Last week 23 year old Nirupama Pathak died. Under mysterious circumstances, they said. Smothered, not suicide. 3 months pregnant, others said. Choosing the wrong man was her mistake, it was reported.
I believe her biggest mistake was going home. Because, as it turns out, women - girls - like her have no home.
Home is where a woman returns to replenish her soul. It's a place where she knows she will be loved no matter what choices she made out there in the real world. Home is where her wounds are soothed, where she puts her feet up and allows those who claim to love her to wipe the worry lines off her brow. Home is where mothers, fathers, siblings, partners and children rally around & promise to protect her against all odds. Home is safe.
I went home to my parents yesterday. They don't understand many of my choices. We've fought emphatically and disagreed in obscenely loud silences. We are not what Karan Johar would call strictly functional. Yet, when I enter that door I know this strange family of mine will defend me, not do me, to death. Honour for them, is having me as part of their world.
The tragedy is not that this beautiful young thing died along with her unborn child. It's that she was throttled by those who never thought of her as their own. That she had the misfortune of being born in a home where labels trumped her heart. That 23 years of living & loving meant nothing at all, in the end.
And the biggest tragedy of all: Being born to a mother who never had a home either.
That girl never stood a chance.