I have often been asked about my husband. I never answered because this was not his story. This is mine and I respected his privacy.
This will be the only time I will write about him.
17 yrs ago, I was doing my internship, met a remarkable guy. We had so much in common. We both loved to dance, loved long drives and were crazy for bisibele bath ( woody’s). All I wanted was to be loved and to have someone to stand by me. I thought I finally found the right person.
I brought him home, introduced him to my mother and my sister. I never mentioned I have an older sister. Perhaps I should have done it. But if I had told him about my sister, then there would be millions of questions and I had no answers for those questions. So I hid the fact that I have an older sister.
Unfortunately for me, I have a very unique surname and things that I do not wish to write here happened and his family found out that I do have an older sister and where and with whom she was living!!
That was the end of a perfect relationship!!
I had three more months of internship and my mother was making plans to get me married of to George’s son. ( after all, I couldn’t even find a decent guy myself and what was wrong with George’s son? he is handsome and what more do I need??)
I needed an escape.. I had to.
I married the first available guy. At that moment all I was concerned was to get out of India..far far away from my family.
Seeing my parents marriage crumbling in front of my eyes, I was pretty confident that I knew how to make mine work. I wanted to. I had to. I also wanted to show to my mother that I could make it work!
I wanted to recreate a family. Father, mother, sisters.. Whatever I didn’t have in my family, I wanted to recreate. I wanted to be loved, to be part of a family.
Again, I was wrong. There is no such thing as being part of the family. I was the outsider.. the threat..the one who took away their precious son/brother from them.
I could never get them to understand that I am not a threat.
Eventually they also learned about my sister. ( I got married in B’lore and only one of my sisters attended my wedding.. how to explain their absence to new in -laws? Go figure)
But I do have to say, my husband did stand by me during those times, saying I married her, not her family.
My dream of recreating a family didn’t materialize
But I was going to create my own perfect family. My husband and I and the kids.
He wanted kids.. but after 5 yrs. I wanted kids. Now..
I read like there is no tomorrow. He kept all his reading for tomorrow.
He used to leave me alone at home( a house in a remote mountain village with the nearest neighbour 5 km away.) and drive down to the city and party with his mates.. I had the chirping of cicadas for company. I never understood loneliness, desolation and isolation till then. I kept myself busy re reading books because there was no library.
But i loved him. He was my husband. I was going to make it work. I had to. I wanted to show Amma!!
( the truth is, I had no place to go back to. I just had to bite the bullet because there was nothing else I could do. Where was I going to go? So I was going to work. I had to)
He needed to do his master’s degree. I did three jobs a day, so he could study.
Then I lost the baby. Coming back from the hospital, he asked, how are you feeling? My world has just ended and what answer was I supposed to say? Be polite and say, not good my dear. I just lost my baby?
I went to the bed room. The pillow I had kept to keep my legs elevated in a vain hope so as not to lose the baby was still there at the foot of the bed. I wanted to scream. Again he asked how are you feeling?
If I had opened my mouth, I would have screamed. I didn’t want to fight. So I didn’t say anything. He then proceeded to scream at me and then slammed the door and went out. Did I ever mention that I hate, HATE slamming the door? It was my dad’s way of showing his power..
My apt was on the 3rd floor. At that moment, there was no particular reason for me to live. I got up, opened the window and looked down at the pavement. One jump and I knew it will all be over. I even knew, I must not bed my knee.. so the spine will take the maximum impact and there was no way I would live.
The funny thing was, right around the edge of the building there was a green apple tree. Some student had thrown an apple core and it grew from that. It was the first apple tree I ever saw and I passed that tree every day when I went to work. I knew every little change in that tree. Till then I never even knew about the 4 seasons. So I kind of adopted the tree..It was my apple tree.
It was not apple season, but there was one partially dried, rotting green apple on that tree.. It was kind of there for me..to remember..I remembered othalanga..and my grandmother.
I was not getting anything out of the relationshipm but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t give. I gave.. all of myself..my heart, my body, my soul.
I gave and gave.
He took and took.
