Ella opened her eyes slowly but all she could see was a blue
haze around. She felt a burning sensation all through her body which was excruciatingly
painful too. It was as if something hot; perhaps boiling hot was being poured all
over her body. She could neither feel her lips nor move her neck all she could
do was look from the right to the left by the only movement she felt capable
of, the rolling of her eye balls. She tried over and over again to move but
“Where am I?” she seemed to ask herself. Apart from returning
home from the market one night she couldn’t remember anything. The severe ache
and stinging sensation further prevented her from doing so. She found it hard
to breathe and at every moment felt an unquenchable thirst; as if she had been
without water for generations.
“Where am I? What is this place and why can’t I feel
anything?” she struggled to recollect.
She felt parched and dry; she tried to wipe off the haze in
her vision by rubbing her eyes but where were her hands? She just couldn’t feel
her hands! It was like a horrible dream. It was as though she was stuck
somewhere trying hard to make sense of it all but simply couldn’t. Just about then
a name came to her mind, Palash, yes only he could get rid of all her
confusions; only he could solve this conundrum for her.
Ella tried to call out to Palash but she seemed to have no
control over her voice. All she managed to say was ‘Paa’ and then felt a strikingly
cutting sensation around her throat. This was extending beyond anything she
could fathom. No matter how much she tried everything seemed bizarre and weird.
Ella continued with her struggle to make head or tail of
where she was or what had happened to her. Perhaps even try and wake up from
this reverie, if it was any. Suddenly she heard some footsteps which were getting
closer to her. She turned her eyes towards the right and there seemed to be
standing two blurred figures. One of them seemed to be a woman who appeared as
some sort of khaki haze to her while the other a man who was in something
white. Slowly as Ella looked toward the left, there stood a male like figure
who looked familiar to her but she couldn’t put a finger to the reason why.
She could hear her name or something of the sort in the
conversation going on around her. She was near them but the voices seemed to
come from far. She needed answers; she wanted to wake up from whatever this
was. She wanted this dilemma to end; she wanted answers.
“Is this our house Palash?” exclaimed a visibly excited
Ella. She wore a red chiffon saree with golden beads all over the body. With
golden sleeveless blouse, a mangal-sutra
around her neck, gold earrings, golden and red bangles and tiny red bindi; Ella looked heavenly. Her
lustrous black hair, parted just at the point where she had applied vermillion,
reaching upto her waist made her look every bit of a newly wedded bride. With
eager and expectant eyes she looked around the one bed room house that was to
be the witness to the beginning of their lives together, her and Palash’s.
“Yes it is Ella” saying that Palash took her into his arms. He
was the complete antithesis of Ella while she was sophisticated,
extraordinarily beautiful, exceptionally well educated and hailed from a well
to do family; Palash was mediocre in every aspect. He was lean, a below average
appearance coupled with a demeanour one wouldn’t normally associate with a
suave man. He had just landed a job at a hotel in Amroi but that was in any
measure just meagre compared to what Ella had grown up with. Her parents
weren’t happy at her choice but they conceded to their lovely daughter’s
demand; after all if she was happy there was very little to object about; wasn’t
Ella had left a successful career and job to move to Amroi
where Palash had his job. It was too small a town to have any opportunities for
Ella but she made peace with herself and her desires about her career for
Palash’s sake. Afterall, if they were together than this sacrifice on her part
was just minor compared to the beautiful life they had ahead.
Palash looked into Ella’s khol lined eyes and as Ella looked back, all she could see was love
but at the same instant she remembered the words of her sister who happened to
be extremely sceptical about Palash.
She had said “Ella love is fine but when a man is not
successful in life, he eventually rakes havoc in the lives of his loved ones
and everything however rosy comes to an end”.
Palash hadn’t yet secured a stronghold in terms of earnings.
Infact, their marriage expenses, the advance to their new home was all taken
care of by Ella’s savings. Perhaps somewhere in the corner of her heart her
sister’s words resonated and scared her. However, she let that be and merged
into the strong loving arms of her husband. She felt safest there and she was
adamant to fight every obstacle in the path of her happily ever after so long
as he was with her.
“Ella, Ella can you hear us?” said the figure in khaki.
“Uaaa mmm” was all Ella could manage as she gasped for
breathe and water at the same time. She tried again and again but in vain.
“Waa Waaata” was all that escaped her mouth.
“What? What was that Ella” asked the figure in Khaki for a
Gradually the voices seemed to get clear in Ella’s head.
The shape in white seemed to say “It is normal in such
cases. I think she wants water but we can’t give her any right now”.
She felt indescribable pain but still couldn’t comprehend what
they were speaking about. Just then she heard a familiar voice one that she had
got used to listening to over the years; yes it had to be the voice of Palash.
