Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My first...

She felt suffocated. As if she was stuck in a dark room without any doors and windows; as if the sky was closing in on her; she couldn’t breathe. In fact, she couldn’t do anything without his permission. His – her husband’s. It has been just 2 months since they had gotten married. Everyone from her married cousins to her friends had told that her that the first couple of months after wedding were the most romantic ones. Whenever she thought of that, she laughed at herself for being so naïve and believing in what they had said. Either God has been cruel to her or they had all lied to her. She also knew it could be worse – it was not like her husband was a drunkard and beat her up each evening or raped her or her mother-in-law was constantly finding faults with her or they were torturing her with dowry demands. She knew that a lot of women went through that every day.

Her case was different – she was suppressed. She wasn’t allowed to go to work; according to her husband, a man who makes his wife work is incompetent. It always left her burning red with anger because her mother was a working woman and her husband was indirectly pointing it out that her father was incompetent. And it was not like he hated her or treated her with contempt; that would have been so much better. He was indifferent to her.

“Will you be late from work?”

“Don’t know.”

“Hmmm, I was wondering if you could come early and we could go to the beach.”

He just shrugged. She didn’t know what to make of it – his silence. What was she supposed to think if he answered her questions with a shrug?

“Can you buy me a book while coming back? I get really bored at home.”

This time, nothing – not even a glance at her direction. He simply got up and left to fetch himself some water. That was the end of the conversation, if you could call it that. He wouldn’t even ask her to get him some water; he just avoided any interaction as much as possible.

He didn’t complain if the food she made was bad and neither did he appreciate if it was good. He didn’t notice it if she wore a new dress; he didn’t speak to her unless it was utterly necessary. He was not rude to her; he didn’t respond to her with anything more than a nod or shake of his head or a word or two at the maximum; and he definitely never smiled at her. That was what left her astounded – how can anyone, all of 27years of age, forget smiling? He didn’t seem to have any friends – none visited them. Was he like that only towards her? Was there something wrong with her? Was he in love with some other girl and was forced by his parents to marry her? How happy her life was before two months? It all seemed so long ago.

She had just finished her engineering degree and was waiting for her call letter to come. There were rumors that the MNC in which she was placed from her university’s placement drive was not honoring the offers it had extended, citing the recession as reason. She had always been a sincere student although not as hard-working. Her parents were both working and had always encouraged her to ask questions and to disagree with them. She was smart and they were supportive and she thought there was nothing more that she could ask from them – they had educated her well, they had always been there for her when she needed them, they had never forced their wishes on her and her dad treated her like a princess. She had, as a result, grown up to be an independent thinker and mature for her age and to her friends, she was the rational one always knowing right from wrong.

It was when she was reading the newspaper that morning (during those endless months that she waited for her company to ‘call’ her) and her parents were getting ready to go to their offices that her father came to her and said, “Chinnu” – that was what her dad called her – “I have to talk to you about something important. There is this guy…” And when her dad finished telling her about the guy who was well-educated, tall, handsome, from a good family, in a nice job, she didn’t feel anything - except that she was a little too young to get married – she was, after all, barely 22. She was in a currently boring but soon-to-be-exciting phase of her life. She had her dreams – of working in an MNC, getting used to the corporate culture, being financially independent and making new friends. But now her dad wanted her to get married? It was so out of the blue. She had never thought her parents would do this. It was not that she was in love with someone; she could have and would have certainly told her parents if that was the case. She could have plainly told her parents that she wasn’t interested in getting married right now, that she is too young and not mature or responsible enough to handle a family. But she didn’t do that either because she was curious. She wanted to know how it would be to live with a guy she didn’t know at all, how they would become friends, share the house-hold chores and fall in love. That apart, she also knew that her parents were very impressed with the guy’s ‘profile’ and to put them off is something she didn’t want to do.

Now sitting in the sofa in her in-laws’ place, sipping coffee, she thought of how life had changed. At her parents’ it was always fun. She loved the independence she had there, particularly the freedom of speech part that rendered her a hopelessly talkative girl specializing in arguing and debating. She could do what she liked to do – watch TV, read books, and laze around – whenever she wanted. On weekends, the three of them would go to movies or the beach or temples and had dinner outside. All the while she would keep talking, asking questions, suggesting movies, or arguing on some topic.

