When you think you have seen it all, and feel smug in the false notion that you have created the required roadmaps, in a land where women are dispensable you are least prepared for Act II of what you believed was a one Act play with a doable denouement!
Yesterday I watched little Manoj dance and even gave my self a tiny pat in the back as memories of him flashed in my mind. A phone call brought me back to reality as I was told that Manoj's mom 7 months into a unwanted pregnancy had landed at home with a swollen face and broken lip. The abuser was none other than her husband.
An article I recently read caught my attention as the author stated: 0ften a girl is brainwashed from infancy.. and I guess she is right, but there comes a moment when all the brainwashing and conditioning pales under the ignobility of the abuse suffered. That day the battering of her over abused body was the last straw, and the tears that welled Manoj's mom's sunken and anemic eyes were ones of anger and rage.
The story withheld till now poured out in chilling words, and that story was not just hers but the story of many women in India. She was barely 16, when she was married to this man, by a widowed mother who had the use of only one arm and three younger children to bring up. She had no option but to agree to the road map set for her. The rest is predictable a child before she attains the age of 17, an alcoholic man who is more abuser than husband or father. A weak child who can barely walk or stand at 2, and an unwanted pregnancy that she is forbidden to abort by the one who owns her body and soul all this laced with brutal beatings that dot her life with obsessive regularity. Days where she and her child go hungry, when rent being not paid lead to changing rooms constantly till you find yourself in an airless hole. No home to go back to, no family no friends.
You get a job and you work with a smile so genuine that even the most sensitive does not see your pain. You hide the unwanted pregnancy from fear of losing your job till it shows and you are exposed! You still try and whitewash the abuser as you have been conditioned to do but then all that was possible when there was no love and support around you. But when you see someone is listening your crushed spirit hidden in the deep recesses of your soul decides to break all the carefully built walls and set itself free.
However what are your options in a land where a single woman let alone a single parent is anathema. Where with a small child an an unborn one you have nowhere to go and are not coward enough to end your life.
Manoj's mom is not an individual case, it is the story of many women in a land where in spite of venerating Goddesses we have forgotten the Goddess that lies in the scarred soul of each woman. And I am not talking of poor women only.
We may be able to help Manoj's mom but the question that arises is what do you for the millions others.
Labels: girl child