The pale yellow walls closed in on memories her heart ached to leave behind. The innocent smile of the child ripped from her bosom too soon cut through her heart like an old rusted knife tearing at her wounds slowly but surely. He took her beautiful baby away 10 days ago and she didn’t know whom to turn to. Tears clouded her vision as she stared at the slippers her son used to put on, neatly put away in a corner. The spiderman’s blue and red were fading away because her little boy walked in them all the time. The colors of blue resembled her heart; she was lonely just like the room.
She married him harboring innocent desires to travel the country together, pursue a successful business as a beautician trained with esteemed Shehnaz Hussain, and make a loving family together. She didn’t know her fate awaited perpetual abuse, physical and mental trauma, and in-laws who would half-heartedly listen to her pleas for help. Her mother begged the son-in-law not to beat the daughter, especially when she was pregnant. But he never paid heed to anyone telling him how to treat a woman! He beat her few days after she went through a high-risk surgery to deliver their first baby.
And then he took the very child away, he once told everyone wasn’t his. But he first set up the perfect entrapment – he got her institutionalized at a mental health facility with help of corrupt doctors and kidnapped the child. He was gone and so was her 4 year old child. Over the next 4 years, she pleaded for help with everyone in her husband’s family. Any leads, any word about her child, any information that could give her solace. But no one as much as expressed anguish, resentment, empathy for a mother who lost her child in such a bitter estrangement.
“I don’t live, I am walking dead”, she used to say, but not anymore. She is a resilient 50-year old mother whose kidnapped son must now be 10 years old. Her story didn’t end happily ever after just yet, but it’s surely on it’s way on being that way. The law failed her despite her repeated efforts to register a case about the missing child and husband; the in-laws shrugged off their responsibility to help her find her child as they continued pursuing a relationship with her abusive ex-husband; her own self-esteem chipped away by harrowing experiences of a ruthless life. But she made it!
Life gave her a second chance with a supportive sister-in-law who stood against her own family to provide housing, mental and financial support. Her own sisters stepped up and helped her seek a divorce despite physical absence of her absconding husband. She didn’t look back once she separated herself from his diabolical name. She found a job as a teacher in far away modern city – with perfect weather and nicer people! She worked as a teacher, a part-time beautician and a management trainee.
Today, her son is not old enough to understand the barbaric circumstances his mother went through to merely survive. Maybe someday he will come across this blog and realize that his mother was nothing short of reincarnation of Durga – the Indian deity embodying pure feminine strength. She is a mother who fought back fiercely but the evil and cowardice of the modern Indian society was incapable in protecting her rights. But she’s on her way to finding herself again making her worthy of idolization.
This Mother’s Day – a silent prayer for mothers who have been ripped apart from their children forcefully. May life return their children safe and sound in their mother’s cradling warmth – just where all children belong.
This story is not a figment of imagination, but a story from families like yours and mine. In this case, the story is from my family where one mother lost the child she loved, but loving and supportive mothers around her helped her regain her forgotten identity. A warm thanks to my mother for standing up against the entire family when no one else would – she is a role model for generations of women ahead. (Note: names of persons mentioned in the story have not been revealed to protect their identity)