The survivors



The survivors
Without a word, she dropped to the ground. She had no energy left. Her half naked body shivered and her mind telescoped within itself. She was oblivious to the hushed murmurs that rose from the group of women surrounding her or of the midwife cleaning and covering her up. Her eyes were fixed on the small, immobile bundle. Her fourth child had arrived into this world without any noise, as if protesting against the atrocities of the past. A still born…

She was not sure if she should be relieved or sad. She, Radha, the third wife of the village Chaudhary had failed to give him a male heir yet again. Her three daughters had been killed as soon as they had uttered their first cry. Radha had been told of the fate a new born girl would meet in the Chaudhary household by Lalita and Amodini, the first two wives of Chaudhary. They had undergone the same pain and had finally been thrown out of the house.

The first time it happened, Radha had cried for months but this time, she was numb. She wondered if this little one already knew that she was going to be killed-was unwanted and so had decided to end it all before it began. The Chaudhary was too egotistical to even harbour the idea that a woman was in no way responsible for a child’s gender. Not that anyone in this village knew or understood such things.

She knew that her time to be evicted had arrived when she saw her husband eyeing the Priest’s nubile daughter, Pallavi. His hungry gaze reminded her of a cat she had once seen, climbing a tree slowly, stalking its prey-a young bird. She thought that it ironic that the Chaudhary did not want any daughters, forgetting that it is finally a woman who gives birth to a man!



When she heard that a marriage proposal had been sent to Pallavi’s house, she shuddered at the fate that awaited the poor girl. She wished she could do something to save the young girl from her husband’s clutches but her husband was a powerful man. No one could help her and anyway all the men in the village had the same attitude. The date for her husband’s marriage was fixed .It was going to take place in three months time. She prayed for a miracle.

Unfortunately, nothing happened and the marriage took place on the scheduled day. Chaudhary decided not to throw Radha out simply because she was still young and beautiful. It also gave his ego a big boost to have two young wives at his beck and call, to satisfy his every need.

Two weeks after the marriage, the Chaudhary had to go to another village for campaigning. Panchayat elections were close and he wanted to win again. Meanwhile, Radha and Pallavi became good friends. Then, one day Pallavi confessed that she was in love with a young man. However, he belonged to a lower caste and though he was very intelligent and was going to college, they could never be together.

Radha got an idea .She knew there was a chance that the Chaudhary could be beaten, God willing. She remembered reading in “Mahabharata”, the epic. Kunti and Madri, the two wives of King Pandu had conceived children by invoking different Gods as their husband had been incapable of having coitus.Though, this was not really the case, and a little twisting of the original tale may work wonders here. It could also mean salvation for her and Pallavi.

She decided to talk to Pallavi about her plan.Pallavi was scared at first but then she caught on to it and became excited. For the two weeks Chaudhary was absent, Radha helped Pallavi meet her lover and they cohabited. Her lover was leaving for the city after the two weeks and Radha and Pallavi decided he need not know anything about their plan.

A month later Chaudhary was given the good news that Pallavi was expecting.

Both Radha and Pallavi prayed and eight months later, their prayers were answered.Pallavi gave birth to two bonny babies-both males. Everyone rejoiced and the Chaudhary threw a huge party. The two wives looked at each other and smiled, knowing that they would take this secret to their graves.



This is my response to Speakeasy’s weekly writing prompt #155. The challenge this week is to(a) write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 718 words,including the title) (b) using “Without a word, she dropped to the ground.” as the first sentence, and (c) make some sort of reference to the photo prompt (which is posted above).

Speakeasy is open to everyone and if you are interested in participating or reading what other contestants have submitted for this contest,please click on this link



29 thoughts on “The survivors

  1. I love it, Atreyee! One of your best ever. You are always imaginative, but in this story you related a reality that is foreign to me, and made it very easy to relate to. I was cheering for those ladies in the end.

