She lived in a beautiful far off land, the boundaries of which didn't even remotely touch the Earth. Where unconditional love bloomed, where peace resided, where respect was mandatory and whoever glanced an evil eye was instantaneously incarcerated. People on Earth called it as 'heaven' which for her, was her abode, where only her rule reigned. Her name was Durga. She was living happily with her people, her subjects, who adored her. They often told her stories of a faraway land called Earth, where people supposedly worshipped her. She longed to go to Earth since ages but everytime she sought permission from her parents, it was a strict NO from them. The reason they gave was nothing!
But, this time she had decided that she will visit Earth on her birthday and would witness the nine days worth celebrations which she had only heard about so far.
As the roseate dawn covered the sky in its hues, she sneaked out from her palace with her tiger. She was very happy and giggling like a little girl as it was her birthday and this time she would be fulfilling her long-awaited dream.
She crossed the gigantic mountains, spectacular valleys, dense forests and sinuous rivers. And finally landed on Earth. She was ecstatic as she had finally reached her dream place and her dream country called India.
No one could see her but she could see everyone. It was overwhelming and she was mesmerised to see her idols stationed at different places. Donned with vibrant attires, heena clad hands and a beautiful smile, she looked really pretty. The priests and the people performed the pooja with great fervour. She started taking a walk around, her eyes filled with wonderment.
She felt satisfied when men bowed their heads whenever they crossed the idols. She smiled. A place where her form was worshipped would respect her daughters, the women too. This place called Earth would be specially blessed by her for a place that respects women deserves the best.
A doubt suddenly crept in her mind, "Or was it only a mirage?" But she shrugged it off.
As if in answer, a few minutes later she heard a scream.
She moved in search of the voice. In an isolated factory, she saw five men with a woman. Two held her hands, two held her legs while one disrobed her. She tried to push them away. She screamed but there was no one to hear her pleas. One by one, everyone satisfied their lust. The last one was in fact raping a dead body.
The goddess was filled with disgust. She felt as if millions of ants were crawling on her body. Her eyes were filled with anguish. But she only stood helpless. If only she had not promised her mother to refrain from using her right to kill, she would have slayed everyone and burnt up the universe.
She left that place with a heavy heart.
After sometime, she saw a mother feeding her child. A sweet smile spread on Ma Durga's face.
Alas! Her happiness was short-lived. A man entered with a bottle in hand, staggering and blabbering and threatening, "Leave that bastard. I need you now", and he pulled her towards himself.
"Let me feed my child.."
But the helpless mother's pleas fell on deaf ears. He closed the door and Durga could hear the inhuman screams.
At another place, she saw a live infant being buried because she was a girl and elsewhere another being sold to meet household needs.
A girl was sometimes kidnapped so that it could feed someone's pockets. She was barred from entering religious places sometimes because she bled and sometimes because she was not worth entering a place of worship. But character plunderers not leaving her alone even when she bled profusely.
The goddess felt her head spinning. She wondered, "How do these flesh traders sleep in peace trampling upon girls' dignity? Shattering her self into innumerable pieces.
Do they have a soul?
I actually wonder..
The character plunderers
Have they put that too in offer?"
She felt an excruciating pain in her heart and seeing a garden yonder, entered and sat there in isolation.
Few scattered dry leaves moved slowly under the effect of a light breeze. She saw mothers, sisters and wives weeping and their sunken faces on those dead leaves. Their weary souls bruised from wounds given by men whom they worshipped or had given birth to. Their eyes were hollow which craved for the warmth of love but got abuse and irreparable hurt in return.
As she dragged herself through the world, she realized this was the same story all over.
She couldn't believe herself when the soldiers who took a pledge to safeguard the nation and its subjects stood in a queue to rape a girl, mother, wife so that she feared to enter in a relationship with men of his country. In another, a woman was shot for not wearing the hijaab and those who protested were shot at their back, the private organs were disfigured and those who treated them were being hanged. Sometimes for beauty, sometimes for failing to perform her duty, sometimes for fun; sometimes for not bringing in enough funds, it was always the woman who got punished and brutalised.
