This post has been selected as a Tangy Tuesday Pick on BlogAdda for Apr 12 2011
I first met her five long years ago and we became part of the same group before long. We used to have such fun teasing her on her accent and the way she couldn’t pronounce certain words. In Malayalam , the word for rain is mazha. However, she always said it as “Mala” which meant mountain 🙂 And we would tease her saying that she came from a district without the letter zha. She was one of the chirpiest girls I knew – quick to be roused and quick to calm down.
She had an older brother and a sister, and being the youngest of her family, I expected her to be the pampered pet. But that wasn’t the case. She was a well-grounded individual with strong likes and dislikes. Her home was around 12 hours away from where we worked and she loved going home. Yet her father always forbade it. Whenever she asked if she could come home, he would say – “Why do you have to come now? Don’t you have any work there?” And she would suppress her desire for Home and even work the weekends at Office, especially since she had nothing else to do.
Life went on and her brother and sister got married and were settled in their lives. Next it was her turn to be “settled”.
One fine morning, my friend was asked to report home. She was eager and excited and kept saying “My Dad actually asked me to come home.” Little did she know that her life was being arranged there. When she got home, she found out about the IT groom, and could do little to dissuade her Dad.
Her Dad had this quirk – he wanted his son-in-law to be a Doctor. Her sister had married a College lecturer and now, he wanted a doctor for his second daughter. High and low he searched, but could find no doc to suit. Finally, he found a suitor from the IT industry. But this prospective suitor had a sister who was a doctor and her husband was also a doctor. So, Dad thought – “What the hell! If I can’t get my daughter a doctor, then I will marry her into a family which has 2 doctors.” And thus the marriage was arranged. Without asking her consent.
Her Mom had no voice in the home and her brother and sister could care less about her wishes. And so, half-heartedly, she succumbed to their demands.
Her family never even enquired about the groom at his place of work or elsewhere. He had a good reputation in their village (where he hardly stayed for 3 days at a time since his college days) and that was deemed to be enough. he was known as a nerd in their area, which is equivalent to “Excellent groom material” in the parlance of Indian parents.
The engagement period lasted for around 4 months and while she was on the phone with her suitor, we could hear the chords of dissonance in their chats. He always seemed to scorn her and her work, and tried to belittle her and try to force his will on her. So much so that almost within a month of being engaged, they stopped talking to each other over the phone.
Come August, and her family celebrated the wedding of the youngest daughter of the house. Thus ending an era in my friend’s life. Her new life had begun. Her husband was stationed in the Garden City, while was she was in a different place. He didn’t bother to take his wife to his place till 6 months after the marriage.
And once she got there, she realized that he had rented an apartment close to his office, while she had to travel over 2 hours to get to her office. She suffered in silence. Not that talking it out brought any peace. If she ever disagreed with him on anything, immediately he was on the phone to her parents complaining about her behaviour and threatening to divorce her.
After a while she was so used to his threats, that she began to eagerly look forward to him actually carrying out his threat. She was not allowed to do anything, or rather, anything with him. They existed in that house as 2 individuals sharing an apartment. Nor could she find any solace in her family – they only said “Please adjust. Everything will be fine.”
Her in-laws were completely supportive of their son’s erratic behaviour that they started calling up her family themselves, complaining about how headstrong she was. Once things got to such an end, that the village elders were summoned to take an action in their son’s life. Since her family’s honour was at stake, my friend demurely nodded to all the threats and advice given by the village elders and promised to abide by them.
Once, her husband quit his job and took off God knows where for around 4 months. During this time, she was hit by a car while on her way to work, and she had no one to care for her, including her family. Her husband didn’t even bother to call her. A couple of friends took her to a hospital and tended to her during her convalescence.
She is unable to break free because of her family – whose honour will be shattered in the village if she gets a divorce.
Today, they still live in 2 poles in the same house – whenever her husband came around. At all other times, she stays in a hostel. They hardly speak to each other and neither does she go home. her siblings are of no help to her as they are busy in their own lives.
She still doesn’t know why her husband married her. She doesn’t know where he works today, or whether he works at all. She doesn’t know if he is treating her like dirt because he wants to be rid of her (in which she would be happy to oblige) or whether he has a secret paramour somewhere.
And she still awaits her fate. Alone.
What do you think? Is it her fault that she doesn’t break out of the golden cage? Or is her family to blame? Most of all, do you think an arranged marriage still works?