He Left The Country And I'm Here Fighting The Slow Battle Of Justice

Anonymous Anonymous in Culture Shock on 3 December, 2017

I was around 16 years old when I started earning money and I had a plan in life, falling in love was part of it, too. I started working towards my plan, very early in life as I believed that, my life is my responsibility. Many years later, I married a Brahmin Iyengar (a vegetarian) after quite a lot of objections, primarily from his side of the family, and his mother. They said that our horoscopes don’t match, and I won’t ‘fit’ into their family. However, A (let’s call him that) was supportive so I assumed he would stand by me through thick and thin. We continued to date, and he brought up the topic repeatedly with his parents and somehow convinced them to talk to me and agree to our relationship. The marriage ceremony that A and I had wanted and initially agreed upon was a simple temple wedding and a nice reception with near and dear ones. As discussion gathered steam, they wanted to do things the Iyengar traditional way. And before I knew it, I was running around to arrange money for a traditional wedding. Even after me constantly agreeing to everything, I could not arrange for silverware. I said that I will borrow it for now. Without my knowledge, my mother-in-law asked my uncles and they obliged just to keep the marriage from calling off. So they arranged for silverware in the last minute, on the day before the wedding.

I became pregnant soon as my husband and mother-in-law wanted to “prove” the world that he is potent, because some members in his family are impotent.

With such a low income, rented house, and not knowing each other too well, yet, and not having adjusted to my new role, I was going to become a mother in nine months. However, my dad, upon hearing the news was extremely happy, so I kept quiet. My dad was a throat cancer patient, and he died in June.

One evening, within 10 days of his death, while I was upset, sitting and sulking by the window, my husband interrupted my thoughts by pinching me badly only because I was crying on a Friday, it was considered inauspicious. Also, I was apparently disturbing his sleep. More so, because I called my girlfriend to get some solace as my husband was too tired to ask about how my day was.

I went to the US soon after that. One evening, after my return, my husband and I had an argument and we were not on talking terms. My mother-in-law asked why we both were arguing over silly matters and being the woman, I should keep A happy in every way. So as soon as I told her “don’t interfere with our issues”, she went on to tell A that I told her to get out of the house.

So, he pushed me against the kitchen wall, pressed my neck, called me worthless and asked me for divorce.

Up until my 8th month of pregnancy, I was suffering from weakness and nausea, but my husband and mother-in-law thought it was okay for a woman to work, and would never let me sleep or rest. I was constantly taunted with things like how 'lazy' I am. They assumed that I’m pretending to be sick. They didn’t want me to gain excess weight, and I had to be active, especially doing household chores. During the early part of my 3rd trimester, finally, the doctor advised me to rest and asked for eggs to be included in the diet.

After child birth, I was asked to come back home from my maternal home within 3 months as I would have to get back to work.

I agreed and then got busy with work while trying to handle a newborn. I had to adopt the olden day style at my mother-in-law’s place as she was against diapers. I didn’t have enough to pay for a maid and they insisted that I wash all my child’s nappies and breastfeed, prepare breakfast, then leave him, to work. A was doing night shifts and he would rarely call to ask how I was doing. On the other hand, my mother-in-law would fill his ears with what I did all day and she would say things like, I didn’t do any work around the house, other than taking care of the kid ever since I came back. As I was into sales, on some evenings I had to take calls, which bothered her so she complained that I’m not an ideal mother and she gets exhausted after taking care of the child, all day. A asked me to divorce him if I could not manage. So, I tried convincing him to get a maid to help around, however, money was his only concern. Though, I was also contributing towards the household.

So, I decided to leave my job and take up another, less stressful one.

As I had only a 3-month long maternity leave, I had to get back. Leaving the job was not an option with our low income, kid and big dreams. A’s money was sufficient to run the family and though I contributed financially (towards the saving for our dreams), I didn’t want to ask him for my basic needs and burden him further. More so, I knew that leaving a job will make me go backward, and I would have to start from scratch to get hired, in a decent job position with an ample salary.

