Is the Hallmark Card Dream Killing Women?

I cannot get the following headlines off my mind:

“I am going to kill myself today bcoz Mayank has driven me to it. He finally let me out but I can’t repair what he has done,her last words read.

“Delhi Air Hostess Learnt About Husband’s First Marriage Month Ago.”

Her family claimed that Mr Singhvi used to physically abuse her and they also accused his parents of harassing her for dowry.

I don’t want to specifically write about Anissia because it is still too early. We do not know if it is a murder or suicide. I don’t want to judge a woman I did not know. Especially a woman who was cremated two days ago.  I also do not wish to scrutinize the life of a woman who died. Still, writing this article in the hope that it may help someone.

I read an article this morning on about how parents should support their daughters and make them get out of abusive marriages and not give dowry. I also read comments (probably from Anissia’s friends) getting defensive saying that she was very strong, and had supportive parents. Her father was in the Army.   She was financially independent and it seems that money was no motivator was her to get stuck in the marriage.

 Then what happened? Why is she dead?

Why are so many intelligent, financially independent women in our society preferring to jump or hang themselves rather than being called the D word?

A friend of mine updates her whatsapp display picture every other day with a smiling photo of her husband and herself.  What you cannot see is the bruises on her body which are concealed in her DP.  Messages are sent to friends asking for helpline numbers. What is more regular? The injury or the status updates?

Friends try to convince her to get out. She says that there are happy times too. She is not willing to leave him.

Is it our fault that she is still with him? Are we not doing enough?

If you see Anissia’s social media profile, there are so many happy, couple photos. A good-looking couple posing and holidaying at beautiful locations.

This is common.  Friends posting pictures with their husbands. Beautiful, happy pictures. People commenting:

Lovely couple!

Hottest couple!

Stay blessed!

Smileys. Emojis. Likes. Comments. Social approval.

What lies beneath?

We love the life we wish to project to the world. We are in love. We are in a blissful marriage. We are happy. We try hard to make our lives close to what we like to portray. Sometimes we believe it too.

In contrast, I have friends who are divorced or never married. They are into their 30’s, 40’s. Some of them want to get married. Others are okay being single. To the world, they may be “unmarried.”

Poor girl. She must find someone soon. Time is running out.

Bechari divorce ke baad decide ki shadi nahi karegi dobara.

Some of these women are actually living quite peaceful and joyous lives. Marital bliss is not the only bliss the universe has to offer. They may not get to flaunt holiday, couple pictures. They may not have done pre-wedding, pregnancy photoshoots. They do not get to add statuses like ‘Aww! Feeling loved with so and so!’ or ‘Woke up to this surprise from my sweetheart’. But they are still leading good lives. Every day that they wake up they don’t have somebody who makes them feel like filth. Yes, occasionally they do feel left out at family functions and weddings. But it is still better than being treated badly every day.

What am I trying to prove?

We all fall for social pressure. We envy people who seem to have love and money. We create a lie and then spend the rest of our life miserable trying to live up to it.

Don’t fall for the trap. Nobody, nobody has everything in life.  You don’t have to have everything either. It is okay to not have a partner to flaunt. It is okay to not have a vacation in Europe. It is okay to be not earning a lot of money. It is okay to be not married. It is okay to not have children. It is okay to be divorced.

What is not okay is to be dead at 39 after jumping off the terrace. What is not okay is leaving behind old parents and a brother who will spend the rest of their life attending court hearings and running ‘Justice for Anissia’ campaigns wishing they were dead too.

And what justice will they get? Even if the husband and his family get punished (which I doubt) will this woman come back?

The society does not care about you. They don’t care if you are happy or sad or rich or poor or married or single.  At least not for long.  Please do not waste your life for the society. The only thing that matters is you. Please do what is right for yourself.  I have written about this so many times before.  Please, please be strong. Please do not commit suicide for such idiots. And please do not stay with them to test how much more you can suffer.

Yes, every marriage has good days and bad days.  But if for you the bad days means getting hit and thinking about hanging yourself then it is not worth it.

