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The Redemption

Today, Saranya is again late. In Last-minute boss asked to add another seven slides in the presentation. This is the third day in a row she missed the commitment to Tito. Puja only a few days away and still Tito’s dresses are pending. This is Tito’s sixth Durga Puja. Saranya is thinking about how fast times fly. Seems like it was yesterday when she was standing alone with Tito on the road. She still feels the anxiety inside her when she remembers those days. It was a Thursday and that year Puja was just five days away. Tito was three months old, like a small doll. Saranya was feeling something unusual since she was pregnant. Amit was not paying proper attention to her, but she didn’t break her head on it. She was so happy with Tito, her own part of the soul, her own son. Saranya got married when she was barely eighteen. Amit was all most thirty-five at then, but her father found him very suitable groom as he had secured a government job, rest was just insignificant to him. After marriage, Amit literally raped her every night.

He fulfilled his all brutal sexual fantasies about her. Amit never cared that so much pain made Saranya blue every night. Every night Saranya just not physically broken, mentally she was shattered. Saranya couldn’t utter a sound because her mother told her since her childhood, a woman has only one motto, fulfil any kind of demand of her man, her husband. It was frightened her such a way that every night she was shivering before the lights got off. There was no love, no emotion, no mutual respect, only flesh and flesh. It was like a hungry hyena got his share of flesh every night, as if it was his birthright. Saranya is the second wife of Amit; his first wife had died three months before their marriage. They have one small daughter too. She was almost three years old. Saranya used to spend whatever free time she had in her in-law’s house with her only. Amit’s family is a joint family. He has three more brothers and their wives. Amit is the youngest one. So, all the odd jobs always assign to her by her sister-in- laws. Every time she received only left-over foods, she was treated like a maid of that family. She complained to Amit many times, but he didn’t care about it. He just said,

“It is a joint family; you need to adjust to fit here. I don’t see any fault of my family members. It’s your fault you suffer. I can’t help you.”

So, eventually living with zero self-respect and humiliation became a natural habit for her, as millions of women do.

She was adjusting, because a nineteen-year-old girl what could do more at that stage of life. Saranya was not happy but living with all those evil natures of Amit; she started loving him. Although at that age she did not know the difference between love, infatuation, & habit. Every feeling about Amit seems to be a love for her.

But destiny smiled when she thought she could adjust to her life, even in this state of living. Suddenly one day she felt sick, and the doctor declared that she was four months pregnant. Amit was in total shock. He didn’t want any child now. He was furious at Saranya, as if this was her fault alone, and she did it deliberately. Amit wanted to abort this child, but she did not agree. How she could abort her first child. Amit was frustrated and to release that he started beating her every night. Her painful face, her scream, her bruise, her dripping blood during this all those gave an immense sadistic pleasure to him.

Saranya was still accepting things, her all surroundings kept on telling that these incidents happened.

It was a normal matter in any married relationship. You needed to adjust. A woman needs to adjust, cooperate in every step of life, from her birth to death.

Times moved, and one fine morning, Tito came to her world. Saranya forgets all pain & humiliation. Her entire life was full of lights and love. Her entire world became only and only Tito. She could do anything to have Tito in her arms.

Amit was not happy; it was visible in his body language, but Saranya could not figure it out why. That was Thursday afternoon. Saranya just made Tito asleep. She was about to have her lunch. Amit entered house holding a woman’s hand. The first thing Saranya noticed she had a lateral stripe of vermilion. She was terrified insight, her mind was telling something terrible would happen soon.

After a few hours, Saranya found herself in the middle of a road with three months old Tito in her bare hand. Amit got her new toy; he didn’t anymore need his old one.

Saranya presses the calling bell, Madhuri opens the door. Saranya said,

“Madhuri di, did Tito have his food on time today?”

“Yes, Saranya, he had it. But as usual after a long fight.”

Madhuri is the person who takes cares entire household job & Tito. Madhuri also becomes guardian of Saranya too, sometimes.

Tito is playing with his toys and unknown that his mother has come behind of him.

Saranya places her hand over Tito’s head. Tito turns back and gives a thousand-watt smile and says,

“Mummum, you have come and Madhuri Mausi doesn’t inform me.”

All problems of life, the tiredness of an entire day’s hard work, everything Saranya forgets by this one smile of Tito. He is the reason for Saranya’s living. She hugs Tito tightly and then says,

“Did you complete your homework? Had you taken your food on time?”

“Yes Mummum.”

Madhuri enters the room and says,

“If mother & son’s chitchat has over, then please obliged me by taking dinner now.”

