Wrong Choice? #writebravely

Hello and welcome to my blog.

I am participating in the #writebravely #writetribeproblogger October 2017 challenge. The story I am attempting to write is not about just one ‘Asha’, but many like her in our society. The trauma and heartbreak her parents go through has been experienced by many more such helpless parents. This story highlights the issue of dowry demands and domestic violence in our society. Today’s post is part six of the story.

Today’s prompt is a quote from Brené Brown: You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.

Links to the first five parts of the story are given below. Do read these before reading today’s story as it is a continuation. Don’t miss out on crucial twists and turns of the story.

Part 1 Pattern

Part 2 Nostalgic

Part 3 Terminal

Part 4 Bated Breath

Part 5 Disobedience

Uma sat reading the newspaper. Pankaj Udhas’s soulful ghazals were playing softly in the background. The doorbell rang just when her favorite ghazal started playing and she walked to the door reluctantly, this was her Me-time.

She visibly brightened up on seeing her friend, Madhu, standing outside. Madhu’s daughter, Shama, was seven years older than Asha and had studied in the same school as her. Shama had moved out of their building to go live in a paying guest accommodation closer to the airport after she’d joined the ground staff of ‘FlySmart’ airline at Delhi airport.

Mrs. Madhu Kapoor is always smiling cheerful and happy-go-lucky kind of person; unconcerned about the sniggering and gossiping going on behind her back. She is proud of her daughter’s accomplishments and happy for her. Her daughter has risen to the rank of the Base manager of ‘FlySmart’ at Delhi airport. Shama is 40 and single; happy with her life and enjoying her job. Mrs. Kapoor visits her every week and spends a couple of days at her place. Today she looked worried and anxious; Uma thought something had happened to Shama.

‘Madhu!  What happened? Why are you looking so disturbed? Is Shama okay?’

‘Shama is fine. She just got a promotion and a hefty raise. She is thinking of buying a house at Dwarka, close to the airport.’

‘Then why do you look so glum? Let me try to cheer you up with my special adrak (ginger) tea.’

‘I don’t know how to tell you this.…’

‘You are beginning to worry me now. Spit it out, Madhu. What’s eating you up?’

‘A girl from Shama’s airline mentioned a dispute that happened near her house.’

 I’m sorry to hear about it but what has that got to do with me?’

‘Shama knows for a fact that this girl lives in Asha’s Lane and she mentioned a man named Vilas. He was the main accused in this incident.’

‘No! She must be mistaken. I spoke to Asha an hour back and all was okay with her. When did this incident take place?’

‘Last night, at around midnight.’

‘Then she is surely mistaken. It must have been some other person.’

‘I’m sorry, Uma. When I heard that a man named Vilas was involved in the case I thought it was Asha’s husband. Please forgive me.’

‘Why? You had my best interests at heart. I know how much you hate gossiping. Thank you for looking out for me and my family. Let’s make that tea now.’

 Uma called up Asha immediately after Madhu left.  Asha picked up the phone after 5 to 6 rings.

‘Hello ma.’

‘Hello beta. How are you?’

 ‘Ma, we spoke today morning. Have you forgotten? I’m the same, good.’

‘Thank God! That Madhu aunty of yours scared me.’

‘Why, what did she say?’

‘Her daughter’s friend heard about a domestic dispute in your lane and she hinted it was you. And that Vilas was involved in it.’

‘So silly! Ma, I was getting dressed to go for a movie with Vilas. He will be home soon and if I am not ready, he will sulk.’

‘Go,go, get ready. Enjoy your movie. You can do all this only till your baby comes, then you will be stuck in the house for a long time.’

‘Okay. Bye-bye, love you.’

‘Love you too, beta. God bless.’

Vilas loosened his innocent looking but punishing grip on Asha’s arm only after she had disconnected the call.

‘Why did your mother call up twice today? Tell her once a day is enough.’

‘Sorry, I will tell her tomorrow. She just misses me a lot that’s all.’

‘I could send you to your parents place for a few days? Is that what you want?’

‘No! I’m happy here. This is my home now.’

‘Good girl! Now run down to the kitchen and get me some tea and snacks.’

Asha hurried out of her room; she was worried Vilas might create a scene because of her mother’s call. As she prepared tea for her husband she reasoned with herself

‘Keeping quiet is better than raising my voice. He gets angry if I stand up to him. It is better to give in to his unreasonable demands. At least my parents sleep easy thinking I am happy and spending all their life’s savings on my marriage was worth it. Rocking the boat isn’t an option for me. It’s a price I’ve to pay for staying married, however unhappily.’

