Friday, March 13, 2020

Savitri's plight

It was a small town in Northern India. It was getting dark and there was a mild drizzle. Savitri with her two-year-old girl on her arms knocked the door of a nondescript house twice. She was around twenty-seven and looked younger for her age. There was no response. She knocked again a little forcefully. She worried that this not going to be as smooth as she expected. It took long time for the door to open. She saw the tall figure of the man with an unshaven face and drooping muschtache looking at her quizzically as if wondering why she was there.
“What do you want? Why have you come here?” he asked in a voice bereft of emotion. There was no trace of warmth in his tone or any smile on his face. It was wooden.
“I have your pothi (granddaughter) with me here. I have no place to go.”
“Yes, I heard that Manoj had been killed in the skirmish at the border. The Sarkar should have given you enough money. Go to your folks. Why do you come here when you have not cared to visit us all these four years?”
“It is not my fault that Manoj kept away from you people for his own grouse, “she replied. "I have no one on my side. She is your granddaughter after all.”
He looked straight in her eyes and said in measured and icy tone that cut her heart rapier like,” You are not wanted here. He married you against our wishes and from that day we had washed our hands off him. The girl in your arm is nobody to us. You say she is my pothi (granddaughter). Who knows the veracity of your word?”
She was shocked to see Manoj’s mother keeping mum at this blasphemous and veiled accusation. She hung her head in shame and cried inconsolably even as the little girl tried to wipe the tears of her cheeks. She became numb at this cruel barb searching for words to answer. She knew that her father-in-law will neither understand nor accept if she had said that she was always advising Manoj to patch up with his parents and forgive their anger in throwing him out. He would not listen and swear in response that he would have no truck with them. He always said that he loved only one in that family and it was his younger brother.
“I have no place to go. I am young and cannot stay alone without harm coming to me. I have this girl who is your granddaughter. I swear upon that. Please allow me to stay here. I will be a slave in this house. Please; I beg you, not to throw me out. I will contribute a portion of my pension to the family. Kindly permit me to reside here. I want my child to grow in the comfort and security of a home.”
“No,” he bellowed. “You have no place here. Get out before I throw you out of the compound. I don’t care what happens to you or your ill- gotten child.” The woman by his side with a stony face did not budge her little finger.
“Stop this nonsense. I have been hearing all your blabber all this time to see to what extent you two are depraved. I will not let down my bhabi and the child. I know Manoj meant no ill will for you both till you treated him shabbily. What he did was right and I would have done the same” roared Neeraj her devar , the younger brother of Manoj
The shocked old man shouted back” Will you dare go against our wishes. I will throw you also out without a penny. Do remember that.”
“To hell with your money. If bhabi is willing I will marry her as is our custom, and take care of both for life. We are walking out of this wretched place this moment once and for all,” he said with a finality.
Dazed as she was, Savitri clasped the extended hand of Neeraj and moved towards the gate even as the old couple were rendered speechless at the sudden turn of events.


  1. Nice story with a positive ending. The father in law is a closed minded man who is ready to give up his close family for the sake of his prejudiced ideas. On the other hand Neeraj is a forward thinking and good man. We need more people like Neeraj who will bring about a change in people like his father. People should be more accepting and non- judgemental. Very nice story.

    1. I reread the story and had some additional comments. Reading again made me think of Savitri’s dependence and insecurity and this angered me a little in this day and age of empowerment but then I had to remind myself that this is story for a different time in a village setting. For that period and setting this a very forward thinking liberal story where Neeraj was ready to provide support to Savitri without thinking about himself. Lovely story!

  2. I thought levirate marriage was discontinued in India long time ago.

  3. Good story with a nice social message. Happy ending

    Take care Periappa
    Chitra Solomon

  4. I appreciate the zest the passion and the vibrant mind you have and I will never be able to be like what you are at this age. But the story is too common though narration as always is superb. She could have survived without a mans help after all. In my humble opinion!

  5. A good story. We need more like Neeraj, but on second thoughts is he taking advantage of her position? As akways good narration.

  6. Nice story.
    I pity such people who can’t understand reality and go ahead in life. What made the old man behave the way he did? - is it anger at son’s disobedience, hurt ego or family pride. Be that as it may, it has resulted in his losing his other son as well. Hope people learn a lesson ASAP.
    Thanks for sharing the story sir.

  7. What a fertile brain you have Sir. Kudos to you and your genes and the food you ate when you were growing up!
    For some reason I could not post this comment on the blog page itself.
    Keep them coming. Always get a thrill to get the story alert in my inbox.

  8. Nice story. One should understand reality of life.Depicts a good lesson for all of us. You are really too creative.

  9. While the story is good..I was waiting for the KP twist :)

  10. We need more broad minded people like Neeraj in this selfish, self-centred, narrow minded world.

  11. very practical solution. Good for the mother and her daughter. Well narrated story!

  12. The younger brother trying to convince the father to keep them at home seems believable, but his sudden announcement of marriage is not.

    Destination Infinity

  13. One has to read your story a second time to get to the essence of a ‘small town’ mentality! This violent rejection was a means to punish Savitri for seeking to exercise independent choice, for defying not only the honor of their families but social expectation !

  14. That was a nice read...God always opens one door if all others are shut..very practical, tough and matured decision by the younger brother...

  15. I read the story Savithri’s plight. It is a good story. But I could not find it as interesting as your other stories. Yourstories used to be gripping, will have nail biting turn of events. All these were missing in this story. This is not your piece of cake.

  16. And I guess, this might still be the case in a lot of households.

  17. Always get a thrill to read your stories as I did when I read James Hadley Chase books.Lovely story and as usual great narration.

  18. All is well that ends well with Neeraj keeping the hopes alive for the distraught lady and the daughter.
    Our country despite all advancements still have caste and community as the underlying factors for a relationship to blossom.
    A very short story that ended too soon without the usual twists and turns!

  19. Crisp and well narrated story. However, I would have liked Savitri to be portrayed as a stronger self-sufficient woman. She certainly should not be a pleading one seeking solace from her in-laws didn't care for their son itself.

  20. Chittappa an entirely different type of story than your usual kind. On the way to creating social reform!