We got married six years ago, but I haven’t slept with her ever.
Being from an orthodox Rajasthani family where marrying at the right time is important, under immense family pressure I married Avni. She wanted me and I wanted her too. But, every time I went near her, flashbacks left me mentally tortured. I’d be filled with guilt.
Avni at first hesitated, but as time passed and I still resisted, she started asking questions I couldn’t answer.
“Did you marry me under family pressure? Are you impotent or gay?”
But every time I remained silent and walked away, leaving her in dismay, confusion and emotionally torn up.
One day, however, her patience ended. She stood in front of me with betrayal in her eyes. I had just returned from summing up the day’s business and was tired but there she stood still. She grasped my hands and squeezed. I tugged but she didn’t let go.
Avni took my hands and placed them on her hips. I shivered and pushed her away, “Have you gone out of your mind?”
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“Yes, I’ve gone out of my mind. Do I have a choice? You haven’t touched me since the day of our marriage but you take care of me so much in every other way. We’ve been married for two years and now our families have started asking questions like, ‘When are you planning to have children?’”
Avni took a deep breath and continued, “I don’t have the answers, do you?” I couldn’t meet her eyes, they were filled with questions.
Then slowly I spoke, “I know I’m being unjust and if you want you can leave me. Just file for divorce. Put all the blame on me. I promise I will not contest it. Don’t destroy your life for me.”
“No, I am not going to leave you. I want to know you. Can we start knowing each other? Can we become friends, please?”
Ten years after the tragic incident her words broke the shell I’d built around me and I spoke about it.
It was 10:00 p.m. on my first day of training as an engineer in a metro city.
I rushed to the house where I was staying as a paying guest with four more guys. Today I saw them for the very first time. They warmly welcomed me and offered me drinks. Something however seemed very nasty about their over-friendly nature. One of them slowly bolted the door.
They began to get cosy with me and after a few drinks began bullying me. They forcibly took out my wallet, but unfortunately, there was only Rs 200 in it.
“Sorry, today was the first day of my training and I don’t have more cash with me,” I pleaded.
This made them angry.
One said, “He doesn’t have anything to give us but we have many things to take from him.”
They started hitting me. I tried to save myself but then I gave up. It was then I realized what they wanted to do next. They started sexually assaulting me. No one came to help me. I tried to shout but one of them had forcefully inserted my own shirt into my mouth and was holding a knife near my neck.
They left me helpless on my bed where I lay till the dawn. At the break of dawn I somehow gathered myself and went to the bathroom, stood under the shower and started crying, too afraid to shout. I was afraid and ashamed.
I stayed in the room, restless without sleep. The guys came back and threatened me, assaulted me again. I wanted to go to the police but thought of my family’s reputation. So, I decided to flee and buried this secret deep within my heart. The unseen scars of that incident however became my worst nightmares.
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I felt my knees tremble and was about to fall when Avni helped me to sit down. I cried and she hugged me tight. But, somewhere I felt light as if a huge burden had been lifted from my soul.
Within a few days I was able to share everything with her: my fears, my cause of distress, my reason for running from sex, and she was the one who saw my tears. She stayed with me throughout. She took me to the counsellor and helped me fight my fears.
It took four years to get myself counselled. And tonight my new life begins.
(As told to Joyeeta Talukdar)