I was a happy-go-lucky girl. I enjoyed life, liked having fun with my friends. I wasn’t a typical family girl and had my share of crushes and relationships. But I never realized that my father would be so sentimental and stubborn.
I’m Asha, a middle class girl from a Tamil Brahmin family. When I was 24, my father started searching for marriage alliances for me. Things were going fine until suddenly, my cousin sister eloped with a boy from another caste. Being the next girl to be married in the family, everyone’s focus was on me.
Around that time, I got a seat in a good business school and even though all my relatives opposed my further studies, my dad decided to send me. He requested just one thing of me, “Don’t fall in love with anyone”. But by then, I was already in love. I was confused and tried explaining my situation to my father but failed miserably.
I did not have the courage to lose my dad, so I decided to ditch the guy so that he would hate me and that guilt would give me strength to hold myself.
Things went as I’d imagined and there I was, living in my own depressed world, not able to share anything with anyone. My father then decided to get me married. I opposed, I fought but again, I failed due to his emotional blackmail.
The alliance was suddenly confirmed and within 45 days I was married. The groom’s father and mother worked with the State government and he had one married sister. Like every typical sister-in-law, she would compare even the smallest things with me, be it hairpins or nail polish. She even demanded my wedding saris and jewellery! Initially I would just ignore her, but things started getting bad and her sadism reached new peaks. But that was not all.
Within 16 days of my wedding, my husband started beating me. He would abuse me; call me a prostitute! He kept harassing me physically and mentally.
This went on till October. Up until then, I thought that my husband and his sister were the only ones who treated me badly. I thought that the parents would listen to my problems and help me. But I was hit by a big revelation.
I learnt that my mother-in-law was responsible for everything that was happening to me. She was directing every move. She too started harassing me, saying that three months had passed and I hadn’t conceived.
My problems just kept increasing. They even started calling my dad for money and this became a huge family issue. My husband would beat me black and blue, to the extent that I was even admitted to the hospital many times.
Once, I was so badly injured that I needed immediate surgery. Even then their family did not turn up to help or even meet me. My father got my surgery done and brought me home.
After two months, when my father went to drop me to my husband’s house, his parents started a huge fight and said that they didn’t want me there. My father, my uncle, everyone kept asking me why? Did they suspect my character?
My in-laws didn’t doubt my character; they just didn’t want me.
The relations between both the families deteriorated but I kept staying with my in-laws. I consoled myself thinking that this is my fate, because of the mistakes I had made. And now I had to bear it all.
Then one day, I happened to check my husband’s old emails. And that is when I got to know about his real character. He had many hidden affairs and was previously married as well! His family hid everything from us. He used to harass his previous wife too! But their wedding was not registered so he easily left her and she could not even fight back.
I read all their email conversations of over a year, how he trapped her, used her and just left her.
It made me furious and I even thought of fighting but somewhere, I took a step back because of my past.
For six months after that, I continued to stay with my husband and his family. And I got to know many such secrets about them. By then, I had lost all my confidence. I told my dad that I couldn’t stay with them any longer, but he said that I would have to stay there itself. I did not know what to do. I asked him for one last time, “Will you take me from here or should I die?” But my father refused to take me.
I ended up taking sleeping pills and my father had to rush me to the hospital. I was in the ICU for 4 days, fighting for my life.
It's been almost nine months since then. Suddenly last month, my husband came to see me. I failed to understand why he came, after everything his family and he had put me through,
He shamelessly told me that he still hates me, but he is getting older, so he needs a woman in his life.
Now I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do. I have not filed for divorce yet because my father will not be able to digest my decision. But I can't stay with my husband anymore.