Image source

Related articles link:

The Intelligent, Young Woman – Wasted In Marriage

She saved her marriage. But what about her life?

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Parents, Your Child’s Divorce Is Not About You

Women’s Web shared this article again yesterday.  You can read it here. I had written it more than two years ago.

This article has been very popular. I receive messages from women who may be going through something similar. Yesterday, also I received a message from a woman who is in a horrible marriage.  Let’s call her Riya. Her husband and in-laws treat her very badly. She is extremely unhappy.

“I am always angry”, she said.

I know what that anger feels like….

To constantly hear ill from someone who you live with and his entire family… When all of them gang up against you. The abuses. The taunts. The disrespect. The humiliation. It is never worth it…

I asked her if she is financially independent. She is. I asked her then what is the problem. She said her parents are not letting her get out. It has been just a year. They believe she should make it work because anyway she will be miserable as a “divorcee”. Plus, everyone has “problems” in their marriage. It reminds me of the movie, Dil Dhadakne Do in which Shefali Chaya’s character tells her daughter, played by Priyanka Chopra , “Todna aasan hai. Nibhana mushkil hai,”. Or something like that. I do not have the patience to go through the movie on Youtube and find the exact dialogue.

Just like Riya, I am also very angry. Every time the conversation of divorce comes up in Riya’s family, her mother emotionally blackmails her by giving example of a lady who had a heart attack because her daughter got divorced. Riya asked me what if something happens to her mother if she takes such a step.

I do not have an answer for her.

Why are her parents behaving like this? Isn’t she going through enough? Is it fair that one of the considerations in this already complicated decision would be her mother’s possible heart attack? No. She is not even a heart patient!!

Riya is earning well. If she separates from her husband, she can afford to live on her own. She will not go back to her parents’ house. She already lives in a different city.  Why is her divorce so much about her parents, and not about her?

Probably because the marriage was also about her parents. We know how most arranged marriages work. The parents (girl’s side mostly) pay for the expenses. The jewelry. The functions. The photographer. The makeup. The grand venue.

I also remember a relative telling me four years ago, “Your parents have more stake in the marriage than you. They are the ones who spent their savings. You are so lucky they are okay to forego all of it because you don’t want to be with that guy anymore. “

I heard variations of this again and again:

Parents spend so much money on the daughter’s wedding. They would not want to lose it.

Second time around also they would have to bear! (if you are lucky to have a second time).

I am not even worried about you. I know you are a strong girl. I am worried about your parents who have to see this in old age.

You are not the victim here. It is your poor parents. They must be going through so much stress! Oh God.

Don’t be so selfish! Can’t you just make it work for your parents’ happiness? Do they not deserve peace in old age?

I don’t know how many of you know about the “Ring Theory”. It is a theory that helps you understand where you stand in a crisis situation and what you should do. Psychologist Susan Silk and her friend Barry Goldman wrote a piece about it.  Quoting,

“If the crisis is happening to you, you are in the center of the ring. If the crisis is not happening to you, you’re in one of the outer circles.

Here are the basic rules from Silk and Goodman’s article:Draw a circle. In this circle, write the name of the person at the center of the crisis.Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In this ring, put the name of the person next closest to the crisis. In each larger ring, put the next closest people. As Silk and Goodman state, “Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones.. Here are the rules: The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, ‘Life is unfair’ and ‘Why me?’ That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring. Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.” 

The concept is ‘comfort in, dump out”. The person in the center is suffering the most. That person can say anything they want. The persons in the outer circle may also be very upset. They can share what they feel. But to people in outer circles.

So, in case of a divorce, the person in the center is the person getting a divorce. The parents would probably be in the very next circle. Followed by siblings, grandparents, bua mausi, chacha, mama, cousins etc. But they are not in the center.  The center is for Riya.

