Caravan: A Story by Aaradhana Agarwal

Amrita was a folk dancer who toured the entire world. Her caravan was well acclaimed and hugely sponsored by those who wished to promote Indian art. Amrita’s early life journey was not smooth. Born in a conservative tribal family, she was a blessing for her parents but not for her grandparents. She was considered a burden, so she was denied education and healthy food, and at the age of nine, she was forced to marry a man of twenty. Her father was a mere puppet in his parent’s hands, so her mother had to follow the commands of her in-laws. However, she showed courage, and Amrita was secretly sent to her maternal uncle’s house in another city to protect her from child marriage.

Her uncle enrolled her in a school; then, she completed her graduation. She didn’t return to her parental home before completing her education. She wished to prove her grandparents wrong that girl child couldn’t bring everlasting reputation to the family. She was rooted in her culture and thus soared high through folk dance. When she earned fame and made her country proud, she was interviewed. Her grandparents were excited too. They took the front seat while watching the live telecast of her interview on television.

Amrita narrated her journey without giving any credit to her grandparents. They were heartbroken. They understood that because of their rigid thinking, they were not mentioned worthy in the growth journey of their granddaughter. They were ashamed of their harsh treatment. They were in their nineties but hadn’t made their family honored even in their community, but their rejected, cursed granddaughter had done that globally.

They wished for Amrita’s forgiveness. The day arrived when Amrita entered the house as a world celebrity. Media was waiting outside to meet her family. She introduced her parents to them and praised them highly for their bold decision against the dictators – her grandparents. Everyone was eager to see the defeated face of her grandparents. She also was curious to hear them. A reporter asked their view on infanticide and Amrita’s success. Her grandfather blessed her and thanked her for proving them wrong. The reporter turned to Amrita’s grandmother. She praised Amrita and revealed a secret to the world. She said that she rebelled first and protected Amrita from her killers because she could not save her just-born daughters as she was also sleeping like Amrita’s mother after giving birth to the child.

Amrita’s grandmother made a deal with the girl child haters that in exchange for Amrita’s life, she would sacrifice her education and agree to her early marriage. She thanked Amrita’s mother that she, too, rebelled and sent her to another city. She knew the entire plan but never revealed it to her husband and others. Amrita was shocked to hear this. Her anger melted, and she hugged her first savior. In her caravan, her grandmother became a torchbearer.