My story starts with my wedding. The bond which was supposed to be beautiful and trustworthy was the one that left me shattered. I had a conventional arranged marriage. Being the youngest of four siblings and a pampered child in a joint family I had everything that I had wished for. I had a loving grandmother, understanding parents and pleasing relatives.
Life was great until I finished my graduation. Though my parents weren't mentally prepared to get me married, they still considered this proposal. I went with the flow and agreed as I believed that it would make my parents feel proud. I had never let them down. I never had a relationship before as I was way too busy enjoying my life with my friends and concentrating on my studies.
My husband's family spotted me at my college and pursued me for 2 months before my parents reluctantly agreed. All my extended family and relatives assured them that as they (my in-laws) were so adamant on getting their son married to me they would always value me.
I had always seen love blossoming in an arranged marriage, so I thought that same would happen to me. How wrong was I? It started the day after my reception. I was made to sit down and all the dowry given was displayed (basically its value calculated), then started the process of insulting my family. My family was supposed to be shrewd, calculative, stingy (not to forget filling their entire house with my dowry), arrogant.
I was forbidden from maintaining excessive contact with my mother and sisters. My cell phone was taken away and I could only use the landline once a day and this was happening in the year 2013.
My husband resided in Dubai; I bore with all of this thinking that once we start living alone we would understand each other and these issues wouldn't matter. But I was so wrong, the day my husband was leaving for Dubai which was just 12 days after the wedding. I was given an ultimatum that I would be called there only if his mother agreds, which depended on how well I cooked, cleaned and took care of the house.
I continued suffering in silence thinking that probably this would help me earn my husband's love. My sister-in-laws would record my daily activities like a time table and send it to my husband. I was allowed to visit my family just once a month only if I had a strong reason.
Finally my father intervened and my visa arrived. After this even my father was blacklisted. All this time my husband never once made an effort to speak to my family or be cordial with them whereas I was supposed to make my place in the hearts of my in-laws.
I thought going to Dubai I have left everything behind but never did I realise that it was equivalent to going to hell. Every day over there I lived in fear. My husband's mood could never be predicted, he would constantly insult me in front of everybody. Thank god for the lovely neighbour I had and my college friends who kept me sane and alive. I had to Skype call my in-laws three times a day to show them how I kept the house, what I cooked, where we went etc.
My sister-in-laws would call up any time of the day and I was supposed to answer at the first ring, failing of which, my husband would abuse me. I was yelled at for not ironing his clothes, polishing his shoes, keeping his food ready as per his expectations. If I missed any chore, I would have to listen to a stream of abuses regarding not only me but my entire family. Being an engineer by profession I wanted to pursue my career, but my husband always belittled saying that I was good for nothing and lacked confidence to grab a job. To top it all we completed a year of our marriage without giving a heir to the family.
I wasn't allowed to talk to my parents and I would talk to them while my husband was at office but even this was difficult as he called me every hour and I had to pick up the call on the first ring. I was not allowed to use Whatsapp, my Facebook was under his control, all chats with my friends and family were regulated by him. He never bothered giving me a single penny for my expenses saying that it is not safe for ladies to go out alone and he would buy me whatever I wanted, which never happened.
To top it all my parents were expected to pay for my fertility treatment and he refused to undergo any test saying that the problem lies with me. After requesting and literally pleading and begging my in-laws, I was allowed to come to India after 2 years. This happened when my sister realized the extent of my depression and suicidal thoughts.
I was sent to India on the condition that his parents should not find a single reason to complain against me. Coming to India I finally got a chance to stay with my family after 2 years. I overstayed my visit by a few days and when my father went to drop me off at my husband's place I was thrown out of the house with the warning that my life and reputation are now at stake.
My father was threatened with his life saying that if I said sorry and begged at my mother-in-law's feet, they may keep me.
In spite of my family's effort in the 3 years of my marriage to make me realize that I was in an abusive relationship I still wanted to make it work and have a happily ever after. But that day opened my eyes. My father's slumped shoulders gave me more courage than anything else and I finally decided to end it once and for all. I called up my husband and gave him an ultimatum that if he didn't come to India to sort everything out he might as well send me divorce papers. I lodged a police complaint and after receiving the court orders, my husband had the audacity to tell me that I was doing all this because I was characterless and was having an affair. He accused me of not having children so that I could run away. This further motivated me and I realized that the step I had taken was correct.
Though the court case has been going on for the past 2 years (thanks to the Indian judiciary system), I still feel alive and happy. More than I have ever been in the 3 years of my marriage. My family has stood behind me in this tough time and the little angels (my 3 nephews) never let me slip into depression again.
Had it not been for my family's constant support I probably would have killed myself by now. Though I work now, but my self-confidence is still low. I hope I get the justice that I deserve and those beasts suffer their karma.
My spineless husband is now married again, though we are not officially divorced and there is a criminal complaint against him and his family. I just pray and hope that this girl is brave enough (or rather heartless enough) to survive with that man because I still get his emails proclaiming his undying love for me.