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I was just waiting, waiting for him to change, not understanding why he didn’t treat me right, blaming myself, giving more and more. But I realised I was living a lie.
When I sat down to write today, my thoughts drifted to a very dear friend of me. I was thinking what would she write.
We grew up together as we were neighbours. She lived in a joint family and she used to tell me about all the adjustments one has to make while living in a joint family. She was a very timid but a very passionate girl. She had a lot of dreams and she always used to to tell how she would fulfill her dreams when she grew up.
We moved out from that place and I slowly lost touch with her.
I met her few months ago at an entrance examination centre. I had gone there to drop off my son. She recognised me. She just tapped my shoulder, identified herself and gave me a warm hug, while I was completely in shock. Yes, you read it right. I was in shock, because the lady in front of me was a completely different version of my friend. She looked so elegant, so confident, so full of life.
She dragged me to a nearby restaurant. She started talking. She asked me about everyone in my family. When I asked her about her family she said that she had got married as soon as she finished her graduation. She said yes to the marriage because the prospective groom was doing well, she could pursue her dreams without thinking of the finances, and most importantly she looked at it as a chance to move out of her orthodox joint family.
I said, “Wow, I am so glad!” She just smiled and looked away as if she was trying to go back down memory lane.
She said, “You know, that was my first mistake. Most women fall into that trap; to escape from one problem they get into another problem.”
I asked her if everything was alright. She smiled and said, “yes, it is now.”
She continued, “He was not bad, not the hitting kind, but he was not the loving kind either. I thought he would change when kids happen, that was my second and greatest mistake. I realised that he was a selfish, very opinionated, and un-emotional man.
He was very short tempered too. I did not know how to handle him. From the outside, we looked like a very happy family. His views on the bringing up of children were completely different from me. The kids also did not know how and when he would lose his temper. He never scolded when he lost his temper, he just made life difficult by not giving them what they wanted, or telling them how ungrateful they were. According to him everything that went wrong in the house was because of the children and me.
I didn’t have the courage to move out. This was because of my first mistake – you remember, I thought marriage was the easiest way to achieve my dreams. I should have worked harder and got a professional degree instead. I also was worried about my parents and my kids. I thought as kids from a broken family they would have lot of psychological problems.
So, I waited till my elder son finished college and then I moved out.
It was actually very easy. No one asked me why I was doing it, as if everyone knew all the time, and they were just waiting for me to move.
I always believed that holding on and hanging in there were signs of strength, but I realised it takes immense strength to let go.
When my children remember their childhood, I want only for them to remember that their mother gave it her all, even when things seemed hopeless, even when life knocked her down; I want them to remember me as the woman who always got up.
I have never spoken about this to anyone and don’t know why I felt like telling you, and I am not even crying while talking about it. I feel truly healed.
So, This is me.” She concluded.
That evening when I came back home, I was thinking about why we only celebrate women who are achievers, women who break barriers of all kinds. I felt my friend was not in any way less. She is really an inspiration for all those women who silently suffer.
This write up is my ode to her. I am so proud of her.
Image source: a still from the movie English Vinglish
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