– Adarsh Singpuri
Based on a true story, if anyone who is somehow connected to the incident is offended, kindly comment and it will be taken down. It is not meant to hurt any sentiments. It is just an approach to present the other side of the story to judgemental people.
6 months ago
As I removed my turban, my mind was engulfed by the list of things that could possibly go wrong. It was long. I changed into trousers and a kurta. The trousers had horrible fitting and the kurta was very tight. I opened the door she was sitting on the centre of the bed wearing a simple saree, she looked very pretty. I should not be thinking like that. We had a few hours before we had to be on our way to the airport. Bollywood movies never considered this scenario, I had no idea what to do. She gave me a brass tumbler filled with milk, saffron flavoured milk. I took a sip.
“Divya, did you eat?” I thought it to be a good opening line as girls right after marriage don’t eat.
“No, but I am not hungry.” She replied.
“Then, here drink this milk.”
“It is for you.”
“I know and I am giving it to you.”
“Thank you.” She said and emptied the glass. She definitely needed it.
“I would like to know more about you.”
“Like what.” She said lightly as if afraid of me. I did not want her to be afraid of me but maybe it would be better if I would be the one in control but being friendly would not mean I am a pushover.
“Like your hobbies and what you like to do.”
We talked for sometime, she was a really interesting woman and we had much in common.
She looked at my watch and said, “we are late, we will miss the flight.”
I did not say anything as it was 2 hours before departure but she was rushing. We had already packed our bags the night before.
“Pick up your watch, phone and lets go.” She commanded.
I had no choice but to listen to her.
We got outside, the driver was not there in the car. A guard was sitting there, she told him to tell the driver to get the car from the airport. Did it mean I had to drive in the hour of need.
“How good are you at driving?”
“Uh-.” I could not say that I was lousy.
“Let me drive to the airport.” She opened the boot and asked me to load the bags.
I did as she said. If she was so authoritarian, I would be in trouble. She dumped the clutch and the tires screeched forward. I was impressed and intimidated at the same time. She speeded on and veered through the traffic. I was scared, part of me wanted her to slow down and part of me wanted her to continue. I looked at the speedometer-75 kmph, shit! Damn it was not that fast but felt like it. It was early morning and the traffic was light. We reached the airport and she finally slowed down and parked it in the lot after going through tolls. I payed for the parking. 250 rupees for 6 hours!
We unlocked the seatbelt and I ran towards the boot. She opened it with the keys and asked me to put the keys in the glovebox and not lock the front passenger door.
She took one bag and ran as fast as her saree permitted her.
“Take out your id, I have the ticket.”
We reached the door and took out my fake id. The guards would hopefully take the tension on my face as a result of being late for the flight. They took our ids looked at our faces, tickets and let us in. I had no idea what to do now but I could not reveal it to her so, I just followed her. We went to a box, there was a conveyor belt on both sides and some police men sitting besides with a computer. The bags passed and they put some flaps and tags on it that locked the zippers. There was a queue, she broke it. I was thinking if it was a good time to enforce some of the authority I had but before I could do anything, we had already reached the counter.
“Ma’am please, we will miss our flights.”
“You should have come earlier.” She completed her sentence and handed her a card.
“Sir, id.” I extended my hand and she took it and gave me the same card along with my id.
“Security check is this way.” It was then I realised we did not have our bags.
“Our bags,” I screamed.
“Yes, yes. I gave yours too along with mine.”
I got to the security check, there was a sign, stay behind the yellow line. There was a man who put his belongings in a plastic tray, and took a rectangular piece of plastic. I did the same, there were 2 pieces with 23 written on them. I put in my wallet and mobile phone in it. The guard signalled me to come forward, I climbed on a wooden board and he waved a black device in front of me. It beeped time to time. He stamped ‘SECURITY CHECKED’ on it and signalled me to go ahead. I picked up my wallet and phone from the tray which was now out, placed the 23 piece of plastic and waited for my wife. She came back relaxed and in no hurry, I was thinking why is she so relaxed, we were not in the plane yet.
“Lets hurry to the plane.” I said.
“The boarding will continue for 25 more minutes, there is no need to rush.”
I followed her having no clue as to where to go and what to do. We reached to gate 6 and there was a screen besides the door that gave the details of our plane. There was a security guard and a woman checking our cards.
