She woke up as the first rays of the sun appeared over the horizon. She had always been an early riser; but never before had she woken up feeling so miserable. She propped herself up on the bed and rubbed her bleary eyes. In the dim light that filtered in through the half open window, she saw her son, cuddled up beside her. Her gaze followed the oblique shadows cast by the soft light and fell upon the bundle of ropes lying at the corner of the room. The sight of her son, and their imminent destiny was too much for her. She felt a lump in her throat. Emotions overcame resolve, and she broke into tears.
Her mind drifted back to the day her fate was decided – the day of her marriage. As the only son of a wealthy merchant tied the nuptial knot, she thought of nothing more than leading a good family life. Yet, some sense of foreboding kept nagging her mind. She had dismissed it at that time, thinking she was just being nervous. But now she knew it was instinct. She cursed herself for having mortgaged her own interests for those of her parents’. But the damage was done, and there was no looking back now.
Consistent with her dreams, her family life proved to be as good as she wanted. But her happy days ended the day her father-in-law passed away. Naturally, her husband inherited all the wealth of his father. With wealth, came power; but without prudence, came vices. Her life began its downhill tumble.
Overnight, her husband transformed in to a total stranger. He had absolutely no idea what to do with so much money. Pampered and spoilt, and now left to his own devices, he lost control of his life. Liquor became his bosom friend. Brothels became his second home. Money drained through his hands. He rarely came home, and if he ever came, took all the money that was left. Even her jewellery was not spared. He lost everything to gamble. For her, the only source of solace became their child. She endured the atrocities meted out to her just so she could live for her son. The child became her motivation to live.
Then one day, a few people came looking for her husband. They carried all sorts of arms with them. She was terrified, and on asking, was told about her husband’s debts. That day, she knew her fate was sealed. But she received the shock of her life only the previous day, which was one of those rare occasions when he came home. He told her about a lucrative offer from the landlord to whom he was indebted. The landlord was childless, and had offered to write off their debts, and even give them a handsome reward, if only they let him adopt their child. Her husband had agreed without a second thought and had come home to report the deadline. The poor woman was told that her son would be taken away at the dawn of the next day. She tried in vain to reason with him. It is true, money makes a man blind. She was given one day to spent with her child. She cursed herself and prayed that such a fate should never befall on any mother.
The poor lady had also decided one thing – that she would end her life the moment she was parted from her beloved one. Now, the day had dawned, and there she was, awaiting her fate. She thought in vain if it could be a dream. She looked up as she heard voices outside. The day had dawned too early, she thought. She glanced once again at her child, and back at the bundle of ropes. If only the dawn broke a few hours later – she thought. As someone knocked on the door, she sighed and relented, the day dawned too early; it was a premature dawn.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance whatsoever to any one or any incident is purely coincidental.
[Image courtesy: Original image of broken bottles and filtered light courtesy of Irish Eyes.]