“The die is cast, come weal, come woe
Two lives are joined together,
For better or for worse,
the link which naught but death can sever”-Mary Weston
Indeed, a beautiful definition of marriage and a lesson all girls by heart before they step into their new life.
“Be happy beta. Now that is your life, your family.” said Aarti’s father. With these words, she bid good bye to her family and stepped into a new life. She is very happy today though her heart is still aching with pain of leaving her dearest people back home. She is looking heavenly dressed in a crimson red lehnga with golden zari work.
She stepped into her new house with a grand welcome as a ‘greh lakshmi’ as per the custom. After a bit of teasing and fun her sister in law left her in her room. She was damn tired but thought about the proceedings of the day. Hers was a lavish marriage. She enjoyed every moment of it . She was lost into her own dreams when suddenly Vikram entered the room. Vikram her husband software engineer by profession and a smart, handsome and nice person by nature.
Around three months have passed and Vikram broke this good news. He has got an onsite assignment and they both will be shifting to US next month. Theirs was an arrange marriage but in the first few months they complement each other so well that no one can even guess that they are a newly arranged marriage couple. Aarti heard this and hugged Vikram. She might have to leave her job but that’s ok she can search another one easily once they get settled there.
Suddenly, something pricked her finger and she woke up from her sleep in pain to realize it was a dream. That party, that welcome, that love, every happiness and enjoyment was in that dream. She saw two drops of blood on the floor. A small piece of broken plate has pierced her finger. She was lying on the floor. She tried getting up but her body refused to do so. She was bruised all around. There were broken pieces of glass surrounding her. She looked around for some support but shockingly the whole room was vacant. Someone entering in it will wonder whether two souls, a family ever existed there. At this time all she needed was some drops of water to revive and realize that she is still alive. Somehow she managed to drag herself and take the support of the nearby wall opened the tap and drank some water.
She took a deep breath and contemplated what happened last night. All she remembered was her loving husband Vikram came late at night completely drunk and they had an argument after which her beat her ruthlessly and left her on the floor hitting her twice and thinking that she is dead.
This was nothing new. Life changed for her drastically as soon as they came to US. Vikram was no more the same person he used to be during the initial days of her marriage. First few months were beautiful there and they both could have been envy to Romeo and Juliet. But suddenly Vikram became demanding. He used to ask for financial aid from her family. At first Aarti thought it to be normal. They are new to this place. She, though qualified is not having a job in her hand and it is difficult to settle in the unknown land with unknown faces all around. But as days passed his demand kept on increasing, from few thousands to buy necessary stuff for their new house, to cars, to bank loan payments to buying a house.
“We are the angry and the desperate, the hungry, and the cold, we are the ones who kept quiet and always did what we were told.”(Author Unknown)
He has already sold all the jewels her mother gave her on their marriage. All the savings from her previous job and whatever her family has given her were spent by Vikram to arrange things for his business. Aarti was seeing all this and whenever she insisted on finding a new job and helping him he would just shout and ask her to request her dad to send the money.
Aarti initially acted on what Vikarm said but soon she was fed up of his ever increasing demands. She was nowhere seeing Vikram leading a struggler’s life. He was enjoying life to the core, with parties, clubbing and lavish dinners. All the more he started ignoring Aarti and whenever she didn’t fulfill his demand he use to give her a thrashing.
Aarti opposed all this and she discussed this with her mother in law to which she got a cold reply “You are his better half and if you will not help him who else will. His demands are not wrong. Whatever he is doing is for your good only”.
Aarti thought of not telling all this to her parents. She was their only daughter and they will become more tensed after hearing all this. She just believed things will change soon. At times she used to discuss with Vikram but to no avail. She was a slave in her own house. She was not allowed to go out. Her diet was restricted to a glass of water and two chapattis with some gravy in a day. Vikram has started haranguing her. He has taken her pass port and visa too.
She thought all this and wiped the one drop of tear that was trying to find its way from her swollen eye to the dull cheeks. She saw a piece of paper lying on the floor in which a contact number of a NGO working for women’s right was given. She reflected for a second and then stood up. This time she was strong. The agony in her heart was much more than the pain what Vikram’s thrashing has given which has given her the strength to fight back. She limped to the adjacent room and dialed the number and fainted.
After fifteen minutes she opened her eyes and saw herself lying on a stretcher and three ladies around. A smile came to her she was satisfied that she has gained her freedom back. She will be now free from all bondages of silent pain and cries. And above all she wil now be able to stand in front of her own self and will be able to identify Aarti the one she lost the day she got married. With this she closed her eyes again waiting for a better, brighter tomorrow.