My wife handed her card to that woman, I did the same and she tore a part of it and gave the bigger one to me. We entered the door into a narrow hallway. There were some young girls taking pictures with their mobile phones. The walls behind them were glass and I could see some planes and different kinds of vehicles. I kept on walking and reached the door of the plane, the structure joining the plane and the hallway did not feel strong. I entered the plane, it was small from the inside a woman in a knee length skirt and impossibly red lipstick greeted me. I had no idea what to say back so, I repeated the greeting, not louder than a whisper.
Our seats were separate. She was sitting near a young married couple and I had to sit in between two fat men. The five hour trip was not going to be easy.
The plane stayed at rest for sometime longer. There was an announcement about our route, the pilot introduced herself and the crew, the crew mostly comprised of men. There was a woman giving some safety briefing about seat belts, emergency exits, life jackets etc. I searched for the buckle and fastened it. I was not scared of flying earlier but now, I was. Plane accidents were rarer than train accidents. They said that the plane was going to take off. I have been told that takeoff and landing were very uncomfortable. The plane started to move and as soon as we got on a straight road, it started to accelerate rapidly. It was not as bad as everybody said. Soon, the plane got level and it was announced that we could take off our seat belts. I did not remove it.
I thought of exchanging the seats to sit near her but both of the fat men were sleeping. Eventually, I also drifted as I got no sleep the night before.
I woke up to the landing announcement. The plane touched the ground and braking felt much more sudden. It was uncomfortable but not as bad as a car braking suddenly. The plane stopped and people started getting up. The man on my left near the window was calm but the one on my right was very restless. I thought of getting up when the crowd would reduce as we were not in a hurry to go anywhere.
I was dreading to see her if she was angry for not sitting near her. I stood up and saw her standing in her place looking at me with concern.
“I am sorry,” I immediately blurted.
“No problem,” she said “you looked very tired.”
The rest of the time was passed in silence.
We reached home, “I am extremely tired,” she announced. “I will take a shower and go to sleep.
“OK.” Everything was going fine.
A week passed by, it was hectic, adjusting to the new house, buying furniture, electronics and other stuff. To enforce some of my authority, I stopped her from buying things we could easily do without.
She was getting fed up of me that I was not letting her spend her own earned money so, I started doing some chores. Just cleaning the small house and cooking food. She loved my cooking and warmed up to me instantly. Things were going on really smooth.
2 months passed. Father called, “I paid the loan and now we are totally debt free. I just had to sell the car her family gave me.”
I was at work. “That is amazing, now we can be peaceful.”
“What do you mean peaceful? What about the problem you have got yourself in now to get us out of this one. How are you going to get out of this one?”
“Just wait, I have a plan.”
“Have patience.” I hung up.
I had no real plan just one panic last resort option. To tell my father to run away and meet me somewhere. No idea where somewhere was.
1 year ago
“Sir, please think about us. How-”Father was talking on the phone. “But sir, I am already in debt and I have done so much for- Ok but please give me 1 month- It will be imposs- Sir, the cards are already printed and distributed, it will give a very bad impression and- Sir, please sir don’t do this a fortnight before the marriage. Sir for- Hello, hello.”
“What happened father?” It seemed the news was very bad.
“They want more money or the marriage is off.”
I was infuriated by the nerve of those people. “They will not stop even after marriage. They will keep on torturing me until the end of my life and if I cannot give them the money, they will burn me alive and give the pretext of witchcraft and even if they don’t do this now, they will do it if I have daughters.”
“I think I won’t survive.” He fell down as he said.
My heart stopped, I ran to him. He was not breathing, I could not feel his pulse. No. I had to do something. I called the doctor on speaker phone and administered a CPR.
“Hello, Mr. Kumar.” He said.
“Emergency, I think he got a heart attack. I am giving a CPR.”
“30 compressions and check. I will be there as soon as possible.” He hung up.
“Get up father.” I started to cry. He cannot die. I continued it and he started breathing. It was faint but present.
Someone banged the door. “Dr. Jaiswal open.”
I ran and opened the door. “He is breathing but he is still unconscious.”
“Gauri, is everything ok.” Father said in a very low voice.
“Yes father, all is fine. You fell down. Take some rest. I controlled my tears with great difficulty.”
“You got a heart attack, you need to rest.” Dr. Jaiswal informed him about his condition.
“Dr. Jaiswal, good evening.” He turned to me and said, “I am sorry you had to see this.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“I want your happiness the most.”
I could not control my tears, “We will talk about it later.” I said and ran away.
