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  Bitch — 2  

Sex & Violence
  Vol II : issue 1

  Amrita Pritam
  Mrinal Pande
  Evelyne Accad
  Gagan Gill
  Selina Hossain
  Only in Print

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Mrinal Pande


At least he won't come
home drunk and beat her. Or arm-twist her family for a wrist-watch or a bicycle, or get her pregnant as soon as he can, then run off with anotherwoman. A son of a bitch is better any day, than the son of a man

“Didn’t either of you think of going to a doctor?”
“Are your mad? All we have are haaturey (quack) doctors with no degree... how can they fight black magic with injections and pills?”
“Did the Evil One know that you cast a spell on her?”

“Would she let everyone in the colony know that she was powerless before the bigger Evil One from behind Patpargunj Mother Dairy? There was blood everywhere inside her jhuggi. We saw, and rags soaked in blood... Disgusting... the new people who moved in had to burn everything inside and get a puja done for purification...”

Gauri wrings out the mop and begins to swab the floor with deft strokes. “Doctors, Ma, are no use to the poor... what do they know about us? Eat well, they all say, and give us prescriptions for expensive vitamin golis... If we ate well, would we be sick? I had a terrible time with my last baby...”
She is going to cap it with another story.

Here it comes.
“Before that good-for-nothing Haran was made to drink tea with the burnt-up pubic hairs from that daughter of a jackal from Seemapuri...

I begin to laugh, “Is that what a love potion is made of?”
“Don’t laugh at me. They show it in so many TV serials, don’t they? How black magic works...”
“They’re just stories. You shouldn’t believe them.”
“And why not? To us they are more real than your news, where they say we will give the poor this, and we will do that... Empty air, that’s what it is... they would steal the shroud off a corpse if they could.”
“You were telling me about your last pregnancy...”
“Yes, yes. After the third one, my Haran had got a nasbandi done. The doctor, she told him and me, you both need not fear another pregnancy now... and here I was vomiting like the Kishangarh nullah! I told Haran, I think I am pregnant, and he got violent... he hit me with whatever he could lay his hands on. I ran... other women came... they all sniggered even when I swore upon my older son’s head that I had not done it with another man. They took tests, and told him there must be some mistake, or something must have undone the operation... you are fertile!”
“So? Haran apologised?”

“Apologise? A man? Next thing I knew he had run away with that niece of a jackal from Seemapuri and I am told she is waddling around now with a belly as big as a Yamuna watermelon...”
I laugh. I find it hard to laugh, but I am laughing.

“Next I know my Sumitra goes and drinks tea with that good-for-nothing Pontu and decides to leave her husband...”
“I was told that her husband was too old and beat her and... she wanted a baby...”

“No, no, it was nothing like that. It was the Evil One’s love potion. In our colonies, what good are children? If you do not have them, you get beaten, if you have them you get beaten... and both ways you suffer like hell...”

“Then Sumitra could have gone to a doctor, maybe she could have...”
“What do doctors know, Ma? Can they see into our souls? Can they ward off the Evil Eye? Or undo the love potion? All they can do is to tell us that we have a child inside us, or take it out... Can they see that that is not what ails us?”

Gauri smiles, as she departs with her implements, “This child, her parents are right about the dog. The evil eye will get distracted now and they will all be better off. Who knows, some day a real man might marry the little girl. Meanwhile, she is better off than I am, for sure...”

p. 1 p. 2 

  Mrinal Pande, television personality, journalist and author, wrote this for TLM in English. However, she continues to write fiction in Hindi, her first love. She lives in New Delhi