Sakshi, I wish everyone reads this brilliant post of yours and spends some time to reflect on this harsh reality.
I request everyone to first read the above post and then come back to read my thoughts. It touched me somewhere deep inside for the many wounds time has left on the pages of life.
You said it! Our voice and only our voice can stop this show of meaninglessness.
But the truth is while we try to strengthen ourselves and open our mouth to utter those few words, there are hundreds ready to suppress our voice. It definitely is a battle to be fought by this one-man or one-woman army.
A friend’s father expired within 40 days of her marriage. She was extremely attached to her father just like every other daughter. The mother-in-law who now ‘owned‘ this poor girl kept telling her to change her earrings and neck pieces every day, do some light make-up, put kohl in her eyes and wear the best of the dresses available in her wardrobe. All this within the very first week when all the rituals were being carried out. Why so? So that the society does not feel that they (the new owners of her life), don’t keep their bahu properly. I ask would it have been the same if it was the father-in-law who would have died? No. Never.
The same girl’s family (mother, two younger sisters and a teenaged brother) was tortured by none other than their ‘sagi’ (real) maasi (mother’s sister) who was also her chachi (paternal uncle’s wife) for a property that was legally their own.
I do not understand this particular Hindu belief that once you are married, you should have no relationship, nothing to do with those people who have given birth to you, who have brought you up with the same amount of pain and difficulties (or may be more), those who you have grown up with. How about in-laws who make you sign an agreement on a stamp paper on the very first day in their house that you’ll not visit your parents for the rest of your life except on festivals to collect the sagans? They order that the entire salary be handed over to them the very day it is credited to your account. In fact, these are people who keep a tab on your birth control pill strips inside the dustbin in your bedroom, your periods and your salary account much more religiously than you do. How about the families that act like they cannot live without you anymore and treat your people with ek ke saath teen free types of dignity and respect and once they are out of sight, they curse them with tumblers of cuss words and abuses that you would have never heard before? What a vocabulary addition it was! What about the father-in-law who kept telling you not to react as ghar mein klesh ho jaayega while his wife kept cursing you and abusing you all day and all night long? Did those words, ‘tum mere ghar aayi ho, mein tumhari raksha karoonga.” have any meaning at all? Was she really considered as a part of the family ever? If not, why was all that show off required? And then do you expect her to respect you, Mr. FIL? What right do you have to complain that she did not wish you ‘Namaste’ or that she did not stand up or smile when you entered the house?
How about people who come to meet you at the hospital bed when you have just come out of the labour room and then give you those sympathetic looks and say, “Next time, you’ll definitely have a son bachha!”. I have never felt offended the way I did that day and given a chance I would have stepped out of my bed even with all the cannula and the tubes hanging just to punch them on their face and throw them out of my life for eternity.
What about those who give some stupid Babaji ka Vibhuthi or Guruji ka Prasad to be consumed during the third, fourth, fifth or sixth month of pregnancy so that the foetus, whose sex is already determined at the time of the union, will be born as a boy. I sincerely wished that they had not survived to see that child.
And then comes the breast-feeding session right in front of a whole lot of Mamas, Chachas, Taus, Fufajis and the likes. If you dare to ask a question or two or try to excuse yourself, it’ll be considered as the hundred and first sin of Shishupal. Motherhood at display it is. Or may be motherhood at auction. Where is the mother and where is the child? I wonder if the child would have even got a drop of milk as the mother sits being stripped nude with those dozens of pairs of piercing eyes.
Grandpa expired and it was just about 24 hours. His own brother complained that the sambhar was not good enough, the rice was half-cooked and papad did not reach him after multiple requests. Then there was a group that was calculating his assets and how it should be divided among the legal heirs. There were jokes being told, there were gossips shared. Everything except any pain for the loss. It was painful. Deeply painful for a 13-year old granddaughter who was very close to this deceased man.
Why all this drama?
Why can’t people be themselves and let others live in peace?
Why do you have to show off love that is not there, affection that is not there, care that is not there, understanding that is not there?
Be yourself and don’t give those crappy lectures on how much you miss them or love them, when you do not even bother about any of them.
Give us some space.