(Courtesy- Google Images)
Megha, how often I have remembered the only times I had met her. My memories go back to the last decade. She was the daughter of one of the construction workers who were building our house. I used to play at the site quite often and had stringent instructions from my mother, who overlooked the whole business, not to indulge with the kids of the workers. Like every child, I savored the eternal joy associated with breaking the rules and not getting caught. Mostly the kids who played around that area were boys. Megha, 32 at that time, was the illegal (the term I understood much later) of Ram Barua Gujjar (Ramu, as he was called), one of the construction workers. She, 5 feet tall and with endless flabs of fat, had one of the most beautiful pair of eyes. She had the biggest and the roundest dark circles around her eyes but the thing I found interesting was the bright spark that came from the pair, twinkling hope. Every other day, I would see her sitting on the heap of sand near the ragged covered hut and gaze at the children playing nearby. She was always there – listening to his Galis (words used in hindi for abusing), chewing tobacco and drinking black tea (for the milk was too costly to put in the tea). Megha gossiped a lot but rarely with others. She gossiped with the children. Others did not want to speak to her. She hadn’t served the purpose she was brought to serve. But she was satisfied with life as it was presented to her or so I thought. When the construction of the house was complete the workers moved away from the places to somewhere else. Megha, came once or twice to our house to get some household work. That time, I came to know from granny that her husband had left her. Of course granny did not give her any work for reasons I couldn’t understand. It was some news to me as I did not know for the starters that Megha was married. I always thought she was there as an entity, a single cell. It never occurred to me why she was constantly abused by Ramu, simply because all other wives were also abused by their husbands, who lived in the construction areas. Granny told that she delivered a child, the sole purpose for which Ramu had kept her (as a wife). After 2 years, she had been successful in producing the progeny.
It is now more than 10 years since Megha. We shifted places and houses. Cities changed and so did household help. Megha, who failed to give Ramu the family honor for which Ramu had accepted her as a second wife (no legal marriage information is there to anyone’s knowledge) is still pouring hope. She gave birth to a baby girl as did Ramu’s first wife. Ramu was then the father of 3 girls before Megha faded from our lives.
Rain still pours every year in the city. In Hindi we say:
‘Sawan aya, Megha barse’
But Megha is lost in time, in some city of this country. A boy is still the family honor there and Megha still hopes that she will be able to do what she has been brought for.
Queer is the world
And queerer are its norms
She still lives in the world of hope
Till the darkness fades and
Brings the same joy
On the birth of a girl or a boy.