Temples, churches, orphanages, she wasn't spared anywhere.
She had once asked her mother, "Why did Sita have to give Agnipariksha when Ram knew the truth? Why couldn't Draupadi slay Dushasana and Duryodhana by herself when her husbands were just mute spectators when she was being disrobed of her dignity?
Why is a man required to complete a woman? There were many why's for which there were no answers.
An unspeakable anger and disgust welled up in her heart.
This place didn't deserve her daughters. She saw around. There were many trees around, laden with fruits, flowers and leaves. Amidst them stood a leafless tree, with just an armful of empty branches. Women were like that tree.
She nourished everyone but throughout her life, she stayed empty.
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She closed her eyes. Tears flowed incessantly. Men offered her sumptuous delicacies as bhog but a spoonful of respect they failed to give to her daughters.
She wanted to do something. She heard a voice, "We are with you."
Durga wiped off her tears. She chanted a mantra. All the Durga idols came to life
All the women, daughters, mothers, wives, sisters left their homes, in the dead of the night.
Every man was asleep and every woman was awake but put in a trance. They just walked with Ma Durga leading them and then boom!
All the women just vanished, into thin air!
The next morning, all the men woke up to empty houses. They were bewildered to find their women folk missing. They called out to them but there was no reply. There was chaos everywhere.
Boys were late for school. Sinks were full of dishes. Newspapers were still lying at the entrance and the doors of their temples remained closed. They tried their wives and mother's mobiles but the mobiles were ringing in their homes without any trace of its user.
Everyone was out on the streets, frantically searching for their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters. But they couldn't find them anywhere.
There was commotion all around. The Police were equally baffled as the lady police officers and female constables went missing too. Even the oficers' wives had disappeared.
What was even more disturbing was that neither the security guards nor the city cameras could capture any trace of their whereabouts. Police stations were lined up with men searching for their women. The government was perplexed.
Where had all the women gone? Had someone kidnapped them? But so many? Had the Earth devoured them or had the sky cast some spell?
What sent shivers down their spines was that when the priests opened the doors of the temples, the goddesses had disappeared too.
Lord Ram stood without Sita, Lord Krishna without Radha, Ma Parvati was missing in Shivji's family, Ma Lakshmi, Ma Durga, none were there. Even Mother Mary had left the church while Jesus in her arms stood alone.
The Police, the Interpol, the Scotland yard, everyone was in action.
All the newspapers were filled with 'MISSING' news.
Poor men ! None of them went to office that day. Handling household chores, their children, food, cleaning, every responsibility fell heavily upon their shoulders.
They missed their wives so much. No bed teas, no hot breakfasts on table, no hot chapatis for lunch and dinner. Clothes were scattered all over the house, no one to clean or iron them. They only now started slowly realizing the importance of their women. They remembered how they always treated the housewives with contempt and taken them for granted.Alas! They realized their value only in their absence.
They always believed that a woman is incomplete without a man. But they now realized nothing was farther than the truth.
The search went on and they failed miserably. A month had already passed. Not a single woman was to be found. Street quarrels and violence had increased. Economy had taken a downturn. The only businesses which flourished were the alcohol, drugs and the cigarettes businesses.
The governments across the world held meetings with scientists and it was decided to start working on a mass production of female robots to mitigate their absence.
As a trial, the first batch of robots were stationed in hotels. Men could pay and satiate their desires. The queue was long and things seemed to be working but the robots lost to the dark insatiable desires of the men.
Their back, breasts, though made of silicon had scratches all over . Breasts deflated after few hours and their sacs got filled. The first batch of robots died in just a few days. The second batch was rolled out which was better than the first.
Many companies joined the bandwagon. They rolled out surveys asking men about the type of women they required in their houses.
Some wanted Aishwarya, some liked Katrina, some preferred Angelina Jolie while some Britney Spears. Some preferred thin waist with slender legs, some with big boobs and long hair. Sixty year-olds wanted twenty-five year old looking damsels. Some wanted fair complexion while some with luscious lips. There were very few men who wanted exact replicas of their mother and wives.
