Ramble 57: Part 2 of Shakti

Ilaa woke to be staring at the leer of her uncle whose face was just inches away from hers. She had been sleeping while he had been staring at her face and her body and she felt that his eyes had robbed her of any clothes. She jolted with a start and lightly pushed her uncle away.
‘Ilaa, I was just waking you up for work. Let us go.’ Ilaa’s uncle caught hold of her wrist and pushed her staggering weight behind him as she was reluctant to go. The cotton farming was terrible; she was the only one at work and the scorching heat of the afternoon sun killed her appetite and burned her skin. Nobody helped her out; her uncle was busy playing cards all day whereas her father was out in the market engaging in important business. The two had heavily relied on Ilaa’s capabilities and while technically she was the earning member she had no earnings of her own.
The cotton farm was a yard land but the work of manually picking cotton bolls was exhaustive. Ilaa wished to work in the palace as one of the maids to the royal princess as she thought of the work to be more liberal. She could have engaged in badinage with girls of her age, would have giggled when the prince would pass by and gushed at the opulence of the events thrown in the palace. Most of all she wished she could have travelled; away from the lakshman rekhas of propriety. She thought she could have rescued others being stifled in this mess of subjugation. She would have been like Maa Kali, doing away with the evil of the world and remembered as a symbol of potency. As a child, Ilaa was pugnacious and independent but constant admonition killed the intrepidity in her. But Ilaa was a burning flame requiring just a little ghee to consume all who are against her, much like the concept of femininity which when threatened could throw all mankind off balance. Like the androgynous King Ila, Ilaa too felt that she could call for help the inner virility hidden in her if required.
Ilaa hoped that the arrival of the banjaras were the ghee required to alight the flame of rebellion.


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