Wednesday, June 27, 2007

That was Indu

A few days back during general chat, somebody said it is very easy to maintain a blog. Read a few blogs, take a few links from online news and your post is ready.
Sorry to say, I am absolute contrast to him. I do none of the things mentioned by him. Neither do I have time for browsing nor do I have to ‘hunt’ for topics for my posts. And give me a break !! I am not a news broadcaster here.

I have millions of my sane/insane thoughts on which I can write. And that was the sole purpose of having my own blog !! To give vent to my emotions, thoughts and views. Agreed, sometimes our views emerge from some news but not always. There are so many incidents keep happening around me that I don’t need to look anywhere else.

Today’s post is again one of them.

She lived in my neighbourhood. She was also my classmate. A short stature, thin girl, second among four sisters from a typical middle class family, she was like any other girl of our age except for one difference – she had a polio stricken leg. She walked with a prominent limp.. pulling up her dead leg with her hand. I still remember how she used to put her right hand under the knee, lift the leg up like a dead log and put forward.

We were sharp contrast to each other except for studies where we always tried to outdo each other. We two had different backgrounds, our upbringing was different... Me a serious quiet one and she a bubbly laughing girl, I was into athletics/sports and she could not even walk properly, we had a car to go places while they didn’t even have a two-wheeler but friendship doesn’t see any differences and so ours also blossomed within no time and we became very good friends.

After about 4 months they shifted to Pandara Road as her father had got a bigger flat there. Then after a few more months when new session started, she changed her school to a local one there, as it was difficult for her to commute.

But we kept in touch. We felt a true connection in our lasting friendship. Since it was extremely difficult for her to board DTC buses, it was for me to go to her place. I was in south Delhi, my school was nearby, at times it was difficult to take time out to go to her place but I did. Week after week, months after months it was me who used to take DTC bus for going to her place. It had become a ritual to spend a whole day at her place studying, discussing & laughing together.

Not even once did I ever think that I was doing something extraordinary for her and that now it should have been her turn to visit me. I never weighed friendship in those terms and till date I have not changed. I don’t think friendship can be measured in terms of equality. It can happen between any two persons of any age and any background. Our wavelengths should match - no other parameters are required.

Accept people as they are. Never expect anything, always give.. for, it is their wonderful friendship you are getting in return.

It was a grave misfortune for her that in spite of being given the polio vaccinations, the disease had struck her. Sometimes fate has a much bigger role in your life than you expect it to play.

She was extremely simple girl, always smiling and had resigned to her fate of one leg. She never thought it as a problem or a hindrance to her life. Maybe she was used to it. In difficult times she had taught me how to smile. She was the rock, my pillar of strength whenever I needed her.

Towards the final years of school, the frequency of visits had reduced. That was the time when we didn’t have cell phones. After schooling we moved further apart. She took up Arts in college and went for plain graduation as her parents didn’t want to spend money on her.. it was to be saved for her dowry. It made more sense to them having four daughters and because of her one leg status she was the most difficult one. She never complained and had become very quiet. In fact she used to make fun of her future and used to call herself ‘one-legged girl’. Probably she was trying to laugh away the oddness in her life.

During those years, my visits to her had become almost nil. We were both busy in our own lives. In the meanwhile her elder sister got married and now it was her turn. The parents had started groom hunting. In the final year of her graduation, fortunately for her parents, one guy was ready to marry her for a hefty dowry. He had a small cloth shop in Ghaziabad.

When I came to know about her marriage, I cried. I knew she, like any other normal girl, had dreams.. dreams to get married to a decently educated well-settled boy and this one was just school passed !! I knew her choice, her taste and I knew she was succumbing to her parents’ pressure and no one could do anything.

Nevertheless, she took her marriage vows in December even before she could write her final year exams next April. She was assured that she would be ‘allowed’ to write them but apparently it didn’t happen. I had taken two day’s leave from college to attend her wedding.

On her wedding day I saw the groom. I was shaken beyond words !! He was no match for her by any means. He was a widower and at least 12 years older to her. She was smiling but her deep tearful eyes were telling a different story. She knew I could read them without a single spoken word.

