外文标题：Living In Pune…Part 2 ( With Images of Life in India and China)
One day while coming back after dropping our son, my wife asked me to pick up a 20L bottle for water dispenser. I parked the car, the way the cars are parked in India, diagonally on the road side, but Smart Sulekhika wasn’t happy with my parking as she normally is not. There were two major flaws in my choice of parking. One that it was adjacent to the ‘drive in’ of a colony and secondly the car wasn’t exactly parked inside the line drawn to indicate the space limit for allowed single row parking.
I had to take a little liberty because there was a scooter standing next to the kerb. There was no vacant place for parking and I couldn’t have parked the car half a kilometer away from the shop because there was a chance of me coming across a situation where the shopkeeper’s help could have gone to deliver the bottles to other customers. I would have to carry the bottle to the car in that case and I had to take care of such an exigency. So I parked the car against Sulekhika’s protestations. I told her that I won’t be away longer than the time I will waste in parking the car and that she could use her steering skill if need be, to put her apprehensions to rest rather than using her ventriloquism to hector.
While I was paying for the bottle the shopkeeper’s servant who had gone to deliver the bottle to the car broke the news …a very sad news that the car had been hit..thodi lag gayee hai, he said pausing for me to take the hit…doosri gadi ne mara…how I wished he would stop describing. I closed my eyes and I thumped my hand on my head and braced myself for a severe reprimand. When I reached the car, Sulekhika was standing outside the car, almost on the verge of pouncing on me. Sometimes I think Smart Sulekhika can do much better than Nirmal Baba because she has a strong sixth sense and her premonitions always come true. A puny little girl stood by her. The inevitable had happened. While turning the car on the main road the girl in an attempt to keep her I20 clear of the truck had scraped the bumper of our new beauty. It wasn’t much of a damage but, well the car wasn’t unscratched either. The definition of a virgin is very rigid, there are no concessions, allowances or compromises, only after thoughts, allegations and ifs and buts.
The scratch wasn’t such that could make me feel bad but my smile would have seemed derisive then. I was supposed to compliment my wives pain and her pain is always acute. Her silver beauty stood there wounded. I walked up to the girl who was trembling like a lamb standing next to a lioness. Tumhara kya naam hai beti..I said, ghabrao mat, kuchh nahin hua hai. I learnt from her that she was taking her son to a doctor but my wife won’t let her go. I learnt that she was twenty nine and had been married for ten years but she looked barely out of school. Tears trickled down her face. Aap mere papa ko phone kar dena, wo damage ke liye pay kar denge. Aap mere in-laws ko phone mat karna, wo mujhe jaan se maar dalenge.
“Tumhara kya naam hai beti….”我说道，“ghabrao mat, kuchh nahin hua hai.”
I was moved. She didn’t even dare tell me that my car wasn’t parked inside the line, which later I learnt from my wife, she had said to her to extricate herself from the mess, before she could have the taste of power Smart Sulekhika could unleash. Aarti- Kya tum khush nahin ho, I asked her as her pleading of not speaking to her in laws squeezed my heart. She shook her head. Kya tumhare in-laws tumhen achha treat nahin karate. She shook her head more vigorously.
我被感动了。她甚至没敢说我的车并未停在线内。后来，我从妻子那了解到，在妻子发威之前，她要求妻子让她脱离这一乱局…….Aarti- Kya tum khush nahin ho……. 我问她话，她恳求别把这事告诉其公公婆婆，这触动了我的心。
Kya tumhare in-laws tumhen achha treat nahin karate.
I put my hand on her head in my effort to convey in wordless moment that I felt her pain but was helpless. What help could I have given her, if she were my daughter? Even the riches of the parents and the assurance that the parents will take me back aren’t enough for a girl whose dreams of a good married life are shattered. The social stigma, the yawning loneliness of life ahead, the loss of purpose appear like spikes on dark, uncertain road of life. Jao beti, I said.. Hame kisi se kuchh nahin lena hai par hamari car ab nayeen nahin rahi hai.
