By Ravali G:
Let me begin by saying that I’m from a traditional family with a modern mindset. I always felt our society is becoming more open-minded. However, I realised I was wrong based on the incidents that occurred following my father’s death the previous year.
My mother has been shunned by our neighbours and our very own relatives. She is no longer invited to any functions and she lost the privilege to offer gifts during ceremonies.
Ironically, my brother’s name is written on the invitations which makes me wonder if she is even considered as a living entity. When she steps out wearing black beads or a new saree, she has to pass through protruding eyes of the entire neighbourhood.
For a year, she was neither allowed to enter any other house nor did they come to our house to visit her. Newly weds and pregnant women were not supposed to eat food prepared in our house.
In addition to the emptiness that she has had to undergo after my father’s death, she has to face the social stigma of being a widow.
To all those who ill treat widows, here is my question – what crime have they committed to be deprived of a normal life?
Sometimes, I want to shout out and say that my mom didn’t kill my dad.
As Gandhi rightly said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I encourage her to dress up like she always does, wear her favorite jewelry and more importantly I made her believe she has not lost her importance in the family.
During a puja at my home, I invited her to the mandap to offer me new clothes. That day, she hugged me and wept uncontrollably and said, “I’m proud to have you as my daughter.”
I’m sure a lot of widows are given the same ‘status’ in society. All it takes is a broad mind and the willingness to accept the change. Life is too short to discriminate people.