The Bleeding Heart
She was running away. How much ever fast she ran the demons that were chasing her never let go. They kept following her. Every day of her life was a battle against the demons. It was a battle of wills; it was a battle to survive. It was strange though, her battles were not known to many people. Or was it that they choose not to see the battle that she was facing?
She was born in a house where everyone is quite modern, except that she is not allowed to wear dresses of her choice, “She cannot tempt others by her dress”. She was not believed when she was sexually abused by a close relative. She still carries those scars in her mind.
She could not fight with her brothers even if she was right as it would earn her mother’s anger,” How can she fight with a boy?”
She could not come in front of the elders in the family when they are leaving for an auspicious ceremony as she is considered unlucky (Her ailing grandfather passed away the year she was born and she was the unlucky person to have caused it).
Where she had a passion to learn was curtailed, as her studying was considered to be a waste of time as any ways she was only going to end up cooking. She could not go out during the day as she would become tanned and no one would like to marry her. She could not go out in the evening alone as she was not capable of protecting herself.
She is allowed to work, as many of the men expect women who are working. She is doing a job that she has no passion for, she could not pursue her higher studies as she cannot be over educated than a normal man. She could not rebel because they were her parents and they called themselves modern.
So with an already scared heart she steps into the filed of marriage, where she is displayed like a doll in bazaar. Her positive and negative qualities are placed in the balance scale and finally after a lot of bargain, the sale is made.
She steps into the relationship with new hopes that things might change. Her husband and in laws are quite modern. It is just that she needs to get her husband’s permission for most of the things. When she boils milk, cuts vegetables, dries the clothes, cleans the house or whatever that she does, her mother in law says, “You should have done it the other way”. Imagine hearing that complaining note day in and day out of your life.
When she attempts to make a special dish, the mother in law says, “My daughter can cook for 20 people in a dish. “ She is always denoted as ”your wife “, to the son. When can she ever become the member of the family? All the important discussions are done when she is not around. Even if they are going to call home and if she picks up the phone, the first words that she hears are, “Where is my son?” “My son is not here to work for you”, then whom can she get help from, the neighbour?
They only want to help her to adapt to the new family just by obliterating her individuality. Is she only a cook, a maid, a birthing machine and some one to satisfy the urges for the son? They don’t need her for all this.
She ran some more, her heart was bleeding. So many words that wounds her, festers and leaves a scar in the mind. Is everyone blind? Don’t they see her struggles? Don’t they see how she is violated through words everyday by people around her?
Her husband compares her with every other female, “See the way she is driving. You cannot even manage our road. Look at the way she dresses.” He is silent when his mother tears his wife to pieces through her words. “Why are you complaining? Is she torturing you?’
Is only physical abuse violence? What about the words that people use?
She fell down and gasped for breath. So many words, so much pain. People were milling around her not noticing her bleeding, may be think that is normal for a woman to be bleeding. She looks around and could identify many women similar to her gasping for breath and bleeding with silent tears. She went near them to give a helping hand.
The “she“is the Indian woman who faces violence at home from her father, mother, brother, husband, mother in law, father in law, children. The violence she faces is psychological rather than physical. Her very identity, belief is stripped down so that she can match the picture of a woman the others have created for her.
We have a hue and cry when we hear about a woman who faces physical violence. What about the women who suffer in silence? Who is ready to wipe those unshed tears and heal the bleeding heart?