15th August 2014

Tied in the shackles of religion and society, she hoped for independence too. As the sun rays soothed her delicate skin, it reminded her of his tender touch. How every morning, he would take her in arms and caress her face.

It had been 3 years since she had seen him. 3 years since she had been out of that house. And 3 years since Mira’s husband died, leaving her in pain and agony that wouldn’t end for years.

No matter how hard she tried, she was always bound by his memories. But more was she bound by the rituals of society.

A widow never wears colorful clothes. -they used to tell her.

Deprived of the red dot between her eyebrows,She could neither wear those red bangles, nor hear the chime of her anklets.She could no more do things that used to elate her. It had been for long that Mira alienated her soul from herself!

“A curse she would bring to my daughter”,said the callous mother-in-law conspiring to keep Mira away from the wedding while Mira kept envisaging of dressing her beautiful sister in law. Oh she wouldn’t be even allowed to touch her!

What curse could she, Mira, would ever bring!

She knew she would never forget him, but a girl inside her demanded the start of a new life where she would breathe and dream. Where she was no more bound by the bars of society.

When the whole nation was gripped in patriotic fervor, a ray of hope still burned in her, igniting her to fight for her freedom. Yelling at her to break these shackles and live life as she always wanted.

And outside the window as she watched a man unfurling the Tiranga, yet again, yet another year, her flickering hope grew.

Contributed by Simran Mattu