Friday, July 29, 2016

The “Liberation” of the “Liberated Woman”

WOMEN’S “LIBERATION”

Story of a “LIBERATED” WOMAN
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE 

The “Liberation” of the “Liberated Woman”

Prologue

This story happened many many years ago – and – I don’t know why – but I have decided to tell you this story about the “Liberated Woman” today – after so many years


The “Liberated Woman – Short Fiction Story by Vikram Karve 

It was her virtuoso performance on the topic “Women’s Liberation” at the “Women’s Empowerment” debate in our college that earned her the soubriquet “Liberated Woman”.

The nickname “Liberated Woman” stuck – and even today – I remember her impassioned speech in which she articulated her strong views on “Gender Equality” “Women’s Liberation” and “Women’s Empowerment” in a most lucid and compelling manner.

From the forceful and fervent manner in which she spoke – it was clear that she was speaking from the heart – and – she fully believed in what she was saying.

All of us in the audience were impressed – and – among the audience was a young man – the “scion” of a famous industrial family – the son of a business magnate who was the Chief Guest for the debate – which was an important event in our college day celebrations.

The young industrialist was struck by the “Thunderbolt” – Cupid’s Arrow – and  he instantaneously fell in love with “liberated woman” – for him – it was truly “love at first sight”.

That night – at the dinner table – while having dinner with his parents  the young man expressed his desire to marry “liberated woman”.

His parents were delighted – because – their son was now 30 years old – and – till now – the young man had refused to consider any marriage proposals.

After “due diligence” – the business magnate learned that “liberated woman” belonged to a good family – though not very affluent.

The business magnate approached the parents of “liberated woman” with the marriage proposal – asking for their daughter’s hand for their son.

The parents of “liberated woman” were delighted – especially her mother – who was overjoyed that her daughter had netted a “prize catch”.

For the mother of “liberated woman” – her daughter’s marriage to the young industrialist was a “social triumph”.

It did not matter that the boy was 30 – more than 10 years older than their 20 year old daughter.

What mattered was that her daughter would transcend from the “middle class” into the elite class – and she would now “belong” to the highest strata of society.

So – the mother instantly said “yes” to the marriage proposal.

Of course – “liberated woman” – who was still studying in college – in the final year of her BA degree course – was bewildered by the sudden turn of events – but – her mother prevailed upon her – using every trick in the book – including all sorts of “emotional blackmail”.

So – “liberated woman” got engaged to the scion of the business family – and – the moment she completed her graduation – she got married to the young industrialist.


ONE YEAR LATER

I heard that “liberated woman” was in hospital – so I went to meet her.

It was nothing very serious – “liberated woman” had gone through a difficult pregnancy and had developed some complications during childbirth – but she was okay now – and her baby – a girl – was okay too.

In my presence – the gynecologist visited the “liberated woman” and told her: “I will advise you not to have any more children – so you better take some precautions.”


ONE MORE YEAR LATER

I heard that “liberated woman” was in hospital again.

“Liberated Woman” had once again gone through a terrible pregnancy – developed complications during her delivery – but now – she had recovered and she was okay.

This time too – she had delivered a girl – and the baby girl was healthy too.

“I told you not to get pregnant – but you did not listen to me. At least now – please make sure that you do not get pregnant again – it can be dangerous for you,” the gynecologist scolded the “liberated woman”.

“Yes – now that you have two children – there is no need to take any more chances,” I said to the “liberated woman”.

“I think you should get sterilization done – it is a simple operation – I suggest you get it done right now – so that you will not get pregnant again…” the gynecologist said.

“I will ask my husband…” said my friend the “liberated woman”.

“Okay – but I strongly suggest that you get yourself sterilized – or your husband can get himself sterilized – so that you can prevent pregnancy which can be dangerous for you…” the gynecologist said.

After the gynecologist left – I looked at my friend “liberated woman” and I said to her: “The doctor had told you not to get pregnant after your first delivery. Why did you not listen to her? You already had a baby girl? What was the need to get pregnant again? And – why did you get pregnant so fast – within a year?”

“My husband wanted a boy,” she said.

“What? I can’t believe it. You put your life at risk just because your husband wanted a boy? And – in college – you used to…”

“I know – I used to talk big feminist things about “women’s empowerment” and “gender equality” and the “girl child” – yes – those days I did say all that – so – you can call me a ‘hypocrite’ – you can say that I am a ‘fraud’ – but please try to understand – it is easy to talk idealistic things – but it is not easy to practice them in real life…?”

“What do you mean…?”

“I am married into a conservative patriarchal business family – and they want an “heir” – a male – and what is worse – my husband’s cousin brother has a son – so my husband is desperate – it’s very complicated – you won’t understand – let’s talk something else…” the “liberated woman” pleaded with to me.


THREE MORE YEARS LATER

We had a college Alumni Meet.

There – I met a classmate – and she said to me: “Did you hear the sad news about “Liberated Woman”…?”

“No. What happened…?” I said.

“Don’t you know…?”

“No…”

“She passed away…”

“What…? “Liberated Woman” is dead? How did she die…?”

“She died in childbirth…”

“Oh – that is tragic – very tragic – she had been warned by the gynecologist that she should not get pregnant…”

“I know – but she allowed her husband to get her pregnant – yes – despite the medical advice to avoid pregnancy – she still got pregnant. During her pregnancy she had a very difficult time – so her husband flew her abroad and admitted her to a posh maternity home in her 7th month itself – she got the best prenatal care – and they got the best doctors for her delivery. But even the best doctors could not save her. I heard there were severe complications during the delivery and she died in the Operation Theatre – poor thing. She died. But – they saved the baby…”

“Really…? They saved the baby...? What was the baby – a girl…?”

“No – a boy – after two girls  she delivered a boy…”

“Oh – so finally  she delivered a boy…”

“Yes…”

“The “Liberated Woman” has been “liberated”…” I said to myself.

“Did you say something…?” my classmate asked me.

“No…” I said, “I was just thinking about “Women’s Liberation”…”

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction.  Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

This is a revised repost of my story THE “LIBERATED” WOMAN posted by me Vikram Karve earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on March 16. 2016 at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/the-liberated-woman.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/04/story-of-liberated-woman.html  and  http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/05/womens-liberation.html
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