我把手放在她头上以传达这一无言的时刻，表示我感受到了她的痛楚，但很无奈。如果她是我女儿，我能怎么帮她呢？社会污名，未来生活的孤独，不确定的人生之路。”Jao beti。“我说，”Hame kisi se kuchh nahin lena hai par hamari car ab nayeen nahin rahi hai.“
By that time my wife had already tried the number the girl had given, to confirm that the she hadn’t played a smart act. I don’t know why Sulekhika’s brain works on the premise that the world in general is populated by scoundrels and cheats. The girl’s mother in law had taken the phone. Though I told her to cut the phone without saying anything and thankfully she did but some damage definitely had been done.
My wife had her own reasons to be upset. Whining doesn’t move her as such, I know from my personal experiences, but today she was smouldering with her own grouse. She remained upset for many days. I inquired that the repair would take about four thousand bucks. It wasn’t that the car couldn’t be run but it was like living with a blemish. I spoke to the girl’s father and said, Mr. Aggarwal, I am not calling you for the getting the damage to my car repaired…Car ki chinta to chhodo aap ki beti se baat kar mere man mein chinta aur sahanubhooti ke bhaav jaage hain. Aap ki beti khush nahin hai. He said, he was aware but then it’s one’s fate at play. I agreed with his philosophical, resigned stance and wondered about the state of women in this country.
我对女孩的父亲说：”Aggarwal先生，我打电话给你不是要你把车修好…..Car ki chinta to chhodo aap ki beti se baat kar mere man mein chinta aur sahanubhooti ke bhaav jaage hain. Aap ki beti khush nahin hai….“。
Now when I am writing this post after Amir’s Satyamev Jyate and raids on MTP centres in Maharashtra, Incidents of throwing acid on girls, the state of the girls in shelter homes..a lot has come to light but a lot more never will. Will all this news and media coverage change us? Will anything change for women in India? The women in this country will have to live with their lot. Our apathy towards them will not change, enacting laws and spreading awareness be damned. It is making life further difficult for many.
Those who are discarding fetuses in the dust bins are women and they certainly are not doing it for fun. The mother in laws who are making life difficult for their daughter in laws for not being able to bear Ghar Ka Chirag’ are women too. Jaswanti Devi and many others who are running “ Apna Ghars” for women and supplying them to customers including VIPs and the policemen too are women.
Let’s try to steer the thought away from the darkness it is heading for. Year ago, a few days after we had bought a car (another silver beauty), I got a call from my wife around ten in the morning. As such Sulekhika’s word delivery rate is almost double that of another human being but when excited it becomes like a rapid fire of a toy machine gun. It’s OK for the hearing disabled like me but for others it’s no music. She spoke furiously in the phone and there were lots of other noises too, so I reckoned she was in a thick of trouble.
Suno yeh auto wale ne hamari gadi ko mar diya hai aur wok keh raha hai ki main paise nahin doonga chahe mujhe jhel bhijwa do.
“How much is the damage”, I inquired?
“The dickey is indented and some paint is skimmed”, She said.
Let him go, he has told you that he won’t pay and he doesn’t mind going to the jail.
In India we very often come across this situation. That’s why we so often see people reaching for each other’s throat. In some cases they literally do. In road rage murder is not uncommon in India. Agreed, the procedure of getting the repair done is lengthy and that of getting claims from insurance, tedious but coming down to blows and abuses is not right for the civilized people to settle disputes, but who said we are civilized?
A few days after our return to Chandigarh, I got a call from our son at the dreaded time of 10 AM. “Papa my car has been hit”. “There is big scratch across the doors”. “Ye lo aap Mr. Saini se baat karlo”. So I spoke to an unknown person. He too was an IT professional, well paid and nice to talk to.
“Ye lo aap Mr. Saini se baat karlo”