When we take our wedding vows or circle the sacred fire, the mind always hopes the person who holds our hand now will do so for the rest of our life.
I want to talk of someone whom I am very close to and who has been an inspiration in how she has dealt with the blows life has dealt her with. She is the most vivacious person I have ever met, the life of every party. What I didn’t know was beneath all those smiles and giggles was a mask she hid from the outside world.
Two years back, we took a trip together to explore a few places and in one of her rare candid moments she told me a story that shakes me up even today as I sit down to write it. It was about a young girl who married young with much fanfare to a guy settled abroad. He was well educated and his parents were educated and well off too. Initially she stayed back with her in-laws due to visa issues and thats when the facade began to crumble. Her in-laws had a sham of a marriage and kept quarreling. They did not believe in engaging a house help and expected her to take care of their huge bungalow. After 2 painful months she flew to UK. Her happiness was short lived, as her mother-in-law constantly called up her son to persuade him ti return to India. They came back home and her life took turn for the worst. The in-laws did not let her leave the home and cut her off from her family and friends. In case her parents called, she was barely allowed to speak. The mother -in-law watched television in the son’s bedroom and made sure the couple had no privacy. All the while, her husband took the middle path and remained the mute spectator. There was no physical violence initially but his mother made sure she got the giant share of her son’s attention and salary. If she ever retaliated to her mother-in-law’s taunts, the fights would become loud and noisy and melodramatic.
One fine day when things got to a point where her in-laws beat her up, she walked out. Her parents who had been asking her to move out since a long time were relieved too. She found a good job and closed a painful chapter forever.
As she finished, I asked her why she waited for 4 years before moving out, she quoted from Shawshank Redemption “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies” Its the same hope that kept me going then when I battled abuse and now as I stare at the great life ahead of me.”
Living through abuse and coming out stronger is not easy. I am so proud of my friend and hope her life is a guiding light to many who are suffering and have suffered like her.