To lose a loving husband prematurely to death, having to rear a little girl alone with no formal education, working in houses as a helper was not a very uncommon, tragedy. The scenes where she is a recipient of unwanted sexual attention by employers, undergoing varied degrees of sexual abuse, unnerved M. A woman being subjected to abuse repeatedly, makes it her livelihood finally, claiming it to be her choice. M seldom watched scenes of sexual violence even in the privacy of her home on television. So to see it being enacted live was horror.
The strong odour and smoke of tortoise mosquito coil shed ashes in concentric circles,smooth red oxide floor of a stair case, rows of beds spread on the floor,accommodating the deep slumber of several childhoods under one grand father roof, spilt blue ink wiped by childish pudgy palms, cupboard of books smelling with dead silver fish.Dialogues of a cinema hall next door wafting through the hot air,her bed sheet in a crumpled lump between her and a baby cousin holding her with his head touching her abdomen. One arm from behind her insinuating between her out stretched arm and the side out line of her sleeping,sleeveless white petti coat fiddling with her half formed small breasts.Her long hair caught between her back buttons and his thighs as that male body pressed against her.
These images flashed across her mind with an intense urgency, her mother was engrossed watching Padmini, M slowly slipped out of the sets and sat near a full length antique mirror of the palace, in the darkness of the adjoining room. The smell of tobacco smoke assailed her nostrils, making her sneeze; “Shit, man I am sorry I didn’t know any one was here” blurted Rakesh, the guy with longish hair. M did not talk.