Untold Story of a Breaking News

She kept looking towards them, staring with blank eyes. The media and the common man blinded by media; everyone was making them the culprits. She and her husband were being loathed for an act which could not be easily justified. "What is happening to this country, where a mother sells her own child?", "They sold her, their own daughter..", "..these people are wretched, they should not be forgiven"; the media was spitting venom upon them. People see what they are shown and believe what they are made to. When the police took Shyamlal to lockup, she kept looking with numb eyes. She had forgotten what happiness was, what getting a stomach full of bread was. Her name was Latika, too hurt to cry she sat down on the floor, looking into the abyss of her misfortune and suddenly past came back flashing in front of her eyes.

"Here, have your lunch, why do you work so hard?", asked Latika from her husband. He replied gaily, "because I want to buy you a new Saari my love." They had half an acre land which was sufficient for both of them. He borrowed plough, manures and other necessities for agriculture from other people of his village, in return he worked for them. He also earned extra money by working as a daily wage labourer. None of this bothered  Shyamlal because he knew he was taking good care of his wife, who was bearing his first child then. But soon the uncertainty with agriculture showed its colours. Small farmers like Shyamlal succumbed to the disturbed rain cycle. Draught decreased the productivity from his already small land so much that he had no choice but to work almost full time as a labourer. In contrast, to a nation fast developing, it was a good time, or at least seemed like one. Cities were expanding by eating up villages, road network was improving, electricity was reaching remote areas and many more 'shining' things were beginning to take shape. It was when the government decided to make a big crossroads flyover on the highway near their village, fortunes of Shyamlal took another turn. His small stretch of land luckily was a part of the land allocated for the flyover. Government paid a decent sum for his otherwise useless land. By this time his family had become 4 from 2. Wage rates in the village were very low and work was hard to find, so they moved to the nearby city. Latika had asked Shyamlal upon coming to the city, "How will we ever survive in a large place like this?" To which he had replied, "We can only survive in a large place like this, choices are not a part of our life anymore".

"Latika, Latika!!" she was shaken back to present by one of her neighbours. It had been a long day already, she did not know where to go for assistance. Poor people neither have means nor contacts to seek help in such matters. When she enquired from her neighbors, she came to know that it will be at least 1 month imprisonment for shyamlal for dealing in an illegal manner. Her daughter Binodi was now with her. For the first time in her life she felt the urge to kill herself. It was not humiliation, they have already suffered a lot. It was the sinking feeling that how would she ever support her family now? They were doomed to die eventually, we all are, but with such misery and so early, this was unexpected. At least not likely when their life had returned back to normal in the city just a few years ago.

The city was a concrete jungle, everyday another concrete marvel would be erected. Shyamlal and Latika, they both got work on construction sites. They earned enough to sustain and even to save some money. Two years later, a daughter was born to them, they named her Binodi. They were raising their 3 kids well, though they could not send them to school, they fed them well. Or just good enough. Shyamlal created a house with left over bricks and a polythene sheet roof at a construction site. Kids played nearby when their parents laboured. Those were the routine tough days, things were going just smoothly. Then, destiny took a U-turn once again and their elder son got ill. His head swell and doctors at the government hospital asked for money to operate the kid. Their minimal savings so far went away in the treatment. When they had nothing left, they decided to go back to their village. They had a few relatives there who could take care of the kids when they would go out to work. So they came back, unaware that things were about to get worse. This was just the beginning.

They came back to the village and looked for work in the nearby localities. Work was not ample and they were not paid like they used to in the city. One day Shyamlal went to meet a distant relative of him Ramlal - after a long time. Ramlal had luckily got a good job as peon in a private company. He was in a better condition than Shyamlal but fate had played other tricks upon him. He did not have any child. Shyamlal and his family were starving by then. Since Binodi was very small, Ramlal and his wife offered them to take her. Shyamlal refused instantly and so did Latika. But after the persuasion, they agreed to sell her. All of this was done legally, they put their thumb prints on the stamp paper. It was not easy for them, all of this, specially for Latika. But, hunger is an emotion which overtakes all others. Even motherhood. She thought, at least Binodi will have a good life this way.

"What..!!" Latika got back to her senses by Binodi's cries. She was happy to see her back but felt sad for the things going around her. She thought, they will get over this too, of course she was not at the liberty of chalking out plans for their future. Just to get bread 2 times a day for her family was enough for her. Latika did not want more from her already shattered life. She was thinking, ‘Shyamlal will return after 1 month,  it is October I can get work in the Paddy fields, but that won’t be enough, I also have to work somewhere extra, how will I manage milk for poor girl Binodi, I cannot borrow any more money  now….’ That tired sould did not know when she fell asleep thinking all this.

Life went back to normal for all those who had been watching this news in the comforts of their homes. But the damage was done, two families had been shattered. The Media which was the culprit in making them the culprits, went away to its other 'breaking-news-stuff', only to return 1 year later with another breaking news. "Young girl dies of malnutrition and jaundice. Parents kill both the sons and commit suicide!!"


Raphael said...

tooo coool, bahut acchi story hai....the writing style was simple and cynical i loved it....and the ending was apt....real life cannot be happy it has to end in pain

Aditya ! said...

thnx a lot varunda for commenting and appreciating.. means a lot to me.. seriously!!

aditi said...

lovely story , beautifull written... :)

Aditya ! said...

thnku aditi..

Kopal said...

:) I m a latest name in ur fan club :)

Aadii said...

@Kopal, Thank you so much. Btw, how did you get to my blog?