This is not fiction. This is the story of millions of women here and one of them is my dearest friend. This is not a cooked up story and is as real as a piece of flesh in blood and bones! What urged me to write this is the fact that I had a belief that I can somehow drive some sense to her head and make her understand that she is valuable, but I failed bitterly in this! I prided in myself that I can motivate others and let them understand their worth! I had done it many times and had helped many friends. Okay, I’m not here to brag about myself. I hate doing it. But I just couldn’t but feel helpless and out of words with this particular friend of mine.
The Day I Met Her!
We had just shifted to a new flat, away from home, away from the comfort of living with our parents and above all had a tiny three month old baby, my daughter with us. I was not sure whether I will be able to manage everything on my own, especially being a new mom trying to fit pieces together. So, I used to take my kiddo for a stroll in the park below and that is when I saw her first. My neighbours told me she is the caretaker of our flat and is a very strong lady. She is this strong lady who won’t allow any outsider to mess around in flat premises. I was awestruck and stared at her with absolute adoration. I always had this special liking for strong ladies and this lady seemed to be one of them. I quietly watched her from a distance and didn’t go and talk to her. I was a bit of introvert back then and was just getting adjusted to the flat life. Later she came to our flat to collect the monthly maintenance and that is when I talked to her. When I talked to her, I adored her even more as she was this bubbly, full of energy, smart woman anyone would love to be. I was deeply impressed and thought, ‘Oh, I can never be as strong and smart as her!”
We Became Friends!
Soon, we became good friends. She had many friends in the flat and I just had two or three friends and she was one of them. She always had a smile on her face, walked with spring in her steps and wore colourful skirts. She always wore pretty nail-polishes and looked well groomed. My friend told me she does extra skin care everyday and that is why she glows like a pretty flower. She was a great cook too. My friend always used to tell me that she is such a great cook! I was taking my baby steps in cooking and was learning things by trial and error methods. So, when I heard this, I was thinking, “oh! She is so perfect! When will I learn cooking like her?”
Later, my husband got a new job in a new city and we had to shift from this flat and go there. So, we packed all our belongings and it was decided that my husband will first go with our household items in the movers and packers truck and then return back to take us to the new place. I was left at home with my toddler and that is when I realised my folly. I had packed everything and forgot the fact that I had to stay that day here alone with my kid with nothing to cook food! No utensils, no stove, no food! How could I be so foolish? What will I give my hungry kid? My husband is also not here! That is when she called me and asked whether I need something. Usually I decline taking anything from anyone but here my baby was hungry! So, I told her my situation and asked whether she can give something to eat. My baby was too small to eat outside food and I had not given her outside food till then. So, I couldn’t buy anything from outside. Just some steamed bananas will do, I told her. She invited me to her flat and told that we can have food from there. When I reached her flat, she gave us rice and piping hot fish curry. That fish curry was so yummy that the taste is still lingering in my taste buds still now! My baby girl pounced on the fish curry and had a great lunch in the evening. She later gave steamed bananas and some more fish curry for us to have for dinner. Such a loving soul she was! When my husband returned back at night, I gave him the fish curry with rice and he was also all praise for her cooking skills!
New City! New Revealations!
We shifted to the new city, I made many new friends. But still, I always kept in touch with her as I knew she was the only one who made me feel loved when I shifted to a new flat in the beginning. Now I was more experienced and learnt to cook well. I also learnt to manage household and later we had a cute baby boy too. I always used to chat with her about daily matters, food I made, my kids and so on. That is when she started to tell me some unknown things about her life to me. She doesn’t have permission to even step out of her house without her husband’s permission. If she ever dare to do it, he will hit her and scold her! She never got to buy things she love because her husband never gave her money. But she always tried to justify her husband’s actions and tell that it is all her fault. She used to say, I’m not much educated, I don’t have money with me. I have to bear all this for the sake of my son. I have to ensure that he stays happy!
I tried to reason with her. I was pretty confident about my communication skills and my ability to make others understand. But I failed hard in her case. My advices fell on deaf ears. When I tell her, she will say, ” yes, you are right, but I can’t do it!”. I asked her to go for some job. But she told her husband won’t allow. She said since she doesn’t have much education, she can only go for small jobs, like maybe as a play school teacher. But, such small jobs will be insulting for her husband who works in a reputed post in a big company. I told her, it is ok, you try at least once. It will help you.You will have some money to at least buy a dress you like! But, no, she didn’t listen to me. She said her husband will get angry and hit her! Her son also will be unhappy when he sees that. So she won’t ask or go!
This man won’t even care for her when she falls sick. Even when she is sick, she has to cook food for him and her son. Otherwise she will have to see her son starve. Once, her relative was sick and she wanted to go and meet him as he was very old and dying. Still, her husband didn’t allow her to go. Finally, that relative died and she was left with guilt and engulfed in sadness. She had to go alone for the funeral as her busy husband didn’t bother to even go for the funeral.
She tells me that every time her husband hits her, she tells her son, it is her fault! I asked her, do you think your son, a 12 year old boy, not understand what is going on in his house? This boy is the rank holder in his class and is an extremely hard working boy with excellent brains. Still, she expects that her son won’t understand anything and will be happy if she keeps mum! We all are sometimes so wrong when we evaluate our kids. Our kids understand much better than we all believe! It is my personal experience. I have a 5 year old girl and I have been amazed at various occasions seeing how well my girl has interpreted and understood situations. Our kids maybe babies for us. But they are growing up and they have pretty good brains!
She says she is enduring all the pain and insult for her son. She says since she doesn’t not have much education and job, she can only secure her son’s future by being the punching bag for her husband to beat her when and where he please! Recently her husband had been diagnosed with a prostate issue and had to have a surgery. She was crying day and night, praying for him and taking care of him. Still, after surgery, when he was shifted to room, he slapped her in front of her brother when she said something! Can you even imagine it? And, she never minded it and kept praying for her husband’s speedy recovery!
I personally feel this man doesn’t deserve to be loved by her! She keeps on loving him and covering up all his mistakes while he keeps on insulting her, restricting her and hitting her! Guys out there, you are not a man if you keep slapping and abusing your wife! You are not a man if you restrict her dreams and passions!
I tried a million times to make her understand, to drive some sense to her head, but I failed so miserably! I never expected that the smart, lively and beautiful woman I adored to the core was such a meek wife who beared the slaps and abuses of her husband on a daily basis. This treatment by her husband has also badly affected her self confidence. She is now no more the confident woman I knew once! Now she is someone who keeps on telling negative things about her everyday. She keeps on telling, ‘I’m no good! I’m a bad cook! I’m a bad mother, I’m not educated, I’m good for nothing!”
And I try, keep on trying each and every day to boost her up, build her confidence back and make her realise her worth! But I keep on failing each and every day! Still, I will keep trying everyday. I will keep on trying to bring back the smart, beautiful woman whom everyone adores! I just hope I can do it one day!