Tito mocks her and gets up from Saranya’s lap.

Saranya says with a faded smile.

“Madhuri di, don’t say that. You at least know; how much it had suffered me to reach this day. How much sacrifice I made to live a decent life with Tito. Don’t curse me for these moments.”

Madhuri puts her tongue out and then said,

“Saranya, I never curse or said those words with any ill intent. I am jut pulling the leg of Tito, nothing else. Please forgive me if I hurt you.”

Saranya holds Madhuri’s hand and says,

“Madhuri di, I know you never intent those words. You are the only person who stands with me in my worst days of life. But you know sometimes I am scared that will god approves these fortunate days for long. An unknown fear, always there. I don’t know what it is. I am also sorry for reacting to your normal words.”

Madhuri smiles and says,

“Leave all these. Today I cook your favorite dish, Dahi Katla (A freshwater fish with Curd). Let’s have it & keep your all worries aside.”

Saranya says,

“You make the arrangements; I am coming in ten minutes.”

Saranya could not forget the struggle she had in last six years. Every day, she thought; what was her sin that she was getting punished like that? Once Amit thrown her out of his life, she was so helpless that not able to even think properly. The act was too far. Her parents were furious at her, as if it was completely her mistake. Why she was not adjusted to her in-law’s house. Why she had not taken her husband’s care properly. As if a man does not need to show his loyalty, then also it’s the inefficiency of his woman’s character. Her mother was more worried about that how she would manage her relatives and neighbours than the wellbeing of her or Tito. In between Amit, send a divorce notice to Saranya, that’s put the fire stick on the pile of gunpowder.

Her family were starting cursing her like anything, as if they will be very comfortable if Saranya committed a suicide rather than getting a divorce. Women do not have liberty to live alone with her self-respect, she needs to die with disgrace.

Billions of women still live like an unwanted parasite in their own family only because of one fear, what people will say. Saranya once thought she would die; she could not handle these anymore. But Tito is the only reason that she could not take that step. Tito’s innocent smiles and bright eyes made her strong. She fought. First thing she did that gave the divorce with no contest in court. Her father told her to leave the house because he could not give shelter to a divorced woman, even if it was his own daughter. Saranya somehow realised that these were the people to whom she considered her own family. she was wrong. A woman is always alone in every sphere of life. Some of them know it, some of them shut their eyes knowingly.

Saranya did not know what to do next, where to live or how she would arrange basic thing for living for both. But one fine morning she left her father’s house and moved to a cheap girl’s hostel. Her capital was only a few thousand rupees, which she got by selling her few left-over ornaments. She was trying for a job, but a tenth-grade pass lady could not through it. All superior of any working woman thinks, lady employees are available commodity to them & if you are divorced then no question of doubt in it even. Saranya first met Madhuri in that hostel only, she was working as an attendant in nearest hospital. From day one, Madhuri took Saranya as her own little sister. She took care of both, as they were her own blood. Madhuri normally took night duty and during daytime she managed Tito, so that Saranya could search job. Every day Saranya returned to hostel with full of shame and humiliation. Al most all job offers came to her in a package with a dirty proposal. Her fund was reached at the bottom.

At that moment she got a job in a big retail chain store based on her own credential only. Saranya understood within that little time that without proper education, she couldn’t grow further. So, along with her job, she started her study again. As her education level enhanced, she gets better job options. In last six years, she continuously grew in her career and reached from a shop floor girl to branch category business head. Finally, two years back she reached a level where she could manage a decent own home in rent. She asked Madhuri to come along with her, she gladly agreed. Due course of time, Madhuri also became an integral part of Saranya’s family.

Till then it is a small but happy family of three people. Saranya makes a tight knot of her loose hair and walks to the dining table. Tito already finishing his dinner and Madhuri, as usual, running behind him. Saranya says,

“Tito, why are you running all around, sit and finish your dinner.”

Tito judge mom’s mood, no, it was not so serious mood. He takes two spoons of food from Madhuri and then again starts running.

Saranya sits in one of the vacant dining chairs. Madhuri places the plate on the table and says,

“Saranya I forget to tell you, this evening one person came here, he was looking for you. He told me he will come again after two days.”

Saranya says,

“Do I know him? What is his name?”

“Name neither I asked, nor he mentioned. But he knows you. He told that he knew you for a long time.”

“leave it, when he will come, we will see. Now give me food. I am hungry, Madhuri di.” Saranya says like a childish girl.

