That tortured woman, toddler in her arms, bruised in both body and soul, gazed pleadingly at the flower and sandalwood adorned Maruthi. You are the one that has the power to fight all obstacles and reach your goal…. like you did when Rama was on the way to Lanka to fight Ravana and bring Sita back. Tears glistened in her eyes and threatened to spill over while she valiantly held them back. Her lips quivered and the forehead puckered and she swallowed hard fighting for control. She held on to the baby as if holding on to life itself. The baby protested, squirmed and wanted to be let down to run and play in the haven of the temple. When she was a child she remembered listening to the stories of Rama and Krishna sitting beside her grandmother. Paty had said that praying to Maruthi on Saturday was very auspicious and he alone had the power to deliver us from obstacles. This hope brought her to the temple every Saturday morning.
She had been here on many occasions before. She felt comfort in the familiar surroundings, the smells, sounds and the chants of the priest. As she made the pradakshina, folded hands for the aarti, prostrated before the idol, marked her forehead with the sacred kumkum, extended her palm to receive the holy water; she was at least for those moments comforted and could put aside all her worries and fears.
He had the power to take away so many of her worries, did she not come here, praying for this very child when she was ill for weeks and weeks, was she not here when she could not find someone who could take care of the child while she needed to work, she was here again to pray for her sister, whose new born was battling for life for months and again when there seemed to be no money to pay off the steep expenses for the month… She was there several times and her perseverance always paid off.
But now she had been coping with the pain, hurt and fear of an alcoholic husband for years, her kids were traumatized, hurt and confused by his aggressive behavior. She couldn’t find in him the man she loved and married well against the wishes of her family. He didn’t have a job and she was struggling to make both ends meet. He was getting abusive these days and she was hurt and confused by his behavior.
Was there a reason for this? Did Maruthi actually want her to go through this? Did her kids have to suffer in this way? Was there something she had done in the past, perhaps even in another life, to deserve this. The pain and hurt now mingled with guilt, until she couldn’t tell them apart.
Slowly she gathered her little daughter and trudged back slowly and unwilling back home. Her legs felt leaden and heavy like her heart.
to be continued….