But it does not work that way in India. In the center are parents, grandparents, family, honour,  father’s pride, mother’s dream, grandparents’ last wish, sister’s chances in the marriage market, neighborhood aunty’ s uncomfortable questions. I do not even know where to find Riya in this. Somewhere under the dump. Lost.

Yes. I know. Any parent would not want their child to go through a divorce. Everybody wants their children to be happy. In any part of the world. But sometimes things don’t work out.

I will again come back to the movie ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’, where Ranveer Singh’s character tells his mother that she did not get out knowing about her husband’s philandering ways because she had nowhere to go.  Yes, it is the harsh reality. Earlier, also marriages may have been bad but women had nowhere to go.  So please it is not about our “family values”, or low divorce rate or the fact that so many people adjusted.

I am sorry parents, but your children’s divorce is not about you.  Even if you paid 30 lakhs on the wedding and jewelry, it is not about you. (You should not have done that in the first place).

This is about their life. Your daughter need not suffer every day, be miserable and angry so that the wedding you attend once a year is free from uncomfortable questions. It is not about you. Or about your neighbor who asks, “Where is her husband”. Her marriage is not about you having peace in your old age. It is about the years and decades ahead of her  that she has to live through.

Dear sundries,

You may know of someone who is going through a divorce. Her divorce is not about you. You do not get to be disappointed in her life and then tell her about it. Please don’t tell her how shocked you are to hear about it. And how you cannot sleep at night. .  Remember comfort in, dump out. You should give her strength. You should try to help her. She is dealing with enough. It does not mean your feelings don’t count. Please feel free to tell other people, in outer circles who are not as vested as her.  But she cannot deal with your disappointments, your pain, your shock, and your horror. She has enough on her plate. 

I am sorry Riya. I am sorry you have to go through this. I feel for you. I am also feeling angry.

 

 

 

 

But Why Do You Even Want To Get Married?

Received an email from a woman who is single and has been searching for a guy for a long time. She has a full-time job, good friends and a good life. That does not change the fact that she is looking for someone for marriage. She is in her early 40s. She also wants to have kids. She is a happy person. But when she tells people she wants to get married, they start saying so many annoying things.

The first question is ‘But why do you even want to get married!’

I can relate perfectly. How many of you are single? When you tell people, you want to “un” single, do they judge you? It is not like you are saying that you are desperate or unhappy or incomplete. You just wish you had someone. Many people who say these things are actually married themselves.

Here is a short list of some of the things people say to single people who are looking. Feel free to add to the comments.

  1. No one can complete you!
  • When did I say I was incomplete?
  1. Be in love with yourself first!
  • Main meri favourite hoon….?
  1. You will find him once you stop looking!
  • Does he know I am looking for him, and therefore hiding? Shh…he might hear us and hide back!
  1. When you are happy you attract people…
  • Been happy… attracted people.. Now what?
  1. If you feel lonely alone, you will feel lonely in a relationship too.
  • What does this even mean? Did they think so much before getting into a relationship?
  1. Your spouse could die. And you could not have a child. So, marriage does not guarantee that you would not die alone.
  • Wow…what optimism!

I guess when people mean it is better to be single than married, they mean to say it is better than being in a bad relationship. I agree. If you see your friends desperate and unhappy in a bad relationship just for the fear of being alone, please go ahead and help them see reality.

But if they seem to be happy and doing well, yet searching then it is a normal thing to do! They do not need to justify anything! Isn’t it natural (for some people) to want love, romance, marriage. kids?

I am a feminist. I do not believe that marriage is the ultimate goal of life. It is a personal choice. It is okay to be single.  It is also okay to wish for one.  It does not mean that someone is weak. Single people do know relationships do not work sometimes and that marriage requires a lot of work.

Let us be a little kind to our divorced friends, and the ones who are older yet single. Let us not decide that it is better for them to be alone! Let us not tell them that marriage is this reward they will get once they have attained the above checklist! It is a well-meaning thing to say but it does not help them!

 

 

 

The Intelligent, Young Woman – Wasted In Marriage

I read about Manjula Divak’s suicide the day before yesterday.

