2nd July 2002, Wednesday 8:30 in the evening, the air around is filled with negative thoughts, unsettled souls, exasperation, sweat, hunger, desperation, eerie looks, demonized humans and hate. In the corner of the bedroom I am holding my 7 months old son Dev and desperately waiting for my mother to take us away from this dungeon. It all started at 4pm. I was cutting a mango for Dev, when the doorbell rang. My mother-in-law called me saying there is someone for me at the door. I rushed to the living room to see Dev’s massage lady Manda aunty. She has been my massage lady after the delivery & continued for Dev till 6 months. She was here to take her monthly wages. Manda aunty was short with wheatish colored skin but very strong muscular lady for her age of 60 years. Her massage ability is beyond perfection, all her massage techniques though soft but with perfect pressure helped to heal my body post pregnancy. She was very gentle with Dev as well. He rarely cried while the massage or his baths. She patiently waited at the door while I asked my mother in law to give me the money so that I can pay Manda aunty the amount due. I was not working at that time as my husband wanted me to give up my career to take care of our child to which his entire family had agreed upon. I was shocked to hear her refuse to pay the poor lady her due. She asked me to get it from my father as she has no monies on her. I quickly turned and asked Manda aunty to leave promising that I shall make the payment later. She inquired about the next month and I replied that her serviced won’t be required anymore. Sensing the unrest in my reply she asked me to take care of the baby & left.
I had hardly shut the door behind, my mother in law pounced at me screaming with her eyes wide open. I could see red hot liquid rolling into her big round eyes tearing deep into my soul. A tall, fair, well built lady with rounded body in her fifties reminded me of a white witch about to engulf me into her body with her mouth wide open. I quickly came back to reality ready to face the white monster without giving into her ill & rotten motives. I started arguing that every time I cannot beg my father for monies to support my child as the child’s father is supposed to bear these expenses in the wake of him not allowing me to continue with my career. I have already been ashamed of taking all the support from my father even after five years of marriage. Now for my child his father will be responsible & ours being a joint family business the head of the family will bear Dev’s expenses. While we were at the argument my brother in law joined his mother to increase the verbal assault on me. Madan was a fair, tall & very studious looking man of my age (27 years old) studying ayurveda. At this point he seemed to me like a slight thinner version of the white monster. This man was a popular Casanova in the college, desperate for girls. He knew how and where to use his good looks to get the girls he aimed at. He blamed me & my parents for the depression my husband has been going through for the last 2 years, and claimed that it was my father’s duty to support me & my child in these devastated days faced by their family. The argument was at a peak when once again the doorbell rang. Madan answered the door, here comes the man of my life Puneet, a limp, spineless, gutless, reek addicted to gutkhas, unemployed and currently undergoing medication for severe depression and psychic behavior.
Seeing his mother & brother in a fit of anger he immediately got into the same mode & started emitting fire on me. He seemed to me as a limper version of the white monster. I knew I had to fight these three white fire emitting monsters and oh my baby ‘I was so ready’ for this. Though I was bit by bit breaking from inside. I fought back refusing to back down & beg my father any further for money. Not being able to see them lose Puneet started to hit me, his mother held on to my right arm & the brother at my left arm. I could not believe that this is the man of my life with whom I dreamed of spending my entire life and have had a baby from him. I went back to remember the first day of our meeting at the Sun N Sands hotel in Juhu. All my cousins and Jhanvi had said that he is so matured that he will take good care of me & be there forever. Where is this man’s maturity, how can one hit his wife taking help from his brother and mother and that too for money. Is he a man at all…? Is it all about money? I felt a blow on my arm which brought me back to reality and I could see the evil man about to hit me, I raised my right leg & fixed it right between his legs. Howzzatttt!!! Down he went on the floor sulking & the other monsters consoling his pain. I quickly grabbed Dev sitting there and locked myself in the bedroom. In about ten minutes I heard a loud thud at the main door & peeped out of the window. Puneet had left the house. Just before leaving he made a call to my mother. He shouted on the phone ‘Take away your daughter & her kid out of our house. We don’t need them & I want a divorce.”
I waited for another 1 hour, there was no sign of anyone from my family. Neither could I leave the house without my minimum luggage nor owned a mobile phone in those days to call my mother. I had to use the landline from the living room. After gathering courage & feeding hungry Dev I decided to step out in the living room to make the final call. What if my own family refuses to rescue me & take me back?? What will people say?? What options do I have in life today?? The only option in the case of refusal from my family is a suicide alongwith baby Dev…….This uncertainty, dependence, physical abuse, monetary greed and my own weakness was weighing heavy on my self confidence. Today I understood that it is indeed sad to be a girl child. Bai’s sad face came lurking around from my memories of childhood. Today I understood her grief on the birth of a girl child in our family. Bai were 3 sisters themselves & she had 3 daughters of her own. She had faced enough grievances being a girl in this world especially the Indian society. She did not want her son i.e., my father to go through the miseries of being a father of 3 daughters in our society. I could feel my hatred for Bai turning into love and respect. On that day of my life I was myself thankful to God for blessing me with a baby boy. Unfortunately I felt very glad not to have a baby girl myself. Yes today I agreed that it is very sad to be a girl child……. and worst being a parent of a girl child.
P.S. – I am quite a positive person in life. Just that my early life was difficult, hence the sad episodes are featuring first 🙂