Have you ever been homebound? Well not because of the pandemic, maybe because of some other reason. Maybe not for the fear of being affected by the disease but when people consider you to be a disgrace to the humankind. Well, if you are here, then I will tell you about it. It has been long since human beings had visited the house. But don’t worry I have my friends- Lucy the cat, the caterpillars in the garden, the ants that crawl along the kitchen wall and also the Raven. That Raven which reminds me of my past, the reason why I was shunned away by the society. As if it warns me to stay in my limits and if I dare to cross them, I might never see the daylight again.
The first time I saw it, it was perched firmly on the dried branch of the spruce tree. Ravens are not very common in the Himalayan hills, but the villagers say, if you see one you are lucky. I don’t know why I had rather unnatural feelings of my hopes rising, as if the Raven was the sign of my freedom. I was so tired of the dusty walls, the rusty iron gates, the spiderwebs. I don’t know why even these seem like chains which were created to tie me up in the shackles of the cold, ruthless and orthodox society. The wind that blew, seemed like a cold iron fist grabbing my throat and chocking me for the sins that the society thinks I have committed. And then there was the Raven ; the Raven’s eyes, it had such a piercing and shrewd look, as if it was sending me warning signals. Telling me not to move an inch out of the societal boundaries or else the society would throw me in its deepest dungeons.
I still have blurry memories from three years back in Seoul. It was mid of April, the cherry blossoms were on full bloom. As the wind blew softly kissing my face, the dainty pink leaves fell. The only artificial sound was the ticking of my watch; as if it whispered in my ears that it was time. It was time that he arrived and I knew that he would bring me fresh cut flowers, because he did it every time. I could see in a distance- a tall figure in royal blue suit, which contrasted with the blush of pink of the cherry blossoms. His smile and the twinkle in his eyes held mine for a moment. A sense of euphoria upsurged in my heart because I knew that he was mine, my Ji- Yong.
The memories are faded, but they ae memories which signified our tale of love. Those twinkling eyes, that smile, those caring hands on my cheeks are forever etched in my heart.
But wait, the society, the family still exists. It exists to oppress every individual’s choices and crush their dreams. My father, right from the very beginning and till now the only thing that he cherished was wealth and nothing else. He dragged me out of there, married me off to an alcoholic Indian who paid a heavy bride price. For years, I have spent my life, throwing away broken alcohol bottles, scrubbing the rough floors and getting abused by a man, whom my father chose to take care of my needs. And when I wanted to seek freedom from the tyranny and oppression, I was isolated. I was shunned away from the society, from the human life, from their touch and warmth. And when the local people asked about me, they were shushed by saying that I had committed adultery, deceived my husband.
I was all alone and so was the Raven . It sat there firmly perched as if no amount of force could remove it from its position. As if it was watching over my moves, reading my thoughts and continuously warning me to maintain my demeanor and to stay within the boundaries of the society drawn for me. Its eyes and that stare reminded me of my husband when he used to hit me with the broke alcohol bottles, as if he enjoyed seeing me bleed and cry for help. Those eyes, those tough claws, had it in them the power to stop any intruder who dares to have the courage to go against the will of the society or bend the rules or to yearn for freedom.
It had almost been three years and I had accepted my fate of dying all cold and alone in the lonely cottage in the middle of nowhere. But then finally one day the sun’s rays came out bright and warm as if beckoning me to get rid of all the restraints. For all these years back in Seoul, Ji-Yong had been trying his best to find me, when he finally met my age -old friend who acquainted him with the ruthless actions of my father. He finally received the help of the Seoul police department and was able to trace my location.
I still remember the date, it was the 25th of April when the police broke through and helped me out into the human world. At first I was a bit dazed when the rays of the balmy afternoon sun touched my skin, and then I saw him again. In the same blue suit and this time he was carrying white lilies as if it indicated my freedom from the rusty chains of the society. Those twinkling eyes and that smile made my pain vanish in seconds. I was too content which welled up tears in my eyes. As I prepared myself for the new beginnings, I saw the Raven. I saw it lying dead amongst the rose bushes. I knew it signified the end of tyranny and paved a way for a much better and happier life ahead.