I watched my world crumble & shatter in front of my eyes. The dream that I bore, the light of the future that seemed so bright, the spirit of love, all fell apart. One night, changed my life.
I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop.
I wish I had said no.
I lay there in the bed, motionless. Cold and still. As my body shivered, my mind was blank. My eyes were staring blankly at the ceiling fan. Tethered clothes and a smeared crimson stain adorned me. A few crushed rose petals & bloodstains coloured the bed. I had black marks of gruesome force all over me; he was asleep beside me.
I dread the time I walked into this room, in a veil and without my father’s name. Hopes had made my breath go away. I had waited for this moment my life long, 25 years long.
As I lie here, a string of dark cloudy decisions hover over me; haunting me, taunting me!
It was such a shiny morning, chants & promises; family & friends & an awaiting mask of cruelty. I had made a few; he too committed some. Never had I imagined, that the dream man of my life would push me into this darkness.
Yesterday was so colourful. Dance & music made me laugh & run joyous. Maa & Appa were so happy that they cried. He seemed so nice, so bright & warm. He even sang my favourite song & went down on his knees. Little did I realise, it wasn’t for me. He held my hand & grabbed my waist, I felt so special I couldn’t contain my happiness. I rested my head on his chest as we swayed to the music. He kissed my forehead & whispered ‘I love you’.
Today I saw a ‘whole new him’. As I entered the room, a muck smell of sweat & cigarette welcomed me. He lay there, shirt unbuttoned & in his shorts. One hand over his crotch & the other had a whisky bottle & a cigarette tucked between his fingers. As a new bride, I wasn’t expecting such a scene.
Even during the Haldi ceremony he called me up to know about my whereabouts & said that he missed me. How could I have been so naïve to believe those treacherous eyes. Those eyes of a hawk who was only out to hunt & not to love.
I had a glass of milk in my hand. I didn’t even believe in portraying the ‘perfect Indian bride’. His mother just handed the glass to me & commanded me to go in. I sat on the other extreme corner of the bed. Restless, confused & honestly, a bit scared too. No; not because of what I thought was going to happen. I was taken aback by the current scene I had just witnessed. I handed over the glass to him expecting to start a conversation.
Arranged marriage of our hadn’t permitted me to get in touch with him. We had just met 6 months ago. The rush into a commitment was & is a question mark for me. But I anyways said YES. He charmed me at the first sight. Tall, bearded & baritone; all three requisites I hoped for. I wasn’t really looking for marriage, but I had grown a bit old for staying a spinster according to the society. I gave in.
As soon as he took the glass of milk from my hand, he flung it & spilled the milk all over. He held my hand & pulled me to his side by my wrist. It hurt. But the butterflies in my stomach were overpowering. His whiskers were full of droplets of whiskey & breathe was atrocious. I couldn’t say anything. My excitement bound my lips. He tried to kiss me on my lips; I turned my head & shied away. What happened next literally killed all my butterflies.
On our first official meet, a casual date in a coffee shop; he seemed to order all that I liked; it seemed as if he already knew what I wanted. He suddenly went on his knees & held a ring; so pretty, I could see myself controlling my joy-tears. All of the on-looker crowd applauded. I said YES. He put the ring around my finger & kissed my forehead. Little did I realise it was a ring to chain me down.
My heartbeat became faster as he leaned forward. He embedded his fingers into my cheeks so tight that my mouth opened. With a jolt he jerked my head & turned it towards him. He put his tongue into my mouth & his entire face into mine. I almost felt gagged. As I choked, he wanted to continue more. My hands & my puny manpower were useless at this point.
As a girl, I had always been more into my books than into the world. Sure, I had had guy friends & girl friends growing up. But all of us were too much naïve & very little reality struck. I had my own little world of joy. My parents, sister, friends, my favourite spot in the balcony, my favourite show & a tonne of dreams. Being a movie buff, I had really gotten into Indian movies which gave me stupendous dreams & over rated expectations about my life partner. My dream was so perfect, I feared it would shatter; the splinters of which would become a prick in the rest of the days of my life.
He tossed me into the bed. I was so scattered that I was just trying to put myself in order when he started unbuttoning his shirt & pulled me by leg. I had never felt less secure & unsafe in my entire life. He forced himself on me, feeling me in places I never knew existed. Soon it was all dark. A sudden pricking surge of pain made me want to drown myself. He never understood that pain nor did he bother to comfort. I was bleeding from places difficult to explain. My lips swollen & bleeding with embedded tooth marks. I felt so bare. Half of my clothes were torn & half on the floor. All along I was crying, I was crying silently. My neck was black of rugged biting. I smelled of saliva & semen. My hair was haywire & wet of sweat.
I stressed to feel my body, so much pain & tire that I went numb. The mere pressure of a 100 kgs over me for over 2 hours had torn me from the inside. I struggled to pick myself up to even shift a bit. My head felt so heavy & eyes too. I covered myself with the blanket to wake up less naked.
I was WEAK. I felt HELPLESS. I lay there crying. I lay there still.
I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop.
I wish I had said one NO.
I wish I had never convinced myself into this nightmare to convince the “SOCIETY”. All I had to say was a NO; but I said YES. I wanted to go back in time; back to the times when I was a small kid with no responsibilities & pressure; no one to force me into a commitment. No one to tell me I couldn’t stay alone all by myself & that I needed a man for purposes more than just his name as a suffix to mine.
Motionless as I lay, I just closed my eyes, for I no longer wanted to rewind & play this dreadful event. I didn’t want to curse myself more. There were ways of getting out of this mess but this one event broke me as a person. I would never again feel safe about my judgement.
Started remembering all my happy memories; I wanted to distract myself, at least for a split second. I let my limbs loose. Let my soul loose. I felt white. Peaceful like a water-less white hazy sparse cloud.
I want to return to a safer place, to my mother. She felt so warm & protective. To the time she held for the last time while I was being sent away to my in-laws. I shouldn’t have left. I should have stayed back.
Suddenly my eyelids woke. He was snoring & it sounded like thunder to me in my semi-sleep.
‘What if Amma too experienced this?’
‘Would she have told me?’
‘Would things ever get better?’
‘Have I misunderstood him?’
A hundred new questions swirl in my head like a tornado. I don’t have any answers. I’m looking to seek them. I’m hoping tomorrow will be a better morning & this bad dream ends today. I wish this was just a dream & that I’m hallucinating.
I closed my eyes yet again. My tired body just shut my thoughts & fell deep into trance…
(Note: The piece isn’t a real story. I wrote it as a fiction based on several true incidents that have happened.)