Sunday, May 8, 2011

Radha's Child

All characters, incidents and places mentioned in this write-up is fictional and any similarity with any person or incident is purely co-incidental.

The fire was crackling, it was the only sound other than the priest's chants. The smoke rose from the pyre in puffs and stood in stark contrast with the orange evening sky. A handful of villagers were present at the funeral, but there were no tears being shed. Nobody really cared. Only Shankar's close neighbors were present at his funeral.

Radha sat quietly on the ground as the pyre slowly turned into ashes. She was holding her 5-month old daughter in her arms, the child fast asleep in her mother's grasp. The people around looked at her as if she were a piece of trash even as she silently watched her father being cremated. After all, who would respect a village girl who gave birth to a child, that too a girl at the age of 16 without getting married, and which self-respecting man would marry such a girl. It was rumored that the father of the child was the 20 year old Kishan who was friendly with her.

Keshav, Shankar's brother and Radha's uncle had performed the final rites of his brother. He was the only blood relative Radha had left in the world. He bent down in front of the listless figure of Radha sitting on the ground and put his hand on her shoulder.

"Shall we go dear?" he asked her affectionately.

She got up silently, carefully not to disturb the sleeping baby, pulled her sari over he head and followed her uncle with her small bundle of clothes, which was all she had left with her as her belongings. They walked the path to Keshav's house with Radha following him, her head bowed down, trying to hide her tears which were slowly trickling down her cheeks. As they reached their destination, she saw Kishan sitting on a bench at a distance across the street, a glass of tea in his hand. Uncle also noticed that she had noticed him.

"That moron is still here. I had fired him today morning itself." he snapped.

"Let him be, Uncle. He won't bother you." Radha said quietly.

"You don't need to come to his support for every damn thing. He is good for nothing, and we all know it. Now go inside and unpack your stuff. Your aunt will show you your place and your responsibilities in the household from today."


It was pitch dark outside. Slowly, trying to make as minimal noise as possible, Radha opened the door of the house and tip-toed outside. Kishan was waiting for her across the street.

"Are you crazy?" she asked him. "Do you understand what I face if I am caught with you here in the middle of the night?"

"You just refuse to meet me in daytime. What am I supposed to do?" he replied calmly.

"We are not children anymore, Kishan. The fun and games in life are over. It's better we don't meet again ever."

"I just don't get it why you can't come with me. Lets get out of this god-forsaken village. What's there for both of us here? Lets run away and get married. In that way I can give my name to the child too."

"You know that I want your name itself to be attached to the child's. But running away is not the solution. Chachaji is far worse than my father was where these things are concerned. He killed his own daughter to protect the family honor when she ran away. I am just his niece."

"I don't understand what makes you stay with him even though he scares the life out of you. My offer would be always open, whenever you change your mind."

"You won't understand it. You are not a girl, that too not a unmarried mother. You know what that means right?"


The night was dark, and one could hear the insects chirping outside. 15 year old Radha was lying on the ground trying very hard to sleep, but totally failing in the attempt. It was about 10 O'clock at night and her father had still not returned home. That could only mean he was getting drunk and that was the part she dreaded the most. She heard a sound at the door and lifted her head to see Shankar's silhouette in the doorway. He stumbled towards her and sat besides her.

"Aren't I happy to see my beautiful young daughter grow up so fast?" he mumbled, and put his hand on her arm. Instinctively she retracted her hand back and all muscles in her body contracted.

"You were such a little girl when your mother left us, and now look at you. You have become even more lovelier than she ever was."

The hand was sliding up her knee now, and all she could do was contract herself tightly. She knew what was coming and that she would never be able to fight him off. Her body was shivering.

"I love you, my baby, a lot!" he said bringing his face over hers. The smell of alcohol in his breath stung her senses and a wail came out of her mouth.

"Shh....don't you get worried now. It would be done fast and you will enjoy it too. Every woman has to go through it." Saying thus he put his mouth over her pursed lips as she stifled her cry.

Radha woke up suddenly, her body drenched in sweat and shivering. The memory of that fateful night had come back to haunt her again. In her sudden motion, she had woken up her child who has started crying loudly. She held her in her arms trying hard to console her but in vain.

"Will you please shut up that bastard child of yours? I am unable to sleep in all that wailing." Keshav yelled from the adjoining room.

"I am trying Chachaji." she replied. "She seems to be hungry, I'll try feeding her. And please don't call her that."

"Do whatever you need to do. And don't you dare speak to me like that. I will call her whatever I please. That piece of shit deserves no place in the world, let alone my house. I am doing a favor on you both by letting you stay here and I expect a bit of gratitude in return."

"The child is mine, and I will stand up for her, come what may. I am thankful for you letting us stay here, but I will not have anybody call my child that."

An angry Keshav stormed into the room and grabbed Radha by her hair.

"Say that again?" he threatened her. "You are a woman and you'd better know your status well. I hope you understand very well what I can do to you if you don't listen to me."

"Kill me? Sure, go ahead. I am living dead anyway."

"Kill? No, that would not be a punishment for insolence." His hand went to her throat. "Killing you would be too easy." The hand slid down to her chest. "There are things far worse and more enjoyable for a man to do with a whore like you."

In an instant, Radha's hand went to her waist pouch and the knife came out and was pierced in Keshav's chest.

"You will not harm me or my daughter, ever." she was wild. She drew back the knife and stabbed him again in the heart. The blood was splattering all over the place, but she did not stop stabbing until the body became motionless.

"There goes, my second murder, or would it be rescue?" she said over Keshav's listless body.

Radha quietly picked up her child and ran out of the house.



  1. @sir: strong woman, strong actions...the only thing i couldn't digest here was: this woman was damn strong...she murdered her own father and uncle for safeguarding herself..still she found it difficult to elope with Kishan and start an all new beautiful life for herself....a lady like her could have easily done that...except for this...i loved the whole idea of narrative...she waking up shivering after watching that dreadful dream....gosh!! that line sent chills down my spine...the entire transition from present to past then present again was smooth and aggravated the kind of agony faced by her. Good job !!!

  2. That was the contrast i wanted to show. In practical situations like eloping with someone who would accept you as you are, women tend to think more about how the society would perceive, etc. And in situations where you least expect her to stand up for herself, she brings out the real strength
    Well, really happy that you liked this one...thanx a ton for the compliments.. :)

  3. just reminded me a of "tell me ur dreams" i really can't read scary stories.. but very beautifully written dost.. weldone :)

  4. just curious.. wy the name "radha's child" when it was all about radha?

  5. Very, very sensitive story Ashwin! your insight is correct. But...ppl shud've noticed d stab wounds! N I spose Radha's child is her......whoops!!

  6. @Aparna: tell me ur dreams was about split personality....this is a totally different arena.... :) :) .. as for the name, isn't it really about her child in retrospect??? :/

    @Mum: I had originally planned that the father is poisoned in his alcohol ... but then thot of leaving his death to imagination. So its not necessarily the same death as his brother's. :)

  7. yes it was about split personality.. n the root cause of her having it was some similar situations in her childhood.. her dad.. n that gave birth to a violent person, another person within her... well.. i just meant it was as horrifying as that..

  8. really enjoyed reading it..gud done.:)