By Oliva Das:
I am a woman. They say I come in diversified forms. I am a goddess. I am a creator. I am a lover, I love with passion, I love with devotion and I love selflessly. I am a mother, I sacrifice. I am a daughter, I obey without any question. I am a woman. I suffer.
Sometimes I feel like the world is whispering around me, “Equal rights!”, “Men and Women should be given the same priority”, “Why are women lagging behind?” and other meaningless, clichéd falsehoods.
These sentiments are nothing but a web of deceit. The men say that a woman must get the “best place” everywhere. But I’m only relegated to the kitchen, working all day and watching my dreams burn into ashes. Or I find myself singing piteously for a drunken bachelor, bitter singles, a frustrated husband, or a jilted lover in the bar; or dancing naked around a slender metal, for a man’s bachelor party in the strip club.
Perhaps even from my mother’s womb, I knew I was about to take birth as the most cursed yet the most beautiful creature in the world. I knew behind every successful man, I will be there but will still be tortured, molested and beaten to death. I knew that every single time, my story would be hushed and disregarded. I had been immune to these slights and accustomed to marginalization, until now.
Here I, a woman, take matters in my own hands and present testimony for my own condition, one of my overshadowed identities:
“Hold me close and hold me fast
This magic spell you cast,
This is la vie en rose.
When you kiss me, heaven sighs,
And though I close my…”
And thus I tuned to my melody and sang what I loved, when he interrupted me.
“Sshhhhh!” my husband whispered gratingly. “Keep quiet, okay! It’s the most annoying song I have ever heard. Don’t know why you keep singing this all the time.” said my husband. “Aah! Stop crying my darling, stop crying. You don’t look like the most beautiful wife in the world, when you keep crying like this.” I couldn’t stop myself. He was hurting me.
“Don’t you understand what I am trying to explain you? I asked you something, care to answer me?” he shouted. He pressed my neck hard, hard enough to create a lump on my throat, I was unable to breathe and cry, unable to free myself from the nauseating, suffocating world I was living in.
My husband was a good guy. Humble, decent, caring and rich. At least that’s what I knew about him before I was pinned down in wedlock with him. Yes, it was an arranged marriage. But there was one thing though which will remain unbroken throughout the years we live and in the afterlife. We both loved each other. Every time we faced a sticky situation, I acquiesced without a complaint. All I wanted from him was to love me more and more with each passing day. It’s just that he gets a little angry too easily, you know. I tried to never mind it. After all, my dad had a temper too. They say it is the identity of manhood. But, my dad never used to beat my mother when she used to break a vase while cleaning the room, or when she used to forget sweetening the coffee. I mean I had always dreamt of my husband as a knight in a shining armor, staring at me like I am the most beautiful woman in the world, protecting my body with his arms, fusing with my skin and get engrossed like…like a child who had just found his favorite candy.
You know, the way he used to hold me while beating me till I screamed, I used to feel like it was the somber touch of a loving husband. For once I used to think we were making love and spending the eternity of our lives together. Little did I know that he hid this demon inside him, which silenced the most compelling human feeling- Love.
That day, I knew it was coming. I knew the day that I dreamt of, was that day. It was the first time he was exchanging glances with me. God, his eyes! I smiled. I was shy, you know. But he didn’t smile…it was bizarre the way he was looking at me. Not that I was too surprised, since it was the first time. I thought maybe this is the way he is indicating to me, ‘Come Darling, let’s make love to the moon and back.’ We did. Yes, we made love. Several times. Too much. I cried.
It was just that he never slowed down because I was his spring of pleasure. All he did was race up and down my living carcass, lashing against my pointless flesh and futile bones like a newborn thunderstorm. All I remember about myself was that I was screaming at the top of my lungs and trying to find a way to get out of the misery and the torture. And do you know what the best part was? I let him ‘make love’ again, and again, and again, not because I had dreamt of those moments, but because I was horrified of him.
People say I murdered him. Really, did I? I want no sympathy, certainly not after years of being unheard. I just crave relief, to let my heart out screaming to people, “I couldn’t do it anymore, I couldn’t do it anymore!”
And for all the people who never heard me when I begged for help including the Women’s Help Society and the Nivedita Mental Asylum, I did not kill him, he killed me. He destroyed every living organ, every tiny piece of me. He destroyed my womb. And yes, he killed the baby inside it. But I still love him, like he said he loved me. After all, that should be the trait of a so-called Indian married women right, loyalty towards your husband?
I never forget to put sugar in the coffee now. I never break a vase either. I am sure, we’ll never stop loving each other, and the next time he takes birth, we will be made for each other.
This woman, confessing to the readers right now, is still searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. Light that eludes vision, vision that eludes pretense.
DISCLAIMER: This is a fictional account