Prasad Amor (Psychologist)
The house was dark and the air carried dampness. Our eyes got used to the darkness inside, we entered, but before we could step inside the house, a strict voice asked who we were. we saw a frail woman in a tidy house. Malathi is 70 years old and looks her age. Her body is wrinkled and her eyes are set deep in their sockets.
She is reluctant to speak. Many people in the village ridicule her. There are days when nothing is available in the house. The situation in the household is precarious as there is nothing to eat. She maintains a total detachment from the village. She lives with no one.
“Life has taught me not to trust anyone easily”. Malathy said.
As she unlocked her room, she began to cry. Hers was a tiny room but it looked very spacious, as there were no household goods that could help occupy the space, She showed us was her husband”s death certificate and then began to talk to us, taking time to glance at the certificate at every pause.
Malathi was born into a rich Reddy family. .Her childhood was full of love, happiness, and security. she was married in a Reddy family of the neighboring village. Immediately after her husband’s death, the self- imposed exclusion has been her way of coping with an exclusionist society. In the high caste Hindu families where widow remarriage is not possible. Even the idea of dependence on anyone else is repulsive to her. Her dignified detachment, strength, and courage have earned disrespect in society. Even friends and relatives do not call her for functions and festivals as she is considered unlucky for religious and pleasant occasions.
“I had attempted suicide thrice, even in three different-ways; drinking acid, jumping in to well and consuming poison. But I survived all three attempts miraculously. I believe that God wanted me to survive, I then invested all my heart and soul in surviving in a world so hostile to a widow”.
Malathi wipes the tears that well up in her eyes and says:
“I don’t want to live this life. I feel like coming suicide on a railway track”.
While narrating her story, she maintained calm, yet I could see her face muscles harden and her eyelids drop.
She confessed that she is anxious about finding food each day. She thinks of soliciting in the neighborhood but then drops the idea each day.
“I have never begged before, but I feel that the day when I will be compelled to do so is near”. She said”.
She is largely unaware of government schemes and feels she has no political support in the village.
What makes it worse for your life is horrible”. I asked.
“My destiny was predetermined. I am being punished for my bad karma of past life. My fate is related to god’s will”.