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How the modern Indian educated woman, who is visibly independent on all other fronts, succumbs to domestic violence in the confines of her house.
I am a hard nut to crack. I believed it when my husband got admitted in the hospital with a laceration in his skull, when a head-butt failed to open my skull, but split open his scalp instead. It would have been easier for him to use his fist, had it not been caught by me in time. Yes the right timing, it has its boons.
I coaxed him – he said. And I believe him. I have always believed him. He is one of those people who can convince anyone, with the right play of words, that the scorching yellow Sun is actually a Full Moon. And it is very easy to turn a believer out of me who is so miserably in love with him. Yes, love can be that blind.
I believed him twelve years back when he had made me see that my promising bank career will deprive us of the fruits of a happy married life. I believed him the other day when he explained to me that my face is sagging hopelessly and would look ugly if I tie my hair high.
So today I am in the ward, standing awkwardly with a little stoop so that I can hear him properly as he is lying on bed with his soft head bandaged in soft cotton wool, restricting the movement of his jaw to the desired length. Listening patiently to his accusations that I screwed up his life, his career, his family—I am thinking of the memory of that ‘once-upon-a-time-hug’ that had drowned me once in unspeakable emotions.
I catch the eye of a man sitting five-beds apart. I am sure he must be thinking how lovable we are, a wife fretting over her husband with concern and husband cooling her down. Ha! I bet next he is going to accuse his wife for the lack of required emotions.
Strangely I am not angry with him. I am finding some kind of a satisfaction in the fact that he hit me. May be, this will make him soften towards me, may be it will help me concentrate on one issue and forget about other petty complaints. In fact, I am feeling guilty that my skull was so hard that it cracked his head.
My fingers moved reflexively to caress the egg on the left side of my head, and I praised myself for lifting my head at the right time – otherwise, my poor cheekbone would have taken the impact and the injury marks would have spilled the beans.
Thank god, our secret is safe in my skull, under the covers of my shabby hair. He saw me smile and scorned with loathe, ‘I know you are enjoying this. This was your game plan from the beginning, to cripple me and ruin my career’. I took a deep breath and smiled again.
Reading this if you are thinking that I am some poor, uneducated Indian wife, then I must tell you, in ‘daylight’ I am a different person altogether. I write passionately about Women’s Rights – hold debates over importance of gender equality – participate in torch-light processions at India Gate – counsel my maid on women empowerment when her alcoholic husband poofs up her salary.
I am a highly educated woman, earning a handsome salary and holding a good position in the outside world. I am a modern woman, who is well aware of her surroundings, well aware of her capabilities and well aware of the length of the rope to which she is tethered.
Through this diary-entry (expressed through fictitious characters but real life stories) I am trying to highlight:
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Image Source: flickr
Vartika Sharma Lekhak is a writer based in India. She is the author of the short-story collection – Bra Strap and two anthologies – When Women Speak Up, and The Take Off.
The short-story collection read more...
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