While I was overseas I had a very good friend, let’s call her Gita*. Yes, she is an Indian by origin and lives with her husband and son in one of the cities that I lived in.
Before I jump over to the main post, I’ll briefly introduce Gita to you. She is around four years elder to me, comes from a North Indian family and is a professional in the same field as me. I have known her for almost 3.5 years. Besides, the most important aspect of her character is, she is very caring, loving and always-ready-to-help-anyone-in-need. I love her for never thinking twice before helping anyone (me included). She is a very friendly, jovial person who has a keen eye for human behaviors and knows how to handle most situations.
The one attribute that keeps me thinking twice before talking to her, she is very social and loves indulging in gossip.
With that kind of outline, I am sure you can imagine well, the overall personality of my friend.
Let’s fast forward to yesterday. After almost three months I logged on to my FB account. Besides the usual updates from my friends, I spotted a personal message from Gita. The last time I had spoken to her was around the time Pari was born. She was curious to know whether I am still in India or have I returned to my home overseas, besides the usual questions about me, Pari and life in general.
I replied saying I was still in India and the result was as expected. She immediately sounded worried for she actually knows that I haven’t returned to my home overseas from over a year. As if I was waiting for that gentle nudge and I jumped on to scribble a semi-detailed e-mail (for I had no guts to give her a call and pour her with whats been going on in the year gone by).
The alarm went off when she read the red word divorce. The outcome was as expected. A frantic phone call to check on me and Pari.
I was in the middle of being prepared for a call as well as worried as to what parts to skip and what to tell. When my mobile buzzed, I took a deep breath to let my brain decide whether I wanted to talk to her right away.I decided to let the call change to a missed call.
I knew, there was no escape and eventually I had to talk to her. All I wanted was a quiet moment to get composed before I spoke to her. The clock ticked past and soon it was another day, today. I couldn’t sleep well last night but woke up with the determination to talk and put the thought of speaking to her behind me.
She knows me well and has met my husband too on a number of occasions, though for very short, casual meet ups. In the initial five minutes, she poured on me her worries about me, my future and why on earth was I trying to risk Pari’s future by messing with my husband.
She then decided to hear my side of the story (though I took care to skim through minute details but when someone touches my emotional cord, I tend to tell the truth in its crudest and naive form). After hearing my bit, she tried her best to control her traditional mind from taking over. Within no-time she started with the age-old advise of, giving things a second chance, going back to my home overseas, try to live the life just for the sake of Pari and many similar things.
I tried to hear it all with a clear mind, not trying to pour on her my piece of mind. She could soon sense I was trying to shift to other topics, like her son, his school holidays etc. Then came the shocker. Gita confessed. Her real sister, about whom I had never heard before, is a divorcee. Gita moved on to tell me, how her (her sister’s) husband and her in-laws had ruined her life. Having seen her sister and her parents suffer as a result of the divorce, she was trying her best to convince me to go back to my husband, just as her family had pushed her sister too. The outcome had been very serious and sad.
The conversation ended after a long talk of over an hour. But, it left me thinking and analyzing. Making me come up with a lot observations.
- Despite the sad state in which Gita’s sister had finally escaped the clutches of her husband and in-laws, she hasn’t stopped pushing women to go back to the hell, from where escape might never be an option.
- The society tries to view women-with-children-trying-to-seek-divorce as selfish people. From Gita’s words I could sense, that according to her if I get mis-treated or abused in any way by my husband in an attempt to give my daughter the company of a father, it’s worth a try.
- People like Gita never fall short of giving free advise to people, trying to fulfill their social responsibility of trying to give some sense to a rebelling wife. They are said to be doing the noble deed of protecting a home and a family from breaking.
- Gita failed to think that before deciding to tell the world that I am thinking on the lines of seeking a divorce, I and my family would have thought of all the pros and cons at least a hundred times.
- I need to learn to hear to the advises people pour on me for free, without being detoured from my determination to seek freedom and justice. After all, kuch to log kahenge…logon ka kaam hai kehna!
- From now on I have made up my mind to not try to make others see my point of view. It’s impossible to describe pain to someone who has never experienced it. The very same way, someone who has had a happy married life cannot imagine the insecurity an unhappy marriage causes.
- It’s no use losing sleep over people who say a lot of things but don’t forget to end with, “agey tumhari kismat”. For I believe, it’s our actions that decides our destiny.
- Don’t let the fear of phone calls ruin your cozy winter evenings and nights.
