Ramya looked out of her window at the park below. It would be 4 years today since she entered her “new home”. Although she was yet to feel akin to calling it a home. She could not tell which had felt more like home, her room at the hostel where she had spent ten years before she got married and came to this house or this sprawling penthouse she and her husband lived in.
At the hostel, her room had always been the hub of all activity. It was the place where she and her friends would hang out when they returned from work, where they would share anecdotes from work, discuss colleagues, share sob stories about boyfriends, girlfriends and fiances, and happy news; where a couple of years earlier they had sat and crammed books to clear their placement exams, scribbled assignments to meet deadlines. It was always teeming with activity. Then she moved…
The day she stepped into this house, she had done so with optimism. New places excited her, it meant a chance to meet new people and make new friends. And in the first 6 months, she had done so, making it a point to go to the play park in society every evening on weekends, and hosting get togethers. People had received her amicably too. But soon the questions started, about her work, about her intention to have kids and the long periods of absence of her husband who had to travel for work. She soon tired of giving answers to all these questions and the weekly visits became monthly, the get togethers vanished altogether.
She looked down at the park focusing on kids playing there. Her cup of tea grew cold on the balcony sill. She gazed at the small girl on the swing. If fate didn’t enjoy playing pranks, she would have had a kid that old today. She knew what she had wanted, she would give up everything else for a chance to be the mother pushing that swing. But she knew that to be beyond her reach. The doctor’s words would forever ring in her ears.
Rayna pushed her daughter on the swing. 3-year old Arya was everything in her life. Arya was the little ray of sunshine in her otherwise bleak life. Once a promising student, placed at a leading publishing house, things changed overnight when Rayna got engaged to a distant acquaintance, a businessman and moved to a new town. How she had argued and fought with her parents. But she had to give in eventually. Resolving to start looking for a job as soon as she could, she was horrified when she was told that working was out of question for her. “Women in his family did not go out to work“. More agony awaited her when she was told in no unclear words that she was expected to produce a “boy” as soon as possible. She had retaliated and yet again, gave in. Only, it had turned out to be a girl.
4 years had passed since she came to this city. Rayna wondered how it was that her life had turned from white to black so quickly. Life was contrary to what she had expected it to be, what she had wanted it to be. Stuck between a man who cared nothing about her, who controlled her every move and would monitor her 24×7, a daughter who was ignored by everyone in the family except her, a house full of in-laws and relatives coming and going, with not a spare moment of peace, she sometimes wished she could just run away from it all. She looked up at the sky, wondering if there really was really a God to look out for her. She caught sight of the lady in the penthouse.
Life seemed so unfair at that moment. Rayna’s heart would cringe each time she looked at this lady. She seemed to personify everything that Rayna wanted to be, everything she had aspired to have in life.
For a long moment the two ladies looked directly at each other.