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It was just another day. Nina got up, a little lost. Oblivious to what had happened the night before. Mechanically, she got ready for office. On the way, her shoulder muscles pained. She ignored. It was only in the office loo when she had a hard look at herself. Her left eye had swollen a little bit, her right hand had crimson coloured patches. A little bit of blood clotted on her forehead. She was appalled. And then it all rushed in. Yesterday late night, she was thrashed. Mercilessly beaten by her so-called partner! Tears filled her eyes, she wiped them. Washed her face, put her lip-stick and mascara and headed for her desk.
Nina is 27-year-old divorcee trying very hard to find a place in Delhi. She works in an MNC, stays alone, eats alone and wanders alone. Her family and relatives have cut their ties, way back in 2014, when she revolted that she wanted a divorce. Married at the young age of 23, Nina was treated worse than a slave by her husband. In fact, he even used to lock her before going to office. She dreaded when night arrived, usually accompanied with the devilish lust of her husband, who repeatedly raped her, agonizing her to her very soul. One day she ran away from Bangalore, with nothing but a little bit of money. Her parents did not welcome her, and pushed her to return.
‘Every girl has to compromise’ said her mother, completely sure that the fault was with her own daughter.
But Nina was terrified. She had left speaking. She was perturbed beyond words. That’s when her friend came to rescue and welcomed her to Delhi.
Slowly Nina was recovering. Staying alone in a PG in which she shared the hall with 8 other females. Mostly junior college crowd, all free and wild! She had a hard time figuring out a job. But she managed, nevertheless. Drowning herself in work, even till late hours, helped her to forget her pain. Her friend came around often, someone she knew from school days, and things looked hopeful. Nina started seeing him in a different light. They talked, talked a lot. Slowly, after two years, Nina got a divorce. It was a very tough battle to fight, especially if your family members are not there to support. Inspite of being called characterless in court and being objectified, she fought.
One year after the divorce, Nina thought Delhi had embraced her, finally. Perhaps, she too had a name, some sort of respect. But she was wrong.
A girl alone in Delhi is always a girl alone.
Slowly her friend, who by now had come close, revealed his true face. He was married, a fact he never told Nina before. He also had a daughter! Nina wasn’t heart-broken, rather it felt someone had roasted her flesh, torn her soul. And when she questioned him, he abused her and called her names!
All of this haunted Nina that morning. As she buried herself in her files, she wipes her tears, black in colour due to mascara. She felt violated, as a caged animal. There was no one to talk to. No one cared. She choked. And that’s when she knew, her life would never be normal again.
There are many women like Nina who are struggling, have been married and divorced early. What they have learnt is not to trust anyone, not to tell anyone that they are ‘divorcees’. Perhaps, work is what keeps them alive, as they can wear a different mask, and carry off a confident corporate look. But deep inside, they are torn. They hate men and can never describe their wrath in words. Dreams haunt them, realities scare them.
It’s really quite shameful that our society is not empowered enough to accept ‘women divorcees’. Sometimes, you hear a cough, at times, total abuse. So, what happens to these women? Divorced men are free enough to date someone or even remarry. No matter, how many times, they do not have to explain it to anyone. ‘He is a man. It’s fine’ is what is generally accepted. They aren’t abused, blamed or even called obnoxious names.
But with women, the story is completely different. In one second, she can be harassed, called ‘character less’ and blamed, even if, after a divorce, she wants to start a new chapter. Her family is doomed. Society castigates them. Even now Nina is asked to wear bangles and put ‘sindoor’ if she wishes to come home. She cannot, otherwise. The drama has to be played, the victim has to suffer silently.
All of this, makes women like Nina wonder if they took the right decision to call for a divorce?
Perhaps, every girl compromises, perhaps she was too adamant, perhaps her mother was right?
If she was married, at least, she would have a home to return to. Someone to talk to, even if at night, he entered her like a maniac, making her roar with agony. Maybe, that was right. To suffer all that in silence!
It’s a shame that such women even think like this, or are forced to. It’s a shame that even in a society, women have to continuously prove themselves. In Delhi’s society, where you think no one cares about anyone, fingers are still raised. Questions are still asked. And a women-divorcee is always the victim. And in the worst cases, if she has a child, one cannot even imagine the ignominy the child has to go through. His/her life gets ruined even before it begins.
‘The father’s name’ means a great deal. As if, women can’t grow a child alone. As if, its impossible?
So, where do women like Nina go? Should they end their lives or accept the everyday trauma? Who will heal their past? Perhaps, only time. The rest of us are too ‘cultural’ to share the same space with them. And if we are, nothing can be worse than it?
P.S: Name changed to preserve and respect anonymity.