Goodbye

August 7, 2010
"This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 13; the thirteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton."


"Papa, can I come back to you?" She murmured hesitantly in her cellphone, standing in a corner of her verandah, just outside her marital home. Sudha spoke as softly, as she could, lest her husband would hear her conversations. Sudha's father, Mr Kumar just knew what her daughter was saying, but he pretended ignorant and said "sure beta, do come, is Shailesh also coming with you?". Sudha understands it clearly how she, her feelings and her thoughts have been crushed all her life by this very tone of ignorance by her parents. Still, she gathers herself and says "No, I am coming alone". there was a pause, but Mr Kumar again echoed "ok, come".

Next morning, Sudha was there, in the simply furnished flat, where she had spent her entire childhood. It looked empty with only her old parents there, as her brother had studied, married and settled abroad. She could sense that the welcome was superficial, she was unwelcome without her husband and with her two big bags (which said I have come to stay, even if you don't ask me to). The smiles of greetings had faded in a few minutes of her arrival.

"But, what is the problem?" Mother, Mrs Kumar asked. Sudha's blood boiled, but she had decided not to lose her cool, so she answered with weighed words, " Ma, you still need to ask me? Does a woman needs to be beaten black and blue to prove, she is exploited? I have no way to prove to you that I am taunted and teased on one pretext or the other. In last 10 years, the issues have changed from how bad was the marriage arrangements, how little and cheap gifts I got for them, how bad I look, how inefficient I am in the kitchen, how useless I am as a mother and now.... I really don't understand why I had to study and be financially independent, to be taunted and ridiculed by a man, just because I am married to him, a man who himself could not anything in his life? Why should I pay the price of his failures and his fragile huge ego? No, Ma, I cannot take it anymore. I hid all this from you and Papa for a long time so that you don't get hurt and worried. I wanted to be a good daughter, but not anymore. If you as parents cannot read the unspoken words of your child, then I will have to shout and scream to tell you. So, please let me live here. And yes, Shailesh did not let me bring our child along. I guess, you'll have to talk to him about it or else, court would be the answer."

Kumars were not stunned, they knew it, but kept denying it for all those ten years, believing that one day their daughter will also learn to deny her marital problems. But Sudha could not, despite all her efforts, all she wanted was to stay away from that man or else someday, her hatred, her silent anger would make her violent enough to kill him. She broke into tears. Why she was being made to say all that everyone knew, all these years?

Her parents consulted each other, they shared great understanding, and pat came the reply from Sudha's mother, in her most practical tone- "We live in a society, and we have to answer them, how can we keep a married daughter? what will the society say? How will we face them? And how will you live alone all your life? And if you want to live here, you have to contribute some money from your salary and also do household work. And about your child, let me tell you clearly, he is the lineage of that family, he is not our blood, why should we take his responsibility? If you want to separate out from your husband Sahilesh, forget about your child, let Shailesh and his parents take the responsibility. "

The words first boiled her blood, and then chilled it, completely. She wanted to shout back "WHO IS MORE IMPORTANT YOUR CHILD OR THE SOCIETY? AND IS MY SON NOBODY TO YOU? HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT MA?"

Sudha, with frozen eyes and clenched fists, asked her parents for her right as a daughter in that house, where she was born. That was the final straw on the camel's hump, the hump of superficial support given to daughters when they are married off. As a practical woman that she was, before being a mother, said "listen, we have already spent a few lakhs on your marriage, that's it, you do not have any right on this house, talk about all this when we are dead."

The whole day had passed, talking about these issues, Sudha slept at night with tears slipping out of her eyes all the time. All these years, she bore the brunt only to protect these parents, and yes because she was so weak, she was taught to be week, and today, when she wants to break the shell of this fake marriage, her very parents have refused any help to her. Her mind was flooded with memories of her past, which had all the shades, white, black and grey.....

Next morning, Sudha picked up her bags, with a heart that had a broken picture of her parents, her eyes refusing to meet theirs, tears welled up, but with head held high, she said "Goodbye" to her parents and walked towards the auto stand. But this goodbye was not the sobbing goodbye she had said to her parents and family at the time of Vidai (the ceremonial farewell to daughter in Hindu marriages) on her marriage day. That goodbye said by her parents was a token farewell to say, girl, you are becoming a part of another man's family;  but we are always there for you.

This was the real goodbye, the final goodbye, akhiri (final) Vidai. She murmured to herself, as she walked on the road "aaj sachmuch vida kar diya Ma" (Mother, today you really bid farewell to me).

This walk was the march towards releasing herself from the imagined support system of her parents, it was a journey towards snatching back her self respect from the man, who just because was wedded to her believed he had the right to humiliate and torture her. This was the final goodbye. Sudha never turned back, she never looked back, she was not bothered now, she knew her way. She could walk strong because she had actually said Goodbye.


A Restless Mind With
A Sensitive Heart (RESTLESS)
 Image coutesy : ehsaas.sulekha.com
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21 comments:

Dreamer said...

I don't get how parents can let their own flesh and blood suffer like this just to please society. I wonder if they'd have the same response if it was their son who was being tormented. Good post on an important topic. Wish you the best for BAT

Leo said...

she was strong because she said goodbye..

liked that ending.. wonderful narration..!

Vee... said...

