Not everyone can dance in the rain…
Dad mostly never brought any money home. There wasn’t a single inch of the roof that wasn’t leaking. We had bottles hanging all over the place. Large vats hanging on nails and wood. Most places were heavily rusted and falling all over. Not even the sky pitied us. The exhaustion of emptying all those recipients was no less than a full-time job. He came drunk every day.
Then dadi started telling dad lies about my mother. He started beating her mercilessly. Every day she was beaten and we couldn’t do anything. He used to throw me and my sister like rag dolls on the bed and we cowered, receding to the wall with our tattered covers. He was loud, swearing every day. Once a neighbour talked to him and dad said he won’t repeat the same. Despite being a high ranking police officer, no one came forward to help. No one offered anything. They kept mum, even when we pleaded, banged at their doors to please save us, but nothing.
One day, he beat mother so much that her face was so bruised, eyes were swollen, and blood was all over the wall. That bloodstain remained red on the wall for years. We tried to wipe it off, it never went. It disappeared only after we painted it years later, and I am sure that it is still like this under. Dad threw us outside every day, dragging us, kicking us. We used to hide under the huge Tulsi tree in the darkness (large leaf one). Sometimes behind the house under the heavy foliage in the cold, rain and multiple insects bites, trembling till our bones, entering the house quietly at 3-4 am, and if we were lucky by midnight when he was deep asleep. We would huddle closer when it rained, under the cover, grateful for the heat.
We had no food most of the time. Surviving on chow leaves and rice whenever possible, and pulses, whenever mom could buy. None of the relatives came forward, none came to reason with him, none offered at least to help me and my sister. By college, I was an extremely shy person, I was incredibly afraid to talk. I never made friends, I never talked to anyone. When Nani maa passed away, we ran to our old decrepit house. Our maternal house was a very old structure built with limestone and a corrugated iron roof. It wasn’t in the best of its shape but if it meant going away, it was welcomed.
Dad chased us till there and never let us in peace. He made a ruckus. Threatened to destroy everything by killing me and my sister. The police just issued warnings over warnings. Domestic violence was just an incident, nothing major. We had to return back. Mom rented one room to one tailor and the monthly rent was 800rs. This was all we had for our expenditure; food, milk, groceries, travelling to school everything.
The beatings continued every day. Once dad threw my sister on the floor and kept kicking her stomach till she couldn’t. Throwing her continuously around. He kept kicking like a possessed demon. When mom intervened he threw her very hard against the wall. Threw me on the floor and continued kicking her. Dadi, chacha and Chachi just stood mum and watched.
Once I was doing my homework, he started throwing things around. Held moms hair tight and started beating her. She couldn’t escape. She kept pleading, calling my name. When dad was taking the knife out, I intervened and pushed him away. Mom escaped. I knew that I had crossed a line from which there was no going back. Dad held me by my hair and throat. Dragged me outside. Held my throat in his grip and lifted me in the air, bruising my back against the crude wall. I was fighting for my life, kicking and flailing my arms desperately. I couldn’t breathe and saw white everywhere. Mom came and rescued me. Things kept getting worst. Police kept issuing warnings. Sometimes taking dad to jail overnight. But he always came back more wild, angry and ferocious.
One day, he came and destroyed the bed, urinated on the mattress. The next day, I managed to fix the bed with glue and nails to the best of my abilities.
Cover image credit: Pixabay