A New Lease on Life

by Dr. Pran Rangan

Radha is walking dejectedly towards Ambala railway station, feeling as if her legs can't support the weight of her body. To an onlooker, it will appear that she may fall down any moment as she seems to be forcibly dragging her body along. She doesn't know where she is heading to as she has lost interest to live.

While walking, she has been silently speaking to herself:

"Life is not worth living"

"I am worthless."

"Nothing good ever happens to me."

"People would be better off without me."

While having such depressive thoughts, Radha starts unknowingly walking on a railway track.

Radha is disappointed with life as she has been facing a hell because of ill- treatment at the hands of her husband - Ashok. She has been married for two years, during which she has been subjected to beatings and cruelty so many times that she has lost their count. She has resigned to her fate as she doesn't have any help from any quarter.

She was the only child of her parents, who were financially well to do. Her father had died eight years ago in a road accident. It appeared as if her mother and she had been thrown into an abyss of gloom. It took a pretty long time for both to come out of their gloominess. In spite of the calamity, she continued her studies and finally completed post graduation in economics with good grades.

In her final year of her post-graduation, she fell in love with Ashok, who lived near her home. Soon after her studies, they both got married. Her marriage lessened the misery of her mother, who at times still used to become quite distraught, probably due to loneliness.

One fine morning, when the door of her home didn't open till 11A M, the next door neighbor got worried. He knocked for a couple of times and when it wasn't opened, he broke open the door with the help of some other neighbors. They found her lying dead in her bed due to a massive heart attack, which seemed to be the apparent cause as suggested by the doctor.

This threw Radha into a tailspin of emotional pain that at times appeared to be unbearable. Coupled with emotional and physical abuse by her husband, the death of her mother proved to be too much for her, killing her very spirit.

Before marriage, Ashok appeared to be quite affectionate and trustworthy, and made every effort to please her. After marriage, he began showing his true colors. He used to drink and gamble compulsively. When Radha began to stop him, he resorted to beatings and calling names. At times his beatings used to leave her bruised and bleeding afterwards.

After the death of her mother, Ashok forced her to transfer the property and money, which she inherited, to his name with the help of a lawyer friend under threat to life. Her mother-in-law always supported her son whatever he did. From now onwards, she began living in the wilderness of helplessness as she couldn't find help from any other quarter.

Today, Ashok began drinking with his friends in the morning. He made her to be at his beck and call so as to provide them whatever they required. Ashok and his friends drank too much and began uttering dirty remarks about her. This infuriated her and she asked them to keep shut. After this, the hell broke loose on her as Ashok began thrashing her in front of his friends. This proved to be unbearable and she left home, not knowing where she is heading to.

An encounter with an Angel:

Kamala, who is traveling from New Delhi to Ambala, gets down as the train stops because the platform is not clear for the train to park in. She does so to walk home because it is quite near. Soon she notices a young lady walking down a track on which a train is bolting down from the opposite direction at a high speed. Kamala dashes towards the lady with every ounce of her strength. She is able to pull the lady away just in time to prevent her from being run over.

Radha struggles to free herself from the firm grip, crying aloud, "I just don't want to live. Let me die; let me die; let me die."

After the train passes by, she stops crying. Kamala then takes her to a safer place and asks to tell all that has led her to attempt this extreme step. Sobbingly, she relates all about her miserable life. Kamala is deeply moved by her plight. Before taking her home, she doesn't forget to lodge a complaint about the incident at the nearby police station.

On reaching home, Kamala makes her comfortable, offering some coffee and biscuits. After some time, she tells Radha that she lives alone since after her own daughter committed suicide. She further tells that she runs a boutique of apparels for ladies, which keeps her loneliness at bay and provides with livelihood.

She offers Radha to live here with her as daughter. She promises that she will not ever let her down.

Radha happily agrees to her offer as she wants to get away from the cruelties of Ashok. She also extracts a promise from Kamala that she would have to help her in getting a divorce from her husband. Kamala readily agrees because they both deserve a new lease on life.

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