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A Rainy Night’s Tale

A Rainy Night’s Tale

By Sreechandra Banerjee

That night is still vivid in my memory.

Ugly things are happening with women almost every-day – rather every night!

They say – women are equal and is this equality?

And often it is the upper class who are involved in heinous crimes as often pampered at home. They think they can do anything and get away with it !- How funny ! And then they blame it on women!

Worse is – sometimes under-18-year olds are the main culprits and they get away in juvenile courts. Isn’t it odd –they can do such a thing – and when it comes to law- they are not convicted!

And people say that women are only responsible for this! Why do they have to go out in the dark?

What if….

Yes, if it is a necessity….

Like that night I had to……..

Well, well, I am digressing… should concentrate on today’s debate.

When they invited me to speak in favour of the proposition “Should women go out in night?”, I agreed.

Don’t know how I will tell them that night’s story in short! But I will have to!

Let me tell you – so that you can help me condense the story in a few words – so that I can then top up with this example and say yes – if it is necessary – women should go out in the night! Try and change the mindset of the society at large and don’t pamper boys to become criminals. Society is changing and so should the mental blocks. Restricting women behind “parda” will never help a society to march ahead and progress.

Well, wont this be a good conclusion?

My, see! I have not told you what happened that night!

 

Well, that night I was wondering ..What to do?

 ….What, what to do?

 It was past midnight – my sister Rekha was complaining of pains and other problems – she was expecting and was staying at our parents’ house as her husband often had to go out on official tours. Yes, my brother-in-law practically lived out of suitcases.

 What to do! – tell Baba – no definitely not – what would he do? Last month he had a heart attack and Ma….?

 …yes I would have to tell her – but she is nervous type,

 …damn it – it was raining and the landline was not working – it was raining so hard in the evening too that couldn’t get my mobile restored!

 

And then the streets started getting inundated!

 

Where’s Rekha’s mobile gone – couldn’t find it to!

“it’s in…, th..ee..rrr..eee, – fe…ell fr..om m..y hand” she mumbled in pain”

Oh God! Her broken cell-phone was lying beside her bed!

 

I tried to call the doctor from Baba’s cell-phone. Oh God! There seemed to be no tower!

 

“When did this labour pain start – why didn’t you tell me in the evening, what can I do now?”

 I knew I shouldn’t be shouting at her – but what to do – …wwhhaaa tt ttt oo ddoo ? how to get a doctor? Or how to take her to the hospital at this time – and now that streets were flooded too! Where would I get a taxi?

“ e…vvv..eening – noott..hhing,

nn..ooww wor…wor..sen..ed” she then tried to say.

 

What … what to do – where to get a taxi – how to contact her doctor now?

 

I have come here all the way from Hyderabad to attend to my younger sister’s needs as it wouldn’t be possible for my elderly parents to take care of her now. My husband and college-going daughter would come here day after tomorrow for a week. But, what to do now?

Then it dawned on me that across the street lived a lady gynaecologist.

 

Yah – why not go and call her – it was just across and it was only past midnight. Her husband too is a doctor. That might help. As it was, my twelve years younger sister Rekha was having her first baby in mid-thirties – why take risk?

..but it was raining cats and dog!

 

Anyway I changed to trousers in case I had to run – there was a distillery nearby and drunkards despite heavy rains, were sometimes out on the street!

 

So I crossed the road – already ankle deep-water flooded the road, there was a wind too – that almost took away my umbrella,

 

Anyway the umbrella wasn’t any good –but a sense of satisfaction though!

 

Dr. Radhikana Chatterjee agreed to come – so nice of her.

 

“Why don’t you ask your husband to come too, its midnight and he is also a doctor” I was apprehensive!

 

“He has gone to Delhi to attend a conference, I stayed back because of my son’s exams”

 It had temporarily stopped raining.

And so we came out – and was about to cross the street when a Mercedes Benz appeared from nowhere.

