The Untouchable Woman

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
i wrote the story in 7th grade.Its about how unfairly people of lower castes are treated in india.It talks about such a woman, and her difficulties, trying to keep her loved daughter alive.

Submitted: June 05, 2010

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Submitted: June 05, 2010

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The Story of the Untouchable Woman

VII Standard, Rishi Valley

“Mariam, come back here, you stupid girl!! You have been playing with that garbage for too long..” said the desperate mother. She said the sentence with anger, but you could sense a touch of love in it.

It was a rainy afternoon, in the year 1940, in Uttaranchal, in a small town I can’t seem to remember the name of. The women and her child were soaked to their skins; there was nowhere to sit, nowhere to take shelter. In those days, untouchables were not meant to take even a tiny step onto grass, or touch a soft petaled flower on the way somewhere.

If they were called untouchables, it was because they were meant to be untouchables…..

The woman walked up to her child in pain; her legs were sore of walking, and she leaned over the garbage bin to see what was inside; what was it that made her daughter spend so much time there?

“Look , nana, I’ve found a bar of pink soap. It’s fresh, I think it was used only a couple of times….Nana, it’s been a few months since I had a bath….could you give me one in the rain?”

“Sure darling, I will….” the mother said with pain, tasting the sourness of it. The rich ones had a room to have baths in hot water taps and rich smelling perfumes.

As she gave her seven year old daughter a gentle bath, she felt her daughter pull away with pain. “Mariam beti* what’s wrong? Did I hurt you?” asked the woman, gulping down her worries. “Yes, nana, it’s been hurting there…” said the daughter pointing to her lower back. “Is it hurting too much, beti?” asked the scared mother. She couldn’t do any thing. Her husband- Oh! How she wished he was there. But he was gone. She was on her own all alone. What could she do?

She didn’t take it too seriously in the starting, everyone gets occasional pains, she tried to explain herself, but after a week it was still hurting Mariam, two weeks later, Mariam simply broke down to a flood of tears. She couldn’t bear it any longer.

Her mother got very worried. She cuddled her daughter close, trying to brush her pains off with the soft motherly kisses.

Four weeks later, her daughter could no longer move. Not an inch, she stayed put, crying softly onto her mothers lap, trying to bear the pain, but she couldn’t.

Unable to see her daughter suffer so much, her mother broke down herself. Not softly crying, or sniffling to herself by the corner of an alley, but crying out loud, bawling out all her worries. They went out, through words- yes they did. But the body of the worries stayed there-put.

She wandered around, forming crowds of people being disgusted by her stink, her dirty clothes, her loud savage words, her ugly looking face. Occasionally she got mercy- the mercy of a few rich people, who gave her a biscuit or a piece of toffee.

She didn’t have anything herself. All she ever got by begging, ended up in her daughter’s stomach. Occasionally she got a handful of rice with a few drops of dal, and she fed it to her daughter with hands shivering with pain, hunger and distress.

She soon found something that might help out- not a doctor, not a shop of food , but a card board box wide and long – she put her daughter in it, and paced around it, waiting for people to come by.

They came by, but did not stop, they went past. They went away, not paying a bit of attention.

Rich, respected women passed by, wearing grand silk sarees, hands jingling with jewellery, faces shining with make up.

Rich, men passed by, not noticing a thing. They went by, just like everyone else. They were respected, rich and rude. But why were they respected? For their wealth, that’s all. They were just respected because of those wads[i] of olive coloured paper.

Soon, Mariam could hardly talk; she was so full of pain. She slept for hours, snuggling up with her shadow, softly crying to herself. Day after day Nana, went out and cried for a doctor who could help. But no one came. She had to stand and stand through hours of pain and fright. She got less mercy now. It was very near to the festival of holi. Everyone wandered around, buying pichkaris* and different colours of rangoli powders to mix in water and squirt on each other.

The water squirting had already begun and Nana found herself soaked in yellows, reds, blues and violets and she had nothing to wash them off. It was too sunny now, for rain to come. If she sat and begged, they’d laugh at her very colourful face, commenting on her powdery skin, gossiping about her worm bitten saree, another home for flies to lay their eggs- they said.

Nana cared? No! she did not. She was determined about saving her daughter from dying. But no one was there to help. She did not know what her daughter was suffering from. She felt completely helpless. She noticed that children were of great help. Whenever they came along and saw her, they would frown sadly and tug at their mother’s and persuade them to give her money or food.

She especially found rich kids helpful. Like one-who started bawling- feeling utterly bad for her, and throwing such a big tantrum that her mother ended up giving her a full 20 paise. She bought a cup of curd and peas and fed her daughter with eyes brimming with happiness. In the ending of this happy moment, the daughter whispered- “come here, nana” and gave her a resounding kiss. Nana felt very happy.

But after a few minutes, Mariam became her sick self again. Moaning and crying softly to herself and hugging nothing but her own shadow.

Then, one day, a rich man came by. Nana waited for his disgusted face, and was sorry to see him pass by. But she got something very different – a smile. Then he stopped. He took the biggest pack of biscuits she had ever seen from his bag, and put it in her hands. He smiled again, and went away.

Nana’s smile could not be stopped. She felt so happy, this would last a week for both of them. She said “Mariam beti, let’s enjoy these biscuits all by ourselves!” she walked with happiness on her face all the way upto her daughter, and smiled. Her daughter was fast asleep. She shook her daughter gently, trying to wake her up. Not a shudder, not a breath, not a move. Her smile faded- A tear drop – A groan- A scream…………

It was just too late.

*Pichkari- water gun **Beti-small child in hindi(Indian language)

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