Author’s Note: Every one of my women with spunk stories are true stories, narrated to me by the women who went through these challenges in life, and overcame them with sheer grit and determination. Names have been changed to protect their privacy.
If you haven’t read the first part of Bhargavi’s story, catch it here.
Having spent most of her childhood as a loner and in seclusion, Bhargavi entered adulthood quite unprepared and unaware of the different types of people one could come across in life. While most of her colleagues were trustworthy and genuinely helpful, there was one man who pursued her with a sinister agenda.
He took his time and observed her for several days, an innocent amid seasoned veterans. Bhargavi was specifically assigned to two senior officers to manage all their typing needs. However, she was eager to help and be a team player and she happily took on any additional work that came her way. While it endeared her to many of her colleagues, he realised just how much of a simpleton she was. In an office where people consciously found ways to avoid additional work and did exactly what they were asked, no more and no less, Bhargavi stood head and shoulders above as an exception.
It started with an innocent greeting, a passing comment about her outfit of the day, a compliment about her typing skills. Even Bhargavi wasn’t sure when exactly friendly banter turned into a serious relationship. Slowly but surely, he showed her a future, a hope.
They say love is blind. I don’t agree. We go blind when we mistake infatuation on our part or possessiveness on the other’s part as love.
Bhargavi did not mind him being 10 years elder to her. She did not mind him being of a different community. She did not mind his less than average looks. She did not mind his lack of education. She did not mind that he wasn’t settled financially. In her desperate need to feel wanted, to feel the attention of someone else on her, she did not even mind him having girlfriends.
Her colleagues and senior officers warned her about his smoking, drinking and chewing tobacco. Even then she could not be moved. After years of being ignored by her father, and relegated to a corner of the house, she was overwhelmed by the attention lavished on her. And soon Mohan, as we will call him, had her exactly where he wanted, like a fly in a trap.
Things finally came to a head when her parents found out through a well-wisher, who sent a postcard to the family warning them of their daughter’s completely unsuitable boyfriend. This time her parents took attention and immediately packed Bhargavi off to her aunt’s place in their native village.
While in her aunt’s place, a marriage alliance came to the elders’ attention. The boy was in the military and settled in a different city altogether. Without any say in the matter, Bhargavi was pushed into the marriage that was to happen in six months time.
Meanwhile, her parents brought her back to the city and accompanied her to the office. In front of them, she was forced to look Mohan in the eye, break the news of her marriage and leave him in no doubt that things between them were over. She was permitted to continue working but only on the condition that her office would give her a transfer to the other city where her new life awaited.
She gave in to everything. She was keenly aware how much she had hurt her parents and so she silently complied with whatever they asked of her. She still had to go to work until the marriage and the transfer would happen. And Mohan would emotionally torture her with stories of how much he was drinking because she left him for another man.
Her fiance was not without his own set of problems either. What should have been six months of discovery and courtship turned into six months of silence. Prabhakar, as we will call her fiance, neither called nor wrote. If she wrote to him to let him know what was going on with her life and updates on the wedding preparations, the replies would either be in monosyllables or there would be no reply at all.
This strange behaviour did not go unnoticed on the part of Bhargavi’s mother who travelled with Bhargavi in tow to meet Prabhakar’s parents and try to figure out what was wrong. But Prabhakar’s parents assured mother and daughter that their son was reserved and quiet and there was no cause for alarm.
After an emotionally charged six months, Bhargavi and Prabhakar were married. What should have been the start of a new life without Mohan’s influence turned into a nightmare on the very first night when Prabhakar told her that he had been forced into this marriage. He was a drug addict. And he was impotent. As far as he was concerned, she was not even part of his life.
Bhargavi found herself at a crossroads where she could neither enjoy a happily married life nor go back to her parents, who she did not want to trouble. And she would have made her peace with the situation and lived a half life if it was not for her parents finding out about Prabhakar’s situation. They wasted no time in bringing her back home and applied for a divorce.
Bhargavi found herself labelled a divorcee now, all because a man couldn’t be honest enough to admit to his parents he simply did not want to be married. Through no fault of hers, she found herself alone yet again in life. But she had also grown stronger, and so she picked up the pieces and moved on, determined to make a life for herself and take care of her parents and younger brother.
But life had other plans for Bhargavi. Besides, Mohan hadn’t given up.
Illustrated by Dr. Anisha Kumar (Visit ignitingmypassion.wordpress.com)