Unlike us, the little girl Ratna does not aspire to become a doctor or an engineer or someone in an elite profession, perhaps these dreams are too distant for her to even grasp the essence of them, let alone live in one of them. Instead, her dream is a vision- a vision of utopia. She dreams about the perfect and ideal place that is free from her Mistress’ derisions and her Master’s stark orders. She imagines herself not amidst the affluent, but amid them who do not maltreat her and acknowledge her individuality. She wants to fly in the open sky and to soar so high that she does not have to come down to the earth again.
Yet, every time she envisions herself in the open sky, somehow, the reality finds its way to shatter her dreams into countless pieces- so many that we cannot even count. Either her Master’s hoarse voice or her Mistress’ high-pitched voice or the infant’s wail, revives her back to her ‘real’ world- her world of servitude and enslavement. She fears the world of the rich and her superiors intimidate her, nevertheless, her apprehensions are rational, given that everyone she knows has always treated her as an outcast, or worse, as a slave. Ratna finds herself chained with the virtual fetters of discrimination, which binds her very heart and soul. Not a moment goes by when she does not feel suffocated and burdened with the prejudice of our society.
We cannot even fathom the feelings and emotions of this young girl’s heart. She maybe fifteen or sixteen; there is no one to keep a count, or perhaps she does, or maybe even she has resigned herself to her unfortunate fate. Ratna does not remember her parents or family; they have become such a distant past for her that she has no desire to go back running into their safe shelters that may or may not exist. All she knows now is that she lives to serve her Master and his family.
Every morning Ratna wakes up before her superiors, and do the household chores with as much diligence she can. However, no matter how earnestly she does her work, her Mistress always has a reason to scowl at her and her Master has yet another reason to reprimand her. Moreover, if by any of the good fortune (that God may bestow upon her) no one belittles her for some time, the little girl has a bit less to fret over. When every night she goes off to sleep in the small attic, which has become her only comfort zone in the world, she gets herself to believe that the only reason for such penury is that she must have been a vile creature in her previous life. We may find the concept of rebirth and everything else related to it ridiculous, but it is with the theory that Ratna justifies her life, for if she does not have this reason to cling onto, she will be more lost than ever. Yet, somewhere deep within her heart and unconscious mind Ratna hopes to live a better tomorrow and to break free from the clutches of the social injustice.
Even in this century, millions of girls like Ratna become the prey of social injustice. They find themselves trapped in the inescapable grasp of slavery, child labor and woman trafficking. There are those who have lost all hope of seeing a brighter day and there are those who still hope to escape their ill fate. However, even if they manage to break free and live a better life, the scars of their past will linger on and their lives will be marred for as long as they live. However, these fragile beings can be saved, only if we become more devoted to their cause and help them seek what they yearn for- respect and acknowledgement.