It was a pain for her to be draped in a Saree when she had to lift her leg to walk and how she had managed to go up the stage, only I can visualize now. She was literally lifted by her cousin brothers to the stage. As it always happens in any wedding, she was the centre of attraction… not for being the beautifully adorned bride but for being the POOR unfortunate bride.

After the wedding they shifted to Indore, her husband wanted to set up a big showroom with that dowry money. Then after good four months I received her first letter. Yes, it was a letter not an e-mail. She wrote how happy she was adjusting to a big joint family, wearing saree all the time and was in the family way. I could again feel the pain hidden in that letter. The frequency of letters reduced further and by the end of first year of her marriage it had stopped completely.
I completed my studies, started working/traveling, shifted my base to Mumbai and was completely out of touch from my earlier world.

Now, recently, I came to know that she has passed away two years back leaving a motherless child.

That was my friend... my one-legged friend. That was Indu.

Current song- In The End - Linkin Park

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rads said...

That was a tragic story, and I could sense your pain for a friend.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Oh, sweet lady, how horrible and tragic, for her and for you. I am so sorry for your loss of someone whom you obviously loved as dearly a sister. Time separates many from each other, but the bonds forever remain intact. Do you know why she met such an untimely end? I am sending you a big, warm embrace. Know you were her friend, and be comforted that she knew that too. x

Peter said...

I so much liked and the same time hated to read this story. It's so well told and thought, it's so difficult and terrible in its contents!

I really like your blog! Not only a photo, but there is always something more to it!

(May I ask you, did you draw the young girl?)

So, you never learnt to know her child? Do you know anything about her / him?

Anonymous said...

awww we dont care abt age, education and class of the marriage partner that much.
no arrange marriage, no dowry :)
i felt soo much cultural difference.

Cuckoo said...

Welcome to my blog.

And thanks for feeling the pain behind it.

Thanks for dropping by. Looking forward to more of your visits.

Cuckoo said...

Thanks a million tons for your lovely healing words. The news was indeed a shock for me.

Do you know why she met such an untimely end?.. No, I don't have a clue.. completely out of touch. She had moved to a smaller town. Perhaps complications of pregnancy or at the time of delivery... I am still not able to visualize her walking/doing daily household chores in her advanced stage of pregnancy.

Cuckoo said...

Thanks a lot for your so encouraging words. They keep me going, blurting out my ramblings. Thanks very much !

Sometimes, I really wonder how you stumbled upon my blog in the first place ? Could you care to tell me that ? Just a curiosity. I want to know how people come here.

did you draw the young girl?.. No, the girl wasn't drawn by me. My 16 yr old cousin brother did it for me sometime back.

So, you never learnt to know her child?.. No, what I know, I have written here. In all probability by now the child must have got a step mother.

Je vous remercie de vos mots aimables. C'est correct, monsieur ?

Cuckoo said...

Oh yes, it is quite different culturally. Not much in metros, but generally we Indians are still into arranged marriages... not a bad idea if we get to know the partner before.

Thanks for coming. :)

Pyare Mohan said...

Friends are people so special that even if you meet them after 50 years, it will be like you had just met them yesterday!!

Sad story. Nice writing.

Tc, :-)

M O H A N said...

Vagaries of fate is so sad at times... You are a good friend to remember.

Regarding blogging i 100% agree with you.

backpakker said...

extremely sad...and when it happens to our near and dear really hurts

and thanks for visiting my blog ...

Aditi said...

i had a feeling this was going to be a tragic end.. i have often wondered and asked the same question.. if a guy is marrying for dowry? then the greedy jerk isnt going to keep his wife happy... its an institution i despise having lost a cousin to a "kitchen accident" a la movie style

Bendtherulz said...

Its easy to maintain blog....??? Don't be sorry - when you get burdned - seek

Your post on Indu - sort of brings all the issues which somtime plague our society, may be parents could have spent the money intended for dowry on education and made their daughter much more empowered.Seriously marriage is not the ultimate solution....!!

Though I am glad that your friend had you to talk in her growing up phase...very little - still something.
tk care ~

Peter said...

Thanks for your complete answer to my questions, cuckoo.

