*Slap* *Slap* the sound echoed across the street like the crack of a whip, it was 6:30 in the evening, I was just returning back from my college when I heard it and saw a small crowd on the other side of the street.
Being naturally curious, I crossed the street and tried to get a view of what was the commotion all about.
I could hear two people fighting, A man and a woman.
“I have heard enough about you from everyone and I will not live with you anymore, you have cheated on me”, the man shouted.
*Slap* He slapped the woman again. She howled in pain.
“I haven’t done anything, you drink all the time and hear stories about me, how dare you blame me for adultery?”, the woman shouted back.
Finally, I managed to push my way around and came to a halt in the front row of the small circle which the crowd had formed.
I saw a middle aged man about 35yrs old wearing a striped blue shirt and a lungi and the woman might have been just a bit younger to him, she was wearing a torn nightie which I believe the husband might have tugged at and torn it.
From the conversation I figured out that they were husband and wife and were fighting on the street about having an extra marital affair. I felt really bad for the woman and really wanted to help her but just out of fear that what unknown trouble I might get into, I just stood rooted to my spot like a mute spectator.
Nobody, absolutely nobody dared to interfere, I found it really disturbing as in my 17 years of existence I had never encountered a scene like this before, to my relief I saw 2 policemen approaching the couple and took both of them to the Police station near by.
I went home and tried to sleep as I was tired but the incident still occupied my mind. Determined to find out what happened I took the same street again after a few days and to my surprise found that the woman had set up a small food stall on the same street, seeing this I was even more curious of the outcome of the earlier incident.
So on the pretext of purchasing a few mouth freshner toffees from the near by Pan shop, I asked the pan waala shop keeper, “Bhaiya, this is the same woman who was fighting a few days back with her husband a few days back, isn’t it?”
He glanced at me and said,” Were you here at that time?”, I nodded.
He continued,”She has applied for a divorce and the man has disowned their 2 children as well, but she does not want all this to affect her children’s future, she is an independent woman”.
I was completely bowled over by the dedication this woman had for her kids fulfilling the role of a mother & now as their father too. This dedication, determination & self respect is what defined her.
It instantly aroused a feeling of respect for this brave, brave woman in my heart, I thanked the shopkeeper and went to the woman’s food stall.
“Aunty, can I have a Vada Pav?”
She gave one of the warmest smiles as if she had no worries and said, “Sure beta,here, take this”
I took out a Rs.5 note from my pocket and gave it to her, she smiled again, I picked up the vada pav and walked away wishing I had more money to buy everything she was selling at the food stall.