The Widow

The Widow

A Story by Pankaj Mandal
"

The face of the widow in the light of a oil-lamp

"

This is a tale of a small village in India. It was long, long ago, when people of the world knew very little things apart from their own livelihood. They never thought or cared to know what was going on the other side of the world. It was that time when they used to believe that the Sun rose somewhere in the East from some mysterious ground and gradually moved towards the west to hide somewhere behind the Hills.


The village was situated among some tall palm trees and little bushes and boscages here and there and a narrow path with little jungles in both sides was run into the village. Few families lived there in small cottages or houses which were made of clay. The main source of their livelihood was cultivation in the open field around the village. At the end of the days when the folks would return home from their business or the farmers would leave for home from their field with a traditional bull plow carrying on their shoulder, on their way; slowly it would fill with darkness. A noisy buzzing sound of some unknown insects would come from the jungles and everywhere the fireflies would start their plays and thus the nights would turn into a world of mystery.  A certain kind of lamp with a small thread and a little oil in it would lit in every home. The children would gather for study in their courtyard on a hand-stitched mat with a lamp and the elders would engage themselves in some gossips with various old tales and myths. Ultimately, they would live on the belief and culture planted by their forefathers.


There also lived a widow who had lost her husband just a few days ago by snakebite when he had been working in his land. One night, after the departure of her husband, she was sitting in her home. If you could go there that day and stopped in the courtyard, you would certainly see the face of the lady through the open door in the light of a lamp before her. She was sitting on the open floor with her girl child beside her and breastfeeding another little child that was born just a few months ago. She seemed very deep in her thought. The daughter fell asleep on the shoulder of her mother wrapping around her neck in her two hands.  A very long time had already passed. But the widow was as still and unmoved as a stone without care of the time. I don’t know what she was thinking about. Perhaps she was lamenting her husband’s death in silence or anxiously pondering over the future of her children or maybe she was crying in her heart remembering of the whole day how the dearest of her heart had left her, how his dead body had been put into the small carriage, which had been made of pieces of bamboo to take him to the cremation ground, and how she had rushed there to view the last sight of her husband and unable to bear the sorrow and grief she had broken upon the carriage, and how she had broken all her ornaments and wiped out the last traces of the red colored Sindur from her forehead.


Whatever she was thinking I don’t know. But you must say she was lamenting with an uncontrollable pain in her heart and a possibly dark future in her vision. Suddenly a little drop of tear came out on her cheek. And when the pain inside the heart went too far to bear with, she suddenly broke down in a short and loud cry. Suddenly the daughter, sleeping on her shoulder, held her mother’s neck firmly and said to her, “Mother, let’s go and sleep”.


But the tender voice and the careful touch of her daughter, so mysterious and so strange it was, that all the sorrows and grief of her mother suddenly faded away for some time. 


© 2018 Pankaj Mandal



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Widow life's been miserable since thousands of years....absorbing all the ruthless behaviour of society in her including the dated ritual "Satidah'....
And what stuns me in this "21st century" is that still widows are found tangled in limitations upon living life... some of the widows do rise up and some burns themselves silently until they die...
Thanks for sharing this :)

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

where is all your poems my friend

Posted 2 Months Ago


this is a great story,i enjoyed it

Posted 2 Months Ago


Is she dropping out of her society? Will she take her children and leave the village, seeking peace for her heart now that she is in charge of her own life?
I ask because that is what I would do, in her position.

I have a question about this:..."situated among some tall palm trees and little bushes and jungles here and there".
Is that what it is like in areas which have jungles?
I ask because in the movies, jungles are vast; people are forever getting lost in them, sometimes forever.
Are there really little ones, like a small stand of trees?
This idea fascinates me.

Whoa, wait-- Satidah-- isn't that where a woman throws herself upon her husband's funeral pyre? Horrible idea. Give me widowhood any day! I can't believe they still do that.

Posted 2 Months Ago


Pankaj Mandal

2 Months Ago

I just tried to portray the melancholy face of the widow.
Being a non-English speaker and mi.. read more
angel

2 Months Ago

Boscage-(means a few trees, bunched together); tangle, undergrowth...glad to be able to help.
.. read more
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Widow life's been miserable since thousands of years....absorbing all the ruthless behaviour of society in her including the dated ritual "Satidah'....
And what stuns me in this "21st century" is that still widows are found tangled in limitations upon living life... some of the widows do rise up and some burns themselves silently until they die...
Thanks for sharing this :)

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on October 10, 2018
Last Updated on November 2, 2018
Tags: Fiction

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