The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Three years of solitude
- The writer tries to come to terms with her husband’s death

The author recollects her days in Vrindavan soon after she lost her husband

I remember my days at Vrindavan for the sultry summers. In those days, I clearly remember, we used to venture out of our houses only after sunset. It was very, very hot indeed.

Strange but true, there was no fan in the small room where I stayed near the temple. Many a night, I would get up from my cot and sleep on the floor in the hope of getting some comfort from the relatively cooler surface. I would also open the small window facing Rangaji Temple.

To be honest, my husband Madhu’s death had stripped me of all my fears. I had also stopped taking sleeping pills. But keeping the window open had invited another problem.

I had written earlier about the woman who had come to me and asked me to write letters to her lover. The same lady who was a prostitute.

In the dead of night, she would peer in through the open window, flash the beam of a torchlight at me and whisper, “Come with me. Why are you wasting your youth here' Come out with me.”

I would turn to face the other wall and try to sleep. But this continued for many days. One day, I lost my temper and simply shouted at her, “What do you want' Do you want to turn me into a prostitute like you'” She never showed up again.

It was during those days that my mother was spending her days in agony because I had chosen to come to Vrindavan and live like an ascetic. She was of the opinion that I would be better off by going to the US or Britain for further studies.

She had never reconciled to the fact that I had come to here on my own. Moreover, some of my friends and acquaintances who had seen me at Vrindavan — cooking my own food, sleeping on the floor — had taken back stories of my “woes” to my mother. This had only made my mother more sad; but she never came to see me. She drowned her sorrows in her own tears.

It was becoming almost a habit with me to sit by the window and try and gaze up at the sky. After Madhu’s death, I simply could not look at the sky. It was just a little more than three years since I was married to Madhu.

The sky that was visible to me from my dark cabin now looked strange. It was a variegated sky, which was at times smoky, at others covered with red clouds.

Strange to tell, but a thought often struck my mind that the smoky clouds were not exactly so, rather fragments of the temples ruined by invaders. And the dark cloudlets appeared to me to be the broken pieces of the idols. And the red clouds seemed to be the clots of raw blood streaming from the heart of the worshippers engaged in the regular divine service and flowing through the temple doors... The same sky sometimes appeared to me like the skin of a deer shot dead, and the red clouds resembled the streams of blood of the hunted animal. Strange thoughts and ideas filled my mind in those days. Through the window, I saw, now and then, the moon playing hide and seek among the clouds. It was hanging in the sky, like a lump of meat hanging in a butcher’s shop.

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