Excerpts from the article:

Manjula’s father said, “She was a brilliant girl. She was going to complete her thesis next month, but her husband and parents-in-law wanted her to come back to Bhopal and do household work.”

Mr. Devak told The Hindu that he had already made it clear to the family before the marriage in 2013 that Ms. Manjula would pursue her Ph.D. “They had agreed then but later started torturing her,” he said.

Her husband had allegedly asked Manjula to arrange ₹20 lakh from her father so he could start his own business. “Was my daughter going to wash dishes and sweep the floor after completing her doctorate,” asked the father.

My first reaction was why would such a brilliant woman, a PhD student at IIT Delhi who is capable of being financially independent not opt for divorce but tolerate dowry demands by her husband and in-laws?

Until I read another article which had screenshots of her whatsapp conversation with her sister. It suggested that she did want a divorce. The talk had been initiated with her father-in-law who was supposed to send a ‘rough document’. Her father-in-law had said that if she has to tolerate a couple of beatings to sustain her relationship, then what is the problem?

Manjula had said to her sister that she does not want a second marriage. These people were too horrible.  She is happy alone. Her sister said that not everybody is bad, and that life is too big. Sister had said ‘love you’.

I could not hold back my tears. I was in a similar situation few years back. I could relate to Manjula.

How much pain her parents and sister would be feeling now? And how hopeless she must have felt to take such a step?

Manjula got into an arranged marriage at 24 because the ‘horoscopes had matched’. Her story sounds much too familiar. An academically inclined young girl is married to an unknown man because her family feels this is the best thing for her. The boy wants a qualified girl who should wash the dishes, sweep the floor, whose family should provide him dowry for starting his business.

I hate the idea of arranged marriages, that too at 23-24 when girls have just finished their education. But love marriages prove no different either with spineless husbands siding with their parents.  Unfortunately, most Indian men’s families are like Manjula’s husband’s.  The state of women remains the same.

Manjula was brave enough to consider divorce. But she got scared of her uncertain future. She lost her faith in goodness. She hung herself.

When will things change? What do these men and their families think, that they have hired a life-long slave? The parents of girls in India have pathetically low standards. Their sense of ‘normal’ has been skewed for generations. They feel that all girls have to ‘adjust’. Their daughter is no exception.  And what can be worse than having a 35 year old unmarried daughter?

Let me tell you what can be worse:

A bruised daughter.

A daughter broken in spirits.

A dead daughter.

I agree that marriage is important. Being single for a girl has its own challenges. Whether the woman has been divorced, or remains unmarried, she would probably be seeking companionship. Every new relationship that would not end up in marriage would break her heart, reminding her that she is single while her friends are having babies. But here is the thing:

She would be going ahead in her career, without having to sweep the floor before going to work. She would probably have discovered new interests by now, which she would not have at 21-22 when she was busy studying for exams. She would not be hearing taunts all day about how inadequate she is. There would also be hope of finding a better man. A hope that is lost when she remains married to a loser.

It is still a much more dignified life than a life dedicated to serving an abusive, inconsiderate, man who happens to be your husband and a bunch of entitled, manipulative, greedy in-laws who are the by-products of this disastrous mistake that should not have happened in the first place.

To all the girls reading this and stuck in horrible marriages, I understand that the happy family Hallmark card may be every woman’s dream. But if yours is not, you have to get out, and find your dream elsewhere. It may or may not involve a man immediately. But by leaving cruel people and standing up for yourself you are not just doing a favour to yourself, but a favour to society at large.

The future generations of women would be grateful you did not pass on the legacy of ‘adjustment’.

 

 

 

 

The legend of the frustrated, old, spinster / divorcee

This is going to be a confused post.

Even before you start reading, I would like to apologize that I have started writing, but I do not have my thoughts organized under one subject. Basically, this post is about women’s views on other women, their choices and lifestyles.

1. Widows are humans and have needs

I stumbled upon an article recently. A widow with a grown up son writes about how she has “needs”. She says that she may choose not to remarry for various reasons but does that necessarily mean that she does not have any desires also?

