Drama Fiction Inspirational

Rohini and Praveen were still seated in their seats and were waiting for others to clear the way. The aeroplane had just come to a final stop. People were busy taking out their hand luggage from cabin rack. A long strenuous journey was telling on them. In a few more minutes they would be in their new home. From the window Praveen peeped out and showed his mother the broad bright sky. It was Sunrise. A new dawn! A new country, a new land, new people around, a new environment, a new language, a new job, a new boss …. Rohini was carried away in her mixed feelings. Praveen was too young to be in such a confused state of mind. But he too was filled with his own share of excitement and anxiety.

The aerobridge was fixed and people started moving. Both Rohini and Praveen too got up. The airhostess came to their rescue and helped them. Her friendly smiles kept them assuring. From the time she learnt that it was their first air travel, she made them feel as comfortable as possible. Now also, she helped them in getting their hand luggage. She wholeheartedly wished them best of luck and prayed for bright future.

Rohini asserted herself in self imposed confidence. She told Praveen to look for someone holding a placard with her Indian employer’s name scribbled on it. That guy or lady should be the one whom they should look for and follow. As they came out, Rohini dropped her handbag and in the pretext of picking it up, she touched the ground and offered her obeisance and respects with a wishful thinking for a bright future of both self and Praveen. At least now and hereafter they must have a happy living, a life enabling them to clear off their old debts. Praveen also dropped his hat and in the pretext of picking it up, prayed to Mother Earth for assisting him to accomplish his bundle of dreams.

Praveen saw a man outside whom he knew already, but was not sure if he was the same person whom they had to follow. Rohini too saw him. She held Praveen’s hand very tightly which expressed her anger, bitterness, agony and irritation. ‘Oh God! This idiotic crook here! Oh God! Please don’t pit me against him. He should not be the one offering new job for me.’ Her silent prayers were not heard. Her dreams got shattered. That guy also was not happy in seeing these two suddenly appearing in front of him. He was expecting a Nanny for his child. A care giver from India who would be coming along with an escort. But the least he expected was, these two persons coming towards him were the very same people. What a cruel irony of fate!

The biggest mistake he did was not to ask for details --- name, credentials, photo etc. The only reference was the name of Indian employer who vouched for the employee’s character and integrity and that was all. Same with Rohini. She too did not bother to know about the person under whom she had to work, his name, his nature of work, terms and conditions of her job, her remuneration etc. Nothing she knew. She trusted her Indian boss to that extent. Whom could she blame now? It seemed her cruel destiny was still chasing her. She remembered the old adage ‘Go to Rameshwaram, then also the Saturn will chase you’ meaning even after staving off all disasters, the demons continue to haunt.

The idiotic crook was none other than her husband who kicked, ditched and abandoned her and her three children. He shrugged off all his responsibilities and like a fugitive he fled to a foreign country. Now he was feigning to be wealthy and healthy and posing to be a very good guy, offering job security for her and her son. Why her son? His very first child and his very own son, Praveen. She was filled with disgust and repulsion.

He broke the silence. Though he concealed his shock, he expressed that he was not aware of her being chosen for his needs and sent for the job. He requested that she must maintain silence and should not reveal anything about themselves to his present wife Susan. Such an arrangement of Rohini and Praveen pretending to be strangers would work well and make life easy for all of them. Rohini neither approved nor consented. She was firmly against his request. He remained the same crooked guy full of conceit selfishness and deceits. As soon as she landed in a far-off land, she was forced to pick up struggles. If she opposed him now, he would not hesitate at all, to ditch her right on the road and keep moving on. May be! Saturn’s irony was that she would be struggling and he would be marching on.

She had to teach him that she was not the old meek and mild Rohini who would succumb and surrender to everything. The current day Rohini was a different woman full of self-esteem, courage confidence and a lady with a strong will power to withstand all struggles and strive hard to come out. She said to herself, “First let me get a hold on his family and then I shall screw him”.

Susan greeted them. Sherly her daughter was sleeping. After dropping Rohini and with a warning not to disclose anything, he left for his work. When Sherly woke up, Rohini was taken aback. She was stunned beyond words. The baby was ditto xerox copy of her younger daughter Shreedevi whom she left behind in India under the care of her sister in law. Just one was a senior version and the other one a junior version. Rohini fondly lifted the baby into her arms and Praveen too fell in love for the baby. Susan was thrilled to see a Nanny so lovingly attaching herself to a child and bonding with her right from day one. She did not know anything about their emotional background.

Susan seemed to be a nice woman and did not suspect anything. What a cruelty! Two wives and two children all under one roof --- this continued for a month. By now Rohini could converse and comprehend comfortably with Susan. Rohini was looking for an opportunity and one day she told her husband that he must get her another employment somewhere. Since she had come with a work permit, it should not be a problem. Praveen was good enough to take care of Sherly. Also, as per law of the land, he must be admitted in a school for prosecuting his education. She said it with a strong conviction that he himself found it difficult to refuse. He also observed that there was a mild threat in her tone. Anytime, she would blackmail him. She had learnt from Susan that men or women could divorce their spouse any number of times but certainly could not have two spouses at the same time. Rohini knew she was holding a Trump card in her hand. Perumal in India was now Peter here. It did not matter to her. She would deal with him.

