Mira got married at the age of 20 when she was in B.A.’s 2nd year. Her father, a government clerk, had passed away that year. Her uncle (father’s brother) then had forced her into an alliance with a well-to-do family, which her mother also could not object to.
Marriage changes the life of any normal girl. So without knowing anything about her husband, Mira was sent off to her new home after the hasty wedding. Once there, she was shocked to find her husband Harish to be autistic on her first wedding night.
No wonder then, as there was no demand for dowry from this family. Mira could only curse her fate now because she never even once felt suspicious about it before. So she now led a life full of compromises from day one.
Mira was expected to be a full-time caregiver to not just Harish, but also to his elderly parents and two young school-going children of his elder brother, who along with his wife worked in a bank together. Not a single word of appreciation came from anybody ever.
Of course, there were housemaids hired for cleaning jobs in the house, but the responsibility of cooking lay on Mira. Before her marriage, there was one cook, who was let off later on by her cunning sister-in-law Rupa (brother-in-law’s wife), to minimize household expenses.
Since early in the morning, she was compelled to prepare tiffins for the kids and breakfasts for everyone. And then make daytime lunch and dinner at night. In the meantime make teas and snacks whenever there’s a demand or when guests come in.
Mira found little or no help at all from Rupa and no time to even take some rest the whole day. In short, she found her life miserable, with no one to talk to and share her feelings with.
Months and then a year passed away like this. Mira had not even visited her mother for this long time. Her uncle back home was too shrewd not to let her visit her mother, lest she might not return to her in-law’s home.
And one day, Mira received the sad news of her mother’s death due to a heart attack. Her dear mother was too saddened to learn about her daughter’s ordeal. Mira had often told her about her hardship on the phone, at late nights when all were asleep.
During one such night, Mira had planned for a small crime just to get rid of the house. One night, Mira tiptoed into her mother-in-law’s room, took out the keys lying under her pillow, and silently opened the shelf to take out whatever cash and jewelry she found in the locker. Purposely she left the shelf open for others to cry about the next morning.
So the next day, upon the arrival of the Police Mira hesitantly surrendered herself to the police, without letting anyone know about her real intention. Once inside the lockup, she expressed her wish to study privately and finish her graduation first.
Mira also expressed her desire to find a job inside the jail itself. And not return to her in-law’s home at all, and have no hard feelings about them anymore.
In a way, she found out for herself a new life, a silver lining over the gloomy clouds. You take such a drastic step in life only when you have no choices left. She had wholeheartedly trusted her uncle, thinking that he was her well-wisher.
Mira wished not to look back at the time when she could have saved herself from the bad marriage by refusing outright to it, through gathering basic information about her would-be in-laws beforehand.
Anyway, time is the best healer, and experience is the best teacher. Years later, Mira was happy to be appointed as the jail warden of the women prisoners’ cell.