It is an enigma how the fate of a young aspiring Indian female changes literally overnight as she gets married. She is expected to love strangers, devote herself completely to her new family, when her new family almost always sees her as an outsider. She works from dawn till dusk in the hope of achieving respect and love, which nonetheless stays elusive.
This girl, let’s call her Nidhi, is undergoing the same fate. Average middle class girl born in a loving family with doting parents and a protective brother. By a change of fate she got married into a joint family of sixteen people with love mostly absent from all relations. Her husband, a regular drinker, always forgets birthdays and anniversaries but surprisingly never forgets to abuse her for her lack of good looks.
I worked with her for few months when I was working for a company in Delhi and found her surprisingly strong and optimistic about the future. After a while I had to shift to Bangalore but she continued to make regular calls to chat with me and share her fill of the day. Though irritating at times, soon her daily fill of events at office became a part of my routine too.
One day she called, she sounded hysteric. I had to ask her to calm down and tell me what happened.
It was her anniversary in two days and she had purchased a pen with “Arunidhi” engraved on it. Arun is the name of her husband. That day in office while taking a break, she took out the pen and as she watched the engraving. She delved into deep thought of how great it would be if her marriage actually became more meaningful and like their conjoined names she and her husband were able to clear their differences. Whilst she was thinking all these, her boss, “Vishalkay Murthi” as she called him, walked in and stood right behind her. She still stared at the pen without blinking an eyelid.
After watching her for a while, he said softly “You know, you can keep staring at it, it will still not change into gold.”
The Boss moved away. But it made her come back to mother earth. She felt the pangs of embarrassment grabbing her, when she decided to call me and find some solace in my words.
I don’t recall what I said to her, but I still remember this incident like it was yesterday. I can’t help but think what the world will be like; if it would be possible to clear differences with people we care about and make them value our emotions.