Jejema : Oh Chumki, blood all over you!
Chumki: I killed that lecher Bhura.It was early in the morning. Inside the jungle it was dark. The sun had not come out on the firmament. I was cutting the tender branches for our goats. I heard footsteps on the dried grass. I turned around and saw Bhura was standing there. He caught me by my waist and I lodged the machete in his skull. He fell to the ground like a rock. The blood is of that rogue splattered on me.
Jejema : Now you go to the river. Have a bath and come soon. I have made your favorite ragi porridge. The tamarind and chilli are also there. You love them na.
Chumki : The porridge is very tasty jejema.I am thinking, when I kill a chicken or hare to make curry, the blood oozing out makes me get goosebumps. But this time it didn’t happen in the case of Bhura. Why is it so?
Jejema : The action was instantaneous.You did it to save your honor. We adivasis live in the jungle and it is a rule, kill or be killed. The stronger always survives.
Chumki : Now you go and take a rest. Since the morning you are busy fixing the thatched roof of our hut. You must be feeling a bit wabbit after that.
Jejema : I have a red saree for you. Today you wear it. You have done a brave act. You have saved your honor.It is in quid pro quo for that. Ten years ago I lost your parents. They had gone to kill something and bring it for the supper. But they never returned. The tiger of Niyamgiri killed them.But today you have come victorious.
Chumki : I killed that scoundrel and I am very happy. He had been harassing my friends Jhumri,Phoola and Tikri. We maidens have our own choice to choose our partners. Why should we be forced by anybody?
Jejema : You are right my child. Twenty years ago, before your birth, I too went through this humiliation. Your jejebaba died from a fall. He had gone to collect honey. From a tall tree, he fell. His drunkard friend Bheema was interested to get me as his wife. One day I went to the jungle to bring grass for our buffalos. I was alone. I finished cutting the grass. I tugged the sickle in the folds of my saree. With the grass-filled basket on my head, I was heading to our place. Bheema stopped me on the way. He threw the basket and caught my left hand. At once I took out the sickle and cut his throat. That day I was also drenched with his blood.
Chumki : Well done jejema.I feel proud to be your granddaughter.
we both are brave, you and me.
Jejema : Today you are looking very beautiful in this red saree.Just like a palash flower. After the death of your parents, you are my everything, my hope, my future. You are the aura of friendliness in this tattered cottage.
picture credit -in.pintirest.com
jejema -father’s mother
jejebaba – father’s father
palash flower-flame of the forest.
A tale of honour and exemplary courage
Thanks Narayani for reading and liking.
A poignant read.
Thank you Chandra Sundeep.
Good one. Loved it.
Thank you yatindra.
Thank you Sarita.
A very heart-wrenching tale, Ma’am. I liked your articulation on near to daily sufferings and exploitations of the indigenous people and their own style of eradicating the menace.