All that was left in the dilapidated room was a faded photograph Essay

The sun peeped through the azure sky there was a sudden jolt by the sudden movement of Train 425 as it trudged to a halt at Chandeni Nagar. The sounds of beating drums filled the air. Bright marigold garlands and the aroma of decadent Indian dishes filled the hall as we were given a greeting fit for royalty by my family from India.

After the formalities were concluded; I decided to explore the neighbourhood to see if Chandeni Nagar had changed from when I left ten years ago, after my mum passed away. India was completely different to London and I could not imagine myself still living there.

Walking down the winding streets further away from the busy main road; I felt like an explorer mapping out uncharted territory. The sunlight being completely obscured by the tall structures all around me and the sound of the buzzing fluorescent street light humming in my ears. Gasping my breath as the stench of sewerage now filled the air. It was such a vile putrid ordure that hung like a low-level cloud. These were the signs for me to turn and leave but my intuition told me otherwise so marched forward.

There it was the Sinha House – this was the Non-governmental organisation that my mother had started. Tears blurred my vision and ran down my face. Standing in front of me was this nondescript wooden door; I could not believe that my mum’s lifelong work amounted to this undistinguished and featureless door. The brass name plate had become tarnished from years of this place being neglected. When I had pushed, the door opened cob webs and lizards were all that I saw in the pitch-black darkness. The smell of the damp musty air clogged my nose and my eyes teared.

As I walked further into the building, I had flash backs of memories to the time when ladies cladin in white saries and shaved heads roamed within the walls. The Sinha House was a refuge for widows whom were discarded by their families after the death of their husbands. These women were a burden and were considered outcasts since the time of their husbands’ deaths. Some of these women were subjected to Sati which is a funeral custom in some parts of India including Chandeni Nagar when widows immolate themselves on their husband’s pyre. This custom has been banned around the world but women in India still experience this and even more emotional trauma.

My other opened this home to women whom needed a place to reinvent themselves. It was a place for women to grow and accept the cruel fate that had dealt to them. As I ventured even further into the hallway, the light caused shadows of something on the wall to appear and disappear. At the end of the hall way I found a garland that had withered away to almost nothing and the only thing left in the dilapidated room was a faded photograph of my mother with several of women that she had rehabilitated.

How to cite this essay: