My sister called home but when my mother asked her to switch on her mobile camera, she refused. She gave mummy multiple reasons why she can’t switch on the camera. And, believing her, my mother didn’t push her either. But, I felt something was not right.
My sister, Suhana, has been married for 3 years now. It was a love marriage that didn’t turn out the way my sister wanted it to be. For the last two years, she has been feeling humiliated, sad, and lonely. She has shared multiple instances when my brother-in-law and his parents have humiliated her.
After marriage, my fun-loving didi had turned dull and lifeless. But, no one seemed to care. Though she told our parents about the humiliations and insults, every time, she was asked to – develop will power; she was asked to adjust;
Irrespective of how badly her husband or in-laws treated her, my parents made sure that whenever they came to our house, they are treated with the ultimate level of respect.
Rather than confronting them, my parents would treat them with so much respect as if they were kings and queens of some county. While my mother would cook so many dishes for my brother-in-law and her parents, my father would serve them as if we were their maids, cooks, or servants.
I tried to force my parents to raise their concerns with my brother-in-law and his parents to stop humiliating didi. But my parents always quiet me down. They said I was too young to interfere in these matters. They will give me endless sermons on how society doesn’t appreciate parents’ involvement in daughter’s personal matters after marriage; How a daughter is a paraya dhan, who has to find peace in her new house at any cost; How a divorce is never an option; How daughter has to make the marriage work, even if she has to sacrifice her happiness for the same and so on…
Every time they start their sermon, I wonder what stops these educated people from standing up for their own daughter; Why like so many Indian parents, my parents too expected their daughter to suffer in silence.
But, this time, when my sister refused to come on the video camera, I had a very bad feeling. I thought it might be because her husband or in-laws would have again humiliated her and her mood must have been spoilt.
So later in the evening, I did a video call to cheer her up. But, what I saw next broke me into pieces.
I saw my sister had a blue eye and she was trying hard to smile. But, harder she tried to smile, the harder she cried. At that moment, I wished if I could just get into my screen and hold her tight. I so desperately wanted to put those people behind the bars, who did this to her.
Believe me, when you see the person – who took care of you at every step of your life, who gave you confidence when you were scared, who mend your heart when you felt you were broken – in so much pain, you lose it.
But, I calmed myself down because I knew I have to be there for my sister first. She shared how a simple request of going on an official trip turned into an argument and then into a violent fight.
Apparently after the fight, my brother-in-law apologized to my sister but I knew and my sister knew if it has happened once, it will happen again.
My sister asked me not to tell mummy and papa because they will just worry. But, I didn’t listen to her. I told them the whole situation. While sharing the details of what happened, I said:
“Mummy, papa, it’s all because of you that didi has to bear this pain. You never raised your voice and you never let her raise hers. Because of your silence that monster and his parents have got the courage to do this to didi.
Mummy, please don’t cry now. Rather you should be happy that your daughter is following your teachings to T. She is suffering all the abuse and torture day in day out silently. I hope your samaj is happy now!”
I knew my parents were hurt, but I so much wanted them to realize that the divorced daughter is better than the dead daughter. I knew I couldn’t imagine the pain that they were going through. But, I so much wanted them to stand for my sister, for their daughter.
Then my father broke his silence and said,
“They think my daughter has no one. What do they think they will mistreat my daughter and I will keep shut.”
My father booked the tickets, traveled to my didi’s place on the very same day. He asked didi to pack her stuff and told her family that she won’t return back till those people won’t apologize to her. He also told them that he won’t shy away from standing for her daughter even if that means he has to stand against the whole world.
After my parents took a stand for their daughter, things are getting a little better.
But I still wish, we wouldn’t have waited for things to get out of hand! I wish, my parents would have told their daughter to stand for herself! I wish, my parents wouldn’t have asked their daughters to adjust or suffer in silence! I wish, they could have taken a stand for her without worrying about ‘log kya kahengey’! I wish.