January 12, 2021.
I gave birth to my second child, another girl, as beautiful as the rays of dawn, as pure as the dew drops. And her eyes! Those crystal clear liquid eyes were capable of exposing all the secrets of the universe.
I held her in my arms; she smiled and gaped at me as if we were seeing each other for aeons. My first daughter, Roshni was elated to have a sibling and that too a girl, for whom she longed for a pretty long time. Keeping a match with the name of my first daughter Roshni, I named her Ujaala.
She was born in Shantiniketan, the land of the bard, Tagore. Her eyes were as artistic as that of a peacock. Trying to cling to a poetic match, I thought of naming her Mayurakshi. So, we decided her good name be Mayurakshi. Roshni loved both names. We three were a complete family then. We were happy.
But we hardly had any idea that our happiness was so transient.
Taking Ujaala in my lap and Roshni by my side, I was sitting under the crystal clear sky, thinking about our future and making it more beautiful.
But society was not that crystal clear. Society questioned me about the father of the child. When I couldn’t give a suitable reply I was labelled as a flawed and fallen woman. It was a sin not to have a father of a child or not to know who the father was. The child was also stamped as an ominous symbol of sin. She was labelled to be a cursed child.
Opaque and brutal society decided, that we had no right to live. We were dragged to an amphitheatre; Roshni was compelled to be a helpless spectator. Ujaala was tied up in my lap, we were shrouded and stoned: stoned till the floor was inundated with the blood of a so-called whore and her cursed progeny.
I saw my elder daughter, Roshni, a destitute, seeing us in plight and I saw my death along with the death of Mayurakshi.
It was an instance of disturbing atrocity in the land of peace, Tagore’s Shantiniketan.
© Rituparna Khan 2022
Rituparna Khan is a poet and an author with a hungry and dynamic heart, a minuscule in the galaxy of constellations of stalwarts.