By Selene Alina and voice-over by Trisha Srivastava
Long did I use to wait for his return from office. Bankers job is tough they say. Especially when one deals with finances and money, extra caution is always warranted. So, at my end I would try to make things a perfect sail for him. Be it getting early and making breakfast, packing lunch for him and our child, or cleaning the house and decorating it. I used to do it all and eagerly await for meeting them over dinner every day, often reminiscing upon my earlier days.
I had done my B.tech from a good college but couldn’t sit for the placements, as my parents had clearly set their priorities of finding me a match ever since I turned 21. I would see all my classmates getting anxious during the placements season, but my naivety assured me that it’s for good that I am not sitting for placements and bearing the burnt. I will apply for a faculty position at some nearby college and stay at home while working. Little did I know then, that challenges in life make one strong and resilient. Days progressed, and few months of passing out based on my good merit of bachelor’s degree, I found a job at nearby engineering Institute as a CS faculty.
With first job and first salary came a confidence of putting forth my views. Of not marrying anyone just on the basis of relatively word of mouth. After a rigorous search of arranged matches, I thought I would be able to spend my life with this person (my husband) who had good education and a stable job, and on meeting him I found he is a liberal person who encourages women in family to do well in life.
So we started our married life with great family expectations. Expectations of the family and extended circles of “fitting to the norms”. Of being a ‘gold wife’ who caters to all what her husband says and never gives him a tough time in arguments and fights. A wife who by norms of people in conservative families, chooses to step down from her career and raise kids. A wife who knows how wrong the patriarch men (and even women) of the family can be, when it comes to discussing things, but still chooses to stay silent and not raise her voice. However, my life came with a little sunshine as the person who is my better half was quite understanding right from the beginning. He urged me to apply to various job vacancies of teaching. Luckily enough we didn’t have to live without family in our native place, owing to his service and transferrable nature of job. So our caravan that included me and him kept going places every five years. And in the beginning I enjoyed the luxury of working as a full time faculty at one engineering college. Days passed by and both of us were doing well in our respective careers. Meanwhile initial requests from in laws of planning family that later on turned to protests kept jolting our paths. It would so happen occasionally that both of us cane tired from out work places by late evening and were sitting for our evening cup of coffee, when those frantic calls by his parents would erupt our peace. Calls almost daily, discussing what? That how mundane our jobs are as we are no civil servants. It would be better if we return back home. Calls reinstating that such a job where one travels so much everyday is useless and is harming health. After a long day listening to such low talks, I would often lose out my cool and disapprove my husband of giving these people so much time on such baseless talks. I would even go to the extent to leaving the room in anger, and my husband in retaliation would skip the dinner.
Time passed and gradually, five years after our marriage we decided to take a leap into family life and plan our family. Now one major question that kept perplexing me was his father’s statement according to which the child would be born in their ancestral home. I would argue and even fight with my husband of not leaving him while in the phase of my pregnancy, to which he would always say yes. But deep within he felt that he was being a ‘bad son’ by not agreeing to his parent’s wishes. I had my own reasons of not going to my in laws, primary one being that by now I could not stand patriarchy promoting statements that shamed women or others for their body shape, their color, their daily lifestyle which if did not match to their box size. And the biggest reason why i could not stand those people was their obsession for having a male child, which was reflected in their blessing “putravati bhava”. I would always ask myself a question, what if I deliver a healthy girl in my first time; will we be again made those frantic requests to go for a male child? It was at this time that both my husband and I decided, that no matter what we will never let others decide our actions; and anyone except the two of us falls under category “others”.
Delivery date came near and as my husband had promised me, I stayed with him. His parents and my parents joined us when the child’s arrival was near. And by God’s grace we had a healthy baby girl. My parents were elated and equally were his parents on seeing the child. For few years their requests of having a child were called off, but they resumed it soon. It was then when my husband intervened and talked to them regarding “our wishes and our family”. Years have passed and I have joined back my profession. From a shy girl who averted taking risks, to a loving wife, to a doting mother, the journey remains full of ups and downs, clashes and affection. From being scared of having my child because of the fear of quitting my job and losing my voice to managing my home perfectly with a job, I definitely have come a long way. All through these years the saving grace of God has been my husband who has acted as a firm ground below my feet and has facilitated in expanding my horizons. We have had multiple arguments and even worst of phase, but we came forward for each other, every time. I hope that all girls in our Society are educated to a basic level which can help them taking their life’s decisions- of which marrying a right person is the foremost!