Restless - This is an awesome post. The emotions are portrayed pretty well with your words, and you definitely have touched one of the big issues in our society. Thanks for writing this stuff!

RS said...

A very interesting perspective to a common issue. This story is different in that it, sort of, paints the parents as villains as well as the man.

THe story ends well and with an optimistic tone.

I liked it.

Keep it up.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ Dreamer - ah! there is a clear set of rules for sons. No, am sure, no parent can do that to their sons.

@ Leo - hmm better late than never, thanks!

@ Vee- Hi! thanks. those were very encouraging words for me, thanks!

@RS -One man's villain is another man's saviour, depends on which side of the line u r standing. Same like a soldier! m glad u liked it!

restless

Phoenixritu said...

Parents can become tormentors and abet the in-laws and unfeeling husband .... all in the name of rivaaz. They also expect the girl to toe the line. I am glad to see this being discussed and brought out in the open.

Niket said...

This post of yours Restless, has poked one of those very critical issues of our society which people tend to knowingly ignore!
'Gender Equality' was one of the values in Value Education which was taught to us during our school days, but embarrassingly even the educated dimwits overlook it! Sad!
But glad to read this post! :)

Rajlakshmi said...

a brilliant take on the ageold stereotype of our society... loved the courage and boldness of Sudha...
well narrated.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@Phoenixritu - thank u ma'm, I am so glad to get your encouragement! sometimes the parents get so weak, and call it custom or rivaaz and don't come to the rescue of the girl, so true.

@ Niket - am glad u found it relevant and useful.

@ Rajlakshmi - Thank u so much, and welcome!

Someone Is Special said...

Hi...

Narration was the key here and i loved the ending.

All The Best for BAT 13.

gmsaravana - Goodbye

If you wish to save a heart, then do stop by Save a Heart! Initiative. Do take the pledge and vote if you wish..

Yours Frendly,
Someone Is Special

girlsguidetosurvival said...

Yes, that is how some desi parents are trained to treat their daughters, a burden.

At wedding my grandparents told my mom, she is always welcome to visit them but only with her husband. They also said don't come back crying. This means die there don't come back. Just the doors closed on her. She stood her ground now for 40s on her own in that mess called marriage and in-laws. Still things are not any better...
Her same brother who said don't come back crying runs to aid his daughter at every whimper. May be he learned a lesson or may be it is his child not his fathers...

This Sudha could walk out numerous Sudhas' returned to bear more torture as their abusers knew they had no where to go...

Check this out: http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/desi-in-laws-wedging-a-psychological-warfare-against-bahus/

Peace,

Desi Girl

Vipul Grover said...

Ok letting u know tht I visited with a Hi :p
Chalo, lets not stop js thr.. A nicely woven story dealing with things tht one hs actually heard of in one's life evn if not encountered.. Ending is nice, open for interpretation bt definitely optimistic.. Keep participating and enriching this event :)

devilzangel said...

a lil difficult 2 digest d parents' dialogues but nonetheless d reactions do prevail in d society...nice post :P

-Devilzangel
http://collected-cryptics.blogspot.com

vivek said...

Hi,

You wrote it very well , and really shown some light on home violence over womens. buts its sad sometime when the Girls family too start keeping a distance ..which is very weired ..how all of a sudden such repulsions generated ...

Lovely I would say ..keep it up :)

and ya It will be Good to know your Good Name

ALL THE BEST FOR BAT ..

take care
KS :)

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ Someone is Special - thanks! yes the ending has a optimistic note.

@ Desi Girl - As always your comments add so much value to my posts. U r so right, parents dont want their daughters back at any cost, i mean some parents. Ah, about ur uncle, hmm may be learnt some lesson ( thank God).

And u know what actually, Sudhas do come back, with no place in the world to go, only to suffer even more in the hands of ppl who know how to kill silently.

@ Devilangel - i just want to say one thing, THIS IS A REAL STORY, REAL SPOKEN WORDS, IT IS NOT FICTIONAL, only the names have been changed. Only thing is ppl don't want to talk about it. It exists. thanks for comments!

@ Vipul Grover - am glad u said more than "HI"!!!! thanks! By the way, as i just said above, its a true story, haven't changed a single word. You are lucky that u have not encountered such things in life. Yes, true, end is open for interpretation but optimistic. thanks again!

@ Vivek - u can call me RESTLESS, sounds wierd, but dear please call me by this name, I love it!!

and vivek thank u so so much, ur comments are valuable.

STAY IN TOUCH

RESTLESS

gkam said...

Very practical post. Its just cold how parents can behave to avoid their children's miseries.
ATB for BAT13
Gkam - Goodbye

Keerthi P said...

Lots of parents still have separate guide-lines for their sons and their daughters. We need to bid goodbye to gender inequality. The ending is left open to the reader's imagination and I am not imagining anything negative. :)

All the best!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

@ gkam - yes true. Thanks!

@ Keerthi P - u r right, i left the ending open, but surely its an optimistic note. am glad u r also not imagining the bad things. Thanks and Welcome!

RESTLESS

Shilpa Garg said...

An ugly reality of the society portrayed well.
Good one.
All the best for BAT-13!
Cheers :)

arvind said...

very strong "good bye.."

nice story

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Thanks, Shilpa and arvind!

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