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Returning Home

By Hamsini Hariharan

A sense of despair enveloped her and it was the moment she realized that had enough of it all; the dogma, the rumours and the stain on her fate that made her feel constantly unclean. Even now, he could not look her in the eye. Even though he knew the truth, he could not raise his gaze to meet hers. Even if she did prove herself a thousand times over as the bride who had left her father’s house, she would be looked at like a common street whore.

She wanted to go back home, to the one place where everything was better and everything became safe. She cried to her mother.  Mothers have this peculiar quality of feeling their child’s pain as their own and immediately making everything better. She wanted to be a child again, to be allowed to sit on her mother’s lap and be put to sleep.

She closed her eyes because she did not want to let anyone see the tears prickling the corners. She didn’t have any strength left and she did not want to see the faces of those around her.

A wide crack split the earth beneath her feet and the ground separated with a gust of cold air bellowing out. She descended gracefully back into the womb of her mother, beneath the cracks of the hot land that eagerly awaited the monsoon.  She descended into the centre of the earth.

As Kusha watched his mother go, he knew that he would not see her again. He wanted to cry out to her, to beseech her not to leave him in a world where the good and the evil were indistinguishable. But apart from a lone tear that streamed down his face, he could not call her back. She looked fatigues as though she had a particularly trying day. The pallu of her sari swirled and covered her head. Her eyes caught his one last time before she disappeared. There were definitely tears in her eyes.

But then, Kusha had never seen his mother cry before in his entire life. 

Note: The Uttara Kanda, the last chapter of the Ramayan speaks of Sita’s renunciation of life and the demise of Ram, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. Ram is looked up to as the Atman Purushottaman, the ideal man. While his qualities are indeed admirable, one sometimes wonders about the tribunals of the women at the time. Sita could never prove her purity to people’s satisfaction despite of the truth. This fictionalized account of the supposed myth explores her mindset during the last minutes of her life.

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Basically I write, I read and I dream up fairytales. The rest of the time, I nibble at food, sing songs off tune, and pretend to be a hotshot photographer. I also love the wind in my hair, basking in the sun, a healthy dose of cynicism and coffee on the rocks.


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