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.
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For the first time since the wedding, Bhoomija felt like she could breathe the air and experience married life freely and to her heart’s content. It was like she had been dragging a huge, heavy stone tied to her ankle all these months which someone had thankfully untied.
The next few months to follow were the happiest she had known. While she continued to take care of home and hearth, she also enjoyed special moments that belonged only to her and Ram, moments that weren’t stolen or furtive, moments that were truly theirs. With some distance put between Ram and his mother, he too was more relaxed and happy, although he would never admit it. Ram was fiercely loyal to his family, just like any of us are. It was a quality that Bhoomija loved him for, but it also nearly destroyed them.
Somewhere in these moments, their love blossomed and Bhoomija found herself expecting a baby. She was full of excitement and joy when she picked up the phone to announce the news to Ram’s parents. She was completely unprepared for what followed – Ram’s mother simply hung up on her. She then proceeded to call Ram and chastised him for “misbehaving” while his parents were gone and is this what they were up to in their absence? What should have been a moment to celebrate and come together as a family was transformed into a lewd and cheap encounter between two people.
Within a week of their announcement, Ram’s mother returned home. She announced that each day from now until the baby was born was accompanied by some or the other ritual and so she was forced to come back to guide Ram and Bhoomija through these rituals.
What should have been a pleasant and special time in a woman’s life became a harrowing experience. As it is, Bhoomija came from a different cultural background and was not very used to the style of food Ram’s family cooked. With pregnancy and the heightened hormones and senses that accompanied it, Bhoomija found herself throwing up after every meal. This time, even Ram could visibly see the effect his mother’s cooking was having on Bhomija and both Ram and Bhoomija tried to convince this mother to cook differently so she could consume the food without constantly throwing up.
Instead of making minor adjustments to the cooking, Ram’s mother picked up the phone and gave a earful to Bhoomija’s parents about her background, upbringing, values and refused to change how she cooked.
Bhoomija continued to do all the house work as well when around her fifth month of pregnancy her womb began to descend downwards and her doctor advised bed rest until the baby was born.
What followed is the stuff you would not expect to see in this day and age in real life. Shockingly enough, it wasn’t a movie, it happened and it was as real as it could get.
As a writer, it is my duty to present an unbiased account of the story narrated to me. As a woman, I could not help the rage I felt with each layer of Bhoomija’s life story unveiled. Rage at Ram’s family and even at Ram for what I felt was absolute inaction on his part. It was Bhoomija who made me see that all her experiences in life only made her stronger and more resilient. And that both Bhoomija and Ram had a lot of growing up to do. While she fought her inner demons, he fought his too and eventually both emerged from the most trying years of their life older and wiser.
I would urge my readers too to keep this in mind as I continue to present Bhoomija’s story – we are all human, and we all learn from our mistakes.
Ram’s mother insisted on accompanying Bhoomija on her next appointment. She insisted Bhoomija just sat around all day and did no work, so there was no question of bed rest when she was already resting! She insisted on taking Bhoomija for a second opinion to another gynaecologist.
The second opinion seemed to be a staged drama between her mother-in-law and the doctor. As soon as they entered the consulting room, the doctor all but glanced at her reports, threw them away and with no physical examination whatsoever declared the baby was perfectly fine and no rest was needed.
Since they had not even reached the point of talking about rest, Bhoomija understood that this was a pre-arranged second opinion, not a real medical opinion. Bhoomija’s suspicion was confirmed when she demanded a physical examination and was subjected to an examination that was neither professional nor served any medical purpose.
Bhoomija’s motherly instincts were fully aroused by this time. She refused to visit any other doctors but her own and refused any further medical opinions about her need to rest till the baby arrived.
Her own gynaecologist was very supportive of the situation though and ensured to give her support numbers and helpline contacts in case things got too bad.
All through these months, Ram’s work took him out of town for several days at a time and he remained completely unaware of all the drama that was unfolding in his absence.
Being isolated from him, Bhoomija did not get a chance to update him as much as she would have liked and when he returned from his travels, she did not want their limited time to be filled with complaints. In hindsight Bhoomija feels she should have handled things differently. Because of their specific circumstances, Ram remained oblivious to most of what was going on. When he did return home, Ram’s mother ensured that her side was presented to him before Bhoomija even had a chance to catch her breath.
Freshly brainwashed by his mother, Ram confronted Bhoomija and demanded an explanation. She looked at him for the first time squarely in the eye and said in no uncertain terms that where her baby was concerned, she was not willing to listen to anyone but her doctor. Here too Ram said what he always did – “Listen to my mother, she is not asking for much. Don’t make life difficult for us.”
At this, Bhoomija went into shock. For an entire day, she could not eat anything as Ram’s words replayed in her head. She could not believe that even in this situation he insisted on keeping the peace, not fighting for their child’s safety. She suggested that Ram visit her gynaecologist and understand the medical facts around the situation.
With Ram’s mother was relentlessly chewing his ear off, that suggestion too fell on deaf ears. At one point, when Bhoomija had gone an entire day without food, Ram’s mother declared that it seemed like Bhoomija didn’t want the baby, why not go the clinic and be rid of it?
In a fit of rage, Ram dragged Bhoomija out of the house. Bhoomija was shocked to see the effect his mother was having on him, and the blind rage she had driven him to that he was ready to take his own unborn child’s life.
She knew deep in her heart though that Ram would regret his actions deeply one day. She decided to stand up for herself while he couldn’t.
Visit The Bhoomija Story To Access All Parts of this True Story