I could hear him pounding on the door. Every punch louder than the previous one. I wondered if this was what I was born for. I felt too weak to confront him that day. I felt devoid of the energy to bear all his abuses and curses without letting it get to my head. So despite the raucuous thudding compelling me to open the door, I decided against it.
I sat on my bed, wondering if I did not open it because I was feeling strong or because I felt weak. I tried not to think about it. Buried my face in my fragile hands. And it all suddenly dug up an old memory. A distant memory, but nevertheless a vivid one.
I remembered how mother used to bury her face. I heard the pounding on doors in a past time. How father always made it seem like it was her fault. And we as children took it that something had to be really wrong with amma because why else would abba beat her so often. We realized that amma was too incompetent and no matter what the argument, amma always had to be wrong. Because why else would she take the beatings without protesting against them.
At this point, I wanted nothing more than my brain to stop reminiscing about those moments. Fighting between oblivion and remembrance, I remembered her bangles which had blood on them too often a times. And her bleeding lips after taking the blows from abba over the most trivial and inconsequential of things. I recollected how the way abba always treated her, made us think that it was what she deserved and that it was perfectly alright. I recalled how he would vilify her in front of us and eventually we ended up thinking that maybe respect just wasn’t a word to be associated with our mother.
How I wished I had done something for her at that time. How I wished I had taken a stand for her and told abba to stop it. But most importantly I wish she had felt strong enough to take a stand for herself. That her parents had showed her enough support, that she felt strong enough to leave a toxic, abusive man.
I decided this would not be my fate. I refused to live like that. I refused to let men treat me with disrespect. And most importantly, I refused to be abused in any way. I refused to be violated of my rights. I waited for the right time and left him taking my daughter with me. Who alongwith the conventional education was going to learn how to protect herself. How not to let people treat her disrespectlfully just because she was a woman. How not to feel weak in times like that. How to be strong enough to walk away from someone baneful and toxic in her life. She would learn that marriage is not the last stop in life. And she would learn that she would always have a home to return to.


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