I was born, raised, and married in Mumbai. My whole life is here. I'm 31 years old and I'm a music teacher, and I write sometimes to just feel it all or let it out. Throughout my childhood, I was a depressed kid and music was my only comfort.
I belong to a high-class socialite family. It's a big deal for Mumbai, especially when you are really well-known in your community and you need to stay in the limelight. Mom is a beautiful, brainy socialite. But me- I don't look like her, I'm not smart like her, and I've never been able to live up to anything for her.
I have an elder brother. My mother never wanted a second child but my father insisted. He wanted a daughter because he grew up without sisters. But I came out with a complexion that is not fair enough and a body that is not thin enough. Being in a joint family with a fairer, thinner cousin sister who is all of 3 days older to me, I was never good enough. Not good enough marks in school either. Guests who came to my house not only compared me with my cousin, they compared me to my mother also!
Mom never hugged me or spoke to me warmly. From the time I remember, she never used to let me sleep next to her. I was the child she didn't want and she made that pretty clear.
When I was a 1 year old child, I didn't sleep at night. I would cry all night. Growing up, my mother always cursed me for keeping her awake all night and spoiling her health. Yes, I understand i was an inconvenience to her, but when I was little, I wouldn't understand what was wrong with me or how to change it. So I cried all the time. She even hit me, but something else used to hurt more.
As we grew up, our family split up because there simply wasn't enough space in the house any more. Not having other people to distract her with made my life hell. The only thing that occupied my mother's headspace was my weight. At the age of 17, my mother started putting me on diets. If she got frustrated by the results (or 'not enough' results), it would be a liquid diet. All my college life I was losing and gaining weight like a farm animal.
Finally, at the age of 24, I got married to the person I thought I loved. An ideal guy, I was taught, was well settled, owned property, and gave me my own space. As if nothing else mattered.
I was desperate to get married because I couldn't take the suffocation at home anymore. I wanted to be as far away from my mother as quickly as possible, for my own sanity. As if the weight-watching regimen wasn't enough, she would micromanage everything from the clothes I wear with matching lipstick and nail paint, to my eyebrow threading appointments. Marriage was my great escape.
I was in love with my husband, and honestly, he's a very nice man. Unfortunately, he's not my man.
I thought marriage life would be tolerable with the love of my significant other. My relationship with my in-laws, try as I might, is cordial at best. Earlier in our marriage I thought that the distance I had with his parents was hurting him. That's why he would never be close to me. He lived like a bachelor- not having the depth, intimacy, or even casualness with me. Not being physically intimate with me at the very least.
I would dress up for him, cook for him, surprise him with things. But it never seemed to matter to him. It seemed impossible to ignite any human response from him. Bottom-line, I don't even take or get any financial support from him. I take care of everything at home, earn my own income and at times, get gifts from family.
Five years after we got married, we moved to our own home. I thought this would change his attitude about me a bit. It made things worse. Our home turned into a bachelor pad where his friends got invited over and over again for parties. I started drinking all of a sudden in a desperate attempt to get myself included in what human company I could get. And sex. My God, the sex. Sometimes, it feels like if he thinks of it once in a year, it's an achievement for our marriage.
I want a child but I refuse to have one with a man who can't bring himself to care about another person. But he's not rude or even ill-tempered. He's become somewhat of a friend. But he's just a friend.
I've come to terms with the fact that I'll have to leave him. By now, 75% of my life was about enduring misery from my mother, and in the blink of an eye, 25% has become about putting up with disappointment in my marriage. But if I leave him, nobody will support me. Forget financial support (I'm never going to get a penny from anyone), I won't even get moral support. I have an emotionally challenging journey ahead but I can at least make myself financially independent.
All my focus now is about making sure I can make ends meet, not just for myself, but hopefully for a child also. If I have to be a single parent, so be it. I just want to tell myself, "Don't worry, I've got your back."