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Tarunlata, the eldest daughter of her parents was an apple of their eyes and loved dearly by them. She got married to Sachin, a boy considered very suitable for her. A marketing personnel working with a pharmaceutical company, he had two younger sisters and mother who was a teacher. His father had expired during his early childhood and he was looked up to as the caretaker of his family.
Tarunlata, a beautiful, educated and a very down to earth girl, completely transformed herself according to her new family. She would happily do all the household chores, take care of her sister in laws as her own little sisters and mother in law as her own mother.
Sachin’s job required him to travel most of the times, he was out of town for almost twenty days a month. Tarunlata was still happy and never complained as that was her nature.
Soon, after her marriage, she was exposed to the nagging and unfriendly nature of her mother in law. Sachin’s mother instructed Tarunlata to wake up at 4 in the morning, take a bath , get ready, do the washing and cleaning of clothes and prepare lunch for her and her daughters and do the other chores after they left for their respective jobs. When she came back, she would complain about something or the other. Her sister in laws never offered to help in the household chores. They would even leave their personal share of work on her shoulders.
The elder one, Ruchi, would not even bother to take a glass of water for herself, leave the soiled clothes on the floor to be picked up by Tarunlata.
After coming back home, her mother in law expected the food to be served on her bed, utensils picked up from there and same went for the sister in laws.
A real life Cinderella, she had just the kind and loving nature like her.
Her sister in laws too considered her like a maid, nagging, complaining and always picking on whatever she did just as much as their mother.
Whenever Sachin came back from his tours, his mother would immediately start crying in front of him and start complaining about Tarunlata. Sachin would instantly shout at her for making his mother unhappy. She was always blamed for no fault of hers.
It saddened her parents to see their daughter being tortured so much by her in laws. They tried talking to her Sachin's family but it only worsened her situation. Sachin's mother restricted her from visiting her family. Her father could not take it anymore and died out of grief.
Tarunlata gave birth to a baby boy but things did not improve for her. Even with a small baby to look after, she was required to do as much work as earlier. In due course of time, her sister in laws got married. Little respite came for her now.
Friends and acquaintances justified her mother in law's behaviour by saying that she was widowed at a very young age and had brought up her three children on her own, she has faced so many hardships in life and was never supported by her in laws. What was Tarunlata’s fault in that? Why was she subjected to such torture?
Her mother in law got retired and her son was now ten years old. She decided to take up a job and finally stand for herself. She got their consent to work and took up a small job with an automobile showroom near her house. Very excited, she could finally see the sky now.
Diwali was around the corner, very excited to receive her first salary, she wanted to make it special for her son. She went to market to buy gifts for him, when she came back, she looked unwell. She had high fever and her eyes were red.
Sachin and his mother got worried. Sachin, who had a good experience in the pharmaceutical company and was quite familiar with common ailments and their treatments, gave him some medicines. Few days passed but her fever did not come down, they took her to a nearby nursing home, she was admitted but her condition began to worsen. Doctors could not make out what the disease was.
She began to develop boils on her body and her skin appeared burnt.
She was advised to be taken to a good hospital. Her condition started deteriorating, her disease could not be diagnosed. Her skin started peeling and coming off from her body, doctors suggested some medical reactions. She looked like a skeleton and had a deathly look on her face.
Doctors gave up on her and she lost the battle of her life.
So much, at the age of thirty two.
She left her inconsolable ten years old son, a mother in law who now regretted her loss. Her husband had no words left. He knew the miseries that they had given her. He knew she did not deserve to die like this. It was almost as if God had punished them and rescued her from their clutches.
Her son saw tears in his mother's eyes every time he looked at her picture. He became quiet and stopped talking to anyone. He knew that there was nobody in the world for him. His father was out of town for most of the time and his grandmother was his mother's torturer.
Two years passed and Sachin married again, a widower who is a teacher by profession. He moved on in life but his son could not accept his father's new wife as his mother. He refused to call her his mother. He addresses her as “English Teacher”.
I still remember Tarunlata, personally known to me, as a very sweet natured, always smiling and kindness personified. Tears roll down my eyes as I write her story, remembering her as if I met her only yesterday. Though far related, I always felt very attached to her, wish I could spend more time with such a kind soul.