Or was it?

Should she have chosen courage?

Let me know in the comments section.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge

By Sulekha Rawat

33 thoughts on “Wrong Choice? #writebravely

  1. It pains me to see educated, career-oriented women cowering, in fear of their husbands/the men in their lives! Why did she have to keep mum? How long will she keep mum, should be the question actually.
    She ought to gather every ounce of courage she has and show the man his place. Enough is enough! I hope Asha’s story has a happy ending, then even if she has to live alone…I am sure she will be a happier woman alone than married.

    Great going, Sulekha! I really got wired up today! Your story really makes the reader sit up and ponder over such matters – matters that are mostly other people’s problems.

    1. Shilpa, I wish every woman had a choice in how to live her life but sadly many don’t. Some don’t out of fear, others out of duty to the family and some due to the financial and social issues. Until the men are educated enough to say no to dowry and an even bigger no to hitting their wives, things will remain bleak. We can help by writing about these issues, providing legal solutions and just by letting them know that we are listening if they want to talk. It will take time but things will change. Thanks for getting wired up, we need more people to do that.

  2. I think, most of the girls think the same way as Asha did initially unless there is friend who understands her situation and mentions that domestic violence is not normal and there is a very less chance to be hopeful.

  3. Good people with a good heart and good intentions always think like Asha did. Why stand up and cause more fight, why not keep quiet and keep the peace. But sooner or later it backfires. I always tell that in a marriage you have to set expectations from day one. The more you keep quiet, the more it will be expected from you. I loved the narration, Sulekha.

    1. True that, Vinitha. Good people suffer at the hands of bad ones. My story is a humble attempt to bring to light some important issues and try and find a solution to the problem by the end of it. Thank you.

  4. Oh no! How much I feel sad for girls who don’t stand up for themselves just cos their parents have spent a lot on their wedding. What they don’t realize is that their life is much more valuable than anything. These girls need a class or two on self respect and that marriage isn’t the end.
    Great post again, Sulekha!

    1. Parul, some can’t and some won’t but the end result is the same. They suffer at the hands of their husbands and in laws, sad reality for some.Social conditioning plays a major role in how they behave. Thanks.

  5. Why? Why? Why? are we women so so so dumb? Why do we make ourselves miserable just to prop up a mirage? I think she should have chosen courage though its far easier to say it than do it! I hope she finds it soon!!

    1. Shalini, I wanted to share a story of someone who wasn’t brave enough to take a stand because there are many like her in our society. Hope her story makes others sit up and take notice.

  6. The first thing that comes to mind is YES, she should have chosen courage. But then I think, how many women we know who go through this and DO NOT choose courage? Because it is just not an easy, natural thing, to choose courage and stand up to abuse.

    1. Rashmi, you said it so well. It is these women who need help in standing up to face their tormentors. Society needs to open its eyes and watch what goes on in it. Each one can be a source of strength for those suffering.

  7. Just caught up on the rest of the story, Sulekha and I am distressed at the inevitable ending. Does this still happen in educated society? It’s terrible and saddening to think about. Where and how do we implement a change? I honestly don’t know. Heartbreaking.

    As a story, though, I am appreciative of the pace you are using. It feels realistic.

    1. Shailaja, you will be surprised! For one, we can list down the steps one can take in such cases. Point them in the right direction, counselling centers and other institutions that help troubled and battered women. Those guilty should be punished without delay.Demand that faster convictions and stringent actions taken when a complaint is filed.Let people in our neighborhood know we are willing to listen and help if someone needs it. Small steps will also make a difference.

  8. So sad that women are forced to compromise with a violent spouse because of some or the other reason. In Asha’s case it is her concern about her parents. I think it’s parents responsibility that they make their daughter understand that nothing is important than their own well-being. I’m just shaking my head here and feeling sad for Asha. Nothing seems to be going right for her 🙁

  9. There was a time when I would have blamed her, Sulekha. But now I realize how debilitating fear and duty can be. It’s hard for me to say what I would have done in a similar situation. I do know that we must reach out to others. Perhaps, if women were given pre-marital training for this it might help?

    1. Corinne, I agree. Even the parents need to be educated on the ills of giving dowry as gifts. They aren’t ensuring a happy future for their daughter but a scary one with their demands escalating as their violence when their demands are not met.

  10. This is the worst mistake women ever make. And yet I cannot completely blame her. The thought of shielding your parents from all things unpleasant isn’t unusual. As parents it is our duty to ensure our children confide in us. I feel so terrible for her.

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