Monday, November 7, 2016

Women in Current Context

    I am a writer from Bangalore, India. I am currently divorced from my husband and I took to writing soon after I divorced. That situation has made me write this article for people like me.

     I am a post graduate in Electrical Engineering. After a lot of no and yes, after being persuaded into marriage, I had agreed to marry someone not from my city. I had a decent paying job which I quit to move to another city. I had spoken to my ex husband on getting a job soon after I moved to his home. He lived with his parents.

    When I moved to his house, I least expected what he and his parents had in store for me. I worked like a maid, un paid one, at their house. I applied to several jobs. I got a few interviews too. For each job, there was a unhealthy response from my ex husband and his parents.

     The environment suffocated me to the extent when I called it quits. I went and told his mother that I did not like their son and wanted out of marriage. As expected, their response was the typical type. I returned to my house in Bangalore, was not welcomed by my parents, found a job and then started writing.

    The court proceedings and the events that occurred following the divorce deserve a whole set of writing up altogether.

     This provoked me to do this article. I am writing about a few Indian women in my life whom I have known who have born the burden of holding the families together.

    Swaroopa, (name changed for sake of anonymity) is an elderly woman married to a man that she never knew before marriage. Their children have stable jobs and are doing well in their career. Her husband, Rahul is a womanizer. Apart from having affairs with women younger than him(one of them is less than half his age), he is married twice. He also bears children from his second wife. Occasionally, I hear stories from common friends on how Swaroopa went and fought with the second wife. There are times when I go to lunch with Swaroopa and Rahul, and I find Rahul’s second wife’s son is there too. I watch helplessly when I see them. I cannot hate Rahul. He has been my family friend for several years. I watch Swaroopa helplessly deal with emotions with her frail body. A part of me wants to advice Swaroopa to quit that marriage and come with me. I could help her. But I cannot go against the Indian society conditioning of Swaroopa’s upbringing that makes her stick herself out for her husband and her family. How do I help her break out of her shell? I broke mine when mine suffocated my desires and ambitions. At this moment, I can support Swaroopa, but I do not have the money or the emotional bandwidth to be the hero of Swaroopa’s life. Rahul is retired as a Central Government employee and is well to do financially. As though that is not enough, he is well involved in the political scenarios at the local neighborhoods. Those things that I can never boast off.

    Swapna is a friend of mine who married to her college sweetheart after years of courting. I attended their wedding and was very happy to see them together. A recent meeting of mine with Swapna threw forward a blow in my face. I am still trying to reconcile the fact that two people so much in love earlier can hate each other now with the intensity.

   Jayamma works as a house maid near my house. Her husband died a few years back. Once in a while, I catch Jayamma around the corner bush near the building holding a man’s hand, a man I already have seen around. He is the vegetable vendor. I dare not say a word and walk as if I have seen nothing.

   Someday when I gather enough courage to ask, and able to support my decisions, I will ask these women what they did not have in their life that stopped them from leading their lives as themselves. And not go behind men to support them. I do see one advantage of being in a relationship, there is the extra cuddling, care, and warmth. But the amount of dirt that accompanies the relationship in terms of jealousness, hatred, possessiveness, and other negative emotions that start filling the spaces around the relationship, is it worth pursuing a relationship at all?

   I want to tell these other women to stop looking for support. They are already earning for themselves. They don’t need anyone else to fill the empty spaces around them. Until and unless it is someone whom they know that will not break that trust. Until then, there is no need to stick ourselves for these cheap men who derive sadistic pleasure of using women like toys. Big toys for big men, toys that are not robots but humans with emotions and feelings.

   Oh, when will I get men to understand these things.

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