Her Dry Tears

Posted in કાવ્યો,વાર્તા by saryu on October 29th, 2010

Her Dry Tears

While living in Houston, I was invited to be a Board member for a volunteer domestic violence organization.   That week I was monitoring calls.  In the middle of the afternoon, I got a call from a far-away state. The lady said she had a niece named Reema in India whose five-year-old daughter and husband were living in the Houston area. Two years prior, they had all gone to India for a short visit, and Reema was tricked into staying in India while her in-laws brought her child back to the U.S.  She was left without her passport so she could not re-enter the U.S.

The situation seemed beyond the capacity of our small nonprofit organization. Reema’s aunt kept on calling me, saying that we were her last hope. By that time, Reema had secured her passport and she was ready to come to Houston.  I presented her case to the Board and we accepted her as our client.  As a volunteer this was such a new experience for me.

Reema came to Houston with her aunt, Monabua, and I went to see them. Reema was quiet, somewhat dull.  She was 32-years-old and had education as a pharmacist in India. I became very hopeful with the idea that we could help her to get her license as a pharmacist to work in the U.S. They both did not share my enthusiasm.  I was unsure as to why at the time. Monabua arranged a meeting with Reema’s husband.  They all sat down together for all of ten minutes.  It was very clear that he wanted a divorce and she wanted to see her child.  Monabua hired a lawyer before she went back to her home state.

Reema was left in my care.  I managed to get her a place in the Women’s shelter. I started hearing about her inability to follow simple rules. I would get calls from her from all over town saying she missed her ride. I felt sorry for her for getting into these troubles because of her lack of attention.  I got her all the necessary materials to study for her pharmacy exam, but I never saw her open a single book.  She had some excuse every time.  After two weeks I talked to a manager in a chain store, and out of her kindness she gave Reema a job.  The next step was to find her an apartment, for which our organization would initially pay the rent. Fortunately, I saw an advertisement for a room to rent in the house of a divorced young mother with a baby. Meanwhile,
I tried to talk to Reema’s husband, but he would only politely give me his lawyer’s number.

She did not have transportation, so my duty was to drive her around. Her attitude and lack of efficiency were frustrating. On the first day of work my husband Dilip and I both went to pick her up early in the morning but she had overslept.  But we were glad that now she had a job. I thought that she should have a car. In my neighborhood, I spotted a car for sale, and the owners were kind enough to reduce the price. I proposed to the Board that we loan her the money which she may pay back. There was disagreement about this unprecedented help to the victim. After a lot of discussion, Reema got that money. I got used to the phone ringing early in the morning with questions like, “Where are my car keys?”  I would tell her to look in her heavily-loaded  purse again. One night at ten o’clock she called after work saying, “My car does not start.” After some questions I asked her to check the gear, which had been in Drive.

She was depressed most of the time, so I got her a psychiatrist to help her. Depression is a vicious cycle of cause and effect. I felt compassion for all  parties involved. Her actions made me realize that how important it is to have a functional brain, common sense, and intelligence to get us through difficult situations.

By court order, the day of meeting with her daughter had arrived. She dressed up nicely and took some toys with her. The meeting place, a mall, was one hour away and this was the first time I was to meet her husband. To be safe, Dilip drove us there.

The little girl was not ready to let go of her father’s hand. She was gently forced to sit near her mother while the father sat nearby so she could see him. The child had to spend one hour with her mother. She was in tears and all she talked about was her dad. Reema took her around for a little walk and when they came back, the child was all smiles at seeing her father. Reema later told us that it was the only time she saw her smile. In following visits she remained distant from Reema.

Reema was managing her life with lots of help from us. After about six months, the court decision was to give custody of the child to her father with visiting options for Reema. She got some money, but she had to pay child support. She had lived in Houston as a married woman for two years but no one came forward to say that she was a capable mother. She told me often that no one cared for her except me.

She was then let go from her job. She moved back to the shelter. On moving day I had told her to pack her things so I could help her to load at three o’clock. When I arrived, she was running in circles, doing many things and accomplishing very little. We loaded things as they were and I told her that at the shelter she would have plenty of time to sort things out. I talked to her aunt and we both felt that she had to live with some family members.  She just wasn’t able to function on her own. She did not want to go back to live with her widowed mother in India.

Reema ended up moving to her aunt’s home hundreds of miles away.  She left some important papers in her car, which she had parked at our home. When I opened the car door, I found it was full of junk. So day by day I had to empty the car to prepare it for sale. The car was sold, and to be kind to her I gave her the money. She had been oblivious to the fact that it was the organization that had bought her the car!  After my explanation, she thanked the organization properly.

She had to come for the scheduled meetings to visit her child, but the trips were too expensive for her. I suggested that she go back to India and be someone of whom a daughter could be proud.  After a year or so, I received a phone call. “Saryu! I miss you. I am going to India. I don’t know what will be next! Thank you very much for giving me a chance to see my child again.”

She was a victim of her own attitude and in turn she became victim of her own people. An organization can help but the success of a survivor depends upon her own instinct and intelligence.

Depression-Cause and Effect

In the dark corner with ghosts
I paid a heavy depression cost;
God gave me a sweet angel
and her to you, I simply lost.

Some kind people do care
But relation is a two-way affair,
I feel barren, dull within
Have nothing much to share.

They say my tasks are all undone
But I have been busy, overwhelmed;
I saw good fortune dance away
Leaned on someone else’s sway.

My life is a thick layer of clouds
I fall and fall, no one to hold;
I hope and pray a spark in night,
may ignite the dim internal light.


સૂકાયેલા આંસુ

નિરાશા ; કારણ-પરિણામ

આ નિરાશાના અંધારે ઓરડે,
એકલતા દર્દની દીવાલમાં,
હિબકા ભરૂને હસુ બાવલી,

પ્રભુએ આપેલી  મને એક પરી,
શોધુ હું ક્યમ ગલી અંધારી.
બોલાવું તો ય  દૂર ગઈ સરી.

કોને કોસુ ને કોને  પરહરૂં!
મારી કિસ્મતનું પતંગિયું,
અન્ય કોઈ સંગમાં ઊડી રહ્યું.

પડતી આથડતી  અવકાશમાં,
ખુલ્લી બારી ને મન મુંજાયું,

હું જ  ખુલા દ્વાર જઈ ભીડાવું.

એક જ તણખો  કે આ દિલ જલે,
અચેતન જડને ઢંઢોળે
એક દે નિશાની મમજીવને,
હું અહીં છું, જીવંત છું!

1 Comment

  1. unfairly dismissed said,

    July 28, 2020 @ 11:53 pm

    I truly appreciate this blog post.Really thank you!

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