    • Aww,thanks a lot-this means so much-as you may be aware I am having some health issues and was not inspired at all-this just popped into my head almost at the last moment and I was not sure if so many references to the Indian epic and culture will ring a bell -had no energy to add the details as PS -so glad that you loved it:-)Even,living in India,I find it foreign-the rural areas are so different-not that all Urban areas are free from these black holes.Hoping to come by in the afternoon and catch up with some posts-will read your’s to-am sure it is awesome:-) Btw,what do I call you”TGN” seems lil alien ,lol!

    • Thank you Mollie:-)Yes,it is a very tough life-we ourselves cannot imagine such a life ,living in the same country-so for you all it is definitely unimaginable.Thankfully,in fiction we have the license to do what we want and thus ,the problem was somewhat resolved 😉

  2. I love your take on the prompt, and how he eyes the girl, like a cat stalking a young bird… Love the Mahabharata inspiration, and somehow the destructive me is hoping the Chaudhary will find out one day and realize his mistake.. Maybe after he has new wives and these ladies are well settled somewhere …or something! Anyways, really great story Atreyee! 🙂

    • Thank you dear Madhura-I was so lacking an inspiration had the beginning in my mind but didn’t quite know what to do about the rest-then as you know it happens,the story took off on its own jaunty ride,lol!I am so glad you like it-and you sound like my daughter-she too voiced something similar,”Mom,I was so hoping you will let the wives kill the horrid hubby”,lol!Will start reading the speakeasy prompts in the afternoon-am so behind but my aching back is not allowing me to sit for long-this week there is going to be areal famine of posts and comments from me I think-ouch!You tc,hope you have submitted your story-will read that:-)

      • Yes I know when that happens.. with my stories I start writing with something in my mind, and then almost always, the story takes off with a mind of its own!
        Oh take care of your back Atreyee, posts can wait! Hope you feel better soon! 🙂

      • Haha! I haven’t quite reached that stage with the voting (already done!) but I do have other bloggy obsessions!

  3. Great story, Atreyee! Oh, where to start…. first of all, Chaudhary is a big jerk (kinda like Henry VIII)- so much misery at his hands, and he is the cause of it. I’m glad the two women were able to work together rather than to be adversaries. That’s quite a devious plan they cooked up… hope they pull it off!

    • Aww,thanks Janna-so glad you liked this and yes I too hope they will live in peace hereafter:-)Will mail you tomorrow-just finished reading and voting-net was down for 4/5 hours-so am terribly late and exhausted,GN -you have a great day,love

  4. What an awful world to live in – but I’m glad they found each other and hatched a plan. Such a wonderfully creative take on the prompts, Atreyee! 🙂

    • Yes,it must be-I shudder to think how they can bear it!Fortunately it is fiction and so the women got some succour ;-)Thank you so much Suzanne for the love and support :-)Am trying to read as many as I can but internet was down today and I just came online an hour back -guess will either skip voting or choose among those I manage to read in the next hour-have to go to bed then-it is already past 12a.m here-sigh!

  5. One- very well written! Two- love the story and the mischievous cunning of the wife. The beginning was sad, with her being so numb to the loss of another child, but the ending gave hope.

  6. Love this, Atreyee! I like that you tied the old tale into the story. It’s good that both could avoid the ire of the dreaded Chaudhary. It’s pretty clear now who couldn’t conceive a son. *ahem* Love the happy ending of this. Great job!

  7. You said in an earlier comment that you’re having some health issues — I’m sorry to hear that! I hope you are feeling well. But this story doesn’t read like you were uninspired! This could be expanded into a short story. I’d love to get to know the characters better, especially Radha — a strong woman.

  8. Ooooh! This is definitely one of your personal bests. I’ve heard about things like that happen in the past, but you described it real nice. I’m so glad that they’d survived, although I’m kinda curious about that other man. What happened to the guy? Did he ever get to see his babies? Anyways, good job, Atreyee! (Y)

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