The song on my mind:
17 thoughts on “That’s what she said…”
Hi! I don’t know what really happened or what you must be feeling but I just want you to know that you are right. Your friend says that you should go back for your child’s sake but I feel you should definitely not go back, FOR YOUR CHILD’S SAKE. No child can have a happy childhood or nice life living in a home bereft of love and understanding. It is better that one happy parent showers affection on the baby rather than two miserable parents living together unhappily for the sake of the baby. No one will benefit from that. Just find your inner strength to go through this period and it too shall pass.
Indeed it’s the inner strength that I need most at this difficult hour, for everyone’s good 🙂
Thank you for the encouraging note Swapna 😀
People like Gita are, what one commenter on my blog once defined as, ‘friends of the marriage’! Only THEY can come up with insane advise because they were never YOUR friends to begin with! Ah! How many such ‘good friends’ have I eliminated from my life and I can tell you I’m none the worse for it. Some where ‘friends of the marriage’ and sadly some where who I thought were ‘my’ friends! These types are just the socially brainwashed automatons whose ‘kick-the-abused-wife-back-into-the-hell-she-came-from’ algorithm gets instantly activated the moment they see any woman (yes, even their sister) not behaving per the ‘Good-Indian-Girl’ program: get-married-and-stay-married-no-matter- what!
Maybe I am mistaken, but do I have a strong suspicion that the real intention behind Gita’s phone call was, not to find out your and Pari’s well-being, but to collect material direct from the horse’s mouth, to indulge afterwards in some gleeful gossip! The least that such people can do is keep their big mouths shut, but sadly they are too thick to understand that!
I got really angry reading this and therefore I admire the way you narrated this without even a trace of rancour!
My take on such ‘friends’:
Thank you for sharing that link. It actually helped me feel lot better, for two minds thinking similar things definitely means they make some sense 🙂
I too actually doubt something similar (like you mentioned, that she was more interested in getting juicy details for gossip. Infact, she had faintly committed to have been approached by my husband sometime back. That too rings a warning bell).
Thank you for always adding to my strength and helping me see things better 😀
*sorry, typo: read some were instead of some where! 🙂
you will meet many people like Geeta…don’t lose your sleep over them…they cannot understand why you chose to divorce your husband….remember none of them and even us have experienced the pain you did..
you are breaking the image of “doormat” women and it is something these people cannot handle…
among all this, I’m glad that your parents are right beside you….Hugs Era
I too think that is the only and the biggest plus point in my favour that I have supportive parents. I wish to be a similar parent for Pari, who’ll be by her side through everything and anything.
I am wondering what kind of friend she is – you shouldn’t be dreading a call from a friend. And you never have to worry abuot a friend gossiping about a personal issue. A friend would NEVER give you advice that she did give you.
I think the people who read your blog know you much better than the people who see in your life as friends. Blogs bring a perspective that normal conversation rarely brings. Agreed, I don’t know your name, I don’t know your face, but through this blog of yours, I have taken a peek at your soul. And believe me when I say I understand your pain as much as a person can, when he/she has experienced second hand.
Love and hugs!
Hugs Nilu….thank you for those comforting words
Nobody else can completely put themselves in your shoes and make your decisions for you. And every advise that people give – nobody will support you through the consequences. Advice is like a stone thrown in the water that causes a ripple. The ripple that proceeds further is not the stone’s responsibility.
Well, the only thing is take your decisions, make your life. And even when you look back, understand that given the circumstances and the person you were that day, that was the best decision you could have taken and you did.
You are very right aurorawonders 😀
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wonderful views 🙂
Hope to hear more from you.
well what can i say , you knwo for sure now how the friend is .. I cant beleive it inspite of her own sister she is asking you to do the same ..
You are better of for the sake of the little one and for your OWN sake too.. to stay away and make a new life
People can behave in more shocking ways than one.
I am working at making my new life 🙂
Thank you Bikram for being there 😀
Just another person with the view of the masses in India. A view that technically is now archaic. You are the one who knows best. And hence, no one else has a right to tell you how to go about your decision or what to change. There appears to be a belief that children from divorced families are going to have problems but you know what? In my line of work, I see so many kids who probably would have been better off had their parents divorced! That way, they don’t witness the massive fights, the dysfunctional relationship and the whole lot that comes with an unhappy marriage. On the other hand, even if kids come from divorced families, if they get the love, support and trust from the single parent, they turn out all right. We are all screwed up in some way or the other. Divorce is not a precursor to that. I found your blog through one of the blogs I frequent and I’m glad I landed here. Take care and good luck with it all…
Thank you PB for sharing your views and observations from your professional life. It helps a lot to get to hear from people who come from different ages,communities and even professional backgrounds 🙂
Welcome here 😀
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