I absolutely loved her brave and honest article. At first, I thought that it would be some anonymous post, by an author who is hiding her identity and yet talking about empowerment. But no, it was from a real person – a courageous woman who said what so many would not have guts to say. If we have more people like her, maybe our society will change.

Another woman’s views on widows having needs

I also started reading the comments on the article. One lady commented the following:

“Yes its ok to have physical intimacy but With a willing partner for a widow taking due care it doesn’t destroy any home if the wife comes to know of that. I have a widow doctor friend who had same needs but she has broken three homes of her male colleagues by having extra marital affairs……

I have strong views on infidelity. It is completely unacceptable. I would never get into an “affair” with a married man. Nevertheless, I would like to say this to the lady who has commented:

The widowed woman did not break the homes of her three male colleagues. She was not having an extra marital affair. She was single. (No I do not support what she did). But the point is, it is the MAN who was married, who made the choice to cheat on his wife and sabotage his relationship. So, stop blaming the other woman!

Her second comment was as follows:

“……If sex was destined to be there in the life of this writer, God will send her a partner who will marry her, else there r so many risks involved in having that With multiple partners or unknown men.”

Her views reminded me of an episode of the TV series, Balika Vadhu. Sugna (one of the characters in the serial) had become a widow at a young age. Her Dadisaa (grandmother) was forcing cruel and inhuman rituals on her. When Sugna’s parents pleaded her to have mercy on the poor girl, the grandmother said that this was her fate…If God wanted her to be happy, he would not have taken away her husband. God destined to make her a widow, it is not like she (Dadisaa) was making this happen.

Sadly, a lot of regressive, controlling people feel that they have a right on somebody’s life as if they are carrying out God’s plan. No, God did not want her to be unhappy. People did!! Ordinary mortals who like to control other people’s lives!

2. The frustrated old spinster / divorcee

The other day, my friend was telling me that I must get married. She said that women who remain unmarried / divorced / grow into “frustrated, old, spinsters”. She gave me an example of her neighbor, a 55-year-old female professor who is always angry.

This is not the first time that I have heard stories about the “frustrated, single, old woman.” These legends are passed down by other woman. Personally, I see a lot of married women, and women with toddlers who seem very irritable all the time. I see them tired, exhausted, and perpetually yelling. Nobody says things like “Married women are so frustrated. Women with little children are always yelling.”

We accept that as normal human beings, they have a right to be angry sometimes. They have justified, valid reasons for their emotions. But single women? Their very existence probably makes them angry!!

3. I don’t want to be unmarried by the time I am your age

Last week, in office a young girl (21-22) year old joined our table (group of women in late 20s). I don’t remember how the conversation started about age, but she randomly mentioned how none of us are married despite being much older than her. One of my colleagues laughed and said thanks for reminding us. The young girl went on to say that she would get married in the next couple of years because she does not want to be “like us” – old and married.

I asked her why does she feel so. Is marriage an achievement? She said yes. My other colleagues then told her that I am a writer and that she would probably get featured in my next article!! This made her guarded and she quickly changed her statement. But the damage was done…

FYI this young woman has no professional qualification, nor does she intend to opt for further studies. Yet, she felt that it is okay to insult women who are much more well educated, and successful than her because they are still unmarried!

I ended the conversation saying that I don’t know what is the future of the country, if this is how young girls think.

Moral of the story

I really wish that the society would stop being so unkind to women who are widowed, unmarried, divorced – single for whatever reason. For some, it is their choice. For others, it may be circumstances. Either way, it is nobody’s business to judge her. Yes, she may be angry sometimes. Because she is human. Not because she does not have a permanent man in her life. Please don’t judge her lifestyle – whether it is her drinking, smoking or “affairs”. Yes, judge her smoking out of concern for her health, not as a benchmark of her morals and character. The alleged, immoral “affair” also takes two people. Don’t just blame her.

