He was holding my hand the same way I used to hold my dad’s. If you had told me 10 years back that I would be married to a person who is older to me by a decade, I would have laughed hard at you and would have told about my aspiration. But now that is not the case. I am married to my husband for over 7 years now and I was just 18 when we tied our knots. My life has been very much dependent since then. I gave birth to my son when I was 19, yes just a year later. If I hadn’t done that, I would have been taunted by my in-laws. That’s what happens in my village. Girls finish their high school studies, get married, give birth, and survive. And here I am, a 24 year old woman with a 5 year old kid holding my hands walking with me in this long silent road.
We were walking back home from my son’s school. He was telling me what happened in his class, what he did, what homework he had and what not. The road was filled with the stagnant water from the pretty rain we had this morning. The smell of the sand, the cold breeze everything was taking me to my past. I was not listening to most of what my son said. Nostalgia, that’s what I am having. This was the same road I used to walk in with my friends, sometimes riding my cycles with.
During these rainy days, we used to stop by the close by chai shop, and have tea and bujjis and enjoy ourselves. There used to be giggles. We used to wear this blue uniform and our hair used to be plated. I was that girl who didn’t have to think of anything. I didn’t have to think what to cook after reaching home, when to wash the utensils, and when to make my son do the homework etc. I was having an easy breezy time of my life. There were no confusions, no questions, nothing. Every happy moment of my high school will be cherished till eternity. Now, I am no more that school girl. I wasn’t that innocent girl. I can’t go and play in that rain water, even though I would love to that. I can’t have a hot tea with my friends giggling with me, gossiping about different things. Indian house wives shouldn’t do those. They should be graceful, well mannered and quiet. They shouldn’t articulate their feelings much. These were the lessons I have been learning since the day I got married.
“Why don’t girls can still have that freedom and that contentment after marriage?” I have asked my mother. “My mother did it, I did it, and now you are doing it. What is so difficult being a respectful housewife?” she asked me back. I didn’t understand where the respect is and how being someone who you are not is respectful. Aren’t you living a lie? Isn’t that pathetic?
I want to scream to my family how I feel every day, how I miss the old me, how they can help me be happy. But I can’t. If I say anything that they are not willing to here, I will be beaten hard. My scars have too many stories to tell. I can’t live with that pain. I can’t die either. I need to survive for my son. I am that woman who will live her life satisfying other’s needs and expectations and will be hoping that I get used to this life. I really wish my true self doesn’t die in this process. I just entered the house and I can already feel their eyes looking at me wondering when I will start doing my chores. This is my life and I will survive. I guess.
- Oviya BN