The answer to this question seems fairly straight forward. But as I have come to learn over the last few days, it is rather deceptive.
My maid’s grand daughter who lives in a village near Ahmedabad was severely burnt a few days back. She was already on her second marriage after being first widowed by a car accident a year back. The family rejoiced however, at ‘their good fortune’ that they had another suitor for a widow, who in rural India is considered useless.
They might want to rephrase that catch phrase of good fortune, as the origin of this the girl being burnt remains murky. There exists a large body of evidence that suggests that she was put to fire by her in-laws. For someone living outside India, this may seem preposterous but ask anyone living within the country and they will tell you that not only does this happen, but is rampant in rural India.
This girl survived more than a day; far more than anyone could have predicted for her. Such was the severity of the burns she suffered. I saw her. I have never seen a face more charcoal black. Although the rest of her body was covered, I was told that she sustained similar intensity of burns on the rest of her body. Surviving more than one day seemed like a miracle.
Yet, it didnt brings hope and cheers. It brought despair to the family of the girl. I was stunned. I did not quite comprehend, and was filled in by mother about the reality of such a situation. If the girl survived, who would take care of her? Who would bear the expenses for a year long recuperative process. They certainly did not have the finances, and the in-laws would refuse to bear with the girl. Sympathy was an emotion that they could not afford. Death was cheaper; more painless.
I could not quite assimilate this perspective at first. I though it was completely heartless, as any young, privileged person would. But you look at their existence, understand the problems they have to face everyday, and come to accept, if not completely understand, their decision. It was tough, but I did not judge them. I am sure it was tougher for them still to even think of such a thing than it was for me to judge them by it.
It all came down to this. The girl passed away this morning after fighting the inevitable for 5 days. Grief and relief; you come to find that a difference of perspective can make the line dividing the two very thin.
Hope you find peace. Komal Jadeja.