She knew perfectly that things wouldn’t be the same at her in-laws’, but she didn’t think it would be this different. This house was as silent and boring as it could get. Her in-laws talked rarely. Some days a ‘Good Morning’ and a ‘Good Night’ was all the conversation she had with her mother-in-law. The entire family was indifferent to each other. They just didn’t care how the others felt on a particular day. Her husband, the one who was supposed to make it easy for her to gel with his family, was the most aloof of the lot. Whatever she did, whatever she said, didn’t matter to him. And she was not supposed to leave the house unnecessarily (‘unnecessarily’ included her visits to her friends’ houses, just a walk down the road, to the temple and of course, to her parents’), she was not supposed to apply for jobs – after all, he was the man of the house and didn’t want her to work – he either had ego issues or felt insecure about the fact that she would be working with other guys (of her own age) – she would never know, she was not supposed to wear makeup (this, she was okay with – she was never interested in makeup anyway, but she now had that overwhelming urge to wear makeup just to show him that she didn’t care, but suppressed it because she felt too tired and weak to protest and also because she didn’t exactly know how to), she was not provided with the books she wanted to read which was the worst possible punishment of all (she could not remember of a day at her parents’ that she didn’t catch up on reading before going to bed), she was not allowed to watch TV much, she didn’t have a cell phone to contact her parents (even if she had one, her husband wouldn’t pay the bill) – all she could do was sit down in a corner with her thoughts. Thankfully, they hadn’t found a way to stop her from thinking. It was at moments like these that she felt suffocated.

Then the telephone rang. She ran to it to pick it up. She was reminded of the time at her parents’ when they had first gotten their telephone. She used to run up to it and pick it up. Now she was running to pick it up because it would give her a break from her seemingly never-ending stint at ‘sitting idle’.

The caller-id said it was from her husband’s cell phone. She was surprised. Her husband never called during the day. He didn’t have anything to talk to her in person, for crying out loud, and he certainly wouldn’t call.


“Hello.” It was not her husband’s voice.

“Yes, who is this?”

“Madam, do you know someone called Mr.Sathya?”

“Yes. I am his wife. Who is speaking?” Wife. A word she has grown to hate over the past couple of months.

“I am very sorry, ma’am. I have bad news. Your husband met with an accident and I am afraid he is no more. They have taken the body to the G.H. for post-mortem. Could you please come here at once?”

She didn’t know how to react. She knew she should be devastated to have lost her husband within two months of marriage. But she felt at peace, relieved and guilty at the same time. She didn’t cry; she couldn’t bring herself to. Instead of being shattered and not knowing what to do or cry hysterically, she thought – she had gotten so used to just thinking that she couldn’t do anything more than that. This time she thought about her future. She may, after all, get a chance to go back to her parents’, join her MNC that might call her very soon, study further, fall in love and live life the way she wanted to. She felt guilty at her disability to cry. She had to cry now – no, not for herself, not for venting out her grief – there was no grief at all, but for the world – the world that might question her marriage if she didn’t cry, the world that has the freedom of speech that was denied to her, the world fearing which her mom and dad had gotten her married much before it was due, the world that had prying eyes that only found faults with others.

She cried. But inside, she was smiling convinced that she deserved it.


  1. Sometimes silence is worth a shout, but she never tried to learn him. if she was happy about his death, why the heck does she cry too ? dont let the world to decide who you are, but you decide, how the world should seem to u

  2. @Dhinu
    She was not happy, she was relived. Had she been brought up in a house like her in-laws' she probably would have thought everything was fine with her marriage and cried (I mean, really cried) when her husband passed away. But she felt she was stuck in prison and to her, her husband's death was like a chance to get her freedom back.

    She had to cry to satisfy the people, not because she wanted to deceive the world and its people, but because she had to be a part of that world in the future and she can't risk being the girl-that-didn't-cry-at-her-husband's-funeral and earn their wrath. She made a practical choice.

  3. You're calling crying for no reason a practicality ? grow up kid.. Firstly, We'd only cry for all our loved ones, there was no LOVE thing between them., so there should not have been a reason to cry. Of course, She was just deceiving the world. And would it really matter about the wrath that she receives ?

  4. @Dhinu
    She wasn't crying because her husband died. She was smiling inside. It would really matter (a lot) what the world thinks about her. You may never understand.

  5. Any girl no matter wat she was going through would have cried in the situation. Anyways nice story.

  6. @Chan
    No. There is nothing to make the girl cry in such a situation. You wouldn't cry for someone who you didn't know, would you?

  7. Wow.. Very intense finish I would say as lot of people I know had the relief moment when they lost their near & dear ones. but that was for the sufferings that those loved ones went thru of months / years of health issues.

    But at the sametime, you can see the similar relief moments when your Manager is down with fever for few days and wont be in office. Otherwise take case of strict class teacher is not coming to school for few weeks due to leg fracture.

