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.
Shattered and broken, but gaining strength with every passing day, Bhargavi picked up the pieces of her life and went back to work. Her colleagues were understanding and supportive and helped her to forget the unfortunate experience of marrying Prabhakar.
Mohan, however, had other plans. He employed many tricks and methods to let her know he was still “in love” with her and that his life was ruined because of her refusal to be with him. At first, Bhargavi ignored these advances, wanting to focus on her own mental and spiritual recovery after the harrowing experience with Prabhakar. But guilt became the biggest emotion that overtook everything else within her thoughts, and reason was slowly wiped out of existence.
She would somehow survive at work, tolerating Mohan who would make it a point to pass by her desk several times a day looking forlorn and unhappy and making no bones about the fact that he held her responsible for how he felt. Things didn’t improve much when she went home and saw her parents also upset by whatever had happened, and worried about their daughter’s future.
There is a famous proverb in Sanskrit that goes “vinaash kale vipreet buddhi”. Loosely translated, it means – when one’s destruction is near, the brain also generates destructive or negative thoughts. This is the closest I can come to describing what happened next. If you asked Bhargavi today, even she may not be able to explain what came over her.
With Mohan piling on guilt and her parents’ worried for her future, Bhargavi decided to elope with Mohan and relieve her parents of any burden or responsibility towards her. She had no affection or love for Mohan left in her. By now, she saw him exactly for what he was. But some misplaced sense of responsibility towards her parents made her take this step in life. A step which she regrets to this day.
How badly her decision affected her father is evident by the fact that he did not touch a drop of alcohol after the day Bhargavi eloped. It was too little too late, but finally Bhargavi’s father understood how his alcoholism had ruined his family and his daughter’s life. Seeing her elope and get married to an alcoholic was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Meanwhile, Mohan didn’t disappoint either. On the very first night of their marriage, he left Bhargavi alone while he went off to party with his friends, something that became a regular routine with him. He insisted on operating a joint account where both their salaries went and he would withdraw their salary as soon as it got deposited, leaving Bhargavi penniless. He brazenly took money from Bhargavi’s friends, parents and other family members, who obliged only because they were worried for Bhargavi.
If Bhargavi so much as opened her mouth to ask for money, or to enquire about the state of their finances, he would beat her up and ensure her silence.
Mohan and Bhargavi had a son and a daughter eventually. A blessing for Bhargavi, but just more people to torture for Mohan. Bhargavi would hide with the children when Mohan came home reeking of alcohol and ready to pick a fight, hurl abuses or worse, beat one of them up. It was almost like history was repeating itself, and Bhargavi found herself in the same situation as her mother, years ago.
This state of affairs went on for fourteen long years. In the course of these fourteen years, every basic human right was taken away from Bhargavi. By giving her no access to finances, Mohan turned her into a dependent, scared woman. A mere shadow of herself. The children were not spared either. From physical abuse to public insults, they too suffered through it all with their mother.
For the longest time, Bhargavi accepted this as her fate. Though her parents knew things weren’t right, she never spoke to them about her marriage or what she was going through. She did not want to worry them, and more importantly, she did not want to go through yet another divorce. She decided to endure and punish herself instead.
But everyone has a breaking point, and though it took fourteen years of abuse, financial dependence and living in constant fear, Bhargavi finally reached a point where she could take no more.
We’ve all heard the proverb – “God helps those who help themselves”. Whether you are a believer or not, everyone would agree that it falls on ourselves to make our lives better. No knight in shining armour is going to arrive to do it for us.
It wouldn’t be easy. It wouldn’t be quick. But Bhargavi took that crucial first step. Finding her lost strength, she found a lawyer. And filed for divorce.
Illustrated By: Dr. Anisha Kumar (Visit http://ignitingmypassion.wordpress.com)