Now, my answers:
I cannot remember how it all begun, but when I started my blog in March this year, I also started to visit others, randomwise, and I must have found your signature on one of the few I visited in the beginning. ... and since then it has always been a pleasure to come back!

Your French is perfect!

Thanks also for your comments (and question) on myblog today. Answer is given there!

desh said...

its sometimes so difficult, u dont meet ur frnd for yrs, then somethng happens whch brings u two back and then again somethng...
it is difficult bcoz for few days u cant put tht thought outta ur mind
mayb th good memories still keep ur frndship alive

Vijay said...

Very moving post...

Not even once did I ever think that I was doing something extraordinary for her

Isnt it interesting that we never think about these things when we are growing up..

Kalyan said...

"Accept people as they are. Never expect anything, always give.. for, it is their wonderful friendship you are getting in return"...I differ on the 'always give' part. If you aren't getting anything and only giving, after sometime you might rethink of that friendship.

Now when you say at last "That was my friend... my one-legged friend"...I will endorse you views which you have made in the whole post.

SiD said...

well... what to say.. you have said everything.. somethings without actually writing...Trust me, I completely understand the feelings behind the friendship you have ellaborated here..but sadly, I can never understand what you must be feeling after hearing the tragic news....

and you should have given the link to your blog to the person who mentioned about blogs being a copy paste thing!!

AJEYA RAO said...

Cuckoo, Its a very touching life you have narrated here. Any idea how she lost her life? Lovely, touching post. I had one similar post on mine of a dear friend i lost. I can relate to your sadness in the writing here.

ashes said...

Hats off to you Cuckoo! The way you write, the way you narrate, the way you express, the whole of it is simply superb! Your posts always leave my eyes moist, this one being no exception.

I was trying to imagine myself being in your shoes getting that tragic news. Boy, that would have been devastating!

But yes, this brings up many of the social issues still prevalent. I believed they were on the decrease but very recently I've been hearing many such cases.

Anyways, nice that Indu had such a good friend as you, and you doing so much for her without realizing.

adi said...

the long comment i wrote was crashed in a comp error... anyways, i don't feel this is the end. the end will come when she finally ceases to exist even in the memories of those close to her. in-laws and family. have a feeling that they will be glad to forget her.
but not you. not me. your one-legged friend will stay with us forever.
in peace, indu - wherever you are.

Cuckoo said...

Yes, I agree. We had so much between us that we never felt distant from each other.

Thank you. :)

Thank you. I think she was equally good to remember.

And blogging.. yup !

Cuckoo said...

Yup, you are right.

Keep coming.

Oh I think he was doing a favour to that family by marrying that ‘one-legged hopeless’ girl. I somewhat hated him when I saw him first.

I am sorry to hear about your cousin.

Cuckoo said...

Eh outsourcing ?? Ok, be ready.. next time I am outsourcing to you !

Yes, it brings up many many issues of our society, our world. Starting from why & how she got the disease, to her education, dowry system, mentality & attitude of everyone involved towards a female. Yes, I agree with you… marriage is not the ultimate solution.

I am glad that your friend had you to talk in her growing up phase... Well, I think I was equally fortunate to have her.

Cuckoo said...

Ohh once again I thank you very much. Merci Beaucoup.

And thanks. I saw the reply & commented again. ;)

Yes, it happens. Yeah, the memories are going to linger on for the whole of my life.

Thanks again for your visit. Keep coming.

Cuckoo said...

Welcome again. Thanks for the appreciation. It came right from my heart.

Isnt it interesting that we never think about these things when we are growing up.. Yes, and I always wonder why we grew up !

Thanks for your comment on my post. Keep them coming.

Cuckoo said...

Well, it is your view. I wrote this post for my friend and for her friendship.
I stress on the second part of that statement. i.e. “for, it is their wonderful friendship you are getting in return”. I think I could have done anything (within my parameters) to be her friend.

Thanks for your lovely interpretation. Keep them coming. :)

Cuckoo said...

Thanks very much. I think you are one of those readers on my blog who understand my posts well. :)

you should have given the link to your blog to the person who mentioned about blogs being a copy paste thing.. No, I couldn’t give him. What if he does copy/pasting from blog to his ? :P

Cuckoo said...

Welcome here. :) Thanks for feeing the emotions.

