Satyamev Jayate happens . The daughter watches . I am busy with something in another room. My household help, "S", (who has appeared on this blog very often) is just back from a long break, and is getting things organized in the kitchen, from where she can see the TV, and she is making a much needed decent cup of ginger tea for the three of us. She isn't really watching TV, but glances that way intermittently.
Somewhere during a break, the daughter comes into the room where I am , aghast. Reading stuff in the papers is one thing. Seeing an actual person telling about it is something else.
The story (watch post minute 17.00) of Nishana. The lecturer from Madurai's American College, whose parents acceded to every demand of her in laws, during and after marriage. Money, gold, vehicles, and the oddest demand, cosmetic surgery on her nose. Then her verbal humiliation regarding her looks, from her husband rubbishing her looks in public phone messages. The slow sharp denting of a mind, and how a cheerful girl, whose parents gave her everything that was demanded pre and post marriage, finally killed herself.
"S" came in while I was listening to this shocking story.
"How can parents listen to such nonsense from in laws? " she asked.
And then she was telling me about her own daughter. (S has three sons and one daughter, all adults).
Married off with great celebration to someone who lived in the district next to Mumbai, on some relative's recommendation, it slowly became clear that there were a lot of lies and untruths dotting the landscape of the in-laws.
The boy was supposed to be working in a printing press. He wasn't. He didn't have any job.
The entire family depended on his income. There were days when there was no food for 3-4 days. A case of mixed up and messed up priorities, and parents with a vagabond undisciplined lazy son.
Strangely, there was a TV bought on installments, and the company was threatening to recover the TV if the payments were not made. And so , S's daughter started getting hints of how her folks should come up with ten thousand rupees. Not stopping at commanding the daughter, the family independently communicated this to S.
The brothers were prepared to mobilize things somehow, for their only sister. But the daughter called and conveyed her displeasure with all this and told them to bluntly refuse. S was worried. She herself had been rescued , 30 years ago, from a drunkard, violent, psychotic husband by her parents , and she worried for her daughter's future. S alone was now father and mother to her grownup kids.
The young girl was humiliated, beaten frequently by the husband in a drunken stupor. One day, he beat her, dragged her to the nearby suburban railway station, left her unconscious on the platform, and disappeared. I don't know why no one on the platform questioned him, since our platforms are perennially crowded regardless of time of day.
When she came to, some vegetable vendor ladies were sprinkling water on her face, and trying to revive her. They listened to her story, and one of the ladies took her to her own home to feed her. Accompanied her back to her mother's home, almost 2 hours away by train, late that rainy night, and told everyone what had happened.
A few days later the father-in-law came. With a helpless look and a semblance of an apology. S, who has had the worst kind of marriage and married life herself, thought it over, discussed it with her daughter, and the fellow was given one more chance. In her own case, 30 years ago, no one was apologetic, no one even saw her out when her parents came to take her back home , and there were whispers.
The daughter went back.
Two months later, the beatings and drinking had commenced, and slowly , so did new demands. The daughter sat the family down. In front of her father-in-law, she said she had tolerated a lot, even agreed to give the fellow a second chance, but this was it. She mentioned the name of the intermediary who had suggested this alliance. Telling him this story would expose her in laws. They were wary of that.
She demanded that she be taken back to her mother's place, and she would not be returning. She packed, and left with the father-in-law, came back home, and despite several entreaties, requests and pleadings, her mother and brothers not only refused to send her back, they even initiated divorce proceedings, that documented the fellow's behaviour etc, and saw it to completion.
She has her own name back.
S's daughter has trained in stitching clothes, as a beauticians assistant, and has a daily job in a ladies hostel as a cook now. She contributes to the family kitty, volunteers to look after the nephews/kids when she is free, and S, is currently tension free.
Though she will often discuss with me how she wants to see the daughter independently settled in her own lifetime...
The great thing is that she learned from her own experience and her daughter's. And took action. She has the confidence to face the chatterers and the gossipers.
With zero formal education, her own life has shaped her thoughts, and she doesn't worry if someone is shocked by her thinking.
She was shocked by the story of Nishana. More so by the capitulation by her parents to the in law's demands. Nishana , like her(S.), and S.'s daughter, should have been brought back by her parents to her own home, and should have been alive today.
In her own way, S. has her own SatyaMev Jayate......