(As told to Sidharth Bharati)
Ours was a typical arranged marriage
I am suffering. Yet, I live in eternal hope. That is the best way to describe my current state of being. I am a woman. I got married to this gentle psycho ten years ago, and forgot what peace feels like. He was 31 and I was 25 when we got married. It was a usual south Indian arranged marriage, which was held in strict accordance with all the rituals he believed in.
He had bought a flat, paid back all loans, married his sister off and had risen to an important position in his company when we married. Soon, I figured out that his only desire in life was to become a father, which he strongly believed would make his existence complete.
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He was obsessed with a desire for children
A few months after our honeymoon, he began checking with me for pregnancy, and the concern only became an obsession in the months that ensued. Sex became mechanical, and goal-oriented. Even my in-laws did not ask me. He did. Every morning, he made me feel small, and my entire personality reduced to just a uterus that could bear him a child.
Every morning, he made me feel small, and my entire personality reduced to just a uterus that could bear him a child.
I endured it.
I have always been meek, and submissive. To the point of exploitation. I am now reconsidering my life, as I look back at the decade of suffering I have endured and survived. One year after our marriage, he stopped all things romantic, and was only concerned about hearing the ‘good news’ from me. He even made me forget my desire to develop a career for myself, and induced a load of guilt in me, which sent me into a self-cursing, anxious mode of life. I began obsessing too about having a child. Every corner of our home now had pictures of happy toddlers.
Doctors said I am infertile
In the next two years, he became restless, and we visited many specialty hospitals and got ourselves checked. To his dismay and to my distress, the tests indicated my inability to conceive, and pronounced him fit. There began the ugly turn of events. He did not relent, or give up one inch. The next two years were spent in hospital wards trying to artificially get me pregnant (by IVF) and going on a million rounds around his favourite temple deities. The right mix of devotion and science would help, he believed. I played along, for I did not lose hope, as stories of pregnancy miracles kept me motivated.
He began visiting astrologers of all kinds. He distanced himself from the relative who had ‘suggested’ my profile to him for marriage. My husband cursed him with unpalatable words. He began getting abusive with his elderly parents, who were also squarely blamed for getting him married to me – the barren, useless woman. During the next three years, I spent several days bleeding heavily, as I had four miscarriages, and had to come out in tears, on a wheelchair, unable to even walk. Even his sisters visited me and tried to persuade me to leave this man. Probably the long years of trying and the vacuum in my mind deterred me from walking away. I just wanted to try, and still nursed the hope of becoming a mother.
Related reading: What is it like for a married couple not to have kids?
It has made him a monster
He soon distanced himself from all of his kith and kin. He shut the door behind his friends. What surprises me is that he is a consummate professional who is loved by everyone in his office. He has risen up the ranks the hard way, and commands huge respect for his managerial abilities. In stark contrast to this image, he was this monster at home who stopped watching TV or reading the papers, and denied himself all the living pleasures and confined himself in the room with me. Curtains drawn. He would sometime break down and cry. I would nurse him.
Sometime he slaps me hard. And bangs his head on the wall and inflicts pain on himself. Sometime he will sit and meditate. His hatred for his own parents grew to an extreme where he ‘jailed’ them in their rooms, and allowed food only when his mind desired, oblivious to his parents’ several ailments. One day, he beat them hard, and in a fit of rage, went to strangle his mother, hurling expletives at them for having married him to me. The next day, his sister’s family took the parents away, where they live with sorrow and guilt to this day.
Everyone tells me I should sue for abuse
His sister had a baby. He did not even visit. She had another. He refused to even hear the news, and banged the phone down. And locked himself in solitude for days. Every mention of childbirth near his home irked him. Every child who appears on the TV or magazine covers drove him to tears. Everyone advised, but he listened to nobody.
My best friends want me to walk away, and also sue him for domestic abuse. I don’t want to do all that. I want to endure. I’ll wait until either death or the sweet first cry of my child shall fill the room. I do not know if anything is right or wrong. I cannot even fathom the feministic theories, or the myriad domestic abuse laws of the country. Yes, I know that he can be punished, but I do not wish to act. I am living on a thin strand of hope. The strand that has not broken despite all the storms that have ravaged my heart. I hope. I endure. It has been ten years of agony. But, tomorrow may bring good news.