"The dacoits came that night as they had threatened they would. Four days ago, at around 2 am, a loud bang had sounded at our door. While I held my three children, my husband and his two helpers, Ram Kripal and Bhuvan went out. My husband shouted out “Who’s there” in a loud voice while the two men brought out their rifles. This happened in the 1930s so there was no electricity, only earthern lamps. The darkness was made more fearsome by the accompanying thunderstorm. My husband and his helpers yelled loudly and fired into the air, but saw nothing and no one. My husband came back inside. He told me that someone had written on the wall that they would kill him this week. The threat was written in black paint.
I was terrified. My husband tried to calm my fears by telling me that no one could kill the headman of the village. Although Ram Kripal and Bhuvan whitewashed the walls the next day, the threat stayed in our hearts and minds. We made sure to lock the house up securely every night, even going as far as locking the front door using heavy chains. None of this gave me peace of mind, though; I lived in the fear of the dacoits’ return. Eventually they did.
That night they rode in, holding torches. They set fire to the trees surrounding the house. Then they threatened to burn down the house unless we opened the door. The dacoits shouted that the ladies would be safe, and that they only wanted the headman. At this point my husband began to load his guns. Petrified, I begged him to stop. There wasn’t enough time; at any moment they would break the windows. In this moment of absolute despair, I suddenly felt a surge of energy go through me, as though something in me was going to make sure I protected my husband. In a flash of inspiration, I picked up a curtain rod and ran to the storeroom. There was an opening in the ceiling of the room that led to the terrace. I used the curtain rod to open the trapdoor. My husband heard the sound and came running into the room. I knelt on a trunk under the opening. I then told him to climb up on my shoulders and escape through the opening. At first, he stared at me dumbstruck. Then we heard the dacoits break in and start fighting with the caretakers. At that my husband climbed up on my shoulders and I carefully elevated him till he pulled himself up through the opening. The weight sat heavily upon my shoulders. I knew that he was the centre of my universe and I had to protect him.
I was sobbing by the time the dacoits reached me. They had searched the house unsuccessfully for my husband. When they realised that they couldn’t find him, they looted the house of all the valuables and left. Although Bhuvan was injured, the house was a mess and my children were quaking in terror in my bed, my husband was safe. I still don’t know how I got the strength and the presence of mind to do what I did. Ever since then my husband has called me the protector of the realm."