I know that my father Mr Appaji is your client. After going through the counter, I realized that you were the same lawyer who handled his divorce case and had the court grant him the sole custody of a girl child. That child was me. On the basis of that, I feel I have a right to convey certain things to you. If I am not wrong, he got my sole custody promising to protect me and take care of me.
I am sure that he did not tell the court that he would abandon me if I made the smallest mistake and take away all my rights as his daughter.
The counter completely ignores my difficulties and rights. I’m not sure about what you think of the notice sent to my father. However, having been in this profession for so many years, I believe that you are capable of analyzing the probable truth.
I do not care whether I win or lose. There is a far bigger reason for my fight. Since the day the father took my custody, my life has been a roller coaster ride.
The sudden changes in my life without a mother were difficult for me to comprehend and adapt to at that tender age.
Let me share an example here. My father claims that he has given me a good education. But as soon as he got my custody, I was made to leave the convent school where I studied and was enrolled in a Kannada medium school. This was a school run by missionaries for kids from a low economic background. While my elder brother was enrolled in a high-end convent school.
Though there were multiple opportunities to change my school, no one bothered.
To be honest, my teachers (the nuns) in the school cared deeply for me. When I was in class 9, my father decided to relocate to Virajpet. Again, there were multiple options for good schools in the vicinity where we lived but my father enrolled me in the Kannada division of a school. The school had an English division too but I was not sent there for reasons best known to my father. He was well aware of the low quality of education that existed in the school.
If you were to check the history of the school’s past results, you’d see its poor performance. I was the only student in the history of the school to score the highest marks in the Kannada medium. There were no teachers for Science and Maths and I had to study by myself.
Managing the household chores, studying and balancing my emotions was no easy task.
When I requested my stepmother to hire a maid since I was unable to cope with the work, her exact words were, “We shall hire one, after your death.” This is just one of the several painful instances I have had to endure. I had no issues studying in a Kannada medium school. My issue was that my father had access to better options yet he never considered them for me. Had I studied in any other school, I would have topped the state results.
Nevertheless, I always tried to put my pain aside to understand my father’s troubles whereas it should have been vice versa.
When I was in the first year of college, I had no inner wear and no one to help me buy it. When I asked my stepmother, she gave me her used innerwear. Hard to believe, isn't it? Somehow, I traced my mother’s number and requested her to buy it for me. As a girl, I needed certain basic amenities but I was scared to ask for them. Every time I summoned the courage to ask for something, I got an earful.
There were hundreds of such agonizing moments that I was put through. Everybody around me took advantage of the fact that I was defenceless.
No matter how people treated me, there was no one to question them and that made me a soft target.
My father was only concerned about himself and his ego. We hardly spoke to each other and never really shared a normal father-daughter bond. My character was always under a scanner because of my mother. I am proud to say that I have a flawless character.
It's an open challenge to my father that I can prove my clean character through a medical examination if the situation arises.
However, before doing so, I would really like to know what is my father’s definition of a good and a bad character. If talking to a man is being characterless, then every woman should be considered characterless.
There is something called as selfless love that every parent showers on their child. But both my parents are utterly selfish.
All it took was a little mistake for my father to remind me that he had spent 40 thousand rupees to get my custody. Did he bring home his daughter or a slave for his new wife? As per my knowledge, only slaves are reminded of the amount spent on them when they fail to follow instructions. A good, loving parent would never let their child know of their struggles. For them, nothing is more important than their child’s happiness.
That was never the case in my life. It seemed that I had forced my father to bring me into this world. He never tried to understand my mental agonies as a motherless child. It would have been better had I been born as an orphan.
Having both my parents yet living the life of an orphan lead to more emotional and mental trauma.
I want to know which court of law says that a girl child will have to lose her right to live, hope and dream because of her mother’s decisions? Which court of law allows a girl child to be tormented for her mother’s mistakes?
I didn’t have a normal childhood or adulthood. I was constantly under pressure. The pain, the hurt and the frustration, which was building up from the age of six, turned me into a rebel. I was always looking for ways to escape the hurt, mental agony, stress, emotional pain, and humiliation.
I was left with only two options; either to end my life or find a way to escape.
I chose the later. According to my father, it was a huge crime and violation. However, had I not done that, I would have been reduced to nothing but a vague memory. The date he mentioned (the day I parted ways with him) would have become my last day in this world.
Had he taken my custody because he loved me, he would have stood by me through all the ups and downs in my life.
I made several attempts to get in touch with him for all these years but in vain. He can cheat the world by saying that he showered me with love and gave me the best of everything. But he cannot cheat his own conscience. I am sure his heart knows that I am speaking the truth though he refuses to accept it.
Having survived these hardships, I strongly believe that in any divorce case, the girl child should be given to the mother even if her mother has a terrible character. Even if the mother were to kill the child, it's better than leaving her alone.
It’s better to die at once than wake up every day with the thought of killing yourself.
Had my mother been given visitation rights, people around me wouldn't have dared to ill-treat me. Nobody on this earth is perfect. Kids who are blessed with the perfect life and loving parents also make mistakes. Mistakes are a part of growing up.
Did my father think that I was God who would make no mistakes?
Kids who are provided with the perfect life also have shortcomings. Then why can't someone like me have flaws? And I am proud of my flaws. You fall, you get up, you learn; that's life. If my father thinks that I have dishonoured him, then so be it. It is the reason that I am alive today.
I have nothing to say to my father because he proved that I never meant anything to him while I was with him and also when I was away from him.
The irony is that he runs away whenever he sees me and has threatened people not to invite me to any occasions. But he never runs away when he sees his ex-wife nor does he tell people not to invite her to the events that he is invited to. All this while I hoped that my father would realize his share of mistakes and reciprocate my feelings.
Unfortunately, he considers himself to be perfect and expects the world to oblige by his rules.
I’ve waited long enough for him. I have my own psychological struggles due to my bad childhood and teenage years that continue to have their ill effects on my personal life.
I was sexually abused in my own house, not once but twice by two shameless relatives when I was in class 9. It happened because my ignorant father made me sleep in the same room as those sick individuals because he did not want to stay away from his wife for a single night.
He was smart enough to track my whereabouts, not allow me to talk to anybody or get out of the house but didn't he know that a grown-up girl shouldn't be made to sleep with a male relative?
That incident continues to haunt me. I had to deal with it all by myself because I couldn't tell my father or mother though I wanted to. It’s easy to make big promises but my father couldn't protect me inside his own house.
After going through multiple counselling sessions to treat my psychological issues, I realized fighting for justice is the only solution. Winning or losing is secondary. At least, I’ll be glad that I fought for my rights and myself.
And I will not die like a coward.
I was not surprised by the reply to the notice. And I am well aware that he can stoop down to any level to ruin my life after the filing. I am also aware of what to expect ahead.
By mentioning a certain sensitive matter in the counter, once again he has proved that he can never wish anything good for me. That he is the same heartless person I knew. It is proof of the animosity that he has built in his heart for me.
Now, it's time to keep my emotions aside and face the reality.
I don’t know why there is no facility to keep track of children whose parents are divorced. Does the duty of the court end by granting the custody to a particular parent? In cases like mine where the father gets sole custody of the girl child, special rules need to be formed. A couple may get divorced but the parents should never get separated especially when they have a daughter.
The girl child is the first and often, the worst victim of a broken marriage.
Some people may find this story unbelievable and those who have witnessed everything may not come ahead for reasons best known to them. None of it matters because there is someone above all of us who is the sole witness of my life.
My survival is a miracle in itself. And I hope that I get the justice I deserve.