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Till Death Do Us Apart

February 14, 2010
We, my wife and I bump into Prem and his wife ever so often during the ‘Parent-Teacher Meets’ in our son’s school.Their daughter and our son are in the same class. I have also run into Prem a few times at the airport as we go plane hopping to different destinations. He works for a MNC as a Chief Operating Officer and during the course of our interactions I understood that he was highly qualified holding a Master’s in Business  Management from a reputed B-School among other equally impressive degrees. Prem came across as an affable person with a good sense of humour. Not so his wife. She wouldn’t even look at us during the meets. I always felt that she was taking snobbery to new heights.
Last week my wife and I had gone to the neighbour-hood super market and who do we encounter? Ms. Snob herself. She smiled at us and I was totally taken aback and didn’t know how to react. I had come to believe that she was incapable of smiling… least at lowly creatures such as us. We managed a weak smile back and went about filling our grocery list. When we came out, Nisha,as her name turned out to be, was waiting for us in the car park. The silence was awkward. She broke the silence and said, “I know how you feel”.”You might think that I was ignoring you at the school meets, but it is not so, I am not allowed to speak to anybody”. And what follows is her story.
She was a working woman when she got married. She gave up her career because her husband didn’t want her to work. A few months into the wedding she realized that he was a pervert, verbally assaulting her at every turn. She couldn’t do anything, without him taking jibes at her. Her in-laws insulted her parents, so much so that they stopped coming to see her. She was not allowed to visit them either. She was beaten up with a hockey stick and whipped with a belt for talking to her father over the telephone. In the course of time she had 2 children, the elder one a son, now in his first year of college away from home in a hostel. The younger one a daughter whom the in-laws are trying to turn against the mother by encouraging her to question her mother’s authority. She fears her daughter would get into bad company with all the money the grand parents are pampering her with. Nisha said that she had contemplated suicide a couple of times but decided against for the sake of her children. Her in-laws are now trying to prove that she is insane, a ground they are preparing for, maybe a divorce. They constantly move things in the house and when she is looking for them in the original place, take them out from somewhere else and  insist that they were never where she was looking for.
I don’t know what she must have gone through-physical and mental abuses-to open out to 2 complete strangers like this. At least she would have felt relieved to get, a very very rare opportunity to talk to somebody. She was confident that she will fight it to the end. We comforted her and said everything would turn out well. It left me wondering what the riches,the wealth and all the degress were worth if one cannot treat another person, wife or not, with dignity. For those of you who think that this is fiction,sadly it is not.
There is something good that has come out of another person’s misfortune, my wife has started thinking that I am not such a bad guy after all. A little eccentric maybe but not definitely bad. ( I thought my wife would delete this while she proof-reads, but she let it pass.)
16 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2010 08:32

    Govind:A post at last! Its strange sometimes when the so-called educated people behave in the way you have described in your post. I am glad that Nisha decided to talk to you about herself.I enjoyed the last part of this post. A nice story for this day as love is not only being mushy and all that jazz but walking together through the various vagaries of life.A lovely Valentine's to you, your wife and your kids.Joy always,Susan

  2. February 14, 2010 12:07

    I have found that many women in our Indian society are treated like this. Hence my total contempt for our so called traditions and all that stuff. Happy marriages are few. I loved my wife and children. So does Govind. And I know at least half a dozen couples who are like us. I wish Nisha peace and happiness in the future. Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.

  3. February 14, 2010 12:49

    Govind, It is very sad! Here is a well-to-do family who can afford to get every thing they want, but still …. Uncle says that it is almost impossible to change the mindset of society in general. I hope the life of Nisha will be better in days to come. Perhaps her children may realise the truth and take remedial actions. All the best to Nisha!

  4. February 14, 2010 14:17

    I wonder how that woman would be feeling everyday with such people around her! People like her husband deserve some tit for tat kind of treatment….shilpa

  5. February 14, 2010 17:07

    This is very common among our people. Appearances are deceptive. There is no difference between the educated and the uneducated when it comes to perversion of mind. This has been going on for centuries, but it has not been possible to change the mindset. If it is an individual who is having mental problem he or she can be cured. But what can we do when the whole society is sick?

