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This story is a true confession of a woman whose life was becoming meaningless. “I had married only to show down the boyfriend who forced me into an abortion at the age of 17.”
She never married her husband for love, but one day, his strong words left her in guilty tears.
Like hundreds of thousands of women in my country, I had an arranged marriage. I met my husband just twice before the wedding. Though my contemporary parents encouraged me to go on dinners with him, share conversations on phone, I refused. Even when he called up, a week before the engagement, requesting my company to his friend’s wedding, I cooked up a convoluted story and excused myself. I had no desire of knowing him, spending time with him; I wanted to get married, to whom, it didn’t matter.
He was busy preparing for the party, I woke up to a familiar dampness in between my legs. My heart dropped again, it was yet to grow immune to this accustomed loss. But, I was not the least shocked, I prayed against it day in and day out, but it was destined to happen. I was finally released of the false hope and relentless prayers. While he, oblivious to the recent developments in the bed, was making arrangements to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary, I mourned my fourth miscarriage. His voice echoed, as he spoke to the caterers in the hall, as I rinsed the blood off my body in the washroom. On knowing, he offered to cancel the party, I insisted not to. I wanted to escape the despair, I didn’t want to spend yet another evening curled up on the couch, grieving over another child, the fifth one who was denied life – yes, fifth. I smiled as much as I could, greeted every guest amiably, and was cautious while serving my mother-in-law. But my contrived affectations were too amateur to cheat her seasoned eyes.
“She did it again, didn’t she?” I heard her speaking bitterly to my husband in the next room, assuming I was far enough. He didn’t say a word in response, neither was I expecting anything better from him – I had gathered him as a malleable ‘mamma’s boy’ just in a couple of days into the marriage. “I will give her one more chance, failing which you divorce her and marry a woman who can bless this family with a successor.”
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“It’s too late Maa, you should go home.” that was all he could come up with.
“Why are you driving me out now? So you can sleep with her? What good will it do to sleep with that barren woman anyway?”
“She is my wife, Maa. She deserves to be treated with respect. You make it sound like it’s her fault, but it is she who is suffering one miscarriage after another. I have decided to put an end to her hardships, for once and for all. If it works for her, I am contemplating on adoption. Please save your arguments, I will only seek approval from her. The opinions of the world at large has no bearing on me. And if you should at all be interested in your son’s conjugal life, let me tell you, I don’t make love to my wife to make babies.”
My eyes welled up with tears blurring up my vision. In this blurriness, I could see the man I had married six years ago, devoid of any feelings, love or hate, clearly for the first time. This man whom I had been punishing with my indifference, whom I had married only to show down the boyfriend who forced me into an abortion at the age of 17 and left me humiliated in front of friends, had never questioned my coldness, my fidelity, my medical abnormality. The man whom I didn’t give the time of day, considering him to be a spineless ‘momma’s boy’ stood up defiantly against his mother for me, leaving me ashamed of my presumptions, my past, my prolonged negligence.
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While he combed his hair, I sat on the bed, pretending to read a book, stealing his glances through the mirror, wondering if he had always been this handsome, and cursing my stupidity for not noticing. It was the night of my sixth wedding annfiversary, but a part of me wished I was not married to him already, if only I could be granted a chance to woo him, impress him into loving me, court him for years and marry him again that day. Realizing it was too late, I let myself fall hopelessly in love with a man I had been given away to years ago, through the old fashioned system of arranged marriage. It was an arrangement I truly loathed as a teenager, but I thanked my stars that I landed up with him. Even if the wheel of time agrees to turn itself around, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
This confession was made to Avantika Debnath
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