cannot be measured by the number of children she raises, the amount of household work she does or the size of pay packet she brings home. It is much harder than that.
And I learnt it from someone very close to my heart.
She got married as soon as she got a job in a Government firm. This was way back in early seventies. A free spirit, she won hearts of everyone around through her cheerful demeanor. Despite being in technical sector, she retained her creative side by stitching dresses, knitting sweaters and embroidering wall pieces. And did I tell you that along with all this, she went to Gurudwaras/temples quite religiously and was well versed with their scriptures. She was a great cook as well and I can never forget the tasty treats we had whenever she visited us or we went to her home. She also loved experimenting with recipes (Perhaps that is where I have got my adventurous side from 😉 )
An ideal daughter-in-law one would say.
But her husband and his family thought otherwise.
One day she came to her mother’s home, trying to hide the black marks on her face and yet opening up to her sisters about the torture she had been going through.
For every single day.
For past two years.
Her sisters told their mother, father and three brothers.
Barring the elder brother, everyone wanted her back home with them. I don’t know the reason why but she refused and went back to her husband’s place.
The next year, she gave birth to a cute little boy.
She was never forced to go back to work and yet she did. Perhaps she knew her financial independence was the only concrete support she had.
And the tortures continued. Even increasing in frequency and intensity.
One day, the husband picked up the two month old baby and just tossed him on the ground during a fit of rage. The boy (now almost 31) suffers from serious physical and psychological issues. Perhaps that was what we call the ‘Enough is Enough’ moment for her. She walked out of that house along with her bleeding child, got him hospitalized, informed her parents and decided never to go back to the hell hole.
True to her word, she never did.
Once in her parent’s place, she decided not to be a financial burden and contributed to the household expenses. The multi-tasker that she was, she finished her post graduate and got a good rise in position at work.
But this was not as smooth as it sounds.
A divorcee in late seventies was not a respectable notion – especially if it was a woman. She had to go through tough phases where her character was questioned, lewd gestures by men at work, neighborhood boycotting her and the young boy, and conflicts in her own parental house. And though her parents and sisters stood by her, I can imagine what it must have been for her.
A child who was not normal.
Hostile air in the neighborhood.
No tangible property to her name.
But she made sure that life went on. Soon she moved into her own 600sqft house. Small but her very own. Something which spoke of what she was. She takes a lot of pride in it. And why not? It is symbol of her strength, her struggles and inner conflicts.
(A true story)
This post is my entry in the contest