During daily fight of living this entire matter was gone slip of her mind. After two days, she finally got time for Puja shopping. She buys each dress for Tito after an extensive research and scans lots of options. She also buys two saris for Madhuri too.

It thrills Saranya today. Once, she did not have even money to cover herself properly. Now at least she can fulfil her wish.

Saranya rings the calling bell twice with excitement. She is eagerly waiting to see Tito’s reaction on her choice of dresses.

Madhuri opens the door and takes the packets from her hand. Saranya enters and starts loosening her heel shoes belt. Madhuri says,

“Saranya, that gentleman has come today and waiting to meet you.”

Saranya frowns and then says,

“Madhuri di why you allow an unknown person in our house.”

Madhuri replies nothing. She takes the packets and walks towards Saranya’s bedroom. Saranya thinks, let me clear this person then she will get fresh. She walks through the curtains of drawing room and she is just stunned. She sees Tito is playing with an enormous plastic gun with that gentleman. That gentleman is none other than Amit. She does not expect this face again, at least to her this lifetime. Saranya asks in her mind.

“What is he doing here? How he gets the addresses of this house? Why does he come back into my life after so long a time?”

All those thoughts make Saranya terrified. Somehow, she gathered the courage and enters the drawing room. She says coldly,

“Tito, why you are playing now? Finish your homework now.”

Tito says,

“Mummum, I will do it latter. Look, this uncle gives me this toy. I want to play with him now, please.”

Saranya screams at Tito,

“No. You will go now.”

Madhuri comes from inside because of her yelling. Saranya’s behaviour makes her surprised but says nothing. She takes Tito in her lap and moves towards the bedroom.

Saranya looks straight to Amit now; he looks more or less same as he was. Amit looks at her intensely and her eyes are moving on certain areas of her body. Some people look in such a way that even as you dressed up you feel like standing naked. Amit is one of them. Saranya feels dirt in her body just because of his looks. Amit gives a slippery smile and says,

“How are you, Saranya?”

Saranya says annoyingly,

“I hope you are not here to just check my wellbeing. Why are you here?”

Amit just swipe his tongue over his nicotine burned black lips and then says,

“Why you are so excited? You know, we are meeting after so long time at least you can speak to me with a little politeness. You don’t know how hard I have worked to find you.”

“Well then, let me know how you find me?” Saranya says in a hissing tone.

Amit smiles naughtily and then says,

“Well, I must admit I made a mistake by abandoning you at then, it was never in my distance imagination that you will become mature like this.” Amit’s eyes are fixed on a certain area of her body and lust is dripping from her eyes like an old hyena.

“Why you are here?” Saranya says again, firmly.

Amit moves his eyes and then says,

“Yes, I am here for a certain reason, but before that, let me answer your first question. Yes, it was difficult to trace you, but you know now a day’s social media helps a lot. I first search you on Facebook and found too, but you are a smart woman so account is locked, and I can’t extract your location. Then I create a fake woman id and place a cute picture, after that send the same to all your friends. The moment someone accepts my friend-request, I got the access to your account. Here also I didn’t get proper address, only get to know your city, but I got your best friend’s photo where your id card was on and clearly readable. I got your company name, address and your employee number. Rest part was easier and now I am here, in front of you.”

Amit keeps on smiling silently. Saranya thinks if Amit took so much effort to find her after so many years, he must have something big in his mind, but what is it? She waits patiently till the time Amit reveals his intention.

Amit takes a brief pause, then says,

“See, Saranya, I know I did wrong with you both. I was a terrible person, but please believe me, I am a changed man now. I want you both to come back in my life.”

Saranya shouts at the shock.


Amit says,

“Please calm down Saranya, I know it is very tough things I am asking, but not impossible. Please comeback, we will be again a happy family ever.”

“We were never, nor we will be.”

Amit lower his head for some time and then intones.

“Okay, Saranya, if it is so difficult for you, then I will not force you further, but please, let Tito be with me. I need my son.”

Saranya’s entire world turns. Is she heard correctly? She says, in a shaken voice,

“I think you are not normal today. You are talking nonsense. Amit, please go now.”

“I want my son, Saranya. No one can stop me to get him. Legally I am his father.”

“As long I am alive it will not be possible for you.”

“Saranya, please understand. I am so alone. I need my son beside me, and I want to make him like me. Every father has that dream. Nothing wrong in it and don’t you want that Tito also gets the roof of a father. Doesn’t he deserve that?”

Saranya stands up and screams.

“get out of my life. Now.”

“Why you are reacting in such a way. I want my son to be with me, that’s all and I am asking which is rightfully mine.”

“No, he is not. So please get out from here.”

