So this woman I know, was married to a wife- beater, one who used to unfurl abuses on her whenever he felt like and never did anything worth while in his entire life, expect for splurging away whatever little income the woman earned. He never allowed her to create a home, it always remained a house..
But everyone around was very happy, because she bore him two children and would have the long vermilion mark on her forehead and would wear bangles and be the dutiful wife that she was expected to be in our society. Bear the brunt of this man's beatings, but still continue to lay in bed for him and give birth to his children. Keep hearing an abuse or two, but still go back home and cook the most elaborate meal for him. Let him steal and sell all your jewellery, but you continue earning and running the household because it's your duty.
So it was a great set-up. and everything was working smoothly. The woman was respected amongst the people for doing all that she did, and she never did utter a word of discontentment to anyone. Only her body would let out signs of what was happening to her. The bruised cheek or the swollen eye, could not be hidden so well under the vermilion and the bangles after all!! But respect she was getting in plenty for being the hard worker in the house.. No one dared interfere because it was none of their business.
Soon after I came in contact with this woman, her husband died. In one of his drunk driving adventures he had met with an accident and couldn't survive. So the woman should have been distraught by her husband's death because she was a dutiful wife, right!!!
Well soon after his death when I got a chance to speak with her, she said for the first time in my life the house feels like home! My children are happier because no more beating episodes and I am able to buy things for the house, since no one is stealing my money. But loosing respect in the eyes of the society, was her fate now, of course because she was a widow! How could she still dress up so well, her husband had passed away recently.. How could she be happy, when she had recently been widowed. It was an eye-sore for the people around to see her happy.
And I saw her status descending further in the eyes of the so called well wishers, when she moved in with another man. She all of a sudden was a character less woman and people would avoid even talking to her. Now if an illiterate person told me this, I would have given it to the ignorance but the well educated class talking such was completely unacceptable to me.
What wrong did she do? She didn't abandon her husband and elope with her lover leaving her kids behind! She had been a dutiful wife, despite all the adversities she faced in her married life. She had stood by the husband, no matter how much he beat her or harassed her. She had been there for him and for the family no matter how much unhappiness it brought her. Now that the husband was no more, she was trying to find some love and peace, and why was it wrong??? Doesn't she have the right to live a happy life? Just because she had fallen in love with another man, who treats her with respect and gives her the love she desired, she became a woman of loose character!
I fail to understand the ways of the society, why all the expectations from the woman only? What if her husband would have left her and gone away, the mistake would still have been of the woman, because she was not able keep him!