Ramu was an illiterate but extremely hard working farmer, who struggled all his life to make a living. He tilled his small farm and what ever little he could produce, he kept a small part for himself and sold the rest to buy other things. Ramu spent a solo life as he left his home at quite a young age and wandered around before finally settling at Sitapur village. After toiling much hard, he could finally accumulate enough money to buy a beautiful young white cow-Lakshmi.
Lakshmi was a fresh change in his life. Lakshmi gave him company all day – a feeling that Ramu had not experienced for a long long time. Lakshmi – a well behaved domesticated cow that she was, assisted her master by abiding with her master’s demands. Lakshmi was always under the belief that Ramu was the only master she would serve and hence, just dedicated her entire life to the service of his master.
But Ramu was unaware of all these feelings of dedication, affection, self-sacrifice towards the near ones, etc. He remained a solo farmer at heart and instead of looking at Lakshmi as her companion, saw her more of as a commodity, whom he used whenever needed. Ramu was not even present when Lakshmi gave births to two calves and was expecting some one close, that is, his master Ramu to be around.
Though Ramu not being there at that critical juncture, Lakshmi still accepted as she thought perhaps Ramu has gone to find a better life, so that she and Ramu can lead a better life than they both were living at present. Further, a better shelter was required now that two calves were also there. From the very beginning, Ramu loved the calves. He would take care of them, give them bath, take them for a small walk. Lakshmi was happy that Ramu was changing for better.
Lakshmi now had dual responsibilities – to assist Ramu as usual and with same vigor and at the same time nurture the two calves. But somehow, Lakshmi was still ignored and did not get the same attention as her calves and was still expected to be a slave and do her duties, without expecting anything in return. For Ramu, Lakshmi was expected to be a never aging cow, that will keep on doing work from morning to evening, without any complaints and at the same time take care of her siblings. Ramu failed to realize that like him, Lakshmi was also now growing old and could not be as fast and efficient as she used to be.
As a result of old age and dual role that she had to do in addition to her own declining health, Lakshmi declined to do some work or did at her own pace. This irritated Ramu, who would then start brag about how he used to toil when he was of her age. Obviously, Ramu failed to understand the difference between the natural features as well as health problems of a mother of two and of a man, who was meant to toil and work hard. Ramu also discounted the fact that Lakshmi was not a bull but a cow and being a female, few natural problems were bound to be there including the role of being a mother and associated problems. Ramu could not have done anything about the natural problems but had he understood the problems that Lakshmi faced on day to day basis, Lakshmi would have sacrificed herself even more for her master. At the least, a thought would not have surfaced in her mind that she was not a servant to his ‘master’.
As a result of this, the gap between the two kept on increasing and so did the misunderstandings and quarrels. Lakshmi would not even budge from her shed to do the daily work. Lakshmi’s calves would even suggest to her mom that why should she stay in Ramu’s farm when he gives no respect. However, Lakshmi would instead rebuke them for making such immature statements. She would argue that it was Ramu, who got her here and took care of her during initial years and that he is still the person, who feeds our entire family.
Though Lakshmi even today remains that all-sacrificing cow that most of the Indian women are, most of the Indian men remain like Ramu, who still belongs to those old-patriarchal society, where Man is at the center of the house. It’s not bad to be at the center of the house and being the head of the family. But when the wives suffer like Lakshmi, the Man loses his respect as the head of the family as he is unable to understand the problems of his members below, especially women of the house.
Ramus of today should realize that Lakshmi, being a feminine already have lot of problems of their own and despite their problems, they take care of the daily chores and run the house-hold. Ramu can atleast try not to take advantage of their self-sacrificing attitude and not add more problems to their back by ignoring their problems as being petty problems. This may after all, one day break their back-bones.