Chaluvi was staring at the ceiling fan as he pounded her. He stopped and looked at her. She smiled, let out a low moan and hugged him tighter. He continued till he was spent. “Whom were you thinking about?” he asked as she was getting dressed. She was silent. Getting up he stood before her. He yanked her hair hard, “Answer me,” he bellowed. She looked squarely in his eyes and replied, “your father.” He impulsively raised his hand to slap her, which she caught midway. “I may be your slave but I am also the mother of your son. Remember that!” saying this she left him staring after her.
She came face to face with Shantamma outside the room whose face was contorted with hatred towards Chaluvi but Chaluvi’s eyes were sympathetic. She bowed to Shantamma as she walked away.
Chaluvi was the slave of Dodanna Gowda. He was the “Thakur” of the town. Poverty had forced Chaluvi’s father to sell his daughter off to the Gowda when she was just 10 years old. Since then she had lost count of the several times she was raped by the men of the family. As Shantamma was not able to conceive, it was Chaluvi who gave the heir to the family, Tejas was now 10 years old and was studying in a Boarding School in Bangalore. Of course he had no idea of who his real mother was.
“Take this, a total of 5000 rupees. Send 2000 rupees to Venkta and keep the rest. Ningi may need it for her check up,” said Chaluvi handing over the money to her mother.
Her mother smiled though she was sad. “How I wish to see you as a bride and end your ordeal!”
“And do what? Warm the bed of another man! Cook and clean for him? Am I not doing the same now,” retorted Chaluvi.
Ningi, her younger sister who was pregnant and had come home for delivery hugged her sister. “We won’t be what we are today if not for your sacrifices akka.”
“If not for you Ningi, I would not be alive today,” replied Chaluvi.
Ningi, who was a nurse in the government hospital, was instrumental in saving her sister’s life when she was going through a very difficult delivery.
“Maybe I can breathe a little easy when Venkta gets a job. For that he has to pass his exams, which he is not been able to for the past two years. The company of friends he keeps is not good. And if he ends up marrying that girl he is moving around with, I will end up looking after his family too. Men! And Suresha, he had to abandon us! And people still pray to have sons!” she spat.
“That is our destiny Chaluvi, wish your father was alive today, then we would not have to see any of this,” told her mother wiping her tears.
Chaluvi started laughing.
Written for The Book Club’s Blogging Community.
The prompt of this month is – Women Are Not Equal To Men.