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 http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/155-open/