“Is she going to be alright?” he seemed anxious. There was
something about his voice today; he seem worried perhaps but not really however
“I wouldn’t lie to you Palash but it is nearly impossible.
Her vital organs are all damaged. The extent of injury is beyond repair and we
are sorry but it’s just a matter of time before..” and he stopped saying
“Stop it Palash!! It’s enough” cried Ella with a two and a
half year old baby in her arms.
Palash looked towards her indignantly as though he just
hated her presence.
“Stop drinking. You need to get out and get some work or
atleast let me work. We can’t go on like this. There is a baby we need to take
care of for crying out loud!!”
“Stop your bickering. I know what I have to do, don’t you
dare try to teach me bitch” exclaimed Palash as he ran towards her and pulled
her hair. It wasn’t the first time and she knew it wouldn’t be the last. She
managed to get out of his hold and put the baby in the cot. Tears rolled down
her eyes, the happy life she had dreamt off seemed to have lost its way and now
seemed to be a distant dream.
“Six years back I left everything for I thought you were man
enough but I was wrong. You ruined everything and all you can do is drink and
beat me. I won’t take this any longer” cried out Ella.
She had come back from her parents’ just a week back but the
pride in her prevented her from crying her heart out to either her parents or
her sister. She didn’t want to come back to Palash but then she knew it was her
decision to be with him in the first place. Somewhere at the back of her mind
that was what forbade her from telling her family that their fears and
apprehensions had come to pass.
“What? How dare you raise your voice at me? I am the bread
earner of this family”
“Yes one who hasn’t brought anything home in months”
That was it Palash was now a mad man. On top of being drunk,
he was enraged. His ego got the better of him, if there was anything ‘better’ left.
It has become very regular more so in the past three to four
years. Palash would drink, abuse Ella with words and even hit her from time to
time. There was no reason to believe today would be any different so Ella
walked to the kitchen to prepare food for her baby, the only possession of hers
that gave her the will to carry on. Never in her wildest dreams would she have
imagined what was to happen next.
Plash walked from behind her, shoved a piece of cloth down
her neck, all the while beating her. After that he did the unthinkable; he
poured petrol that was for his bike on her. Much before she could realise and
fight back, he had lit a match stick and left her to die a painful death in the
kitchen. She struggled but the flames consumed her faster than the realisation
of what was happening. The door was shut; she tried to move from left to right
but to no avail. Horror stricken she left fighting and fell on the floor. The
shock and betrayal had killed her will to live even before the fire did. She
lay there engulfed in the burning sensation while Palash looked on from outside
the kitchen window. It was over, her sister was right, all was gone.
“It will be a while before you will be able to take any
statement from her officer, if at all any” said the figure in white. He was the
doctor attending to Ella. The one in khaki was the lady inspector assigned to
Ella’s case. They walked out of the burn unit which has blue walls. There was a
pungent smell all around; that of burnt skin and flesh perhaps.
Palash stayed back.
“I want to be by the side of my wife officer” said Palash in
a manner that would melt even the coldest of hearts.
When the coast was clear with no one in sight, Palash moved
towards Ella, pulled a chair and sat as close to her as he could. Looking
towards her with a vengeance he whispered “Ella, if you say anything to the
police I shall kill your son too. Can you hear me bitch?”
At that moment everything came back to Ella. She remembered
everything that had happened. Her soul ached at the memory of how she was left
to die by the one she so loved. Tears had dried up for the extent she was burnt
didn’t leave anything within her. The day they met for the first time came
flashing back to her mind; she remembered how Palash had wooed her; how she had
convinced her parents to marry a man who in every aspect was evidently inferior
to her; how she had given up everything. There were signs but she had chosen to
ignore that and now she was at the verge of death. The man who promised her a
life of love gave her the most painful death possible. The man who was the love
of her life burnt her mercilessly. Yes, it was her love that killed her!
As she lay in pain, lost in thoughts the lady inspector
walked in again.
“Ella can you hear me. Tell me how did this happen”
Ella looked towards the Khaki figure with her eyes or
whatever was left of it. Suddenly the thought of her child came to her, his
innocent face. She wanted to say it all loud whatever happened but no matter
how hard she tried she just couldn’t.
“Waaa Paa” were the only words that could come out of her.
She tried with all her might and sincerity but failed.
She wanted Palash to be taken away for her son was better off
without him than with him. But she was so badly burnt that it was impossible
for her to speak. Her soul finally left her body; she died in vain; she died
before putting the man responsible for the act behind bars; she died before she
could save him.
This is for any woman who is in an abusive relationship, please
let go and walk out before it’s too late. Life is too precious to be wasted on
someone who cares more about himself than anything else. Love isn’t synonymous
with suffering. It is something beautiful. Ladies if your man doesn’t respect
you; leave him for he is a scum not worthy of anything but scorn.