For the above reason, they labeled me as ‘career-oriented’ and not a ‘family type’. They said that I don’t know household chores or cooking at all, that I’m a dirty, lazy person.

Because of this constant mental harassment making me upset, I left my kid and went off to my mom’s home for a day. So, I was told that I’m not a mother, A wanted a divorce and I had to leave my kid with them. A relative came from abroad and the same day I had a team outing. So, I wanted to escape that, lied and went off. So, that day A asked me for a divorce again. My mother-in-law always cooked small portions, enough for her and her son only. Her only focus was her son eating well, as the poor ‘darling’ did night shifts. She was never bothered that I was a breastfeeding mother and I needed some more food. If I made some more, it wasn’t to their taste, or I made excess and they were not in the ‘mood’ to eat it, or I would hear something like, ‘she makes food for herself only’. So, I complained to my friends about what a ‘b***h’ my mother-in-law was and how pampered A was. Coincidentally, the same night I caught my husband messaging a woman, and inviting her home when none of us was there. So, when I confronted him on that, he pulled my phone out, and read through my messages and then he slapped me 12 times while I held my few months old child, in my hand.

Then, he made me fall at his mother’s feet to apologize for calling her a ‘b***h’. She agreed that I deserved it and said that it’s okay to allow some beating when children don’t obey. So, in the next couple of days, he made me feel guilty and asked for divorce because I’m not his kind of woman.

When my mother-in-law, once during an argument tried to fall at my feet, to stop me from arguing, I stopped her. That was ‘masala-fried’ and catapulted to me like this, I was “trying to push her and kill her”. So, when A got the wind of this, he spat on me, took my thaali, kicked me, then pushed me against the wall by pressing my neck, and dragged me into the bedroom and slapped me. Mr. A started a composting hobby, his mother would chop all veggie wastes and give it for his compost. One holiday, she asked me to do it. So, as I was enjoying the lazy Sunday with child and A, I finally got to it by evening. Mother-in-law entered and called me lazy, then threw the remote at me.

I was tempted to give her one tight slap, but I have always controlled my temper. Instead I just walked away from the scene.

Due to these constant harassments and feeling left out of all family discussions and decisions, I decided to leave. But, I held on as my kid does need a family with a father and mother. I did not want to uproot her from her home. However, in January 2017, when my kid dropped milk and A beat her up, I said to myself, I can take this no more. So, I kept quiet till her school completed and walked out on 1st April, 2017. An American MNC that provides IT services, including digital, technology, consulting, and operations services, headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey, USA, sends many of its employees abroad for projects. However, seeing relationships constantly breaking, they decided to keep all their employee data confidential and no complaints or stories from families are entertained.

Unless there is a court order, they will not get involved in any employees’ personal matters.

Since, around mid-2016, he started acting funny. His company had granted A, a US L1 visa and he kept lying to me that only after he gets a project, he will apply for the visa. A started suddenly being very actively involved in my daughter’s school happenings. He wanted to pick her up and drop her from school. He went to the extent of trying to befriend my kid’s teachers and other mothers. He kept her medical reports and refused to give it to me for safe-keep as he claimed his office was asking for it. He refused to show me his passport and hid away my daughter’s.

He started insisting to sleep with my daughter and somehow prevented me from sleeping next to her. He started selling off some stuff at home, claiming that he didn’t like it in the first place. He stopped spending time with me and started to take only my kid out.
Author's Note:

Today, he sits enjoying the US weather while our Indian judicial system is working to give me justice as I have no monetary resources to claim my story as true. This is just the beginning. I could write stories on the many incidents and compile a book on the 5 years I have spent in the shitty institution called ‘marriage’, those instances still flash before my eyes like it happened just yesterday!

Editor's Note:

Share this story because it narrates the ugliest reality of our society.