A Married Widow
The gallery was brightly lit. A lady draped in a black and red saree stood in the middle of it, surrounded by people with cameras and microphones. Behind them was a wall covered with beautiful paintings, each one of them lit individually. A signature in the corner of every painting read ‘Megha Chauhan.’
Megha, who now was answering a dozen reporters and media people with ease and an aura of calmness, stopped speaking when one of them asked, “Ma’am, we know how hard your journey has been and how difficult it is for a widow to manage her life. What do you want to say about this?”
With a smile as gorgeous as her many paintings, she closed her eyes as though searching for an answer.
After what seemed like a minute she finally spoke, “In a country where once the Sati system existed, in which the widow had to sacrifice herself after the death of her husband, it indeed is difficult. But you know, times are changing and so are people. I belonged to a middle class family and as per tradition, I was married to a complete stranger. After a year of our marriage, my husband, Aditya was diagnosed with blood cancer. We tried everything, but death finished the race for us.
“During one of his last days, Aditya called me and asked me to sit beside him. “Never remain a widow,” were his exact words and while he said this, he pointed towards the painting that hung on the wall in front of us. He was well aware of my calibre as a painter and how much I wanted to become one, provided I was given a chance.
“One night after his death, I was crying when I recollected his words. I immediately picked up my paint brush, dipped it in bright red colour and walked towards the mirror. Raising my right hand which had the paint brush, towards the reflection of my head, I applied the red colour in the place which once used to be adorned by vermilion. Having done that, I said, “I will never be a widow. Here and now, I marry my dream.”
“And so here I am, a painter. I have never looked back. I kept up my husband’s wish. You call me a widow; I differ because for me, I am a married widow.”
– Viwanshu Vaibhaw | Edited by Farrokh sir