It was raining that evening. Stuck in a massive traffic jam of Bangalore, Riya sitting in her newly bought SUV which was barely drifting mocked, “Yeah right I should have thought twice before buying this car..it’s slower than a bullock cart and this mad rush.. ahhh.. Don’t know if the rain is more unpredictable or the people!” It was around 8 P.M. when she had left office to be back home on time but rain and this traffic jam were her roadblocks in literal sense.
The complaining thought was paused by giggle & laughter coming from the adjacent car. Annoyed she looked in the direction from where the sound was coming. There were a bunch of boys & girls dressed in swanky attire and apparently going to a discotheque or a party. There carefree chit-chat and optimism towards life beaming in their eyes, drew Riya through her memory lane to the time she was in college.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay.com
A party freak yet a serious student; so many friends and a love interest, Abhay, to whom she had already married – mentally. She was confident about a bright future personally & professionally. Everything was picture perfect just like a movie’s story.
But then that one day, that one decision she took or rather was compelled to take, gave her life that defining twist.
That day busy with placement activity Riya had received a call from her family; they wanted her back and get married to a boy of their choice. She remembered how she had gathered courage and spoken to her parents about her plans to work and about her love. She also spoke to Abhay to get married soon after college to avoid an arrange marriage. Riya had been a strong girl all her life but this time the luck wasn’t by her side.
Repeated calls from family, the ultimatum given to her were getting on her nerves. To worsen the situation recession had taken a toll on her professional dream. But as they say the thing that you most believe in possesses the greatest potential to hurt you and so became true for Riya also. Love of her life, Abhay, practically ditched her by refusing to get married with her. So calculating the uncertainties she had no other option but to return back and get married.
She still remembered every minute details of the day she had returned to her home. Couple of days later Riya had got married to the London return boy chosen by her family only to realize that her husband, Jai, was a “M.C.P”. Yes this was the lingo she would always make fun with her friends in college but living with one was a totally different cup of tea. Being beaten daily, abused, made to feel like a worthless commodity that too in London – was certainly not she had expected out of this marriage. It was confidence shattering for her.
But when after conceiving also the atrocities on her didn’t stop she had returned with a broken hand and a broken will to live.This way though her parents London dream had come to an end but not without leaving an indelible dark memory in their lives.
Image Courtesy: Stefan Pasch via Flickr
Tears rolled as Riya remembered those painful days of her life and in such dreadful phase of life she had delivered a premature baby. With baby Samaira coming into her life she saw a ray of hope, a reason to live. After divorce she had taken up a rather modest job as compared to her qualification.
Eight years later, today this was the same Riya with a different outlook. A senior manager in a multinational with a fat pay package enough to live a good life. Few days before when she had met a childhood friend, the friend had commented on her saying – “You have changed a lot, you talk so less.” Yes Riya did talk less but it did not bother her much, her priorities had changed in these eight years. Being a caring mother, a hard-working professional and more importantly an independent woman living life on her own terms like a free bird was what defined her.
Seeing the teenagers in party mood though had left her nostalgic but she was not sad. She had carved a small niche in this big world with her darling daughter as her best friend and soul mate.
Earlier during the day, Samaira had called up thrice just to remind her that they had a dinner date planned for the night. With these thoughts in mind and a big smile she rang the bell of her apartment and this time it felt good to be back home.
P.S.: The photographs used here are all ‘silhouettes’; intentionally selected to depict a number of women who have similar life stories. In my opinion they are those unsung achievers who are and can be an inspiration to many other women still coping with an abusive marriage; who are settling with ‘OR’, the ultimatum, and not using their ‘AND’ and living a life of their choice.
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