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An abusive husband does not deserve to be a hero in a kid’s eyes. The story of a woman who realized this and became her daughter’s Shero.
It was the same dull day for Geeta. After dropping Riya to school and finishing the household chores, she had nothing to do. In fact, she had things to do which she wanted to do with Karan, like Diwali shopping, but Karan had not been able to find time for months. For a change Geeta thought of going to the Select City mall.
As Geeta was wandering through the crossword, she heard a familiar voice. “Writer Sahiba.” Geeta was taken aback on hearing the pseudonym given to her by her best friend, Trisha.
Trisha and Geeta were hands and gloves together – known in college as a combination of East and West. While Trisha was a confident girl, Geeta was a soft, timid and shy one.
“Oh my God, Trisha! You haven’t changed a bit,” Geeta said hugging her friend.
“But what has happened to you? Are you alright?” asked Trisha examining Geeta from tip to toe.
“Oh, nothing haven’t just dressed up well.” Geeta suddenly realized she wasn’t even properly dressed.
“Hey, let’s have coffee and do some chit-chat, what say?” said Trisha in her old tone.
The two friends went to CCD and while sipping coffee Trisha told Geeta that they had shifted to Delhi just a few days back as she had got job in The Times of India. The two friends became nostalgic remembering the good old days when suddenly Geeta complained, “You left college without telling anything, even changed your number, you were nowhere to be found, I must not talk to you.”
“Hey, Geeta I’m sorry. At that time circumstances were such that…”
“Oh just leave it, it was a thing of the past – teenage you know.”
“Oh, so you don’t want to tell me.”
“Ok, ok listen I was involved with a boy who dumbed me,” said Trisha taking a deep breath, “Actually he was a male chauvinist who didn’t want me to do job or be independent, so…and you know at that age it was difficult to forget first love so easily and that also when you are facing the boy daily.”
“Hey who was the boy, by the way,” Geeta interrupted.
“Just leave it, you tell, yours is love or arrange marriage. Of course arrange. I remember how you used to despise the couples in college. And that’s why I didn’t tell you about my affair.”
“Oh, that was a thing of past. But now I understand.”
“Hey, tell about your husband, he must be mad after you, after all you are a sughad grihini.”
Geeta was alarmed at that question, was it really so; did Karan really love her? She thought so earlier, till Riya was born. But after that Karan lost interest not only in her but also in home.
“Hey, Geeta what about your writings, have got anything published.”
“No time yaar, moreover who will publish my writings?”
“Have you tried?”
“Then how can you decide?”
“Actually writing is not my cup of tea.”
“Not your cup of tea? It was the only thing you liked the most.”
“Karan says I am not good at this um…. I am not mature,” Geeta said at the same time checking herself not to say anything else.
“Oh, I see. I feel I’d have to meet your Karan.”
“Anytime, come now.”
“Not now, but will definitely, give me your address.”
As Geeta was giving the address to Trisha, her coffee spilled over her and on the pretext that she needed to change her clothes, she hurried home.
In no time, Geeta reached home and shut herself up in the room closing her ears and eyes trying to believe that it was just a dream. But no effort could change that reality into a dream. How many times had she had a dream that Karan had left her? And what a sigh of relief she always had on realizing that it was just a dream? But this time, it was real. Karan was certainly seeing someone else. Wasn’t there a lady she had seen him with at the supermarket?
When Geeta had tried to find out, he shut her up calling her orthodox, saying she was Neha, his colleague. But if she was just a colleague, why was he being so intimate with her? And why did he lie to her that he was going to Mumbai for a week for meeting, when he was in Delhi all that time?
Geeta’s head started reeling. She was totally blank with no idea what to do and where to go. Lost in her thoughts she jolted back to reality when the doorbell rang. It was Saurabh, Karan’s friend as well as colleague.
“Hello, Geeta are you alright?” asked Saurabh on seeing Geeta who looked completely broken.
“Yaa!” Geeta yawned pretending that she was sleeping.
“Karan has sent me to fetch that pink file he must have told you.”
“But he is not in Delhi, right?” Geeta’s tone was taunting.
“Yaa, I too am going to Mumbai that’s why,” Saurabh got a little nervous at Geeta’s tone.
“Oh… I see you too are going for the same meeting with that Miss… what’s her name.” Geeta was finding it difficult to resist her anger.
“What?” Saurabh was alarmed at Geeta’s tone.
“I know he is in Delhi, loitering with that…” Geeta held her tongue.
