting sharp at 6:00 PM, If everything goes well, we’ll fix a date.” affirmed Raghav,
At 4:00 PM just when Raghav was out to check the dealings of the day in his barn, Shankari took out Parvati’s pre-packed bag. Terror seared through her body, adrenaline pounded, and her reflexes kicked in. With angry tears escaping her eyes Shankari explained
“Remember, magic is something we make, when we trust our instincts. You’re a woman who’s strong, intelligent. You’ve every right to live your dream to live your life. Walk out of here, into the sunshine and make the magic. You will study, work, and choose your partner someday. You won’t be a slave to anyone, you’ll take your own decisions. And I’ll always be there, to watch over you and guide you when needed. I’ll marvel in your success, bless you for your journey ahead, and be at solace with myself when I see you happy and successful. Now it’s the time to create magic”
Shankari snapped back to present, with the sound of a door knob.
“Maa, are you still awake? I was caught up in an emergency.”
With sheer elation she continued chirping “I successfully performed my first Coronary Artery Bypass-Graft today and my senior attending physician was quite proud of me. It was indeed magical! You were right maa, magic is something we make.”
* * * * *
- Zamindar– a landowner, especially one who leases his land to tenant farmers. Typically hereditary, zamindars held enormous tracts of land and control over their peasants, from whom they reserved the right to collect tax on behalf of imperial courts or for military purposes.
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