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Sunita: Tattered tenor of Tikarpada
Tikarpada tenant tells a tale of tawdry tavern and torpid tidings. The tizzy turbulent trails tug Tikarpada's tailpiece and talking traitors! Like Sunita there are several people are the tattered tenor of Tikarpada.

"DHEU DHEUKA PAHADA TALE, ANKABANKA NAEE, ANKABANKA NAEE DEHARE NEELA PAHADA CHHAI, SEI CHHAIRE NAURITIE GEETATI JAAE GAI, GEETARE TAARA AMAKU SIE JAAUCHI KAHI KAHI?. MU TORA PAINI.. TU MORA PAINI.." Under the undulating mountains flows the serpentine river? On the surface of the serpentine river we get to witness, with rhapsodic delight and ecstasy, the lush greenery shadow of the undulating mountains in their pristine glory? On this shadow a solitary boatman soulfully sings and rows along?this song rendition is of a story-like manner for the mountains and river that: "I am for you; You are for me"

Odisha's legendary singer, lyricist and musician Akshya Mohanty, in what context sang this song is unfathomable. But today it is most appropriate to the idyllic setting of Tikarpada Mahanadi River, Satkoshia mountain range and Sunita. Albeit in close proximity yet the chasm betwixt the mountains and the river- the theme of hope-despair, love-forlorn, happiness-sorrow and laughter-weeping reflect on Satkoshia mountain range and Tikarpada Mahanadi River and the music of the song- it is this that reveal restive Sunita's life cascade. Sunita is only for Satkoshia Mountains and Tikarpada Mahanadi and vice versa.

As the moonbeams filter through the foliage of the Satkoshia forest Sunita seems to be recollecting her past memories in the same manner while she recollects her past memories she sees, on the river bank, the footprints of her spinsterhood. During this widowhood she sheds copious tears on seeing her very own footprints of the yesteryears. Those footprints of her spinsterhood weep inconsolably to realize how she spends each moment of her widowed life. The combination of sight and sound fusion of the morning forest breeze and the last hues of golden rays before sunset makes her float on the Mahanadi waters the twenty seven long years of pleasure and pain of Sunita. The pangs of pain of Sunita reverberated echoingly through the Satkoshia mountain range and her anguished laughter tends to mingle into the waters of the Mahanadi. Her scrape and satisfaction  at this juncture is an open satire, criticism and mockery of our present day democratic government, political leaders' women empowerment and women safety and security slogans and all the ills that have come along since the last seven decades to make this very democracy a misnomer today.

Tikarpada is a small hamlet in the Satkoshia sanctuary. This issue of Sunita is akin to the miserably wretched heartbroken of almost the entire women community being neglected ever since India's independence. Sunita is the sole occupant of a small cottage in this hamlet in Tikarpada. Unless and until a discerningly empathetic person sees the trials and tribulations and struggle for survival of Sunita, it would be nigh impossible to believe. All of Sunita's childhood and spinster happiness, during her matrimonial life, has been lost beyond retrievability, in the forest of Tikarpada. Her much-cherished dreams, of her married life, have been cremated on the river bed of Mahanadi. The Satkoshia and Tikarpada, albeit being mute spectators to Sunita's travails, yet stand as great testimony to the melancholia of Sunita. But sad to say, our government and bureaucracy did never care to bat an eyelid.

The much-hyped 'Ujwala Scheme' of Modi Govt. for 6 crore women has come a cropper and more of a dampener in Sunita's life. In the same way, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's much-touted 'Mission Shakti Yojona', which has purportedly empowered 70 lakhs of women didn't do even a wee bit for Sunita. The innumerable political slogans for woman like women empowerment, women safety and security, respect for women and women power etcetera are merely empty rhetoric in our democracy. Sunita has voted twice for the Assembly and Lok Sabha election, but she has never seen her elected political representatives like the MLA and MP, despite trying to do so she has failed.

"At the age of 27 years, I am a widow since the last two years. Like other girls I too had fancied many a dream of having children and so on. But, on the contrary, my marriage and subsequent motherhood went up in smoke by virtually devastating my life, which was beyond imagination. Further, sad to say, I found myself between the devil and the deep sea. My life with in-laws was not to be nor was the home of my parents accessible for me. Behind my back there were murmurings that I had been the harbinger of ill-luck to the home of my in-laws as well as the home of my parents. Resultantly, I was ostracized. In my endeavour for upbringing my three daughters is proving to be a Herculean task and further bogging me down for our very sustenance. It is a fact that I am remaining alive solely for my children and none else. Now on my part it is really very difficult to live, but I do not want to die because of my daughters," Sunita said this choked with emotion and lips quivering while seated on the river bank.

Ranjit had married Sunita, and from this wedlock they had three daughters, namely, Puja, Pritee and Sangita. This couple was living happily and in marital bliss until, from almost nowhere, Ranjit succumbed to tuberculosis in the year 2016. It seemed as if Divine wrath had found its target in Sunita.

Tikarpada and Satkoshia figure prominently on the tourism map of India. This tourist destination can boast of a Tiger Reserve and Crocodile Conservation Centre. In this wildlife sanctuary the Tourism and Forest Department of Odisha has established several Nature Camps. In fact Sunita's husband Ranjit, was engaged as cook at the Tikarpada Nature Camp.

"It was too late to have Ranjit diagnosed correctly. Further, in this remote part health facilities are a distant dream as doctors are not easily available. To add to the existing woes was the fact that my husband was an alcoholic. And by the time medication commenced it was a bit too late. Ranjit's addiction further went on to make him neglect taking his medicines on time. Neither is the Govt. banning sale of liquor nor are they providing proper healthcare services. It is this dangerous liquor, that has ruined my life," Sunita said this tearfully while working at the Nature Camp.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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