I knew I was going to be late for the meeting even before I woke up from my bed. I had made my alarm to wake me up on time. But I think it bailed on me. It didn’t even utter a sound and I continued my sleep. All through my life, I was a chronic late comer. It is a title that was branded upon me since childhood.
Of all the days in my life, I didn’t want to be late for this. This was the day I was to meet him. The man who crushed my dreams. The man who looked down upon me. The man who was my husband for hardly 9 months. Yes, he ‘was’ my husband. Not anymore. I’m going to meet the man, just because he asked me to.
Life is really a big gamble. You have to be conscious about each of your step.
Once you pass a step, there is no looking back. You will have to bear the consequences. But such an advice is only practical in the case of marriage, only for the wives. Who told that the wives should be the sole sufferer when one’s marriage hit the brakes?
I met him like every other girls who saw their prospective grooms when they call upon your house with their elders. The marriage happened within the space of a few months. Do I know him well? Do I wish to spend my rest of my life with a man I am not really comfortable with? I don’t know. I really was not ready.
My parents were obviously happy. I can’t blame them. For all parents, irrespective of their status and situations, girl children are always a burden, even though they won’t publicly announce that. My folks were happy that their soon would-be-son-in-law is a rich guy with properties in his own name. As if, those are the crucial points that makes a marriage click.
Problems started creeping in my life when I told him that I wanted to continue my job as a writer. Before my marriage, I was working with a reputed newspaper company. At first, the man laughed at me when I mentioned my plan. What was there to laugh? I don’t know. Days later, he found me scribbling something on my notebook. He rushed into the room to tell me that I am a worthless wife. It was really bewildering to see him rage like that.
I asked him meekly what did I do. He was still fuming. Then he went on to give me a lecture about the role and responsibilities of a wife in a family. I asked him plainly that in order to make him happy, should I ignore my dreams and desires. He dashed out of the room without uttering a single word. I knew then that a crack has been made in our relationship.
The next morning, he was sweet to me. He wished me good morning and kissed my forehead. I felt that all this was mere farce to make up for last day and that he was really pissed at me. After putting up a smile and waving at him when he left for work, I decided to put my pen to the paper. But I couldn’t find my notebook at the table or anywhere. After hours of futile search, it hit me.
My loving husband must have hid it. I felt like strangling him. I figured that he must be a psycho. I wasted my time in the kitchen making food that he loved. When dawn came, along came the man. When he entered the house, I swear that I saw a smug on his face. When he saw that I had made him food, he merely muttered, “This is what a wife should do.” I was actually shocked at his comment.
Days went like that. On my birthday my brother gifted me a laptop. He kept a card inside the packet, which said, “To the girl who love words.” I had a gala time with it. Obviously, the man didn’t like me staring at the screen. I tried to make peace between us. I used the laptop only after he left the house. Ever since that birthday and that gift, I never saw him smiling at me.
So one night when he came home late and saw me with the laptop, all hell must have broken loose. He rushed to me and snatched the laptop from my lap and threw it to the floor. With a huge sound, the laptop was now left in pieces. Shocked, I looked at his face and saw him red with anger. “What is your problem?” I asked him staring at his face. He too stared back at me. He slapped me hard on my face and replied, “You are my problem.” He hit me twice more and left the room.
As usual, the next day I packed my bags and left for my home. The swellings and bruises were still visible on my face. I didn’t want to hide it. I wanted the whole world to see what this man did to me. When I reached home alone, my parents presumed something must me wrong. For the next few days, I was the talk of the town, with almost all of my relatives, taking their time to visit and advise me to go back to him.
They told me that it was the duty of a wife to be content with the one you have. I had decided what to do next. The man never called me; he never came to my house. He might have thought that like all those hapless girls who return to their husbands, I too will do that.
My parents and brother stood by me. That was enough for me to file for divorce. Soon, calls came from the man’s family. Still, he didn’t call me. When the date for the hearing was fast approaching, one day, he called me. I was surprised. He told me to meet him for a coffee. I told yes, because I wanted an informal, real closure.
He has not changed much. He still looked like a man every girl would love to marry. The coffee shop was secluded with barely two or three customers. I was relieved for this seclusion. He started talking. He talked about how much he missed me, how much he wanted me to come back in his life.
Strangely, it struck a chord in my heart. He told me that we would have been perfect. I smiled at him and told him that of course we would have been perfect, had you let me write. He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “How could I? A wife is supposed to be living for husband. She have to take care of the family first. Writing is not a good thing for a wife.”
For a while, I couldn’t believe that I was sitting there with him, the man who crushed my dreams, who stopped me from becoming something. I smiled and said, “You haven’t changed.” I drank the coffee we had ordered and left my share of the price and walked away. I really wanted to get away from him. I can now imagine his face now all confused and angry.
Surely, men being educated is not going to change anything in this world. Only when they decide to keep away from their chauvinist ideals that they receive respect and love from their spouses. Walking away from him, I felt a splurge of independence.
I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel.