Anahita watched the sun rise over the pristine beach which had been her home for a week now. She walked at the edge of the water, allowing the waves to gently caress her bare feet. She had been away from home for work reasons a few times in the past few years. And even though those trips offered an escape from Akash’s sinister side, the feeling used to be one of relief. Today however, she felt liberated.
She had checked into a beach resort in a country known for its island getaways. She was the only single woman there but this drew no unwanted attention. While everyone around her was friendly, they gave her the space she needed.
Her typical day would begin just as the sun was rising. She would take a long walk on the beach, silent in her introspection. In a period of a few days she had gone through a lifetime. She let her mind wander as it would. Some days, snatches of her childhood would come to mind, scenes of her mother yelling at her father for some slight. Scenes of her father taking it quietly. As she let her mind open up, things began to form a picture in her head.
Her own parents hadn’t had a normal relationship. Her mother was extremely dominating, reducing her father to a silent, brooding man who never took any interest or initiative in deciding anything for the family. Her marriage to Akash also was her mother’s idea from start to finish. Anahita was too used to obedience by then, and simply complied. Just like she had agreed to study in a certain college, or wear only certain clothes and so on.
Somewhere in those years, seeing how her father’s spirit had crushed under her mother’s domination, Anahita promised herself she wouldn’t do the same. She would be more understanding of her husband, she would be more tolerant of him. And she would never give him cause for complaint. She would be the perfect wife.
Anahita stood very still as the implications of this memory which had come forth from the depths of suppressed memories became more and more clear.
She had been set up. There were no other words to describe it.
She felt like she was outside her body, looking in. She saw several versions of herself – the quiet child, the confused teenager, the obedient daughter, the protective mother, the ever-faithful wife and the successful career woman – all glaring at each other, all blaming each other for what every one of them had to endure. She saw the vicious circle she had to break from.
And now she saw Akash, with that leer of lust and the animal glare of his eyes as he approached the wife, belt in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other. No! Not again! Not ever again! With every ounce of strength in her, Anahita screamed on the outside, and kept screaming. While on the inside, all the different versions of herself formed a protective barrier around the wife. Slowly, all the broken pieces of her personality came together and became one. She looked larger than life in front of Akash who now looked like an ant in front of an elephant. She looked like the Goddess Kali herself as her new, strong, fully-formed self crushed Akash and laughed.
It was not the laugh of triumph or revenge. It was a laugh of pure joy and happiness. The laugh of light when it wins against the dark. And on the outside, Anahita had stopped screaming and was laughing too. She opened her eyes, which were overflowing with tears – as if her body had chosen this as a means to rid herself of all her doubt and guilt.
She was startled by a voice behind her. The resort manager stood there, with a worried look on his face. One of the many staff working for the resort had witnessed Anahita’s meltdown and had immediately called the manager. Behind him stood the resort doctor, holding a doctor’s bag which belonged more in a museum and less in the 21st century!
One look at them and Anahita couldn’t suppress the giggle that escaped her lips. The manager, still unconvinced asked, “Madam, we heard you screaming and we were worried for you. Are you alright? Are you okay?”
Anahita smiled at the obviously concerned manager and the doctor hovering behind him like a scared kitten. She quickly reassured them she was fine and thanked them for their concern.
As she walked back to her villa, her eyes turned bright with determination. The road ahead was going to be hard. But she had taken the first steps. And she knew where she wanted to be at the end of this journey. Yes, she was alright. She was okay.
Author’s Note: If there is anything I have learnt from the women who are the source of my Women with Spunk stories, it is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to broken families and broken marriages. We each have to find our own way, make our own path, build our own future. It is my hope that Anahita’s story takes any women going through a similar situation on that road to self-discovery, to freedom and to the right to live. My readers are welcome to leave comments and suggestions on how anyone facing a similar issue in real life can get help in the real world.
Illustrated By: Dr Anisha Kumar (Visit http://ignitingmypassion.wordpress.com)