They say life is colorful; I’m sharing one grey anecdote.

I moved in to a new flat with a big window and a balcony with a not-so-amazing-view-of-another-society attached to my room. Then, entangled in some personal mess I often used to go out in the balcony at wee hours, listen to the silence and try to dis-entwine.

The very second night after I moved in, I was out there all by myself, when I heard a woman cry. It was loud. Scared, I went back inside and tried to watch through my window. The voice emerged from the opposite apartment. Though the lights were dim, I could see a man hit a woman with a rod or something. I could hear exchange of words, and then the man clutched her hair with one hand and slapped her with the other, repeatedly. Precisely, every time she spoke. I saw her getting thrashed again and again, along with an outburst of expletives. With cold shiver running down my spine, I called my nishachar friend and told him that it could be a burglary and I should call the police. A part of me knew it wasn’t burglary, it was domestic violence. He consoled me and asked me not to meddle, stay indoors, lock the doors, and switch off the lights and go to sleep. I did all in the prescribed order, save the last thing.

The next morning almost everything was fine. No news of robbery circulated. I even asked the guard who corroborated the same. Later that late evening, I and my solitude again went back to the balcony to enjoy the general repentance and loneliness. I sat there for about ten minutes until I noticed that the woman from last night was sitting and sobbing right across me, in her balcony. Blood mixed with saliva and tears tripped down from the corner of her swollen cracked lips. She smiled, pretentiously. To be honest a little freaked to see a woman with scarred face smile at that wee hour made me run back in, again. There were no curtains then, and I could still see her through my naked window and she could see me. The silence spoke louder than words ever did.

This continued for another couple of nights. I wanted to help, but I was scared of her man and I was new to town. I didn’t know anyone and I hardly had the courage to trust anyone. So, every night she would sit across me black and blue, and we both would sheepishly smile. Pain connected us without speaking or knowing each other.

Then one morning, I ran into her at the grocery shop confirming her existence and that she isn’t one of the nocturnal souls I’ve been seeing lately. She did recognize me. Her messed up countenance threw a kind smile at me. With one slightly burnt arm she paid for the things and carried the groceries while the other arm supported a child who slept clutching to her body. “Namaste! Can I help you!?” I said, flashing the same sheepish smile from other nights. Her husband saw me speak to her, and he paced up with a respected company id card oscillating from his neck. Seeing the ID card, my first thought was that he was perhaps just a literate, and not an educated man. She somehow managed to carry both, the groceries and her baby, and walked hurriedly towards him. Suddenly, she turned back with wet eyes and whispered, “No! you cannot, no one can”.

And the couple moved in few days. I never saw them again. But her words still echo.

In retrospect, (not getting into what the couple’s problem was), I wonder, did no one in my building or the one where they lived had the courage to speak up? Did the man know what picture his child was developing? Will the child ever respect women? Either he’ll end up being like his father, or he’ll hate him forever. And either is undesirable.
Why do men impose power by hitting? Or is the fairer sex that weak? Is humanity lost? #FoodForThought

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