Yes, I read your post on Munish when you posted it & remembered it very well and that is the reason why I gave you this link.

Any idea how she lost her life?.. No, I don’t have any clue about that.

Thanks for your visit. Keep coming.

Cuckoo said...

I formally welcome you here on my blog. :)

Oh thank you for your so nice encouraging words. I write from my heart, feeling what I am writing and often cry while doing it. Ha Ha.. me so senti silly lass. :P

Yes, the shock was beyond my words.

nice that Indu had such a good friend as you,.. I think I was equally lucky to have her as my friend.

Thanks again for your visit. Looking forward to more of them.

Cuckoo said...

So sorry to hear about your comp.

Yes, Indu is going to stay with us forever. At least with me. Thank you for the lovely healing words.

in peace, indu - wherever you are.. Amen.

Maverick said...

i see u were out of blogging too, he he he im feeling less guilty now.

indu's story could be any normal one-legged persons story.may they get more strength than pity.

btw u hav a cook recent readers plug in, jus thinking of stealing it :wink:

Cuckoo said...

Welcome after your 'homely' hiatus ! Hope you are not going anywhere now.

Hmmm.. Indu. Thanks.

Ha Ha... Taking clue from the first paragraph of this post ? ;)

rk said...

brought tears in my eyes.
i feel for the kid.
RIP indu.

SiD said...

the main reason which keeps a person coming to the blog again is that he can co-relate with it and understand it... guess it is the same case here...

jarvarm said...

so sorry for her..

david mcmahon said...

Hi Cuckoo,

What a memorable post. A story we can all identify with. Thank you for sharing that with us.



Sam said...

Cuckoo... somehow this narratin had sent a shiver down my spine.. i dunno why!! is this the incident u had promised u wud be telling me?? i am literally speechless.... your frnd indu had immense courage!! again somehow i am incensed at her parents... can't figure out why!! damn!! am signing out.....

Prashanth M said...

Ah! what a tragic story!
RIP Indu...

Sigma said...

This is really a tragic story .... such experiences bring about a lot of thoughts, and pain.
I wonder what if her parents had not forced her to marry to someone who was quite evidently not a suitable match for her - perhaps she would have educated herself well enough to improve the quality of life for herself, and possibly her family as well. When would the narrow thought process of our society change?
I was on my training in B'lore, where I made friends with a girl, who was also afflicted by polio ... she was pursuing MSc, and was preparing to enroll for her PhD, in one of the best institutes in the country .... she was also very outgoing, and spirited. Once a very senior official asked her if she was bothered much about her "handicap" .... she gave a reply which I am not likely to forget - she asked the official if he viewed having to wear is spectacles as a handicap? perhaps not. In a similar way, she considered it a little bothersome, but no deterrant to anything she wanted to do with her life .... unfortunately, I lost contact with her after few years ...

Sugarlips said...

Cuckoo, I've tears in my eyes rightnow, very evocative post.
I wanna give you a big hug and tell you that she is in a better place now. May God rest her in peace and give strength to her family so they can go through this hard time.

Stay Beautiful..!!

Cuckoo said...

Thank you for your concern. Yes, RIP.

:)) I agree.

Cuckoo said...

Your first time here ? I welcome you to my blog.

Thanks for your feelings.

Thanks for your visit. Keep coming.

Cuckoo said...

Thank you for appreciating the post. I know you are there as a friend.

Thanks for your visit.

Cuckoo said...

You can imagine what must’ve happened to me when I heard it. Yes, it’s the same incident what I was talking about.

Yeah, she was a courageous woman. Always fighting against odds with a smiling face. It is others who make these people feel pity about themselves.

I can understand your feelings. Thanks very much.

Cuckoo said...


In our society, perhaps we still think that marriage is the ultimate goal for a woman. The parents themselves are under so much pressure from society. If they don’t marry this girl what would happen to her younger sisters, how is it going to affect their future and what is this girl going to do in her old age ? So many confusing questions.

What a brave and apt reply your friend gave ! I applaud her courage. Thanks for sharing her story with us.

Cuckoo said...

Thanks dear for your healing words and for that hug. You can imagine what must’ve happened to me when I heard it. In our society, perhaps we still think that marriage is the ultimate goal for a woman whether she gets education or not.
Thanks again.

