“Mumma, how can I reach those stars?” Radha asked while pointing towards the sky.
“By flying,” her mother replied, while softly massaging Radha’s head.
Radha stood from there and made another glance at the sky. Then she looked at her mother. There was a spark in her eyes.
“Mumma, one day, I would fly and reach those stars. It’s my dream.”
Her mother smiled and gestured Radha to rest on her lap again. Radha did so and immediately, threw an uncomfortable question towards her ill-literate mother.
“What was your childhood dream mumma?”
At first, her mother couldn’t grasp the question. But even after understanding it, she chose to remain silent, as the flood of patriarchy and it’s ethics had started arising in her mind. How could she tell her daughter that in their society women are not allowed to dream? How could she tell her daughter that they exist only for taking care of kids and house’? How could she kill the dream of her daughter?
Radha looked at her mother’s eyes, expecting a response. Instead of a response, her mother gave a kiss on her forehead and then hugged Radha tightly. Her mother still had hopes in her eyes as Radha’s parents were open-minded, unlike her parents.
“I would fly one day,” Radha murmured in her breath.
Days passed and Radha’s dream of flying to stars became more and more focused. She excelled in her studies at village’s local school. Her mother used to borrow extra money from her mistress (in whose home she used to work as a maid), in order to make her daughter realize her dream. Her father started doing multiple jobs, in order to generate funds for her daughter’s higher studies.
The elders of the village frequently advised Radha’s father to get his daughter married. “The earlier she marries, the better it is for her future life,” they said.
One random day, Radha was going to her school when a village loafer grabbed her hand from behind and shouted, “Give me a kiss”. In the next moment, he squeezed her breast and ran away. Radha was shocked. She didn’t know how to react. The assault was painful. She somehow managed to go to school, but couldn’t focus on her studies.
While going back home, she made up her mind of not telling anything about this to her parents. She feared that they won’t allow her to go to school again.
But, for the next few days, the same kind of assaults happened with her.
Then finally, one day, Radha told everything to her parents. Their immediate reaction was filing a complaint at the police station. But rather than being sympathetic, the policemen harassed the family of 3. No complaint was made. The village elders blamed the girl for encouraging those boys in doing such acts.
Her mother’s employer (mistress) promised to support Radha, by providing her education at a private school, but then backed off, giving illogical reasons. Of course, till the time a problem isn’t personal, no one tries to lend any kind of support to the situation. Isn’t it?
The parents were broken from inside because now Radha had to kill her dream of flying to stars and adopt an unusual yet normal dream of running a house and making food for her husband.
Yeah, she was getting married, at the age of 14, that too with a guy who looked familiar to one of her assaulter. Her parents were open-minded, society wasn’t.
At the wedding night, Radha didn’t come out of her room. Her parents knocked on the door, and called out for her name repeatedly, but she didn’t open the door. Soon, other people gathered there and tried opening the door. After few attempts, the door opened.
All thanks to the rope and ceiling fan, Radha had achieved her dream. She was flying.