“Neha, you won’t understand my pain! It’s not easy to be a mother of daughter who is taking a divorce! You know everyday I get calls from my relative asking why Neha is taking divorce? What happened to her? Why I am not asking her to adjust and compromise?” my friend’s mother told her as I sit next to her holding her hand!
Frustrated with her mother’s endless push to make Neha drop the idea of divorce and return back to her abusive husband made my blood boil. I was trying hard to calm down my nerves for Neha as I was sure she wasn’t up for another drama.
So, I politely told her mother:
“Aunty, don’t worry about people. They have a lot of time at their hands and soon, they will find something else to gossip about! They are focusing on Neha only till the time they don’t have a new gossip!”
“Shweta, its easy to say things as an outsider. Neither you are getting divorced nor Neha is your daughter! You don’t even have a cinch of idea what we are going through!” With those words, Neha’s mother actually wanted to tell me to Shut Up!
But, I refused to. Because it was about taking a stand for my friend when she couldn’t find the support in her own parents!
While maintaining my calm, I said:
“Aunty, you are right! Neither I am in Neha’s place nor yours! I know you must be in horrible pain and so must be Neha. But, just because some random relatives are gossiping about Neha that shouldn’t be the reason you force her to go back to that abusive marriage!”
“How abusive, Shweta! Rohit never ever hit her! He never asked for dowry! I don’t understand why she just couldn’t adjust or love him! Why can’t she live with him? Every girl has to adjust or compromise a bit! Then why is she so adamant? It would be difficult for Neha to find a better match than Rohit! She is turning 34 now! Who will marry her?”
While aunty said all those hurtful things in front of Neha, all Neha could manage was to wipe her tears before they leave her eyes! Realizing her pain, I just couldn’t stay shut anymore!
“Aunty, abuse is not just about the wounds that you can see on Neha’s body. It is also about the wounds that are on her mind and soul! The lack of respect, the unavailable emotional support and constant control has wounded her spirit for the rest of life. Why can’t you see how she is losing her confidence? Why can’t you see how she breaks down every second moment?”
Realizing I was right, aunty couldn’t find any better logic than this to shut me down:
“She isn’t your daughter! If she was – will you have supported her to get the divorce?”
Without taking a second, I said:
“Yes, aunty! Not just my daughter, I will even support my mother or my sister or any woman for that matter, who isn’t happy in her marriage! Even after trying so hard, Neha isn’t happy in this marriage. How could you let your own daughter suffer?”
“Betaji, you ask your mother! What she would have done! Will she would have supported you in your decision to end your marriage? It’s easier said than done!”
While coming back home, I was wondering how Indian parents let their strong and independent daughter suffer in marriage.
Out of fear of what society and noisy relatives will say, they ask their daughters to make endless compromises! Even though they like the FB post that says – “A Divorced Daughter is Better than a Dead Daughter”. – they hardly believe in it!
It is heart-breaking how Indian parents blackmail their daughters in name of Ghar ki izzat; How they force her to stick in abusive marriage out of fear of who will marry her again? Who will look after her in old age? How will she be alone throughout her life?
I wonder when parents would understand that being alone is better than with the wrong person! I wonder when parents would understand that Marriage is for happiness and companionship and not for society’s approval!
As I entered into my house – the first thing I asked my mother was – “Will she support me if I ever chose to separate from my husband!” And she said: “Undoubtedly, Yes! No questions asked!”
I took a breath of relief that at least my mother won’t sacrifice me for society’s happiness. But, I felt sorry for Neha who has to fight not only against society but her own parents too!
I wonder when parents would understand that when their responsible, mature, intelligent daughter tells them that she wants a divorce, she doesn’t want their blame, judgments, or questions! She just wants their support!
Dear Reader, will you support your daughter if she asks for divorce?