I Promise You.

Cover Image for the Short Story- I Promise You
Used Canvaframe.

The authorities assure women's safety and protection through legal amendments.  However, if the men and the women in power stick to safeguarding their cultural beliefs, it is unlikely that the legal benefits will trickle down to women.

Women give birth to sustain the human species, not men's family tradition, as they believe.  This misbelief causes women unlimited miseries, undermines their emotional well-being and even death.  To bear and rear a child or not is her choice.  This world would have been much better if men could always make the right choices.  These are whispers women keep under their breath.  Following is my story themed on Whispers of Womanhood.


Her car screeched into the open parking space, forcing dust and mud into the air, partially blinding her.  There was no free space for her to use.  Next to a Mahindra in the corner, she squiggled her Ford.  Climbing out of the vehicle, she glanced at a building—not because its dull, quaint appearance interested her but because it was a police station.

She had been lucky so far; she never had to step inside a police station, that brutal world, and observed it only from the outside, standing far away, to submit a petition.  Her conclusions, therefore, lacked actual experiences, but the tell-tale stories are all over.  If newspapers and social media were not disseminating the truth, how would the public queue to lap them up?  Or is the majority gullible? 

How many mothers would have been still cooking meals for their children in the quiet of their kitchen if the men in uniform hadn't harassed them with chauvinist abuses?  Would they have hooked their necks on the shawls and jumped down from a silly window or a chair?  How desperate they were!

Her feet thumped hurriedly along the dirty path to the building and reached the landing of a cement stairway.  She stepped onto the thread, and the whole place was reeking of urine, stale oil and dry earth.  Her nostrils resisted the invading stench, ejecting it in a frenzy of sneezes.  She threaded cautiously so her feet did not slip off the layers of plastics and cigarette snubs.

Police Station, on a flex board mounted on the top of the building upstairs, assured her of the clarity of her destination.  The reception was a large room.  Bountiful bunches of purple hydrangea bloomed in orange pots in the corners.  Wow!  That was welcoming.  It would have been more welcoming if the sunshade hadn't hushed the bright sun.  The floor was white, effusing fresh citrus.

The walls displayed the ads set in large scripts carrying the promises of a tomorrow.  People sat on plastic chairs lined against a wall.  Their eyes, wearing gloom and frustration, darted looks at the counter on the side, where the receptionist, a young lady, her make-up in colour coordination with her modern attire, was engaged with someone on the phone.  She joined them, waiting expectedly for her chance.

"I have a complaint to make," after an hour, she got her chance.

The receptionist led her inside with her beckoning finger.

No one attended the large room; she stood by a large glass-top table, the central piece of furniture, glancing over a newspaper splayed on its surface and hesitating to sit by an empty chair.  Circle Inspector Vishal Shankar read on a plaque arranged on the table.

She hesitantly opened the file in her hand and considered the photograph in one of its sleeves.  Her eyes floated on the little girl—her white dress sprigged with green flowers.  The green belt matched her small build-up in style.  She kept the sweetest smile on earth on her most endearing face.  
She extended her fingers to ruffle the little curls on her head.  A sigh escaped her throat and glided over the humid air in the room. 

Heavy footsteps made her lungs squeeze.  A heavy-built officer with an impulsive look entered the room; she cringed to face the dart in his bloodshot eyes.  Battling the urge to run away, she clamped her mouth with one hand and lowered her head.  She was about to cry when another officer entered the room.

"Hello," he lowered onto the chair.

"Hai." she wiped away her tears.

"How can I help you?" He asked.  The kind look in his brown eyes assured her.

"My daughter is missing." She handed over the file to him, and he looked at the little girl's picture with attention.

Busy steps thudded in to make the entry of an older man into the room—a tall, lean man of average build.  His eyes flashed an angry look at her, and drawing back his lips in a snarl, he grabbed the file from the officer.

"Go aways," she muttered and bent forward, aiming to yank at the file to loosen his hands away.  Anticipating her move, the man had stepped away, and she lost the hold on it.

"You're a woman of disgrace, a shame to the family," the man shouted at her.  "The child is not missing, sir." He turned to the officer, "she lost her child to her estranged husband in a custody battle," his voice took the pitch of a gossip.

"That is a lie, Sir, she appealed to the officer.  "Sir, I want to talk to you," her voice drowned in the commotion as the elderly man applied his force to drag and pull her away.

"Let her talk." The officer ordered.  The man glared at the officer.

In her newfound confidence, she grabbed the file from the man and gave it back to the officer.

"My child is missing!  Please help me to find her, Sir." With her lean body bent forward, she begged, folding her arms.  Officer Shankar looked at her and looked again at the photograph.

"Is he your father?" The officer inquired, to which she affirmed.

"She is mentally disturbed, Sir.  The divorce took a hard hit on her mental state," her father wasn't letting it go.

"I was never married … " A sudden rise of pang made her voice husky.

"Sir, can you see this woman has no shame," the father smiled to lure the officer.  "You're a man.  You'll know my feelings, our family system and our great tradition," he added convincingly.

The man-to-man appeal to keep the high stakes of male pride, her father's trump card—he had been flashing it unashamedly and getting past at every stage in his life.   A fire of shiver crackled inside her.  Tears clouded her eyes and choked her throat, the feel of entering a marshy place and her legs about to lose ground.

"Is the child well and healthy?" The officer snapped the question.

"She is Sir," her father's eyes widened, and a smile parted his lip.  He threw a winning smile at her with a feeling of high and might.

The officer nodded his head and beckoned her to follow a female officer who entered the room.  She followed the officer, entered a cubicle adjacent to the office, and chased after her from one cubicle to another.  

She entered a room crammed with shelves, teetering with listless dog-eared files.  A table crusted with dust, a woman in a blue sari cleared for her.

The lady officer sat across from her.

"Don't worry," the officer said, her hands in hers.  "I work with child welfare," she introduced herself.

The humid air and the dust constricted her lungs.  The swelling anxiety slowed her breath.  
"My child,' she wept, the words choked her throat.

"You will meet with your child any minute.  Vishal Sir has sent officers to fetch her." A breeze of hope washed down her chest.

The cunning man would have already shifted her child somewhere.  His treacherous activities have found no boundaries.

"Mommy," the sweet voice woke her from the depths of agony.  She was there, not a dream; she embraced her child with the tightness of never letting her lose and touched her curls to ensure they were real.  

The silky curls were natural but stuck to her hand in an adamant thickness, and they reeked like a stale oil can.

"You should move for the custody of your child in a court of law."

In a court of law, a thousand questions lingered in her mind.

"To avoid another ordeal happening."

"Mommy, you left me with those people.  I don't want to be with them.'

"I'll not let you ever again,"

"Promise me,"

"I promise you."


This story is part of the #Story Tellers Bloghop Season 4 hosted by  Aura Of Thoughts  & My Words My Wisdom