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: