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.
Visit The Bhoomija Story To Access All Parts of this True Story
The day of a woman’s wedding is one of the most special days of her life, second only to becoming a mother. It is a day that should be filled with happiness, joy and anticipation of the future ahead. It is a day that every girl becomes the centre of attention and queen for the day while her folks try to fulfil every wish and whim that chances to pass through her thoughts. Nothing is too less, nothing too difficult. The entire family comes together to make the day as special as possible for the bride and revel in her joy and happiness.
Bhoomija’s wedding day began with a decision. Her fathers words still rang in her ears and she woke up to a grim reality. It should have been an easy decision. For years to come, she would wonder why she decided what she decided. But for years after, she did not regret her decision for one single minute. Such is life with all its ups and downs. It is like a kaleidoscope where the same picture keeps changing depending on your viewpoint.
Once again Bhoomija chose to stick with Ram, literally for better or worse. The wedding proceeded as planned with no one except Bhoomija and her father knowing how close they had come to calling the entire wedding off.
Ram’s brother and sister spared no effort to make the guests from the bride’s side as uncomfortable as possible. While one of them yelled at the guests who were politely queuing up to meet the bride and groom, the other loudly commented on how much the bride’s guests were eating! Such boorish behaviour was a source of great embarrassment to Bhoomija’s father who had a bigger and thankfully more forgiving social circle. He on the other hand could not forgive himself for the things his guests endured.
All too soon it was time to bid Bhoomija goodbye and see her off to her new home.
The first night a bride and groom spend together is a special milestone in their newly married life. There is hesitation, anticipation, pleasure, pain, togetherness, all rolled up into one emotional roller coaster. Not for Bhoomija and Ram though. They entered Ram’s house only to be greeted by a completely messy house, and a messier bedroom with clothes and other things haphazardly strewn all around. While Bhoomija was made to sit all by herself in the living room, the rest of the family set out to clean up the bedroom which for some inexplicable reason took the better part of three hours!
Exhausted and beyond caring, the newlyweds finally settled into their bedroom at 3:30 in the morning.
It seemed like minutes after Bhoomija had closed her eyes and fallen asleep, although it was closer to seven in the morning when Bhoomija heard someone incessantly knocking, no banging their bedroom door down. She opened it to face her father-in-law who looked upset that she was still asleep.
She freshened up and joined her in-laws while no one felt the need to similarly wake up Ram, a fact that wasn’t lost on Bhoomija. She was immediately and quite unceremoniously put to work, and asked to take care of all the guests and extended family members who had travelled to attend the wedding and were occupying various apartments in the building.
Bhoomija looked around and saw all the men of the house, perfectly able-bodied and fit, sitting around chatting over cups of tea. Teenagers who were perfectly capable of running up and down the building and help her with this chore were also lounging around. She was shocked at this complete lack of basic etiquette but she didn’t utter a word. Silently she began to busy herself and was looking quite tired from all the running around when Ram eventually woke up and noticed what was going on. It was the first thing that Bhoomija heard him protest about. He approached his mother and asked that the men of the house be assigned this duty or at least pitch in with Bhoomija, to which his mother promptly replied that this was the duty of the daughter-in-law to be welcoming to the guests.
In the hours that followed, Bhoomija found herself washing clothes, washing a sink full of pots and pans right after delivering countless buckets of water to their esteemed guests. Ram’s elder brother was married for a few years by this time, but his wife did not cower under her mother-in-law’s dominant nature and simply refused to listen. It was not in Bhoomija’s nature or upbringing to disrespect elders so she listened and she complied.
With each passing day, a door was being built, nail by nail, frame by frame. The door that led to clinical depression and utter despair and helplessness.
Within a few days into their marriage, a new rule was announced. Bhoomija was no longer allowed to work, her main duty was to stay home and take care of the house. Ram’s mantra for any new rule became, “Listen to my mother, she is not asking for much. Don’t make life difficult for us. I will speak to her about this once things settle.”
Bhoomija tried a lot to fight this new development, but in answer to her resistance, Ram’s mother stopped eating for two days straight. Ram insisted she respect his mother’s wishes. And so it went.
Thereafter Ram’s mother spared no effort in isolating the newlyweds as much as she could. They went for a honeymoon for a few days and as soon as they were back, Ram joined the family business.
While Bhoomija was happy for him, it also meant long working hours as he was just learning the ropes of the business. If she tried to call him, his mother wouldn’t allow it, citing work as the reason. When he came back from work, his mother would not let father or son talk about business in front of the new daughter-in-law. Bhoomija was time and again made to feel like a stranger intruding into another family rather than welcomed into the family. She was alienated in the subtlest of ways and slowly but surely, her mother-in-law ensured Ram and Bhoomija spend as little time together as possible.
Ram on the other hand was very busy with work and had to travel often as well. His travelling required him to often leave the house really early and his mother would insist they keep their bedroom door open so she could come in and wake him up on time. It sounded reasonable enough at first until it didn’t.
Slowly, Bhoomija and even to an extent Ram came to the realisation that they were not just being kept apart – they had been isolated from each other to such an extent that it almost seemed like a conspiracy was afoot to break them up. While they both acknowledged something was not right and they would have to stand up for their marriage and their love, Ram simultaneously felt that perhaps they may be overreacting and should let go of these feelings.
Meanwhile, Ram’s mother cranked up the volume on controlling every aspect of Bhoomija’s life. With no permission to work and a husband with a busy schedule, Bhoomija was slowly turning into a cornered animal that was poked and prodded with a sharp stick at every opportunity.
For instance, Bhoomija had no access to money for her expenses. Ram’s mother informed her not to disturb her husband all the time for “these silly things” and ask her instead.
Bhoomija was not even introduced to guests when they visited. She was told to manage the kitchen and not come out or greet the guests.
What goes down must come up. It so happened that Bhoomija’s sister-in-law needed her mother’s support for a few months while she shifted to another country with her husband, where they planned to also set up a new business.
It was a heaven-sent opportunity for Ram and Bhoomija to discover each other again, and to remind themselves why they got married in the first place.
Visit The Bhoomija Story To Access All Parts of this True Story