Amit says in a stiff voice.

“I hate this part, but you don’t leave me any option. So, before you take the ultimate decision, just have a look at it.”

Amit passes on his mobile phone with phone gallery open.

An icy wave flows through Saranya’s spinal cord. Amit’s phone gallery full of Saranya’s nude or semi-nude pictures. He took all pictures when she fainted out after Amit’s torture, six years back. Amit took all those pictures, like a hunter took photos with his prey.

Amit observes Saranya keenly and enjoys the fright face of her. He drawls,

“Saranya, if you don’t agree with my terms then I have to release these all photos in social media, specifically tagging your friends and office colleges. I hope you don’t want that.”

After saying those words, Amit keeps on smiling.

Saranya, after lots of efforts, says,

“Amit, I need sometimes to think. It’s difficult for me to remove Tito from me.”

“Well, it’s a fair statement. You have time till Dussehra. Take my phone number, you let me know your decision before that or else after Dussehra I will make these pictures free from my mobile on the internet.”

Amit gets up and walks away. Saranya can’t hold her tears anymore. She just collapses on floor.

Madhuri runs to her and grip. Then she says,

“Don’t accept defeat Saranya after so long fight. I overheard all the conversation from behind the certain. This is not the time to cry. Let’s have our dinner first, we will discuss the matter in a cool head. Now get up Saranya, you must fight for Tito.”

That night, Saranya and Madhuri discussed it for a very long time. When they concluded it almost morning. The dark night was getting faded, and dawn was approaching slowly.

Amit is lying over his bed casually. He is looking through his window of his room. Time is not in his favour anymore. Actually, he made a big mistake six years back by bringing that bitch into his life. He does not accept this in-front of anybody, but he knows it is truth. Within two years, that woman transferred his all assets to her own name. Once she extracted all the juices, she threw him from her life and moved with her new partner. Still, now his almost entire salary goes to pay the alimony of her. But now problem becomes manifold, his elder brothers are convincing his father that Amit does not have any descendants so he should not get any part of this property. He can’t survive if he would throw out of this house, he can’t afford it. All these factors make him desperate to bring Tito back into his life. Amit gets up and start waling within the room, agitatedly. The thoughts are floating in his head. Today Durga Navami, Saranya doesn’t contact yet. Only one day left. She was scared that day, but why she is not taking the move. Amit has a comprehensive plan; fist he takes away Tito from her and then he will blackmail her for the rest of life. How he can release her golden goose just like that. At that moment, Amit’s phone rings.

“Hello” Amit says,

“hello, this is Saranya.”

“Yes Saranya, I was waiting for your call only.”

“Amit, I am agreed with your demand. But you need to delete all those pictures from your phone in front of me. You need to promise me.”

Ami smiles silently and then says,

“Yes, of course. Definitely I will do, but once Tito came with me and then only.”

“Well, I think we need to discuss the entire operation part face to face. So, can you come down to my house tomorrow at around eight thirty in the evening?”

“Sure, no issue. See you tomorrow then.”

Saranya cuts the connection and broods.

Amit parks his Royal Enfield in Saranya’s apartment. It’s eight thirty-five. Amit rings the calling bell. Saranya opens the door with a broad smile. Amit is just amazed, looking at her. She is wearing a mustard yellow colour shalwar kameez along with terracotta’s earring and same design necklace.

Amit says with a smiling face.

“What is the occasion, you are in this killer look today.”

Saranya smiles and says,

“Nothing special. That day you suddenly came from nowhere. My mind was not prepared for that. That day I could not welcome you properly after all you come back to me after so many years.”

Amit sits on the sofa and then asks,

“Where is Tito?”

“Tito and Madhuri di go to Babughat to watch the immersion of idols.”

Amit becomes little sceptical. Is there any plan Saranya has, or she is honestly doing all this? He is not sure. So, he looks sharply towards Saranya but not able to judge anything.

Saranya comes & sits close to Amit and says in a very polite tone,

“Why are you doing this to me? After you, there was no man in my life. My entire world rotates around only Tito. Why are you snatching him from me?”

Saranya sobs and says,

“You never think what will happen to me. How I shall live. I am so lonely; don’t you know that.”

Amit now gets the smell of wine from Saranya. His doubt is now clear, Saranya doing all these in the effect of intoxication. Poor woman, managing her pain and frustration by immersing herself in a wine glass.

Amit smiles like a reptile and says,

“You will not be alone anymore; I shall come and start visiting you from now onwards frequently.”