    Keep Going with more stories.. Bring out some with Kovai characteristics like respect, emotional bonding, etc.

  8. That is an amazing first one! I like how u've built up the character. And the end was nice. Especially, the muddled up emotions in the last paragraph, which also give a hint of the little dark side of the character. Nice.
    For a first one...its hard hitting enough!
    I too wrote my first one a few days back..do take a look

  9. @Anns
    Thanks for your encouraging comment! Since this was my first story, it is not as good as it could have been. I'll try to improve in the future to include more characteristic traits. :-)

    Thank you!!!
    Hard-hitting? Really? :-)

  10. Sering madam neenga edho solreenga kaetukaraen. Anyways, the story was gud for first attempt.

  11. @Chan
    Thank you! :-)
    Read Anns' comment - it is a similar feeling, but much more intense.
    I am sure I have a long way to go.

  12. well written!!! and a fact in so many peoples lives.... Man - give her the freedom and she will save u like a savithri


  13. hope u get a good hussy..

    but in case u get someone like the character in this story... lets all pray that he dies quickly in a freak accident and free you from the chains..

  14. @yeskay
    Thank you!
    Give a woman her freedom and your life will be heaven. True! :-)

  15. @brittonicca
    You don't have to worry about this happening to me because it never would. :-)

  16. A friend of mine underwent 2 yrs of a very similar harrassment and i exactly know how relieved she was after her divorce. the only diff btw your story and hers is that the guy is still alive. how true that all of us at some point in life are relieved (not happy) at someone else's grief, but just cant admit it openly.

    am sure one of your close friends must've gone thro this, for you to narrate it with such intensity. very well written!!

  17. A friend of mine underwent 2 yrs of a very similar harrassment and i exactly know how relieved she was after her divorce. the only diff btw your story and hers is that the guy is still alive. how true that all of us at some point in life are relieved (not happy) at someone else's grief, but just cant admit it openly.

    am sure one of your close friends must've gone thro this, for you to narrate it with such intensity. very well written!!

  18. @celebrate ur FREEdom
    No, none of my friends went through this (thankfully). It was just a thought in my head - to be relieved when something terrible has happened. Many people go through it, but they don't accept it for fear of being branded as incapable of love.

    Thank you for ur encouragement!

  19. Sandhya,
    In another sense probably the girl in the story never tried understanding the Guy ot talking things out with him. Probably he needed her to talk to him regd this and work out. Probably he needed that for a closed person he is....he would have understood after some talking 6 months too short a period for someone to change his attitude (just the way girl couldn't change her needs in six months) in tat sense he never had a chance to get to know her need to be more independant.

    Idhu eppadi irukku ?? :-P

  20. @Chan
    1. It is difficult to penetrate into anyone - guy or girl - who doesn't want to open up.
    2. He was a MCP (not letting her work) and she would obviously be upset with him for that. He couldn't even talk to her properly which made it even tougher for her.
    3. It is the girl who goes and lives with her in-laws, not the other way around. So it is the guy who should make her feel at home, isn't it?
    4. She never tried understanding him? How can you possibly understand a person who doesn't want to talk to you and shrugs you off when you try to talk to him/her?
    5. Are you justifying the guy's actions and conveying that the girl should take all the responsibility?
    6. He didn't understand her need to be more independent? How would he understand if he never talked to her? He has forbidden her from applying for jobs - isn't that enough proof that she wanted to work and be independent and he wasn't okay with it?

    Idhu eppadi iruuku??? ;-)

  21. i liked it.inspired by creativity ?

  22. Sandhya,

    Chance-ae illa! Neenga dhan padathoda director nu once again prove panniteenga. :-D

  23. @sawan
    You could say that!

    Thanks! Director-na chummava?? :-)
    By the way, where is Satish?

  24. Sathish should be around...probably too bz with his activities to drop by ur blog...

    In case,u r asking abt whr is he located, he is in b'lore as well.

  25. @Chan
    Oh ok, busy with work huh?
    I know he's at B'lore... Avaathukku enna saapda koopta ;-)

  26. Kalakungo pongo....Aathu saapadu njoy pannugo poi :-P

  27. Interesting, reminds me of Camus, for obvious reasons.
    I'm not particularly good with emotions, but I think I could sympathise with the widow here although saying 'she deserved it' at the end seems a tad harsh.
    (stumbled over here from indiblogger)

  28. @hydeous
    Thank you for your comment! :-)
    You would feel most helpless when you are suppressed and that in most cases leads to extreme emotions. I guess that is why she deserved it (another chance at a life she almost gave up upon).

  29. Realistically Nice!

    Keep Smiling!



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