Abhijit said...

very touching true story! will remember it fr a long time...

Cuckoo said...


bEAST said...

gosh! i thot i had left a comment in here sumwhr. has it been deleted? did i put up sumthin wrongly?

Cuckoo said...

No, you haven't.
Please make sure that you don't take much time while you type the comment else the word for 'word verification' changes. And if you close the window immediately after clicking the publish button, it doesn't actually go...waits for you to type the new word for verification. :)

Best would be to check before closing this window.

So, can we please have the comment again ? Thank you. :)

bEAST said...

lolz, Il just do the samething again then!

The day u updated the post, i saw it, read the first para and realized that the post is too long. Had my exams goin on, so didnt dare waste anymore time. Now that im done, i came back to read it. Sabar ka phal meetha hota hai! Definitely true! Great post!!

bEAST said...

alrite that seems to have wrked out :)

Shake Al Ansaari said...

I really liked you selfless attitude towards your friend....and i agree with you

"Accept people as they are. Never expect anything, always give.. for, it is their wonderful friendship you are getting in return."

thnx for such a beautiful post

bachodi said...

That was wonderful narration . I dont have words to tell the rest of the things

Cuckoo said...

Yes, it worked !! Bola tha na maine ?

So, how was your exam ? And what was it about, if I may ask so ?

Hmmm.. And for the post - thank you. :)
Thanks for dropping by. Keep dropping... ooops I mean keep coming. :P

Cuckoo said...

Thank you very much for all.


thnx for such a beautiful post.. You are always welcome. Have you read my favourite posts ? Read them.. I am sure you'd like some of them at least.

Thanks for your visit. Keep coming.

Cuckoo said...

Thanks for liking the post. It came right from my heart.

bEAST said...

im doing my masters in biotech. half a post grad now! lolz

Cuckoo said...

Oh I always wonder why such a beastly name !

Hmmm.. Biotech.. good subject.

deepti said...

What do i say, at times, its better not to say anything, the knot inside the throat after reading this post need no words...
Hi, hw r u?

Mumbai Guy said...

Facts of life. Cruel but facts. I have seen these more than once. Keep bringing these topics, maybe it will ring a bell somewhere.

Cuckoo said...

Welcome again. Thanks for your kind words. I can understand.

I am doing fine. Thanks. How's Adi ?

Welcome. After a break ? How have you been ?

These things keep ringing bell in me all the time & that's why they are here on my blog. :)

Thanks for your visit. Keep coming.

Keshi said...

wut a sad ending to this beautiful girl! Im so sorry Cuckoo.

**Now, recently, I came to know that she has passed away two years back leaving a motherless child.

d u know how she died?


tulipspeaks said...

i can feel the emotion in ur writing dear. its tragic.


Maverick said...

u got ur answer, check my blog.

Ajith said...

It makes me wonder again why it is necessary for parents of a girl to insist that somehow their daughter be married off.. With her education,she should have got a job easily I believe.. Is marriage a mandatory thing to happen in a girl's life ?...I dont know..maybe I'm ignorant about female psychology..but these kind of things make me wonder why ppl do all kinds of compromises to get their daughters married off ..

Sam said...

Cuckoo I am writing about this and would link you post there.... I hope you won't mind!!

Aashi Joshi said...

strong words......touches you and makes you feel helpless

dunno what to say cuckoo....but well structured and touches the heart

alpine path said...

I'm really sorry to hear of what happened. Goes to show all the discriminations that this society throws at us! I've no words to console you. And, very true about blogging. Most of us don't use online links and news articles to put up a post. Its much more than that.

Ash said...

Tragic and painful beyond words...

Cuckoo said...

Yes, a sad tragic end. No, I don’t know how she died.


Thank you very much dear. I know you are always there to cheer me up.

Cuckoo said...

Ok, I’ll do that.

Yes, I too wonder why in our society it is necessary for a girl to be married off. So many unsaid questions provoke out of this thought.

No, it is not about female psychology.. it is our society, the people around us who pressurize these girls to succumb to these wantons.

Thanks for your visit Ajith, thanks very much for your support. I appreciate that.

