She was my neighbour. A married woman of about 30 who had untold stories sparkling in her eyes. This struck me for the first time when I saw her at the neighborhood community hall for the first time. It was a marriage ceremony of one of the tenants in the compound, and we met at the buffet table. After an exchange of formal niceties we realized that she is practically my next door Neighbour!

After that we would often meet at the park mostly in the evenings when I would go for a walk and she would bring her 7 month old daughter for a stroll in the pram.

I would often catch a shadow of sadness in her eyes. There was also an unspoken urge in her eyes. As if she wanted to confide in me and was hesitant.

The hesitation to be privy to her personal life was more mine than hers really. My husband used to work in her husband’s company, and I did not want to jeopardize her position at home nor my husband’s at work.

One day she came with badly swollen and bruised eyes. She was weak and very clearly wanted to pour her heart to me.

But I made it clear to her indirectly that no matter how difficult things are at your end, I cannot intervene at any cost.

After a few days, she was missing. Her husband had no trace of her as she left the house and her children one fine night and was gone untraceably. Even her parents did not know where she was gone.

Now when I often look at her house and catch a glimpse of her children playing in the courtyard unsupervised and motherless I often feel extremely guilty.

Perhaps she would not have been gone this way if I did not turn a deaf ear to her desperate wails.