Aparajita is a young, dynamic and successful criminal lawyer. She is married to Prateek, who is a VP in a multinational. She lives in a plush apartment, drives a swanky car, has the latest mobile phone and dines out in the most fancy restaurants other than the many international holidays the couple takes with their adorable 6 years old daughter. She is a role model to many and an example of the new independent strong women we talk about often. Isn't her life like what dreams are made of!!! I thought so too, Appu as I fondly called her was a neighbour and a friend and we would bump into each other every morning as we dropped our little ones at the bus stop. We would share little moments of our lives with each other, in those 10 minutes at the bus stop, before heading home. A precious little bond was formed, so much so that Appu would always say, "Now I know, where to head in a moment of despair". And I would laugh it off thinking such a moment would never be there.....
.......But it came, and jolted me out of my deep slumber. My phone rang in the middle of the night, trying to open my eyes, I look at the screen - APPU. I immediately pick up and before I could muster up the courage to speak anything, a shivering voice said,"Open the door". I sprinted downstairs and opened the door with a jerk. She was standing right there - battered, bruised and breathless. She looked at me and just hugged me, tight, very tight." What happened, where's Prateek, who did this"? I was asking non stop....She looked at me and said "Prateek, who else", I could not believe what I heard, it was as if someone had stabbed me real hard....Prateek, I murmured again. What she told me next swept the floor under my feet. Prateek was having an illicit relationship with his house help for the last 11 years, even before they got married. She came to know of this around 7 years back, when she was pregnant. Prateek had insisted on getting Rupa, the maid at his parent house, to take care of Appu during her pregnancy. She was fine with it as she needed a reliable help and Rupa had been with the family for years, "who better than her", she had thought! But the happiness was short lived as she had caught Prateek and Rupa making out in the study one night, when she came to call her husband as she was feeling little uneasy. Aparajita had fainted and when she regained consciousness, she found herself surrounded by her in-laws. She had pourned her heart out to her mother in law, and the lady had comforted her saying she would talk to Prateek and silenced her by talking about family honour. Even after the birth of Adira, nothing had changed. Prateek and his mistress continued with their liasion, with Rupa going back to Prateek's parental home. Her in-laws were also indifferent to her problems now and cited lame excuses like "Men will be men" or "He is doing everything for you and your daughter, so what 's the problem?". She had also made peace with the fact that Rupa will always be a part of their marital relation. But Prateek's going to meet Rupa every weekend drove her mad and was a reason of their constant arguements and fights.
"Why are you taking all this shit? You are educated and independent, why can't you move out?" I said
Aparajita isn't one of the kind, having worked as a counsellar with an NGO, I had seen all kind of women coming with problems in the marriage - mental tourture, physical abuse, sexual assaults ....and here, we aren't talking about the poor, illiterate and downtrodden women. These were educated, smart, some even working and independent women. What is it that a lot of women remain in the marriage despite violence and abuse.
For the kids - This is the most heard reason of staying in the marriage. Most people are convinced that staying together is best for the kids. It indeed is too! only when the couple is happy together and there is an warm, peaceful environment at home. If the children witness their parents fighting and quarelling all the time, think again about staying together.
Some people say that fighting is an indespensible part of a marriage and all couple do fight. My point is - yes ! all couples fight but fighting all day, everyday is not normal.
Fear - Fear of society is a huge factor why people stay married and miserable. "What will people say", "At least, you have his name so no one will look at you in a bad way", "how will you survive alone" "in our society a woman need a man" are few phrases which are commonly heard
Fear is something we create for ourselves. We are all born alone, so we can survive without one another. Also, we the people make the society, If we try to be empathetic and non judgemental, So will the society be.
Finances - This is a biggest nightmare for the couples going for divorce. Dividing the house and bank balance creates a lot of mess. Also a large number of women give up their career due marriage and kids. It becomes very difficult for them to walk out of marriage inspite of years of abuse.
Low self esteem- You will be surprised to know that most of the domestic abuse victims feel that they were at fault and responsible for their messy unhappy marriage.
Hope- A large number of women believe, "one day it will all be okay". Yes! Hope is one of the leading reasons why women stay trapped in loveless alliances. The reassurances from the partner," I will not do it again", " give me one chance" are some honey coated words often used by men to keep their marriage intact.
Give him a fair chance, try to fix the problem, But if it's beyond repair, there's no point investing your time on it. Just let it go.