Even little things there was no compromise. At one time I had three kids, below the age of 5 at home. He would come home for lunch and expected meat. it wasn’t that I didn’t cook meat. Sometimes, when I check the container in the fridge, I see it is half full still and I, being the idiot would assume that there is meat. When I reheat and serve it, there won’t be any meat..all potatoes!!
he used to get so angry..push his chair backwards in anger, slam the frying pan on to the stove, and cook the blasted chicken nuggets. It takes a huge effort to get the kids to sleep for an hour, so we could eat peacefully. But hearing all the chair banging and pot slamming would wake the kids up..I often wondered, if you don’t get to eat meat for a meal. would you die?
The first lesson I taught Yaya was your father is RIGHT all the time. It doesn’t matter if he says the sun rises in the west. You don’t need to correct him. Just leave it. I knew how short tempered he was and I was not going to let him hurt my children.
He expected absolute obedience. ( there were days, when Yaya was about 7 months, and she would cry at night and he asked her to shut up because he needs his sleep and has to work the next day. At 7 months, Yaya didn’t understand, so I used to take her to the living room and play with her till she fell asleep.)
When she was 2, he bought a rotan ( cane) from the market. He said he was only going to threaten. I believed him.
Then he thrashed yaya with the rotan for spilling her drink. I broke the stick to tiny pieces and told him, any rotan he brings in to the house will face the same fate.
Then it became that I interfere when he disciplines the children. ( I had to. he never knew when to stop and I wasn’t going to let him hurt my children)
It wasn’t a question of sparing the rod. It was a matter of sparing a child from physical abuse. there is a line between hitting a child with a cane one time..and hitting till the stick breaks.
The house had to be clean all the time. Toys had to be kept where they belong. Every evening exactly at 7pm , Yaya and I would scramble to get the house back in order and we get screwed royally the days he came early. Why I didn’t clean up at 6? how long can you keep the children without playing with their toys??
But with all these, I still loved him. He was my husband..my life partner. and I was going to make it work.
I wore what he wanted me to wear. I never fought with him and agreed to all his demands. I couldn’t have a fight. Becasue I grew up hearing my parents argue all the time and didn’t want to inflict the same pain to my children. There was no question of walking away, because I loved him.
He threw me out once. It was few days after I brought my son back home from the hospital.( He nearly died). My son after spending 27 days in bed could hardly walk. And that day he cried for no reason and my husband told him to stop crying. I tried everything possible. I even pleaded with my son to stop crying because I knew if he didn’t stop crying, we were all going to be in big trouble. He continued to cry and my husband was vacuming the house. He came to hit my son with the vacum cleaner pipe and I told him, he will not touch my son.He threw us out. I was in my nightshirt, not even wearing my slipper. I had no money, nothing. I took the auto to my mom’s house. I told amma to pay the auto driver. Amma paid, then she went inside, called my husband and told him his wife and children are at her house and asked him to come and fetch us !!!
So again, there was no point in walking away. Because I had nowhere to go.
When baby was about 9 months old, he had to go for a business trip. I was alone with three kids, all below 5. But just as the taxi pulled away from the drive way, I felt s sense of peace. I should have been terrified being all by myself with three tiny kids..but I didn’t. I felt I could breath..that I was no longer in a glass house constatly fearingwhen is the glass going to shatter. and I really didn’t have to worry if there is meat for lunch. Children and I were perfectly happy with maggi noodles!! We had so much fun.. the house was messy, they could draw on the fridge..I even painted their room..( all three of them still remember how we painted the room!)
I think that was the moment I knew my marriage was over.
But I wasn’t willing to give up. I wasn’t going to be a failure.. at least not in front of my mother. I was going to make it work.
I tried.. so many times.. so so so many times
But there is only so much one can give.. there is only so much one can cope.
There comes a point when you know you can’t give any more.
But if you asked me right now.. do you still love him
my answer would be No, I don’t . There was a time I loved him..with all my heart..But not anymore.
My answer wouldn’t be, have I ever said I hate him? I don’t. I never hated him. I never will hate him. He is the father of my children..will always be the father of my children.