And lastly, life changes constantly. I want to ask the women who are so judgmental of these single women, what if they (God forbid) are ever on this side? Can they imagine their life in such a situation?

Please stop spreading the legend of the angry, frustrated, single, old woman. It is as stale, absurd and regressive as the witch tales!

Why there was nothing holy about this matrimony

This is a true story although names have been changed.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

How much is your budget? asked Mr. Prakash.

I can arrange for 4 wedding functions, expenditure on arrangements 30 lakh, additionally I would give jewelry to my daughter worth 15 lakhs, replied Mr. Kashyap.

Mr. Prakash: Okay. We are very liberal people. We don’t believe in dowry. We just want grand wedding functions. After all, we have some status in society.

Mr. Kashyap: Yes, ofcourse, it is our pleasure and pride.

Mr. Prakash: You could give 6-8 lakhs cash also, or a car. After all it is for your own daughter. We are not those dowry types. We don’t want anything….

This was the first meeting between Mr. Prakash, father of Akash and Mr. Kashyap, father of Kriya. Six months later, Akash and Kriya were married.

Akash and Kriya were the youngest in their family and had been spoilt badly. Kriya had to move cities and change jobs to join him but Akash and his family were brutally insensitive to the what she was going through. While Kriya was trying to transform herself to a good homemaker, and manage a new job in a new city, Akash was too oblivious to her struggles. He wanted a good looking, presentable, intellectually stimulating and earning partner (the exact opposite of what his mother) who should behave and treat him like his mother.

A man like Akash had never had a long- term relationship in life and was not capable of being in a marriage. But the advantage of arranged marriages is that everybody ends up getting married! Even people who would not even survive an entire date.

Akash was the youngest brother who at an age close to 30 was showered with money from his elder brothers and parents and in return he used to obey everything they said. Kriya practically got married to a 14 year old man-child. The wife of Akash was also expected to an obedient servant who would pay her salary to her in-laws for providing her services. Her mother in law could have been a caricature like the evil, exaggerated ones they show in television. But she was not fictional. She was very much real, and unfortunately the dictator of Kriya’s life.

Akash and Kriya never got along. Akash along with his parents and brothers abused her verbally throughout on her failure to be a the ideal bahu (doormat).

Kriya was not the subservient kinds and was vocal about what she felt was right. Akash who was initially verbally and emotionally abusive soon became physically abusive too. His family did not care about Kriya but they were afraid that Kriya and her family could file a case of dowry and domestic violence against them at any time.

The family thought of a plan. They went out of their way to send their useless, good for nothing Akash to do Masters in the US, hiding the plan from Kriya until the last minute. The first part of the two-fold plan was to leave Kriya all alone for a year and a half as a punishment. Second part was that if the couple gets settled in the US, Kriya who would have been miserable and alone for a year would become financially dependent, away from her family and friends’ support system and therefore would break down and be easily controlled.

Kriya asked for a mutual consent divorce immediately. She did not file any criminal cases because Akash and his family had threatened to prolong the divorce process. She did not take a penny of alimony. While she was taking this step, people warned her that marriages are made in heaven. Once she is married, no matter what she has to make things work out. There is no other option. And how will becoming a divorcee help her anyway? She thankfully did not listen to anyone and was strong with her decision.

Kriya is divorced now. She is happy after getting rid of the garbage from her life.

Kriya’s marriage was not made in heaven. It was made by a Mr. Kashyap and Mr. Prakash whose conversation started with “How much is your budget.” Mr. Prakash for whom his son was an investment, and his greed was a privilege he was not interested in forgoing. Mr. Kashyap was following tradition and was mentally prepared for this moment since 25 years ago when the doctor had announced “It’s a girl.”

Kriya got no alimony. Yes all the men who cry about women getting alimony, please increase your general knowledge. Hindu marriage act does not grant any automatic alimony. Cases have to be filed, and litigation goes on for years if there is no agreement between parties. A lot of women choose to walk out with zero alimony because they don’t want to prolong the litigation. They don’t care about money, and are just happy to get their life back.