She convincingly told Susan that she was in need of more perks and better experience for which it would be better if she could seek a job anywhere outside, preferably a cook or helper in some Indian hotels or restaurants. Susan spread a word through her contacts and very soon Rohini was able to fetch one. Peter did not want Rohini to get out of his control. On any day, she was be a danger to him. As long as she was penniless, she would be in his grip and could not do anything or go anywhere without his support. Such a dependency was essential for his survival. One day he asked her if she had told Susan about their relationship. She deliberately kept silent and nodded her head in such a way it could construed as yes. She wanted to keep him in tetters always itching and in tenterhooks always pulling. The punishment if it should be called, was just nothing when compared to the untold miseries, she was pushed into by this very same tyrant husband.

An NRI was opening a new vegetarian hotel in the suburb of the city for which a good number of men and women were needed. Susan told her about it. Rohini went with Susan and with her help, she inspected the surroundings, atmosphere, learnt about work culture, met some would-be fellow workers, so that she could decide upon her future course of action. It should not be yet another case of falling into a trap and face unwanted troubles. If she had known in India itself, about her new employer was none other than her husband, certainly she would not have ventured to come this far. Now even if she wanted to go back, she could not. Neither she could stick to the job. Most horrible thing in life was to see her husband flirting with other woman, though he called her as his wife. If Susan came to know that she was reduced to a mere concubine while Rohini was the real wife, would she be able to swallow the bitter pill? When first wife was alive and not separated, the second marriage even if consummated legally, automatically rendered void. Rohini herself did not know so much about the legal tangles but her wretched life taught her all these.

She had collected enough information about the upcoming NRI hotel establishment and was satisfied with their terms of offer. She looked for an auspicious day to join. She told Susan about her decision. She profusely thanked Susan for kindness and with tear filled eyes left Praveen to her care. She took an oath from her to take care of the boy as her ‘own son’ and consider him as an elder brother of Sherly.

Time and tide wait for none. Why will it wait for Rohini then? Days rolled on to weeks and weeks into a month. Rohini thought of Saturn and wondered why suddenly He took a nap. Because, from the she landed here, not a day would pass off peacefully. All the time she was under pressure of one or other issue. Only recently for the past few days, she was at peace and was without any known new grievance. She did not want to poke Saturn and invite His evil eyes on her. Let Him take a nap and let her be on her own. But that was not for long.

Suddenly one day a phone call from Praveen came as a big jolt. A bolt from the blue. He asked his mother to come hurriedly. He could not explain everything on phone. She thought something terribly went wrong with Susan and Sherly. She rushed home. Perumal alias Peter was hand cuffed and held by two police officials. Susan was crying aloud and Sherly too being terrified, joined her mother. Praveen did not know what to do.

Rohini arrived, she took Sherly and comforted her, she hugged and patted Susan. The police officers told her that his immigration papers were not in order. He had managed to manipulate the documents. Hence, he was an illegal immigrant. Though he was residing as an illegal citizen for quite some time then too, he had to face the court and serve his term of punishment. The agency which was undertaking such illegal documenting work was now rounded up. All those who got illegal citizenship like him were also taken to task. Before leaving, the police asked her who she was and what she had to do with the culprit. Without batting an eye, she said, “His wife. His legal wife. But forsaken wife.” Susan screamed and fainted. She could not digest the news.

Susan was shaken and shattered. On one side emotional setback and on the other hand, financial crisis. He was the sole bread winner in the family. While courting her in her hay days, before getting married, he had enumerated heap of lies and made her believe that he was a big shot.  Now everything collapsed as a pack of cards. Susan thought she would seek employment from her husband’s boss. But Rohini stopped her. He never had good contacts nor good character. So, it was useless to seek help from his boss or from his other contacts.

Rohini was trying to put things in order. Earlier back home in India, she had to find support for her brother’s family. Here in this far off foreign country, she had to support her own family. That was the difference.  What a big deal now! Some extra members to feed! So what? She told Susan ‘God has given us two hands to earn and thank the same God. He has given us only one mouth to feed’. An old-time mantra taught to her by her brother. She continued to instil some confidence into her. “I am there to take care of you. After all, you see, we are all one family. Troubles come and go. That is life. Always keep telling yourself. Struggle Ahead March On. March On.”   

Rohini took Sherly whom she always addressed as Shreedevi. Praveen was holding her. Sherly and herself moved towards the window. There she was pointing to the full moon and Sherly too happily spread her palms and in a gesture asked it to come down and play with her. With a baby smiling in the house, everything looked cheerful.

Rohini smiled unto herself. Not long ago, she was wondering why Saturn was silent. Now Saturn had dawned on her with His own heap of woes and issues. She silently sent prayers to Saturn, “Hello Saturn, somehow I solved this particular problem now. What’s next? I will not go to any Rameshwaram nor seek asylum from any other holy place. You push me into any depth of problems and I am there to struggle. All I seek from you is allow me to gather enough strength to march on.”

Praveen too joined her in muttering their favourite mantra “Struggle Ahead. March On. March on. They heard one more person joining the chorus. She was Susan. She too learnt to live life the hard way. Sherly enjoyed the chorus song. For her sake, they repeated the mantra.

Struggle Ahead. March On. March On.    

November 20, 2020 20:12

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