Just because I am a girl, I have to take all kinds of shit. Taunts after being born, not getting any credit for working hard and doing something useful. All kinds of shit in teenage by boys and compulsion to get tied to a guy however the guy maybe. No life outside home. No freedom. No respect. Everything is about men, they get everything. Why should I suffer just because I was born a woman? Life of men is so much easier. Why would any parent want a girl if they have to go through this shit? I wish I was a man, father would not had to take so much loan and stress. In fact, I could take money to get girls. Girls paying me for sex. Our condition is worse than a prostitute, no not worse but not better by much. Women getting desperate to get married, then being forced to have children, not children- boys. I hope these inbred insane people die a slow and painful death.
“Gauri.” It was Dr. Jaiswal.
I quickly wiped off my tears. “Yes.”
“He is fine now, but he cannot take any stress, don’t talk about whatever caused him this atleast for a few days.”
“Here are a few medicines, I have written it in his diary about the names and doses in proper detail.”
“Ok, I won’t miss any dose.”
“Start from tomorrow morning.”
“And Gauri, tell me the problem, I will help you out.”
“No. No. Thank you very much.”
“Listen, you are like the daughter I never had. Your father is like my brother. I know it is about your marriage. I will pay them the dowry.”
“No, I can’t live like that.”
“Listen, I don’t have anything to spend it on. Doctors make a lot of money.”
“I know that he already took money from you and I know that you are in debt too. I am indebted to you for saving his life.”
“Indebted my foot. It is my job and the government of India gives me money to do so and I did not save him, you did. If you had not administered the CPR, his chances of survival would have reduced drastically and he would have almost definitely got paralysed.”
The paralysis thing got me. “I will ask you for money later.”
“Listen, don’t marry into that family, they will never give you peace. The boy does nothing, they are nothing but beggars. If your father had asked me before accepting their proposal, I would have never permitted him to do so.”
He looked at me sympathetically and said, “Good luck.”
“Thank you, I will need it.”
1 week later
I knew if I would try to get back on them, things will go terribly wrong.
They called again. “When will you provide the money?”
When the bunch of dicks get out of your ass is what I wanted to say.
“Sir, please understand, we are unable to provide funds.”
“You pathetic poor losers, why will I ask you to marry into my capable and strong family if you can’t even treat us right.”
Being a woman, we have amazing control over our mouths and anger. I didn’t say anything.
“One last time, if you guarantee, we will receive the money until the weekend, we will continue with the marriage.”
Mother fucker, I will rip your throat off. I don’t want your useless, hopeless, talentless, impotent excuse for a male.
“Sir, we have done all we could, please don’t do this with just a week to go.”
“If that is all you have to say, I will not give my son to your beggars.” He hung up the phone.
“That asshole, dickless, son of a pig!”
“What happened?” Father ran into the room.
“I am sorry, I cannot go into that family.”
“Relax, no one will force you. We will find you a guy who won’t ask for dowry.”
“Why am I a woman?” I broke down and lost control over my tears.
“Don’t cry for a piece of shit. Even though you are a woman, I unlike your mother would never trade you for any kind of man. I was always proud of you that unlike other girls, you chose to be independent and even support me.” He hugged me. I love him. He always supported me despite of all odds.
I wish I were a man.
2 months later
“Do you remember your school teacher Anil sir?” Father asked me.
He was my computer teacher extremely knowledgeable and egotistic. He wanted to become an IAS but failed. “Yes, what about him?”
“Your ex fiancée’s family approached him for his daughter, Divya”
“His father asked for 10 lakh dowry. You know what he said next?”
“What? Please get reasonable?”
“No, he said ‘are you even worthy of 10 lakh?’ He said that and asked them to leave.”
“Now that is what we can say ‘like a boss’.”
“If you were a man, I would want you to marry her or maybe not if I were a stuck up douche.”
“Yeah, I wish she was a man with that mentality or I were a man with that mentality.”
“Divya, whats up?” I asked her.
“Please come home early, I will be waiting for you.” She cooed. I feared for this moment, I could not convince her otherwise. It has been months since we were married. Every time I have been successful in handling the situation but today morning things went out of hand and I could escape only because both of us were getting late for the office and would do it after work, all night. I have run out of all the excuses. I have no idea what to do. My work phone rang.
“What is the status?” It was my boss.
“Almost done, I will present it to you for final touches by tomorrow morning.” I replied.
“Very good, you are a very hard working woman. I will see you tomorrow Gauri. Good night.”