हार : स्त्री की अपने गहनों से भावनात्मक जुड़ाव की एक कहानी

छह महीने भी नहीं हुए थे नई बहू को, घर की हर बात उसे समझ आ गयी थी. धीरे धीरे घर में होने वाले हर निर्णय में उसकी राय भी ली जाने लगी और न भी ली जाए तो वह स्वयं अधिकार से दखल देती थी. बहू भी बातों में चतुर थी और सास ससुर भोले, सो उसकी बातें मानते गए.‘हमारी नहीं चल तेरी सही’ कहते हुए सास अपनी प्यारी बहू का कहा मान जाती. बहू ऐसी बातें करती कि सास को उसकी कही हर बात ठीक लगने लगीं. 

बहू को गहनों का बहुत शौक था. यह बेचो, वह खरीदो करते हुए उसने न जाने कितने गहने खरीद लिए थे, कितने बेच दिए थे और कितने बदल दिए थे. एक दिन ऐसे ही बैठे बैठे, सास ने कहा कि चल तुझे अपने गहने दिखाती हूँ और उसके सामने अपना पिटारा खोल दिया. बड़े प्यार से एक एक चीज को उठाती और बताती; “देख, यह मुझे सगाई के समय मिली अंगूठी है. यह पायल देख इतने वजन की आजकल आठ जोड़ी आ जाएँ, बहुत भारी हैं.

हमारी अम्मा के तो टोरड थे आधा आधा किलो के, ये तो फिर भी कम हैं.” एक एक कर सारे गहने दिखाने के बाद वो लाल डिब्बा भी खोल दिया, उसमें एक हार था और दो झुमके. 

“यह चढ़ावे की पेटी में आया था”; कहते कहते सास भावुक सी हो गई. “बस सालों तक सोने का यही था मेरे पास अंगूठी के अलावा, उस समय गाँव के एक खपरैल में नौ लोगों का परिवार था इनका. पेटी में दो साड़ियां और ये गहने देकर मुझ दसवी को बियाह लाये थे, और घर की हालत तो घर आकर ही पता चली थी. ठेठ देहात में रहने वाली मेरी सास कुकर की सीटी से डर के भागती थी.”; यह कह हंसने लगी.

बहू का पूरा ध्यान उस हार पर था, उसने हार उठा लिया और कहा; “यह तो बहुत पुराना हो गया है. डिज़ाइन ही नहीं हार भी. आप इसे कहीं पहन भी नहीं पाती होगी.”

“हाँ पहन लेती हूँ कभी कभी” सास ने कहा.

बहू बोली; “चलो इसे बदल देते हैं. इतने में ही बहुत बढ़िया हार आ जायेगा, कम से कम पहनने में अच्छा तो लगेगा.नहीं तो रखा ही हुआ है.”

सास ने कहा; “नहीं रहने दो. क्या बेचना खरीदना, यह ज्यादा शुद्ध सोना है. और जैसा है ठीक ही है.”

बात आई गई ही गई, लेकिन बहू जाने अनजाने हार की बात निकालती और बदलने का आग्रह करती. आखिर सास भी थी तो स्त्री ही, मन में लालच आ ही गया. सास ने कहा तो ससुर टालते कैसे, दोनों एक दिन हार उठा कर बाजार चल दिए. सुनार के यहाँ पहुँचे और हार दिखाया, सुनार ने उचित कीमत बता दी. हार बदलना ही था, सो दूसरा हार भी पसंद कर लिया गया. 

इतने में न जाने सास को क्या सूझा उसने कहा; “मेरा हार दिखाना.” और हार को हथेली में लेकर देखने लगी. फिर उसे सुनार को वापस देने लगी और बस इसी एक क्षण में उसे याद आया कि मंडप के नीचे जब चढ़ावे की पेटी खुली थी तो उसमे रखी लाल साड़ी के सिवा इस हार पर सभी की आँखें टिक गयी थीं, सब औरतें वाह वाह कर उठी थीं. फिर जब उसे पहली बार वह हार पहना कर तैयार किया गया तो उसने स्वयं को किसी रानी से कम न समझा था.

फिर वह हार, उसकी शादी की निशानी, हमेशा के लिए उसके साथ जुड़ गया. उसे अपने ससुराल की उस समय की आर्थिक स्थिति की याद आई. उसके मन में पहली बार प्रश्न आया कि इतना महंगा हार उन लोगों ने कैसे खरीद होगा उस समय.

घर में नौ सदस्य थे,रहने को केवल एक छोटा सा घर. वह हार किसी अपने की शादी में, किसी की बीमारी में, बच्चों की पढाई में, नया घर बनवाते समय, न जाने कितनी बार गिरवी रखा गया कितनी बार बिकते बिकते बचा और आज…

यह सब याद आते ही उसने सुनार के हाथ से हार छीन लिया और कहा नहीं बेचना जी. मेरे सास ससुर का आशीष है इसमें और दोनों आँखों से बहते आँसू पोंछते हुए बाहर आ गयी.

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