Abusive men and their families can go to any extent and their life revolves around planning things to torture the victim and yet keep themselves secure legally. Please get out of such relationships immediately. It is not worth even though society may tell you that once married, you should “adjust”. You can choose to remarry or stay single, your choice. But why let yourself be treated this way and put up with such horrible people who don’t deserve you?

Self-love is the most underrated love. We are never taught about it. It is something we learn when we live with people who are beneath humanity. We may not punish them legally. We don’t know if karma works or if God will ever punish them. But what we can do, is not punish ourselves.

She saved her marriage. But what about her life?

Would like to share the story of a family friend, changing the names for protecting their privacy.

Mr. and Mrs. Agarwal arranged the marriage of their daughter, Purvi to Anil. It was a lavish wedding, just the way we like it.

Within the first year of marriage, it was detected that Purvi had a cyst in the ovary. Anil and his parents complained that they had been deceived into marrying a ‘defective’ girl who was not good for doing any household work. Purvi along with her parents were taunted for hiding her condition prior to marriage. Her parents explained that they themselves did not know. Why would they not treat her daughter and instead marry her off, if they had an idea. She was their beloved princess after all. But it was of no use.

Purvi was operated. But she continued to be in pain. Few more visits to the doctor and some tests revealed that she was suffering from cervical cancer.

Chemotherapy started. Purvi was in terrible pain. She used to wash her own clothes, cook, clean and even go grocery shopping. She was just like an any other Indian daughter-in-law, the expectations, the taunts, the humiliation were not spared. The fact that she was suffering from cancer did not matter. Empathy and care was too much to ask for.

Her parents would come to visit at times and stayed with her. Anil’s parents had a list of grievances from the good for nothing daughter in law – how she sleeps too much, is always tired, does not cook and clean well. They were also disgusted with the fact that her parents came and stayed with them shamelessly during the chemo sessions.

Purvi’s parents were also not able to understand how grave the situation was. They were hoping their daughter would get better. One of their friends suggested that they bring her daughter to their home, in another city for the treatment. But the thought of the married daughter not staying with her husband was unthinkable. They did not want her marriage to break-up. It was a new and delicate relationship and they did not want to aggravate the already tensed situation by hurting her in-laws.

Finally, Purvi’s mother mustered some courage to have a candid chat with her doctor.

“When will my daughter fully recover?”

“There is nothing that can be done now Ma’am. I am sorry.”

Purvi’s parents took her daughter to their home, by humbly requesting her in-laws that she has become a burden on them, and that they volunteer to take care of her.

Purvi died within six months. Her husband and in-laws did not bother to visit her at the time of her death or at the funeral. However, Anil received the sum under the life insurance policy in Purvi’s name. After all he was the lawfully wedded husband. Till date, Purvi’s jewelry is still at her in-laws’ home. Her parents feel that they don’t care about materialistic possessions when the most precious part of their life is gone.

When I imagine Purvi struggling from cancer, undergoing chemotherapy and trying to please her husband and in-laws, physically torturing her already weak body, I feel pained. She was trying to save her marriage, more than she cared about saving her life. Nobody could save her from cancer probably, but she could have lived the last couple of years of her life in peace with loved ones, and not inhumane and greedy people who just viewed her as an incompetent maid.

I do not understand what is this pressure in India for girls to stay in absolute horrible marriages. Why do we bring up our daughters with the mentality that marriage is the sole purpose of their life? What kind of fear / hesitation / respect stops parents from protecting their daughters from such evil people who think that their cancer suffering daughter should mop the floor more neatly? Because these unkind people happen to be her in-laws / husband?

Marriages are not made in heaven. They are made right here on earth. Purvi was not married to a God. She was married to a selfish, undeserving human – who did not love her or care for her.

It is okay to end a chronic marriage. It will not be the end of a daughter’s life. Sure, it will bring sadness. But not for the whole life. For some time. She will recover. She may find happiness.

As long as she is alive and healthy.