Bela had got married in her thirties which was very late by the norms which existed way back in the sixties. She had been a school teacher and her husband had a government job.
Life was simple and they settled into matrimony pretty soon. The complexities of today about love, space, respect and knowing the person beforehand, did not cause any problems back then. One just became the two tyres of a bicycle, in total synchronization with each other.
No questions asked. None answered.
Very soon they raised their family and were blessed with a son first and a daughter next.
The children grew up to be fine beings with only one difference. And that was because of Bela herself. The son was born with a silver spoon in her eyes and the daughter, a glorified maid.
The son would get everything and the daughter was treated as a liability, her only existence in Bela’s house is that she had to be married off.
The children did get married and were well settled. Life moved on.
The daughter kept on coming to meet her parents off and on as by now they had started staying with her brother, which again was the unsaid norm.
Bela’s daughter in law did not like this at all, as also she showed her disapproval for the occasional visits of her sister in law.
Words were exchanged and after many arguments, the daughter in law was successful in putting a stop to this arrangement. She decided to call it quits.
And moved back with her parents.
Bela, now in her early seventies kept watching this play of events. Again as per the norm, her son still lived with her or one should say, just stayed with her.
Every day was a battlefield. Bela was slowly moved out from the kitchen to the guest room on the second floor, then to the garage and finally, she and her husband were shown the door. For they were the villains in this movie.
And guess what, who came to the rescue? Of course the daughter.
Again as per the norm, Bela refused to stay with her. After all, she could not even drink water at her daughter’s house, let alone eat a morsel.
But slowly, with the love of her daughter, her son in law and her daughter’s mother in law, she relented.
One morning when all of them were having tea with Parle glucose biscuits dipped into it, Bela got up and said,”Sorry”, to her daughter.
A daughter is as much a part of you as a son. Then why segregate?
Divide and rule within yourself.
Nothing else happens other than a fragmented you.
And Bela thought to herself, now in her eighties that she would just listen to her heart, her inner voice, her calling, rather than doing”As per the norm”
“Kitni zindganiyaan tooti hain
Kitni bikhar gayin
Kuch kaagaz ke tukdon
Mein likhe shabdon se
Kyun hum maane unhe
Kyun in bedion mein band rahein
Kyun bane rahein ek daas
Apne andar hi jagaani hogi
Hum sun sakein
Apne hi dil ki aawaz”