Day 4 and we go ahead with the tale of Ilaa.
While Ratna was busy with her prayers, the sound transfixed Ilaa and she moved towards the nearby garden where the new make shift school was underway. The new school in Sauviragram had opened the opportunity of education for the masses which was restricted to the elites till then as sending kids to school in the next village meant lesser working hands in the fields. But with education coming to the portals of Sauviragram, even the lesser privileged could send their sons to school for some time. The school shall run at impermanent places till the construction of the school building. Ilaa stood behind the nearest tree to see the children repeating the lesson after the school teacher. She had only heard about it as in her parent’s village, there was no school, but she did have an unvoiced desire to be a learner of words someday. The teacher was taking lessons on language. He spoke the alphabet and students followed. Wry of the boundings of her life, Ilaa turned her back to the world behind and moved back to her own. That night, as she lay next to Sada, her morning face off with the imposed tyrannies did not allow her to sleep. There was no one she could talk about this.
Although they employed two workers, Adra and Panu on their fields, the members of the family worked equally. Ratna went to the fields with Hara and Sada. Ilaa followed after finishing off the work at home. Panu was an year elder to Ilaa. They both spoke at times beyond the routine exchange of pleasantries. Panu had joined the school and went for the evening shift. Seldom he shared his learnings with Ilaa. There was no girl student in the school, but they did attend the same in the times before, Ilaa had heard. She was perplexed by the nature of the changing times as she thought about the subordination towards girls too often now. Ilaa wondered when the world has been witnessing a change in all spheres of life from ancient times why the position of ladies has been receding. Her profound cerebrations debated with her own societal self. Panu’s occasional exhibits of knowledge introduced Ilaa to the splendor of erudition and gradually turning her noetic.
The cotton bales were ready to be bartered for necessitates. The camp of traders was pitched in the ground near main market as always. This year the yield had been phenomenal. Sada and family were expecting good returns.
The family loaded the bales in carts and moved towards the market. It was very early in the morning, but they wanted to be amongst the first ones to be there. Ilaa was expecting her first child and it was her seventh month running.
Watch out for this space for the concluding part of this story.