My 80-year old mom has been having an affair with my 45 year old cousin. In fact he and his own mom who is 68 years also have been having an affair. This accusation came close on the heels of this pandemic. My cousin’s wife, in all her fictional and immoral cognizance had said this in a ‘First Information Report’ to the elite Hyderabad constabularies. The moment I heard it, I felt that the earth underneath had padlocked with my feet crushed. The seconds were so long, that I was sure it is heart-attack. The numbness and the incredulity were so colossal that I thought civilization was massacred. It was not any other woman that such allegation was made against.
In all of the fracas, what stunned me was the nonexistence of support from the cops, the women groups, human rights commission, political sewers, and relatives – all the same. We are talking about a woman who forfeited the prime of her life for the advancement of her family, extended families, and communities such as her scholars, her peers and anyone who she could by way of teaching. Yet, there was not a single valiant soul that came forward in her defense; except few of her students but are weighed down by the current circumstances.
Her saga started when she was 21 years old. For the next 15 years following, she lived to serve her older brother and his brood of five. Devotedly she would surrender her 81 rupees ($1.10) monthly salary to him just so he can count and give her back 1 rupee for her commuter pass. Somehow, she also ended up paying for her youngest brother’s education until he got his first job. They’ve remained the best of siblings till his demise two years ago. The irony of it is that she has not stopped serving her family in one way or the other. At first, when I heard all these stories of her struggle, I was inclined to believe that she is a victim of doom. But more I see how she still eats stale food while her permanent guests pitilessly savor the freshly cooked, I am compelled to consider that she is the culprit. She feeds to their beleaguering comportments.
Her ‘criminal’ behavior is so unescapable that goes through spells of forgiveness unlike me and ends up pampering the already rotten. It is not like she mistakenly gets any affection in return. She never has and never will – at least from those she audaciously helps. And all of this amassed, to the point where she has been accused of having a clandestine relationship. Perhaps, humanity died. Well, it must have. If a distinguished thespian is not getting the dignity of passing; we are next to unknown to receive any basic courtesy. While I lurk to slander my cousin’s wife, I’ve been suck into the culpability of family rectitude. When there is nothing left of it.
Reading this far, if you feel this is airing dirty laundry, it absolutely is. If criminals are protected in the obscurities of defunct laws that empower women to take gratuitous advantage of their stature in society and con anyone into believe they are the victims – who is to challenge and what is there to hide anymore. Thugs like my cousin’s wife continue to dominate the scene with fake FIRs, doe-eyeing cops and luring male dominated ‘casteist’ groups to molest the minds of dignified people like my mom. And yet, all the so-called guardians still won’t move a pinky finger because they are bound by uselessness of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ giving copious prospects to those that need to be buried in the trenches of the earth.
And people like my mom and me continue to scream on the top of our lungs, vilifying our wrongdoers even if none ratify our boisterous conduct, or use the power of our pens to brandish our strengths in personal catastrophes just like so many ill-fated in quest of blind righteousness. Since, everyone else seems to have found comfort in thunderous muteness or just prefer watching us in amusement. They’ve made their choice. We’ve made ours. “Sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an undeniable breakthrough.” This is exactly that.