She stays with her mother. It was like any other ordinary day. Maithili woke up early like any other day, got ready and went for her morning walk. After her walk, she sits for a quiet time with her own self. After this quiet time, she begins her daily course. She has a neighbour with two little beautiful kids, Samir the elder one who is two-and-a-half years old and Hari who is one-and-a-half years old. Samir is quite attached to her. They both have a good time. The neighbour Kanika was alone looking after her two kids with her husband.
Around three-and-a-half years back when Kanika came to our neighbourhood after marriage; her house was all full and happy like any other house. A terrible secret of Kanika was poured into our ears. We quietly heard it and kept quiet all these years. But, one by one, everyone left the house and only Kanika, her husband, Samir, and Hari were left. Now Kanika does not likes that her kids have anything from any other house. But Samir would get up and come to Maithili’s house. Samir said, “It is my house.” He loves to have ‘Bhuna chana’ and dressed pomegranates, guava and everything he can find in Maithili’s house. Maithili and her mother enjoyed serving Samir. Maithili loved teaching and playing with Samir. One day Kanika said that her younger brother-in-law had cheated them and stolen a good amount of their money, so they have abstained from their house and they will never come back again. Still, Maithili and her mother took care of Samir enjoying and playing. Now Kanika started sending Samir at 7 am and Maithili prepares her breakfast at that time. Samir will sit on a tool and ask Maithili to give him the chappati with ghee. It is difficult for Maithili and her mother to deny Samir what he wanted. He was very small to understand caste and religion barrier. So slowly, Maithili started restricting Samir’s interactions. This distancing was not appreciated by Kanika. Maithili could explain this to Kanika and make her understand the situation.
One day when Maithili was cleaning her balcony, she overheard Kanika telling Sheela, a neighbour on the next block, that it is quite relaxing when someone looks after your kids, but my neighbour is not at all cooperative. Maithili immediately interrupted this conversation and said to Sheela that the person should know how to talk. Maithili said these words because she knew how much she has served her. When there was no one with Kanika during her first labour, it was Maithili’s mother who took her to the hospital. It was Maithili’s mother who taught Samir to play, to run, and to some extent to converse too. Despite these all unsaid services, today Kanika has labelled Maithili and her mother as uncooperative. This situation was the same as to what Kanika told about her brother-in-law. For her, every person who does not serve her as she desires she will cook up some story and narrate it to everyone. Maithili had read her quite well for this character.
This agitated Maithili and she finally raised her voice, saying, “What do you think that since we do not go out and spread your secret in the locality that you Kanika go and talk any shit about us. This is not going to go further. I will go and share your secrets with everyone.”
Kanika came down running from the terrace as Maithili gave this open challenge to her. Kanika told her husband that, she thought who told her to say sorry to Maithili and her mother. But the heat of the conversation was so great that Maithili in her anger chose to abstain from Kanika in order to prevent any further harassment.
Maithili, on hearing Kanika’s apology, said “We do not want to talk to you. Just stay away from us!”
Kanika and her family just do not know the power of SPOKEN WORDS. They didn’t know that the very words can kill and the same words can build too, only what matters is the way you present it. They don’t know it takes time to get out of hurt. They just want their things, in their own ways, in their time.
Since Maithili dared to show them their mistakes, her life was made an utter mess by these three brothers painted by the alluring lies of Kanika. Kanika never told the real truth to any of her household members, but just her cooked up words of this situation. This made the three brothers to perceive Maithili as someone who considers herself very great.
The SELF RESPECT of Maithili now became her biggest enemy.
Maithili was highly educated and a very ambitious person who dreamed big as big as being an IAS officer or maybe even work for the government. But Kanika and her own family, to hide their own mistakes, first spread lies in the locality that Maithili had gone mad. When Maithili went out to talk to anyone, everyone perceived her as INSANE. Maithili could read these unsaid words in the eyes of her neighbourhood, in their behaviour towards her. Maithili knew what misconceptions were going on, but her locality had no understanding or distinction between THE TRUTH AND THE LIE. So for about a year, Maithili had to hear her being called INSANE.
Luckily, a new neighbour Samarth came into the picture. For some time, he kept hearing Maithili being called insane. Then finally one afternoon he said, “Maithili is not insane but the one who lives next to her door is actually insane.” Kanika didn’t like those words and from that day on Samarth became Kanika’s next enemy. Just like how the whole family troubled Maithili, they now started troubling Samarth too. Whoever Maithili showed the truth about Kanika, Kanika made them her enemy and start troubling them too.
The whole family was so crazy that they had lost the understanding limitation of good and bad. They were just inhuman. When Maithili climbed the terrace they would go and bathe there. When Maithili dressed up and moved out of her house they will follow her on bikes. When Maithili went for evening walks there were bikers who eve-teased her. This never happened before this incidence. In the morning walk a drunkard man of Maithili’s neighbourhood will follow her and just not knowing the word power spread all evil throughout the locality.
