I never thought politics can be this much life-threatening until what happened in those 2 days, when a small feud within our party members led to a huge gang war followed by police intervention and then a 48 hours curfew within the town. Needless to say, I was among one of them but when it became violent, being inexperienced and less informed worker, I got scared. Especially, when the first round of firing started and a bullet hit one of my companions, I started running recklessly.

The whole story started 6 months back when I joined politics after completing my graduation. Politics was not my cup of tea but I wanted to teach my mom a lesson who hated the profession. My mom, my only parent, a journalist by profession, never disclosed me any whereabouts of my father, and that, was my biggest discontent.

I still remember my 14th birthday, when I asked her the same old question in front of all the guests just to embarrass her. But to my utter surprise, she kept herself cool and tackled the situation very well supported by my grandparents. The thing that made me more irritated was that she never scolded me for asking the same question repeatedly, rather every time she handled the situation very patiently.

A month back, I accompanied one of my mates to that area out of the main city for a political rally. The conflict was all about power and when the police resorted to firing leading to scrambling, I ran to a narrow lane. I didn’t know where it led to, but I was running as fast as I could. I could hear steps following me. The place was not known to me and I was panting heavily when someone held my right arm and pulled me inside.

She was a moderately built lady in light blue salwar kameez who gave me water and signaled me to sit on the wicker chair. That was probably their living room. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable, sensing which she said, “don’t worry beta you are safe here, I am like your mother only. These political clashes often happen here, but you seem to come from a good family, why did you indulge yourself in these?”

Being too tensed, I couldn’t answer anything; I just nodded my head in agreement. By that time, a girl came announcing that a 48 hours curfew has been announced in that area. I knew it would be difficult for me then to move out. I started to say something, when the lady again said, “I will not let you go until normalcy returns.”

She again said, “but you wont be able to contact your home, all the lines are tapped.” Unmindfully, I said, “it’s ok”, as I never felt the need to, I thought.

After that she took me inside the house and I was given a warm welcome by all except the head of the house who gave me a hard look, “this dirty politics is not for you? After all, home is the only safe haven for a woman.” Before I could intervene, he continued, “I don’t like women going out for any work.”

I got agitated with his words and his attitude but could not react. There was something about the person that I felt I have known the man for many years. The man, his facial features, the colour of his eyes, I felt I have seen a younger version of him somewhere, “but where” I asked myself.

Apprehending my uneasiness, the motherly figure led me to the dining room. I enjoyed the company of the two sisters though my mind was disturbed. I was feeling restless; the same question came to me again and again.

The lady asked one of her daughters to show me the washroom, and there I got my answer. All my restlessness came to an end when I slowly removed the towel from my face and the same eyes looked at me from the mirror. The whole night I could not close my eyes. I felt the need to call my home and talk to my mom but it was not possible.

I spent two days in that household. The man I perceived was a male chauvinist, who was so much prejudiced against women that he didn’t allow his daughters to complete their university education. The more closely I discerned the man, the more respect I felt for the lady I had been impudent to. But I never felt the need to disclose my identity to the man. It was purposeless, I apprehended.

I understood why she kept calm all these years. Neither she disclosed his identity, nor did she say any abusive word against him. I realized her greatness.

At last the curfew was over, which I was eagerly waiting for. Though the lady offered me their car but I declined. I reached home after a 3 hours long toil. Granny opened the door with teary eyes, I could feel the gloomy environment of my home, grandpa came running to me, but my eyes were searching for that lady, the lady whom I have troubled the most. At last, I caught the sight of her. I ran and hugged her tightly. Perhaps for the first time, I realized her love and warmth. Her eyes were swollen from crying, but she did not ask my anything.

It’s almost a month, I will never tell her anything what happened in those two days but yes I have learnt the lesson of my life. I have withdrawn myself from politics. I have taken admission in masters in journalism, the profession I want to be a part of.

Now, when I look myself in the mirror, I see the reflection of my mother, the renowned journalist of the city.

Written by Kaberi Mukherjee

Kaberi Mukherjee, earlier worked as an editor in the Medical Transcription industry, is a freelance content writer and homemaker, wants to become a published writer. She loves Indian classical music and dance.