Starry and Giribala shared this link to the saddest story of 26-yr-old Asti Shekhar whose husband married her as a ‘sacrifice’ to ‘keep his parents happy’. There was dowry demand, made and fulfilled, but what killed Asti was her husband, Smartu’s cruelty.
Whatever excuses this man, Smartu, made, he seemed willing enough to marry Asti, who wrote in her diary,
Today, he told me that another girl had stolen his heart before we met, but there was nothing between them except that he had a soft corner for that girl. I don’t have a problem with this, but I will tease him about it.“
They were married on Feb 27th. Once married, Smartu started showing his true colours, starting with the declaration that he was going to continue his relationship with a woman he claimed to love (Ramya).
Mummyji warned me that if I could not keep her son happy, he would leave me and go away. Imagine! She is warning a girl who is just married. How can I deal with this behaviour? I feel sad and lonely. After all this, I wiped my tears and prepared lunch (rosagulla, mutton, dahi vada).“
Smartu seemed to understand that Sweety would be expected to make this marriage work.
This paramparik system works very conveniently for people like Smartu. Like a typical abuser, he made everybody else feel responsible for his cruelty/abuse.
The elders in the family (again typically) used traditional wisdom (instead of common sense) and concluded that it was the 26 year old Sweety’s responsibility (and within her power) to ensure her husband was happy.
(The same mindset created Malaysian Obedient Wife Club).
Many Indian elders seem to see sex as a means to control married men.
This has been a bad day. I do not even know why. I don’t know what Mikkuji told his mother this morning. She called me and scolded me a lot. She asked me if I was a woman. I said ‘yes’ and she asked me why her son felt I was always distant and aloof. Imagine! Doesn’t she know why her son feels like that? Mikku only stays with me, but his heart and soul is with his honey. He does not hear my voice and he does not even look at me. I have tried to make him love me and feel my presence, but it hasn’t worked. Perhaps it’s my mistake. When he told me that he once had a girlfriend, I should have said no to this marriage. I don’t know why I agreed. I should have told my Papa all this at that time. I have destroyed both Mikku’s life and mine. Now I don’t know what will happen and what turn my life will take. How long should I tolerate this? Mummiji abuses me about many things now. I have decided that I will not ask anyone for anything anymore.“
All the red highlighted words show how she was held responsible for the abuse (sometimes even by herself).
If Sweety had managed to get pregnant, she would have got busy with the baby and there would have been no death, separation or divorce, and this would have been seen as another ‘successful Indian marriage’.
The mother in law does not seem to notice that she has spoiled Sweety’s life through this marriage.
The tension is killing me. Mummiji says she is punishing herself as she has spoilt her son’s life through this marriage. She says Mikku sacrificed his love life just for her happiness… no one is bothered about how I feel. What wrong have I done?”
Nobody seems to be blaming Mikkuji.
Have you seen ‘Dulhan wahi jo piya man bhaye‘? Wives are encouraged to see men as easily manipulated people who can be made to ‘fall in love’.
In such marriages often the woman is forever trying to keep the man happy. She sees his happiness (i.e. approval) as a reward for all her sacrifices/efforts/manipulations/prayers etc. Her self esteem depends on this husband’s approval.
Who is being manipulated here?
I am unable to make him happy and it is a shameful thing for any wife. Sometimes I think I should end my life, but this is not a solution to my problems. I don’t know what to do and how to gain a place my husband’s heart.
This marriage is a punishment for him. No one — not my Papa, mother, Mikku nor his parents – none of them realise that they are punishing only me. Do you know dairy, Mummiji wanted Mikku to marry me because they wanted a cook – Sweety, the cook. Did he not understand my love for him? Did he not see it in my eyes? He only wants my body. Does he not understand my feelings towards him? Will I ever get him to love me? If he doesn’t value our relationship will he leave me forever in June?“
And now the dangling sword of failure. She couldn’t win him over.
“Mikku now thinks he is already married to Ramya. He married me only because he wanted to keep his parents happy. Mikku loses nothing from this marriage. I’m the only one who is losing my life… Mikku does not even speak to me now. He just answers ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my questions. Even physically I’m useless to him.“
What made Mikku think he was married to Ramya? Why doesn’t his parent’s happiness matter now?
What if Sweety had threatened the family with legal action? Or sued them for cheating her and demanded huge compensation? I wish her parents do that and start an NGO for thousands of women trapped in such situations.
“Every moment I think about doing the things Mikku likes. Why does he not feel anything towards me? Why? Why? I think I am a burden to everyone. No one sees the sorrow I’m feeling. What should I do? Where should I go once Mikku leaves me in June forever?“
Sweety was aware that Mikku lost nothing from this marraige.
What are the chances that now that Sweety is out of the way, Mikku would get married to Ramya? Do you think Ramya might feel he would make a responsible, loving partner? Maybe like Sweety, Ramya too is raised to have no expectations expect a occasional approving pat on the back. 😦
Maybe the Indian patriarchal society been such a failure because it gives too much responsibility and almost no rights/powers to it’s young female members?
Today, I feel I am the poorest and unluckiest girl in this world. I lost my husband completely today. I hoped it would not happen, but it has happened. Today he slept alone in another room and left me alone. Why did this have to happen to me? Is it my mistake to have consented to a marriage which papa fixed?
Mikku not only cheated Sweety, but seemed to demand her sympathy, connivance and support in continuing her abuse. He knew Sweety was expected to make this marriage work. (Indian Family Value for women : Get Married, Stay Married)
Sweety had tried to get a job.
She did not think she could really hold her parents, in laws and husband responsible for the decisions each of them took.
Mammiji and Papaji say they will be with me and I am like a daughter to them, but kabtak? At any time, they can also get fed up with me. I can’t go to my parents. I have nothing left, nothing to look forward to. Mummy, your daughter is going away with all respect and dignity. I have in my mind all the culture you taught me and even now your daughter is very pure. I haven’t even thought about another man than Mikku. I don’t know what mistake I committed. Mikku, I am not that bad a girl. I am going away from you and your life, to that place from where one cannot come back even if one wanted to. Now you are a free bird.
There’s self pity and helplessness and very subtle accusation.
Do you think Sweety should have been expected to win over a man who was not interested in marrying her?
Have you seen such marriages where newly wed Indian women are asked to make the husband ‘come to the right path’? And often there is no looking back, she must either succeed or live in a lifetime of hell. Or die.
What do such relationships do to a woman’s self esteem? What if she had found a job or got pregnant?