MONDAYS WITH MAITABI: ARE WE LIVING UNDER A GARB?
This is the only question that I ended up asking myself when I heard her narrate her tale.
The other day in the yoga class, my instructor was a little off the hook. She was pensive. Not talking much. Being reclusive. So much so that her inner turmoil was visible. Clearly. So, once the class ended and everybody left, I put my arms around her and asked, “Kya hua? Why you look so worried today?”
“Madam ghar mein bahut problem hai,” she says, and starts picking up her mat. I keep looking at her as I didn’t want to be too intrusive. And, then she says that her elder sister has come back home from her in-laws. She is in severe depression. She has been in a bad marriage. Her husband or in-laws, even though they don’t beat her, they torture her mentally. So, now she doesn’t want to go back. She said if anyone forces her to go back, she would commit suicide.
I looked away. Totally clueless to what to say. Then I asked if they made a police complaint. She says no, and adds, “Papa bahut simple insaan hai. Yeh sab handle nahi kar payenge. Ab pata nahi kya hoga madam.”
I walked back home in despair that evening.
And, just thought… we talk so much about women empowerment and women emancipation. Does all this hold any true for all the women of those echelons of the society where patriarchy is up and running like a norm. A system, perhaps. I mean whom do we talk through the internet. Probably those who know. Already. And what about millions of girls who are being tortured day in and night in the name of marriage, customs, traditions and rituals.
We have no answer.
Because we in reality, do not reach any of them. We probably reach most of them who already know and are up there fighting for the cause.
I felt miserable. Shaken to the core. Because in the eyes of the girl who was standing in front of me, I saw dread. Dread of being humiliated. Dread of being called up for having a married daughter sitting at home. The dread of parents going through a harrowing time. Dread of a bleak future ahead for her sister.
It is sad. Very very sad.
And, then, as she leaves, she looks into my eyes and says, “Madam mujhe kabhi shadi nahi karni..”
I stare at her. She walks away.
Takes a piece of my broken heart along too.
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