“Oh, so they haven’t left, yet…” Saurabh tried to look ignorant.
“What the hell is going on between them?” Geeta was ready to burst.
Sensing she was serious, Saurabh said, “Look, Geeta. There is nothing serious it’s just they…”
“What just they? They are sleeping with each other,” Geeta burst out.
“Hey relax, Geeta, you are overreacting, and why don’t you ask Karan yourself, it’s your personal matter.” saying this Saurabh left.
Geeta was all alone, totally dumbstruck. She cried for hours till Riya came back from school and had to pull herself up for the sake of Riya. She tried Karan’s phone a hundred times, but it always sent back the message ‘busy in meeting.’ She remained in the pool of tears whole night and had a ray of hope when she found Trisha at her door, after she had sent Riya to school. Geeta couldn’t control herself, and told Trisha everything asking for her opinion.
“Well…if you ask for my opinion, I would just say be independent. When you know the truth, don’t be a Gandhari and tie your eyes.”
“But what about, Riya, Trisha? What would I tell her? Karan is her hero.”
“And who has made him her hero? Can’t you be her Shero? Moreover, don’t feed her on wrong ideas.”
Even the idea shriveled Geeta, how could she put herself in the place of Karan? And mother always says, “Don’t fill your head with feminist theories.”
“Do you remember the poem you wrote when that Nirbhaya case happened?”
“I’m not to be bridled but fly, for me limits do not end with sky,” Geeta said realizing how well she remembered the poem.
“Then don’t remain bridled. And remember one thing, I’m just a call away from you.”
After Trisha went, Geeta remained disturbed and finally made a call to her mother telling her about Karan’s affair and all the things about her own individuality and all she had discussed with Trisha which her mother called, ‘shit’ adding, “Stay away from that Trisha who is filling your head with all this shit. Men are like this only. He has to do so many things to feed you. Who knows these meetings may be a part of business, have you tried to find out the truth? And who are you, a doctor or an engineer? Not even good looking? And where will you go at that age? A divorced woman with a five year old daughter, who would accept you?”
So, Geeta again was ready to lead her life as usual. And who could be a better councilor than mother, may be Trisha was making mountain of the mole hill. ‘And good girls never ask questions, or raise their voice, they just abide by everything their men do’ – Geeta had always been brought up on these ideas, so it was not easy for her to leave them.
After one week, Karan came back in high spirits, with not a pinch of shame and gave Geeta a hug which seemed thorny to Geeta. To live with that man was getting exhausting for her, but she had to keep mum being a good girl and had to stand by her husband as her mother had suggested.
But for her own peace of mind, she needed to talk to Trisha. So she didn’t stop meeting her as suggested by her mother.
One day Geeta decided to stay with Trisha. They had to go for a function together, and Trisha’s husband was travelling. Karan was also going out, so why not, she thought. But they were late back from the function and Trisha’s landlady didn’t let them in. So it was decided to go back to Geeta’s place.
When Geeta entered her home after unlocking the main door, she heard voice, a familiar voice, the voice of Karan. So Karan hadn’t gone anywhere. Stealthily she headed towards the sound, going to the bedroom. And as she peeped inside, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Karan was lying on the bed. And the same Neha was lying on his chest while Karan was speaking stroking her hair.
“You know what I have married? A simple, dumb girl who knows nothing about modernity or romance. She is just a typical housewife who can’t be a better half. Of course she can speak English, but can’t speak to her husband.”
“Aw…. Such typical girls, she must get on your nerves. But isn’t there love between you two?” Neha asked.
“Love… who has time for such nonsense?”
“So you don’t believe in love,” said Neha raising her eyebrows.
“Of course, I do baby,” said Karan trying to look serious, “of course I do. In fact there was a time when I believed only in love till that girl dumbed me, I loved her so much.”
Karan started telling the same story he also had told Geeta when they had first met. Geeta was trying to hold herself back when she heard the sound of a slap which was stamped by Trisha on Karan’s face.
“It was not the girl who dumped you, you bastard, it was you who cheated on her with her friend.”
Now everything was crystal clear to Geeta and she could take her final decision. There was no more dilemma; no more heartache; no more pleading; no more wrath. The only thing that was there was a sigh of relief, a decision.
“I can’t carry on with this man anymore in my life. The thing is not that he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t love anybody; he can’t. And Riya will have my name, I’ll be her Shero.”
She simply said, “Good Bye Karan!”
“And what will become of Riya, I’m her hero?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be her Shero.”
Image source: sad mother with daughter by Shutterstock.