 

“ah ha larki mil gayi, ha ha larki mil gayi” three men came out of the car shouting that they have now found a woman!

Men! Even in that rain – they looked more like boys in their late teens rather than men!

 

“choli ké piché keya hai..ha ha , choli ké piché…”. Lyrics of a Hindi film song they started singing “what is behind your choli or blouse?”

 

“aré bazaar’o ki aurat! – now everybody – sing – ‘siti bajaké bol – all izz well’”. Then they started saying that she was a Bazaar woman” or a “market” woman! Why, why did they say that about a respectable doctor? May be because she was out in the night!

 

“rup tera mastana, pyar mera diwana…”. Another Hindi film hit – saying that I am inebriated by your beauty and my love goes crazy!

 

This doctor – though she was in her mid-forties as far as I knew – didn’t look her age!

 

 And they started dragging the lady-doctor. I tried to hold her back but couldn’t. Three boys and me alone! Even if I had been a man I could have done nothing, simply nothing!

 

– “aré yaar – oh bhi aurat hai – look below the umbrella – there !” They realized that I was a woman or aurat too….

 

They were about to drag me too…

  

Then suddenly the doctor jolted all three of them. They were startled and tried to run away. One fell down and then the others went to help him.

 

I always used to think that she was timid. Never knew of this strength in her! Probably they too never expected this blow from her.

 

At that very moment – someone from behind pulled me –

 

Oh God! – it was Ramu – the busttee-boy – I had always loathed him – this slum-boy always looked at all girls from 9 to 90!

 

..so now he has come out too– why?

 

I jolted him.

He tried to drag us away!

“Didi – come, get out of here, or they will take you there – inside the car!”

 

“What rubbish, and why are you here? They were dragging us! You rascal – what were you doing then?”

“,, am late – I know – seeing her being dragged– I came running Didi”

 

Oh my God – he has come to save us – and look here – I was thinking that he had some bad intentions!

 

“So now bring all others from the bustee so that we can fight them out, come on, what are you doing?”

 

“Didi, they have important high-level contacts, see the car, we – the entire busttee won’t be able to do anything!”

 

Meanwhile all three of them got into the car and escaped. It had stopped raining so I managed to memorize the number

 

…now, there my sister Rekha in labour, so we rushed back to our house!

My heart was about to stop! Oh God!

 

It had started raining heavily again!

 

That slum-boy Ramu and others had meanwhile managed to call a taxi. Probably the taxi driver lived in the same bustee. Good! We will not have to wait for the ambulance which the doctor had called when I went to her house.

I earnestly prayed to God to save Rekha’ child!

 

Every moment it seemed my heart would leap out of its mere cage!

 Hospitals these days – couldn’t find a doctor to immediately attend on her!

 So Dr. Chatterjee herself decided to do the operation and Rekha was immediately taken to the operation-theatre.

 ..one hour passed

    no news!

 

The red light of the OT was still on, no news, why? Wwwhhhhyyy!           

 

I was totally drenched in all possible ways!

I had managed to bring a change when we went to pick Rekha up and so I changed 

 

And finally the doctor came out and said:”

“It is baby girl.”

 

I was so happy – a girl who would hopefully be able to change the attitude of the society.

 

 

Copyright Sreechandra Banerjee

All rights reserved except for the lyrics of the songs to which I have no right.

 

 

 ——————————————————————————————————–

 

This tale is to show that respectable woman might have to go out in the night for various reasons. Many think that only bad women go out in the night! And even if the woman who goes out in the night is socially handicapped (a prostitute) that does not mean that men can take advantage without her consent.

 

 

 

 

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Sreechandra Banerjee

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Namita Sunder
1 year ago

I loved the positive, hopeful end. The real life incidents are scary. Let us keep our hope alive. nicely told.

Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago

Beautiful story. It can happen to any woman in India. We say a lot about gender equality but nothing changes at the ground level. The mindset has to change. The strictness of the laws alone cannot help to change the society.

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