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It is easier to have a clear vision of our own domestic problems when seen through the lens of another’s similar situation. A short story.
“Since the day I got married to you, my life has become a living hell. You are my bad luck. Can’t stand you anymore.”
“I can’t believe that I loved you in college. That was the biggest mistake of my life.”
“What do you think about yourself? So what if you are a doctor? You arrogant woman! You are nothing in front of me. Remember, you are a woman after all. A weak, vulnerable woman!”
Sitting in the revolving chair in her clinic, it was Aparajita browsing through the messages from Rajesh, her husband. Dressed in a black trouser, white shirt, and blue blazer, she was wearing a brown scarf around her neck tightly. As if hiding something intentionally.
The intercom beeped. “Maam, your first patient is here. Should I send her in?” the voice on the other side blurted this in one breath.
“Hmmm” Aparajita uttered.
A well-known psychiatrist of Kolkata, she was also a passionate singer. Since her college days, she was popular because of her looks, her melodious voice, and her superb academic skills. Her professors were in awe with her and almost all the eligible guys were after her. She got numerous proposals but, she chose Rajesh. They fell in love gradually and got into a committed relationship.
Her parents were totally against this. She was their only daughter and moreover, they were Bengalis. And Rajesh belonged to UP. However, she was adamant and after getting the degree in hand, she registered her marriage with Rajesh and moved with him, to his place.
The first few months were heaven for her. They lived with Rajesh’s mother. But soon after started her miseries.
“Are you blind? There are so many unwashed dishes in the kitchen sink. The maid didn’t come today and you are going to sleep? Go and wash them first.” It had become a regular taunt from her mom-in-law. Slowly, Rajesh started ignoring her and whenever she would try to tell him about how his mother behaves with her, she would get a thrashing from him. Gradually, she stopped complaining.
“Maam, may I come in?”
Aparajita looked up from the table. Her eyes were blank but she had a smile on her face,
“Sure. Come in dear”
“Thank You. I am Rituparna. An IT professional.”
“That’s great. So, how come you are here?”
“It’s just that. I needed someone to talk to. I am alone in this city. I am married to this odd guy. We are no more compatible with each other. I want a divorce. I go to the office every morning. Come back, cook, feed him and his parents, go to bed, have sex, sleep. And mind you, it’s not love making. It’s just SEX”. She was sweating profusely.
“Oh Ok Ok. Calm down. Have this glass of water and tell me how I can help you dear.”
“My husband and I had a love marriage. But soon after, he started physically abusing me. His parents were too ignorant at first and then his mom started misbehaving with me. I earn 80,000 a month and I have to give it all to my mom-in-law because my husband wants that. He does nothing. He was a photographer. But now, he is out of work. He just doesn’t want to it seems. And I am the sole bread earner now. I want a divorce, doctor. I want a break from all these. I have gone through everything. He beats me, he rapes me every night, and his mom tortures me mentally. I just can’t take all these anymore. I think it should get over now.” By this time, Rituparna was weeping.
“Hmm. You should take a divorce. But first, you need to stay with someone else for a few days. Do you have your parents here? Or a best friend?” Aparajita got up from her chair and sat next to Rituparna.
“My mom and dad are in Guwahati. I was here on my own. I have a few friends.”
“Ok. So, can you stay with your friends for a few days? I have a very good friend who is a marriage lawyer. I will give you her number. Talk to her. And I am giving some light medications. Just have one tablet before dinner. You will get a good night’s sleep with these.” Aparajita assured her.
“Thank you, doctor. Finally, I could say all this to someone. Thanks a lot.”
“It’s OK dear. It’s my duty and my job to make my patients feel better. And whenever you need to talk to someone, come to me.”
Aparajita could relate herself so much with her patient here. But at least, Rituparna had someone to talk to. Aparajita had no one. Not even her parents. Aparajita was surprised with herself. She was going through the same situation but she never thought about listening to her friend Shalini who told her time and again to take a divorce. And now she was telling the same thing to Rituparna.
Isn’t this life? We become too ignorant about ourselves at times. And this is what Aparajita as going through. But now it was finally the time to love herself.
While writing the medicine names on her prescription pad along with the lawyer friend’s number, she went back to her thoughts.
“Apu, why do you tolerate all these? He abuses you verbally and physically. You mom-in-law is so rude all the time. Why don’t you take a divorce?” It was Shalini. Her lawyer friend.
“Are you nuts Shalu? I can’t even think about divorce.”
“But why not? You are a doctor. You are such a talented girl. Why are you wasting your life with them?”
Aparajita stopped writing and looked up. Rituparna was staring at her.
“We girls make ourselves too vulnerable at times and we sacrifice every single thing to be with the man we love, to keep them satisfied, isn’t it? And during all these, we hurt ourselves, our parents and everyone who loves us. But you know what Ritu, this is it!”
Aparajita removed the scarf around her neck.
“See this Ritu. My husband tried to strangle me few days back. I have to hide the mark from the whole world because I do not want anyone to know what kind of a person my husband really is. We, girls, are taught since childhood that it’s our duty to preserve the respect of our husbands and in-laws. But what about us? What about our respects? We should know our worth. We should live for ourselves. We should learn to be happy with ourselves. After all, we are not here to please anyone. Not even our husbands, or for that matter, our in-laws. Don’t you think? Today, while talking to you, I realized that this is it.”
Aparajita took her phone and typed, “I want a divorce. The papers will reach you within a day or two.”
The screen flashed, ‘Message sent to Rajesh’.
Image source: domestic problems by Shutterstock.
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