  6. February 14, 2010 23:28

    Engayo ketta Kural..S.S.colony itha mathri paala tales..Oru lady dr, repoda wife ava thee kulichathu innum nayapagam irukku,sathsangam ner ethir veedu…Luckily this woman survives…Enna MBA padichu punyiam?

  7. February 15, 2010 11:23

    Moral of the story; We should never judge books by their covers!In matrimony in general and in India in particular, in majority cases, either the wife harasses the husband or the husband harasses the wife and in the process both fail to enjoy togetherness. Best wishes to all couples for a blissful life!

  8. February 15, 2010 16:46

    Looks are deceptive but vibes never lie… my take on first/second/hundreth impressions… Sometimes I feel that the educated are more ruthless and superstitiously cultural or tormenting than people who have nothing to their credits as a degree or a class 1 certificate. Poor woman! I just hope she is successful and her daughter never turns against her ever! Come to think about it, how could people behave like this… beyond me consciously scheming to hurt another, beyond me…An end in true Govind style! Happy Valentine's cya

  9. February 15, 2010 21:54

    @Susan, Your comments are as lovelyasyour posts.@Babuman,Thanks for your wishes@Archana, Yes the children are the only hope.They should have seen what their mother has gone through.@Shilpa, He deserves a painful old age and maybe a lonely one too. Then he will realize the importance of his wife.@ Aparna,Hope for a miracle and suddenly everybody turns goody goody……….sigh.@Anon,….. S.S.Colony…. romba nerungitinga…@Charu somebody said happily married is an oxymoron.:)@Ashes,Well said …. ah finally a fan who has attributed 'a style' to me

  10. February 21, 2010 12:56

    It is the inaction by the wife or her parents that emboldens these criminals. They just leave it at that hoping better days will come. How foolish! Nip it in the bud. If my respected uncle Gaurav had got news that his daughter or his three foster daughters had to suffer like this he would have uprooted the whole gang including the vicious husband and his parents. Timidity begets torture.Learn that.

  11. February 21, 2010 14:31

    Sneha is absolutely right. It is the "ostrich Attitude" displayed by the girl's close relatives that encourages these cruel people. What if she could have gone back to her family and accused her husband and his parents of abusing her? Could not she live without her husband? What if that scum had died in an accident? She would have been a widow, It is not such a bad thing! Her children would have also learned a lesson about life. Now they will grow up as bullies and repeat the same treatment for their spouses in future.

  12. February 23, 2010 14:23

    I agree absolutely with Soumya and Sneha. I know of a few wives like this, suffering in silence for the sake of their families and children. We pride ourselves as a cultured and traditional society. Women were treated as property dependent on parents, husband and children from the old old days. Not so anymore.Marriages should be close and binding but individual space is most important. That is sadly lacking in most marriages. I wish Nisha would take a stance and get on with her life. After all, you only live once!

  13. February 24, 2010 03:40

    Guess next time I see some Grumpy Snobby person I will re-think what I think about them. :). Thank you for sharing. I hope she finds an out before her sanity outs her.

  14. March 4, 2010 14:30

    This is so very very very sad. I have never found an answer why in-laws gang up on a DIL and even try to turn the children against her. I mean what would be the loss if she were loved a little and accommodated in that household?? After all she is part of their family and mother of their grandchildren. And this is not as if it is the behavioral problem of one single person, say the MIL or the husband. This is ganging up of three against one and outrageous behavior. This is much more common than we care to admit though may be not so extreme. :(@Mysoul, never never go by the looks. I myself have faced the situation when fellow school mates thought I was snobbish, when all I was has been an extremely shy girl which they found out much to their surprise some time later! πŸ˜‰

  15. March 17, 2010 20:47

    Sneha, Soumya, Priya, My soul, Shail Thanks.I know I have taken my sweet little time to acknowledge your commments

  16. April 9, 2010 10:38

    Sad. And Horrific. And rather common, too. That is the worst part. Coming from a matriarchal community, we have not really found much evidence in our families, but then again, one never realizes the actual situation does one?I liked the tone of the entire write. Very you, observation, neutral perspective, and the dash of humour at the close. πŸ™‚

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