Cuckoo said...

Oh Sam ! Why should I mind it as long as you give credit to this post ? Go ahead friend.

Welcome again. Thank you very much for liking it. It came right from my heart. Not really thought on words.

No, you don’t have to say anything dear.. you came, felt the post.. it is more than enough. Heartfelt thanks.

Thanks for your visit. Keep coming. Looking forward to more of your visits. :)

Cuckoo said...

I wonder why in our society it is necessary for a girl to be married off. Is she such a burden or is our surroundings so much caring in nature ?

Thanks for your visit Alpine, thanks very much for your kind words. Nothing more is needed.

Yup ! It is.

Thanks for coming over.

Hazel Dream said...

we all have selfish percpetion like you .. u assume that happines lies in only ur dreams .. may be she is happy there ?

Cuckoo said...

Hazel Dream,
Hey Hazel, Where have you been ? After a long hiatus ??

may be she is happy there ?. Yeah, I'll assume that.

Thanks for coming. Do it frequently.

claytonia vices said...

While some people are still under the idea that women are a burden and should be 'gotten rid of' in a marriage, it is good to see some people coming out of this mindset. But I know we have a long way to go...

Thanks for sharing this story...

sahil said...

Life can be so damn cruel at times. Its not hard to imagine how terribly hard a life physically handicapped people like Indu live.

How killing is the thought that you suffer from a handicap that has no hope of every going away? The hopelessness is just so depressing and heart sinking. It leaves a lump in your throat.

And then to have parents like that and a husband like that and just be born in a society like ours...

Let me here tell you what I think should have happened. Its maybe a bit radical and disturbing, even cowardly, but I believe that the best end to this story would have been right in the beginning. I wish Indu's parents had killed her when she was born. I wish such a wonderful person like her didn't have to live the life that she did. It's just so sad.

(Btw, cuckoo, you write exceptionally well and very honestly and probably thats why you manage to touch a cord with the readers. This is the first time I have been through a few of your posts and I will keep coming now...Keep writing..Love and Peace)

sahil said...

Btw, I also commented on an old post of yours - on 'feminism' - i am not sure if you check comments on old posts so just thought i would let you know :)

Tshhar Mangal said...

i am speechless at this moment,,,
all i can say is..even this ruthless man..has been moved for once,,,
i really appreciate ur efforts miss
...i think there are many more indu's in our society whos story needs to be told...i congratulate you for enlightning us,,,
we talk about so many issues,,,rape,enivornment,global warming...but tend to ignore such small yet so important issues...
you know wat..i remebr when i was a kid...i used to accompany my parents to the rotary club meetings..whre they were involved in pulse polio campaigns...then i culdnt understand i do...i realise why it is considered such an important task...
keep up the great work...madam
God bless you

Cuckoo said...

First I welcome you on my blog.
Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we have a very long way to go. Glad to see that there are people who think like me. Thanks.

Thanks once again for your visit. Keep coming.

Cuckoo said...

First I welcome you here on my blog. Glad to see your detailed comments on my other posts as well. :) Thanks. (I get notification thru mail of all the comments on my blog.. even for my very first post). People keep visiting my archived posts.

I totally agree with you. It is we (the family, friends & the society) who make these poor people realize their handicap however hard they try to come out of it.

I wish Indu's parents had killed her when she was born… Well, then I would have been deprived of her friendship ! On a serious note, everyday many female infants face the fate wished by you but still I would want to be born as a female again & again & again… Read here.

Btw, cuckoo, you write exceptionally well and very honestly and probably thats why you manage to touch a cord with the readers… Thanks a lot. These things come right from my heart and readers like you encourage me immensely to blurt out my sane/insane thoughts in my own way.

I will keep coming now... Now that you’ve promised, you HAVE to come again & again. :)
Have a nice day !

Cuckoo said...

Welcome here on my blog. Thanks for liking my post and I am glad that I could touch a chord in you.
These things come right from my heart and readers like you encourage me to blurt out my sane/insane thoughts in my own way.

I totally agree with you. It is we (the family, friends & the society) who make these poor people realize their handicap however hard they try to come out of it.

Thanks once again. Hope to see more of you here.
Have a nice day !