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The first time I talked about this with my husband, he told me that he was already sharing his room with me, which was more than anything he had ever done for an outsider.
Every time a wedding is taking place, you would hear this line in bidaai songs “Doli chadh ke dulhan sasural chali!” (The bride is going to her in-laws’ home). You too might have heard it or some other version of these lines, but it’s always there.
Why doesn’t anyone say that “dulhan ghar chali” (the bride is going home)? When you expect a woman to leave her friends, family and life behind to be with a man she hardly knows, then isn’t it this man’s and his family’s duty to make her feel comfortable?
A girl is expected to give up everything to move in with her husband, while he cannot handle even a small change in his life.
The first time I had talked about this with my husband, he told me that he was already sharing his room with me, and that was more than anything he had ever done for an outsider. Nice word, “outsider.” In a second I went from trying to be his wife to an outsider, a stranger.
That was just a first, after that months went by but the outsider status didn’t change, and even I kept myself away from him and his family on purpose as I wasn’t allowed to get involved in their matters. As the days passed the distance grew, it was clear I was supposed to be mute and just do the work they asked me to do, the way they asked me to do it. Sleep according to them, wake up according to them; basically I was a puppet in their hands, they all pulled the strings and I danced.
My home became my maternal home where I wasn’t allowed to go without their permission. My ‘pillars of strength’, my parents, blamed themselves for fixing my marriage in such a disgusting family and started sinking into depression.
My husband, my ‘life-partner’ was not ready to listen. Oh, but he has a big heart! He said that if I cannot handle it, “I have the option to leave.” He wouldn’t force me to stay, but he would do nothing to make me feel home either.
My habits, hobbies, food, tastes, clothing style, everything was changed. In 5 years they didn’t just take away my home, they took away my identity, my confidence, my trust, my belief in anyone, and most-importantly they took away the hope of a better tomorrow.
In these years I realized that there was no one who could do anything except for me and I had two options,
I thought #1 was easy because how many people could I face outside, and so I followed it. Today I have no feelings, I don’t feel happiness or sadness, there is no pain, no hope, no trust; basically I am just an empty shell with no consciousness. I have now been given a golden cage to live in, thanks to the pandemic.
I can leave, that option has been open from the first day after marriage, but where do I go? Where is a HOME for someone like me? A home where I could be me, the real me, where I could laugh and cry when I like, where I could eat what I like, wear clothes of my choices, be comfortable in my own skin without people pointing out stuff?
I always dreamt of a small house, some flowers hanging in the balcony, a huge hall, a small kitchen with a breakfast counter and some high chairs, but what I have realized now is that all of that doesn’t matter. What matters is happiness; someone living in a hut also can be happy and someone is a golden cage can also be unhappy.
I am still looking for my home sweet home!
Image source: a still from short film Pressure Cooker/ Pocket Films
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