Saranya gives a dazzling smile, as if it solves a gigantic problem of her life. She moves to the kitchen and comes back with a tray full of snacks and Amit’s favourite fish finger, along with a bottle of red wine. Amit observes all these from far and smiles inside his mind and thinks how foolish these women are, shows a little attention & sympathy they will melt like a pure beeswax.

Saranya places the plates on the centre table and sits very close to Amit. She says in a husky tone,

“Please test all these I made for you only.”

Then she pours some wine into one of the empty glass and offers to him. Amit takes the glass and then puts it down. Still, he is not a hundred percent sure that there is nothing wrong with it. He says coldly,

“Saranya, whatever you do. I shall not change my stands. So be clear about this.”

Saranya releases a lengthy breath and says,

“I know it. But you really promise me you will visit me regularly. You will not leave me alone again.”

Amit looks at Saranya and then says,

“So, what you have decided?”

“Yes. I am agreed with your term, but I have one condition. Tito at least spend one day with me in a week.”

Amit smiles again sarcastically and then says,

“I think you have forgotten that you are not in a position to negotiate the term. Any way you can meet Tito for few hours in a month that’s all.”

Saranya sighs and says,

“I agree. When do you want to take him? Also, that day you will delete all those pictures from your mobile.”

“Next Sunday afternoon I shall come and take him along with me. Please make him ready that day. Let me go now.”

Saranya says,

“I cook so many things for you and you will not eat? I select this wine for you, and you have not taken a sip even. Do you hate me so much?”

Amit looks a little confused; he avoids the glass that Saranya made for him. He lifts another empty glass and pours the wine from the bottle. Amit raises the glass and shows Saranya to take the other one for a toast. Saranya happily lifts the glass and says,

“for our new beginning.”

After that, Saranya gulps half of the glass. Amit observes that sharply and then becomes relax. He drinks freely. The wine tests a little more bitter than normal. Amit loughs at his mind. Some smart shop keeper sold a low-grade wine to Saranya at an exorbitant price. Poor woman.

After some time, Amit is driving his bike on Kona express highway. Because of Dussehra, the traffic is very low, only some trucks are on the road. Today Amit is thrilled. He gets a double bonus today, brings his son back as well. Saranya is now again available for him. Too much happiness along with wine ignites the desire of high-speed driving & road is also empty, so he tries to change the gear of his bike, but he does not feel his legs anymore. It feels like his legs are made of stone. Sweats are formatting in his forehead even in this chilly wind. He tries to wipe his sweat, but he does not feel his hand either too.

Next day morning Saranya opens her eyes when sunlight directly falls into her face, it’s late. Saranya tries to get up from the bed in a hurry, but she feels her body is too heavy for moving so fast. Madhuri enters the room. She says with a big smile.

“Good morning. How are you feeling now?”

“Still has the stagnancy in the body but able to move.”

Madhuri looks at the wall clock and then says,

“Within another an hour it will be completely normal. Ketamine effects do not stay over six-seven hours. But some drowsiness remains for some more time. They use this for anaesthesia in surgery. But only benefit is that this can be used orally. This drug has a typical nature. It works in your lower part of body first and then upper one. This compound dissolved in your body after six hours and there will be no trace that you have given ketamine.”

“Thanks, Madhuri di, without you, this was not possible. Without your help, I could not collect ketamine.”

“So many years I have worked in hospital and could not collect this. But don’t thank me, it’s the almighty’s grace that all goes as per plan. You were correct if you would not put this to the wine bottle, he would not drink it. After seeing you were drinking from the glass you offer him then only, he believed it was safe.”

Saranya says in a very calm voice.

“It was inevitable didi, I could not let that person again & again burn my life and soul. I have no regret. It is a matter of my son and to save him I can do anything; in fact, any mother will do. Any way makes my favourite breakfast quickly, I am hungry now.”

Madhuri runs to the kitchen and Saranya picks up today’s newspaper. She found what she was looking for in top left corner of page five.

Staff Reporter: One person was killed in a road accident on Kona express highway yesterday at 12:45 a.m. The bike rider collided with a truck in the middle of the road. The speeding truck was coming in his lane but the bike rider not moved from his way when the truck driver realised this bike would not change his direction it was too late, the driver failed to save the bike rider and collide directly. That person died on the spot. He was completely smashed and burned. The deceased has been identified as Amit Roy. The police have registered a case of a road accident.

yā devi sarva-bhūtesu matri-rupena samsthithā

namas thasyai namasthasyai namasthasyai namō namah

(Salutation again and again to the Devi. Who abides in all beings as mother!)

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