#CelebrateingtheRainbow at the workplace – share your stories of Pride!
Was this what became of her? Would she bring children into this world with a man like that? The bigger question was did she want this life? NO! screamed something from within. She was no weak woman…
Aarti looked at herself in the mirror, her entire face was swollen, bruised and red. The physical abuse her husband had dealt her, created deep wounds, scaring her soul.
Her’s was an arranged marriage, the groom was good looking and rich. The criteria for which he was immediately approved. All her neighbours had praised her luck. “Rani bankar raj karogi tum.” (You’ll be the queen of the house). They had assured her. “Lakhon mein ek dulha mila hai tumhe.” (You’ve got a very good husband). They gushed.
Little did Aarti know that the man she was marrying was a monster in human form. A spoiled little rich brat who wanted his way in everything. Drinking and drugs had been common from the day she walked into his home. And the first advice she received from her MIL, Maya had been, to turn a blind eye to the antics of her son.
“Give him some time, and love him unconditionally, soon you will see the difference in his behaviour.” This was three years ago.
Aarti had nodded in return. The Beauty and the Beast Fairytale had come to her mind. Could it be possible that she could change him into a better man?
She followed her MIL’s advice and loved him with all his flaws, but the more she relented the more aggressive her husband became. In a year’s time, psychological abuse had turned to physical abuse. The occasional beating had become a daily ritual.
And yet Maya’s advice kept coming.
*You are lucky he uses his hands to beat, my husband used to use a belt. You have it easy.
*Keep your mouth shut about this, we have a reputation in society. Women are born to endure. So deal with it!
*It’s just a slap. He still loves you. You know that men have anger issues. Don’t take it to heart.
*At the end of the day, you are a woman, an epitome of sacrifice. Honour your wedding wows.
When Aarti turned to her own mother for help. She was met with kind understanding words, but words were all the support she got. She saw pity and helplessness in her mother’s eyes. “Beta if you leave him and come back, nobody will marry your sisters as they will say that the women in our house cannot handle marriage. Bear with it for a year, I am begging you and then once both your sisters are married you can come home.” She pleaded.
Distraught with her mom and slightly angry at the world and its unfairness she poured her heart out to a friend, and was stunned at the accusation she heard from her. “You have brought this upon yourself Aarti, you should not have been so giving from day one. You should have set your boundaries.”
As she stood facing the mirror, she was ashamed of what she had become. A qualified individual begging for others to help? Did she need people like this in her life? The reflection in the mirror told a different story. The once talkative and fun-loving girl was lost and in her place stood a sad, angry and confused woman. Who looked twice her age, hollow and melancholy.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” she whispered. It was time to get her life back on track.
She knew divorce would be long and messy, she also knew that the people she stood against had enough money to put her in a bad light.
So, she planned her escape meticulously. She hid CCTV cameras in all rooms, recorded every abuse, every advice and every insult. Side by side she saved money, stowed away jewellery, and collected enough to start her life afresh.
She stood in front of the same mirror with a dangerous grin on her face. It was time…
Once her husband entered the room, and started his usual routine, Aarti was prepared this time. She took a nearby chair and flung it at the drunk man with all her might.
In his drunken stupor, he crashed to the floor, barely understanding what was happening. She walked up and kicked him hard in the balls. He howled in pain.
“This is for all the beatings you have given me,” she screamed and kicked again. “For every scar on my body and soul,” she yelled. She felt possessed and liberated all at once.
Maya came rushing to the scene hearing the screams and cries of her son. But one look at Aarti made her stop in her tracks. If goddess Kali was in the flesh, then Maya knew that she was in divine presence. A terror-filled cry escaped her lips.
Aarti walked towards her mother in law who took a step back. “Where were you all these years, when I screamed in pain? Why didn’t you come to my rescue?” She asked with a sardonic smile on her face.
“I am leaving your son. I curse the day I met him and you. I have collected enough evidence to put you both behind bars and discredit you in society. If you try to come after me, I will leak the videos of today’s scene and the episodes that happened in the past few months. From the content these videos hold, they will go viral in no time. Won’t it be amazing, if the world watches your son being beaten by a woman? Sweet revenge for the years I endured?” She spat.
“Kisi ko muh dikhane ke layakh nahi chodungi,” (You won’t be able to face the world if I do this), she whispered in her mother in law’s ear, Maya shuddered in response.
“I have left a copy of the tape just to make sure you know what you’re dealing with,” Aarti informed her.
Maya somehow found her voice, “you can’t do this…,” she whispered.
Aarti didn’t allow her to finish her sentence, “It’s your and your husband’s fault that your son has no respect for women, you never taught him that. It’s your fault that you made him believe that abusing a woman is acceptable behaviour. It’s you who has created this monster.” She pointed at her soon to be ex-husband who had passed out on the floor.
“Women in abusive relationships raise kids who later on, turn abusive themselves!” Aarti screeched.
“How dare you speak to your mother in law this way!” Maya yelled and ambled forward to slap her DIL.
A loud slap resonated in the room, Maya held her stinging cheek as she crashed to the floor. Shocked at what just happened. When had her docile gullible daughter in law turned into a witch!
“Besides mummiji, you should be happy I used my hand, not a belt.”
Saying that Aarti picked up her few belongings and the small treasure she had collected and walked out the door to a brighter and more respectful future!
Author’s Note: Over 2,300 domestic violence complaints were filed with the National Commission for Women between January and May in 2021, the highest for any year since 2000. (link).
Govt helpline receives 92000 calls on abuse and violence in 11 days. (Statewise women helpline numbers.)
‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a Fairytale. Reality: Once a beast always a beast. Kutte ki dum tedhi ki tedhi hi rahegi. (Translated: a dog’s tail always remains curved.) So to all those ladies who are second-guessing their relationship with their spouses. Seek help from the right sources, there are a lot of NGOs that you can reach out to. Sharing a link of the same. Be your knight in shining armor.
Dentist by day, Writer by night. There are a million stories that need to be told, smiles to be achieved, tears to be shared. Lives to be touched and justice to be served. I wanna read more...
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