The Ninth Phera

The Ninth Phera

Bhairavi lay down with a sigh. The chores had seemed never ending, especially with her increased tiredness. Navratri had brought even more work. Raghav was watching TV and drinking. Of late, the drinks had progressed from a few pegs to few glasses.

Her gaze fell on their photograph, both of them resplendent in marriage finery. She had always believed in marriage. The vows of the seven pheras* which brought together two people to live with love, respect and understanding. All her notions had soon evaporated. She had been just a means to an end and the marriage a constant drudgery of insult and indignity. The shuffling feet of Raghav brought her out of her reverie.

He fell on her roughly as Bhairavi tried to resist. “It’s not safe for the baby.”

A resounding slap answered her. Her sobs were drowned by the loud Kirtan* sounds still going strong. “Your duty is to me, witch. All you say is no. I know how to get you in line.” Bhairavi suffered through the next moments. To add insult to injury Raghav was soon snoring next to her.

A rage built up inside Bhairavi. Raghav awakened to find her with a knife in her hands.

“Seven circumambulations was all it took to bind me to you. My married life has been a long eight circumambulation, with you as the center. I loved you and cherished you. But you failed to give me both love and respect. You have ridiculed and used me thinking me weak. But you forgot that a woman can be Kali when she wants.”

“Today, I will make the ninth circumambulation around your dead body, the one that will set me free.” 

Their screams of victory and terror mingled into one, drowned in the loud Navratri songs.
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