I Slept On The Floor On My Wedding Night And It Was Just The Beginning Of My Horrible Married Life

Anonymous Anonymous in Your Story on 5 March, 2017

It's been hardly three months since I got married, but since the night I took the saath pheras I've been regretting my decision every second.

I was 19 years old when I fell in love with him. I was young, naive, free-spirited and absolutely ambitious. I had goals in life, which I eventually gave up for the "sake of the relationship". However, that did not deter my spirit from making a mark. I worked hard for years to earn the name I have today.

However, in every girl's life (irrespective of the fact that she is independent or not, strong or not) comes a point when her family starts looking for a 'suitable groom'. My family did that as well, and that's when I broke the news of being madly in love with this guy, who is a marwadi.

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Marwadi. That word took a lot of convincing. Nearly 11 months until my parents said 'ok' and we were set to get married the following year end.

I come from an extremely liberal family. A family that has encouraged me at every stage in life. A family that has supported me through thick and thin. A family that put no restrictions on me. A family that took care of me like a princess. A liberal, modern, nuclear family.

His is a joint family with 15 people. While I was excited with the thought of being around more people in the days to come, what I did not realise was why every single person I knew was cautioning me against getting married into that family. A conservative marwadi family that projected to be very liberal and open-minded before I entered their house.

Why I began regretting the decision to get married to the guy I dated for nearly six years? The reasons are several. Let me start with what happened on the 'wedding night'. After coming back to his place, I was very politely asked by my in-laws not to sleep with him and instead sleep on the floor.
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I was not even given clothes to change or even cotton to remove my wedding make-up that got smudged with all the crying so the first night after my wedding, I slept alone on the floor in my wedding lehenga in a room without a bathroom.

The next day we left for our honeymoon. After getting back, when my period started, that's when I got to know how 'liberal' they apparently are.

I was restricted from all common areas of the house, asked to sit separately, given different food, and again, asked to sleep on the floor. Because men are Gods and Gods don't sleep next to chumming women. To this I did not oblige, nor did my husband. He was against me sleeping on the floor, so luckily I never slept that way again.

The next incident was when I had to go home for the first time after the wedding (note: home is my parent's place; house is my husband's place). I was ready in a lovely light green saree, jewellery, the mangalsutra, sindoor. As I was going to leave, my father-in-law stops me and asks me to just meet my parents for a "few hours and come back". I was going to stay there for a week. Upset, I reached out to my husband yet again. Who yet again supported me.

A month down the line, I wanted to resume work. And all men in the house, barring my husband and his older brother, were against the idea, because tujhe kya zaroorat hai kaam karne ki? Hum hain na. Again, I needed my husband to support me, which he did. He knew how serious I am about making a career, and I don't do anything for myself.

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For me, my career is my ambition, my passion and my gift to my parents for everything they have done for me. Before the wedding, my parents had made it very clear to my in-laws that I would be working, no matter what. They didn't object then, spoke about how empowering women in the current scenario is important.

The drama started only after the wedding. But being the stubborn person that I am, I decided to take things in from one ear and push them out from the other. And I'm the first woman in their family to actually work outside the house. In how much ever time that I've lived here, there are a few things I realised — the men want the women in the kitchen and in their beds, nowhere else.

Women here are not allowed to give their opinion on any matter that is being discussed, neither are they allowed to interfere in the affairs of their family business. Sleeping beyond 7.00 a.m means I'm breaking norms and I'm looked down upon. The dress code in the house is saree with pallu and whenever I miss taking the pallu on my head, I'm given stares. I forget wearing bangles, and I'm questioned why. I apply a relatively small bindi and I hear things.

There are ten different things on my body to prove to the world that I'm married, not even one on my husband's. And until I got married, I might've worn a saree not more than twice in my life.

Every move of mine gets scrutinised in this house. If I get late by even 10 minutes from work, I get questioned and I'm seen with suspicious eyes. Moreover, they don't even make an effort in understanding my profession. All they understand is their family business.

The worst of all is that women in the house are not even given proper food to eat. I don't remember seeing anyone eat breakfast - the most important meal of the day. They wake up, make tiffins and breakfast for the men. Because men go out and work, earn money for a living. So they deserve the food. Not the women, because they are just maids who work for free and are permanent.

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The 'special food' is made in less quantity for their sons and daughters and, of course, for the men. Not for the women. And by implying 'women,' I mean the daughters-in-law. It's sad because I never went hungry even for a day until now. Now, I skip at least one meal because food is not made for me, the 'bahu'. 

I work for 9 hours in a day and the moment I come back in the evening, I'm asked to immediately join the other women to cook dinner. The men, on the other hand, are first asked to take some rest when they come back from work. They are served food and they are given milk before they hit the bed. My mother-in-law has assumed I don't eat too much, so I'm not given food in decent quantities. I eat well only when I'm home or I'm out.

Things for me have changed so drastically. From being an independent, self-sufficient, strong girl who knew how to take care of her parents and everyone around her, I went straight to being a bonded labour, because I feel nothing better than that. I thought such families were only fictional. Turns out, fiction also takes its inspiration from reality.

From being called gudiya by my mother-in-law, it straight went down to bahu-en toh sirf ghar ka kaam karne ke liye hoti hain a week after the wedding. My father-in-law, who told me I was like his daughter, keeps stopping me from going to my home whenever I plan to.

They don't realise, it's because of my parents I'm in their house right now. It's because of the values and morals my parents taught me that I haven't even given a back-answer to him in every issue that has risen. I have only my husband to share things with and I feel extremely lucky to have him. Had he been a mumma's boy, I think my life would've been ruined. But the only thing my husband would never agree to, would be to live separately, and honestly, I don't even want that because he wants his family around.

I put a smile on my face everyday and go through the day at this house. At work and at night I cry myself to sleep. This is what my life looks like post-marriage.
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I don't regret getting married to the man I love. He supports me at every stage. But I do regret getting married into this house where women are treated nothing less than a piece of shit.

It is in this house that I realised that there's a huge difference between a daughter and daughter-in-law, a difference that I never saw in my family.
Author's Note:

Note: It's not wrong to get married to who you love, go ahead and give it a shot. But please stand up for yourself whenever you need to. Don't be a victim to prejudice and bias. Irrespective of your gender, always support equality.

For men — please support your wife if you think she's right. Don't take sides, I know that can be difficult. But please don't leave her alone either, because she has no one apart from you in your house. She left her family, her dreams behind and she left behind a lot of things you will never be able to comprehend. She left it all for you. So, please make an effort to be there for her.