Finally, there seemed to be some respite.
They were happy as there was now someone to look after their house and give them company in bed. The best thing about these robots was that they didn't complain about anything nor nag. They just took orders and carried out their tasks.
The new versions came with the uterus too!
So whenever the men decided, they could have their heirs exactly the way they desired. Artificial intelligence and science had made impossible dreams come true. Men were happy as there was no one to question them when they came home late. The house was taken care of. What else did he want? Did he miss something?
Intially, they didn't miss anything. But soon they started missing that something that only a woman brings about.
They started missing her pristine love, her softness, her warmth. What could replace the love a mother showed when her child was ill. How she fed him with her hands when he didn't feel like eating. How his wife studied his eyes even before he uttered a word. How his sister fought with him on every Rakhi for a different gift, how every Diwali they lit the diyas together, made sweets, went for shopping…
The colours of holi were there but they missed the vibrant smiles and sheer happiness that only their women could conjure.
Patients missed the warmth of the words of nurses, the schools missed the care of teachers. Nothing was same as before.
It seemed as if life ceased to exist.
Ma Durga looked around her. It was time to leave with all the women. The idols stationed at different places had come to life. They started walking along with the rest and studiously followed the goddess who was walking with heavy strides and a bruised heart. It was a strange sight to behold millions of women of all kinds; Old, young, kids, all in a meditative trance when they suddenly got air lifted.
Mother Earth too smiled and the gravitational pull turned to zero. They vanished literally into thin air.
After a few hours, women opened their eyes and came to their senses. They were bemused to find themselves in an unknown place. Was it a dream?
A huge palace made of gold, ornate pillars which spoke of grandeur and majesty, a dome shaped hall, everything looked magical.
Ma appeared in front of them.
Everyone joined their hands and bowed their heads with respect.
"My dear daughters, all of you are in my periphery. I have witnessed the pain you all have been through. Men on Earth don't deserve you. You will stay here in heaven with me, without any abuse or fear", said Ma Durga.
Everyone started looking at each other's faces.
Was this for real? Or some kind of a hallucination?
Ma's voice echoed through the walls of the hall," This is not a mirage. You are all alive but with me."
A sweet smile spread across a few faces. They had smiled after ages. Some had tears in their eyes while some looked tensed. They wanted to be with their families. They approached Ma and requested her to send them back. Their children and husband needed them.
Ma replied," I will send you after some time, only if your families are actually missing you. Till then, be my guest."
Soon all of them became one big, happy, family. They were busy with their own work and tasks. Pregnant mothers were happy that their daughters will no more be killed. Some girls were glad that no one would silence their voices under the running taps. Prostitutes were finally out of the dark cage of abuse. Their body and beauty was no more a liability for them. Girls didn't fear wearing skirts or shorts or moving out alone in the night. No more prying eyes stalking them. No one to grope their bodies in buses or trains. Wives were happy as their body was no more a canvas for someone's lust and desires.
Freedom which was just limited to dictionaries, could now be actually felt by them. No one to pass lewd comments, no one to give advice on complexion or weight, no one to judge, no one to criticize, life was indeed starting anew for most of them. It felt like a new bud trying to bloom in to a flower.
Meanwhile on Earth, all the scientists are running against time to find ways to artificially impregnate the nine emotions of love, humour, wonder, courage, calmness , anger, sadness, fear and disgust into their artificial robot women but in vain..
Ma Durga is finally contented because her daughters were happy. As she looks at men on Earth, she wonders, "Peace she chased
throughout her life. Today….when she is at peace, he isn't."
While at some other place..
"In the Sky, he looked from his window
And smiled when he saw her in the moon.
While she searched for her sun and stars on Earth
Both desperately longing to be united
Before time ends….."
Word Count: 2613 words
Agnipariksha : A trial by fire described in the Hindu Sanskrit epic Ramayana
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Every relationship is completed by a woman but she is the one who remains incomplete throughout her life.
Disclaimer: This story is not written with any intention to hurt anyone. It is just a story and should be treated as one.