There she was, all of 19, separated from husband and with an infant in her arms. The thought of returning to her parents scared her.
She had been married off at 16, just after she had passed her class 10 boards and sent off to a village, where she was expected to lead a domesticated life.
She was born and brought up in the city, where her dad worked as a laborer and her mother as a domestic help.
She was a bright child who had had dreams of her own. But those were crushed once her father fell ill and couldn’t work enough to pay off the load he had taken from his friend in the village.
The wedding was a gala affair which the groom’s father paid for.
Then she was sent off to her in-laws place. First few days were a bliss and passed off like breeze.
Less than a month had passed when her mother in law summoned her. She was taken to the field and was given the demonstration of various works.
And then was asked to work. Initially she did willingly. Later reluctantly. Another several months passed.
She was made to work at fields and at home. She was expected to fulfill her husband’s needs and if she failed in any of her allotted tasks, she would be rebuked and made to work more.
Things didn’t change even when she learnt she was pregnant. Yes, they gave her more food than they did. But work load did not lessen.
They had lent money to her father which they needed to settle. This was the answer she got when one night she broke down and cried in front of in-laws.
That moment she felt a pang of fear, fear of being ruined for life, fear of being stuck in the rut for life.
She brooded over the subject.
She took measures which weren’t particularly nice but then they weren’t nice either.
She let her FEAR BE THE FUEL to her plans for a better life.
She started stealing small amount of money almost daily from her alcoholic husband’s wallet. The husband didn’t seem to care. He was forever in need of cash, anyway. She was saving the entire amount and keeping a tab of the amount she was stealing.
As luck would have it, she gave birth to a girl child. This infuriated the husband and the in-laws.
She was 19 and with a mewling baby is her arms when she learnt that her marriage was called off. They have found another bride for her husband.
Unlike the city folks, they didn’t have a registered wedding. So calling it void was easy for the in-laws.
And truth be told, after a moment of fear and anxiety, she gladly congratulated herself.
Despite the fear of rejection, she came back to her parents with the child. They took her in rather coldly. But she seemed to turn a cold shoulder to their coldness.
She had enough money with her to last her for 3 months without parental support or income.
But she enrolled in a spoken-English class and started taking tuition of small children. Thereby spending wisely and earning as well.
After passing her certified course with flying colours, she took a job at a travel agency as the front desk officer. That was what she during the day and took tuition in the evening.
Her income steadily increased. It not only met her and her daughter’s needs of clothing, food, housing, education, etc. but also her desire for a better life.
It has been 6 years since she came back from the village and today she went to the bank before attending the parent-teacher annual meeting at her daughter’s school.
She owed them money, didn’t she? She smiled to herself while bank transaction took place. She had promised herself she would return every penny once she was comfortably settled.
“Happy Women’s Day”, a watsapp text and photo beeped into her phone. It was her friend at work. The picture was:
Happy Women’s Day 🙂
Women’s Day Special Post.
Image Courtesy: Google