They obviously knew each other well. One was around 50, the other a little younger. First they dissected TV Serials, they knew their favorite characters and scenes. Their passion reminded me of Football and Cricket being discussed at home.
Then it was decided that the correct age for boys to get married was 22 years. “Not too young and not too old.” The biggest reason why this age was so acceptable was to ensure they do not go ‘out of hand’.
Meaning they should not grow wings or start having opinions of their own?
Then I lost track of their conversation, until I heard them talk of a man who was beating his wife the evening before.
“I saw him beating her, and her brother came out and stood in the balcony, I asked him what was going on, he said his jeeju was beating his sister.”
“He had wrapped a bandage on his own wrist! He tries to show that he hurts himself too…”
“Arre if he is angry he should shout, where is the need to beat her? Atleast not when she is pregnant!”
“Yes, he should think of her state! You know, the way he hurts himself…, I think X has some psychological problem!”
“I didn’t tell my husband! He is very short tempered, he would have gone and given him two…”
X! The name was familiar.
I said, “I couldn’t help overhearing you, did you say X? What is the wife’s name?
“You should ring their door bell, and let him know this is not a normal family matter…”
I told them about X and Y. They heard but did not seem convinced about interfering,
“He is violent; he can say and do anything.”
“A man who beats his wife with the knowledge that her family will not support her, is a coward. I have met him. He needs to know this is totally unacceptable…”
I knew they would never understand or accept any talk of her leaving him.
Of how the first time you are a victim, after that you are just a volunteer.
One of them had just said, “…But I think every family should have a daughter. At least one daughter to chahiye (is needed), otherwise a family is not like a family, these boys never stay at home, at least girls are caring…!”
What bothered me was that the generous statement implied that having or not having daughters was a choice.
And having children of a particular gender should have some convenient reasons, like completing a family, or making a house a home.
And that boys go out, they don’t ‘care’. So girls don’t go out? They are made to stay at home and be ‘caring’? Meaning girl-children must repay by being kind, while boys are accepted so long as they agree to marry when and to whom the parents deem appropriate.
Isn’t all this interlinked? And doesn’t our thinking need some overhauling? This is the real India.
And about X and Y… I wish there was something I could do. Most organizations found on the net have phone numbers that are not picked up. And the girl had refused to blame her husband…
I have lost her number but she has mine. And our Society’s Secretary’s. We had asked her to call anytime, but she never called.