Balloons and Dreams

Published in “The Kathmandu Post” on OCT 02 –
Ama did daddy beat you again,” asks my ten year old son. I have no answer. I keep quiet. He asks again, “Ama did daddy came home drinking?” I say, “I am preparing your omelet honey.”

My tears come faster than his. I hide them, but he sees the bruise under my eye.

I shall break my silence

*Yes, the father of this child had punched me in my eye yesterday night.*

Sanu touches my bruise and cries yet again. “Sanu, I will take you and Munu out for ice-cream today,” I console him.

*I’ve told him many times that the baby we just aborted was “his”; he does not believe this.  It was painful for me, killing my life for him. He did not care; for him, that life wasn’t his.*

“Whore, you go away with the one you slept with,” he says this; always.

* I have been married for seventeen years now. Yet, my husband beats me and asks me who the man I “slept with” is. It had always been him. Had I not slept with you over your desires? Had I not slept with you on days I was peeing blood? When after all when, had I disagreed over your desire of making love?  I had felt raped almost every time.

“Ama, I am getting late, please give me breakfast,” yells Munu.

“What is this Ma? What is this wound? Why your eye is red?” I remain silent like I did when Sanu had asked.

Munu goes away without having breakfast and I forget to tell her that I’m taking her brother and her out for ice-cream after school.

*I am scared of Munu more than of her father. I can’t disturb her studies. She has her SLC to appear for. I can’t even tell her that her father suspects her mother of sleeping with their daughter’s tuition teacher. I can handle her father’s rape, her father’s beating, but I can’t handle it if she ignores me. What if she, like her father, says that I might have slept with her teacher? No! No I can’t handle it anyway.

But what if she asks me, “Why does father beat you?” What will I do? If she asks me today when I take them out for ice-cream, what will I do? Ah! Painful.

*I’ve told him many times that the baby we just aborted was “his”: he does not believe this.  *

I was surprised that day when he came home and told me he had had a birth-control operation, and was liberated from the need for contraception. He had shared this happily as I had envisioned more days of rape coming. His operation had failed and I had conceived the baby.

But he does not believe this. He went to the doctor and found out that conception does take place in a few cases after the surgery. But the operation itself “had not failed.” This pronouncement was enough for him to tag me a whore.

He comes home drunk at night and asks me to jump. I don’t agree so he beats me. He wants a divorce so that he can take away my children; the children he says belong to him.

“You whore, go away with the one you slept with,” he repeats time and again.

*I think of yelling, “Yes I am a free whore for you; serving you is my task. I come without a price for you. As and when you want it, I am ready to lie flat.”*

I asked him to wait for nine months, get a DNA test to confirm that the child was indeed his, but he was so confident that the child was not his that he decided to kill it. Ah! Painful.

Oh it is time for the children to come home. I had to take them for ice-cream. I remember. Let me change clothes.

“Where are you going whore to meet your love?” he says.

“I am going out with the children,” I say.

*Stop! Stop! What are you doing to me, leave me, don’t beat me… I had promised to take the children out.*

“This is not enough for you, you need excuses to meet your love, to sleep with him and disgrace me,” he shouts.

I saw the children at the door, and they saw him kicking me. I had no idea what to do. They were there for I don’t know how many minutes and they were crying.

I pretend nothing had happened as their father went to his room and the children— both of them nervous, shaking and crying, came and hugged me. After pretending that I was fine, consoling them, telling them that nothing was the matter, I reminded them of my promise of ice-cream.

“Momo , I want Momos with ice-cream Ama,” Sanu said as we entered Sundhara’s Bakery Café, my children’s favorite hangout.

Munu was silent. I too did not say a word as we exchanged glances. I feared my daughter would ask me question I could not give answers, did not have answers to.

After I  took Sanu to play in the children’s section, his favourite part of the entire café, I came back to sit beside Munu with fast-beating heart.

She said, “*Lets go away  from our home Ama,”. *

“Ama, I know everything,” Munu added. She continues, “One more thing Ama, I know that my teacher always treated you as his sister; nothing more, nothing less. I clearly know this.”

I could not utter a word.

I was choking and was still in a state of unexpected awe when my daughter repeated, “Let’s go away Ama.”

* Me, Munu and Sanu just we three. Me, Munu and Sanu…just we three.*

“Ama, buy me some balloons, I want some balloons,” says Sanu as we come out of the café.

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4 Responses

  1. wow! Fabulous written story! The theme and plot of story is awesome. I’ve never read like this… Congrats! Keep writing…

  2. just read it in Kathmandu Post as well….interesting!!!!

  3. so wonderful true real surreal experience i shared in facebook too could not resist the temptation to love the beautiful brain that envisaged this created this and expressed boldly our nepali socirty behind the veil

  4. It’s smart keep it up

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