She pressed her lips tightly together, so that no scream could escape. She shut her eyes as tears flowed down. She clenched her fists to bear the excruciating pain every time he would thrust harder. She begged him to stop. But he didn’t. Instead he slapped her hard across her cheek and hungrily bit into her bosom. It hurt her. But what could she do? Her two little girls were sleeping in the next room. If she retaliated, and pushed him away, like she had tried to in the past, he would get violent and abusive. After all he was drunk and had no control. He would shout loudly, and then her dear daughters would come running in, shaking with fear. She didn’t want that to happen. She wanted to protect them. After all he was their father.
It all started when she was forced to marry him, by her parents. She was only nineteen, and wanted to study and travel and fall in love. But they did not want to miss the golden chance. He was the scion of a filthy rich business family. They couldn’t believe their luck when he spotted their pretty daughter at a family wedding and sent them a proposal. He was the most eligible and sought after bachelor at that time. They immediately agreed. “You will live like a queen”, they said. Flying around the world for their honeymoon in a private jet. Huge diamond solitaires in her ears! Chanel, Dior, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton shopping bags strewn all around. Lunch at the ‘Ivy’ in London, and a cruise on the Nile. She had a glamorous lifestyle, and besides he was always so charming. He would tell her he desired her more than anything in the world, while he made love to her passionately all day long, on their luxurious yacht, while they holidayed in Cannes. Maybe her parents were right. She was happy.
One day, while they were at a social dinner, she saw her beloved hubby staring at another woman. She looked familiar. Oh yes. She was the new attractive actress, that everyone was talking about. Her forte was art films, in which the camera sensuously captured her voluptuous curves, that had men drooling and women envious. ‘I guess it is natural to appreciate beauty’, she thought in her mind, and didn’t read more into his transfixed expression. But his infatuation didn’t stop there. Soon he invited this actress to their home for a party. And then for dinner, with some other friends. He would flirt with her and touch her inappropriately. And she seemed to be enjoying the attention from him. What was going on?
She thought she would collapse when she walked into the bedroom. She had come back home a day earlier from a trip to her parents house, to surprise her hubby. She came in quietly, on tip toes, carrying a box of his favourite ‘Sandesh’, careful not to wake him up as it was late at night. But there he was sprawled across their bed with her. The actress. The silk duvet outlining her thick hips. Oh my god! She threatened to leave right then, but he apologised profusely, promising he would never meet that lady again. He said that the bitch had lured him and he got carried away. But he loved only her. His wife. And she believed him. He had to set up a multi crore factory in Dubai. He travelled a lot, spending most of the week there and coming back only on weekends. So she got involved in running her father-in-law’s charitable organisation that donated millions to the needy, and gave their family an extraordinary name. Her mother-in-law doted on her because she followed all the khaandani rituals and also spent hours making delicious besan ka laddoos for her satsang friends. She was ecstatic when she got pregnant with her first child and soon after, with the next one. She loved every moment of raising her little girls. Braiding their hair and teaching them the alphabet. She did miss her hubby who was hardly ever there. But she never complained.
Once the Dubai project was complete, and he was back home, she noticed that he had started drinking heavily. Also whenever he came home from the office his shirts smelt of cheap floral perfume. He sometimes returned home in the wee hours of the morning. One day when she questioned him he slapped her. That was the first time, he had raised his hand on her. But she loved him too much to just walk away. It was a phase, she thought. And besides he was such a good father, the girls adored him. He would sober down soon. Every morning, she prayed, in her white marble mandir.
But then it got worse. He started having affairs with many women. She would cry into her pillow late at night thinking of the text messages she had secretly read on his phone. He texted one woman saying that he wanted her sexy body right then, and messaged another one that her eyes were intoxicating. Why? He still used her for satisfying his needs almost every night. Then why? Once she caught him touching his rather young secretary, when she walked into his office cabin. She was furious, and again threatened to leave. This time with her two girls. He didn’t apologise or beg her to stay back. “Really??”, he laughed sarcastically. “Where will you go?
So here she was. Sitting in front of me, at our favourite cafe. Tears stained her eyes a bloody red while she narrated her true life story. We have spent so many afternoons here, chatting and laughing, but not once did I suspect the turmoil she was going through. She hid it well. Just like she was hiding her blue bruises today with a thin scarf. She was still bearing his overpowering masculine body over her. Silently playing her role as a good wife, as he enjoyed her body. Fulfilling her role as a mother, so that her girls could have a so called father. Being an obedient daughter to her parents and avoid shaming them by coming back home. Doing her duty as daughter in law to protect the impeccable reputation of her frail elderly in-laws. Keeping up her status so she is respected by her friends and acquaintances in this fake society. “Okay, so is this it?”, I asked her as I wiped away my tears. Aren’t you forgetting someone? After pleasing everybody else, don’t you ever think…..”What about the WOMAN IN ME”??
“The woman in me is dead. This is my life. I have no choice”, she said coldly. A shiver passed through my spine, when she said that. Hmmmm….There was no way the woman in me was going to let the woman in her, die. I clasped her hands in mine, looked straight into her eyes and said, “NO…that is not true. The woman in you is alive, but buried under all the guilt of the roles you play. Ofcourse you have a choice. To walk out. For how long will you lead such a pathetic life? And kill the woman in you slowly, day by day. Your girls will hate you for sacrificing your life, when they grow up and find out. And why bother about what others will say? They don’t care. It’s just you trapped like a bird, fluttering its wings. Don’t you think it is time to stop compromising.” She heard me out, and thought for a long time. Then she said with a sigh, “Maybe you are right. I am tired and hurt. THE WOMAN IN ME IS NOT A SEX-TOY! I must make her live again.”
t took me six months, and a number of coffees to awaken the woman in her. She finally left him and is now living happily with her two teenaged daughters, in a picturesque bungalow, by the sea. She is a successful entrepreneur and is currently dating a rather nice gentleman. I just love the ‘woman in me’, she smiles, while sipping her coffee. And I smiled back.