Kanika in her anger would move out in the evening when Maithili would go for her evening walk. During this walk of hers, she goes to all the shops where Maithili shops and she spread those lies. Kanika has said that Maithili is an ill-character girl and she is in love with the samosawala (from where Maithili buys samosas). She also spread these words that she is also in love with the cyber cafe boy in this locality. The confusion was so great that the samosawala whose business was going well has to leave that place and the cyber café boy has to abandon his shop and take a new shop elsewhere. The samosawala must be earning a day wage to feed his family. Such a setback must have kept his family hungry for days. The cyber café boy set up his business with such great difficulty only to see its ruin. It ruined lives.
The plight of Maithili did not end up here. Because she stood firm to declare the wrong SHE WAS CRUSHED BEYOND RECOVERY. Since they labelled her insane, people hesitated to talk to her. Then they presented her as a witch so that no one would come to Maithili’s rescue. They tried to hear what she talked at her house. All around the house everyone was asked to keep an eye on Maithili. People from the left tried to hear what she would talk. People from the back will climb the stairs to see how she would sleep. Her neighbours implanted cameras to see what she would do the whole day. This situation had just become unbearable. The moment she would go to her TV room the neighbours would hang around her window and would not allow her to watch TV. They would keep their kitchen window and restroom ventilation wide open because of those directly faced Maithili’s room. Maithili had to keep her windows shut all the time. Because of such insane acts of the neighbours, Maithili had to spend so many nights without sleep. Maithili had to remain awake for nights so that something untoward would not happen to her. Maithili understands the value of every word that comes out of her mouth. She kept quiet only to KEEP THE SECRET OF KANIKA. And Kanika mistook Maithili’s quietness for her weakness and just did all she and her wild family desired. No law would believe her, because Maithili had no proof to show they did this to her. They did not touch her but they had crushed her soul which cannot be seen by the LAW. Such is the MENTALITY OF OUR SOCIETY. IF A GIRL POINTS OUT YOUR MISTAKE JUST SHOW HER THAT SHE IS MERELY A WEAK LADY WHOM A MAN CAN DESTROY BY ANY AND EVERY MEANS. THAT IS THE MANLINESS OF A MAN.
Yes, like every girl, Maithili missed her dead father the most and her brother who stays far away. She feels it is really a burden to be born like a girl on this earth, and it is a curse for the family to raise a daughter without a father. This is the picture of an insane neighbour imprint on Maithili’s heart.
Life never ended here for Maithili. On the other side of her house stayed another neighbour named Lalit. Even he was entrapped in the lies of Kanika. Lalit was an intelligent person. When he came to know what was going on with Maithili, he put up all his efforts to know who Maithili was. After knowing her, he did all that a brother could do to make his sister feel comfortable and cosy in his care. He would get up quite early with her sister so that she could sit and study without fear. He would switch on his fan so that her sister would feel the coolness in the air. He would do all nasty things like exercising on the streets only to see a smile on her sister’s face. He would get up early in the night only to see his sister is sleeping comfortably. Seeing these cares of her brother Lalit slowly Maithili started trusting her brother Lalit and believed he is not going to harm him. Slowly she started sleeping comfortably, not completely, but to some extent, she started sleeping in the night. He gave his sister complete freedom and all the time she needed to open up to him. He patiently waited for his sister to speak up to him about all that she has hidden within herself. He tried everything to reassure his sister that she is safe in his hands. He will send his wife to tell what he desires. He will tell his wife why he is doing this so that she could help him untangle his sister out of this terrible web. Where he cannot reach and do anything his voice of consolation and affirmation and comfort will reach. He would work out things such that her sister would not know that he knows everything. He strengthens her to fight and come out of this test victorious. He never gives up and never tires. With all set back he faced in encouraging her sister to STAND BACK ON HER FEET. He found out about the things that charm his sister so that he never misses any chance to keep his sister strong to fight the battle. A BIG THANKS TO SUCH A BROTHER WHO NEVER FAILED TO SHOW HIS SISTER THE GOOD PART OF A MAN DESPITE WHATEVER HAS HAPPENED.
The world is full of wild animals, but people like LALIT keep humanity living. Maithili would have been lost to dust, just like any other girls who are rape victims or acid attack victims without being noticed. But the strength of her brother has given her strength to pull back all her shattered fragments and reunite and stand and present to the society THE PICTURE OF EVIL AND GOOD. Lalit was just like the other neighbour unrelated and unknown to Maithili, but one neighbour chose to crush her under his feet and the other chose to RECAST HER TO LIFE.
The world cannot provide security to all the girls from such wild animals and insane men but if every girl finds a brother like LALIT she will never fall and she will never go weak ever again. So on behalf of Maithili, I call on to every brother called as LALIT to help his sister Maithili stand back to her feet and fight till the time EVERY MAN SEES HIMSELF AS LALIT A TRUE CARING BROTHER OF A SISTER. Maithili’s life was saved only because her brother never gave up making his sister see the best part of a man beyond the wildness. Our society will only change and make every girl feel at home and in safe hands till the time BROTHERS LIKE LALIT ARE ALIVE. So this women’s day I urge every man to look for LALIT in themselves only that can we build up THE BEAUTIFUL WORLD OF MAITHILI AND LALIT AS THEY DREAMT AND LIVED.