Part I I remember the night I found out I was pregnant like it was yesterday. I was watching the sun set from our balcony while my husband finished half a bottle of Old Monk in front of the television. I remember thinking that it was going to be a good evening because it looked like he was drinking himself to unconsciousness. He either drank so much that he became unconscious, or drank just enough to feel mindless anger which would drive him to beat every inch of me. I was married for thirteen months now. I no longer resisted his violence, I was used to it. It was my fault, it had to be. I had married the man my relatives had chosen for me. All of them called him “smart and intelligent”. What smart and intelligent man would beat his wife on a daily basis unless she provoked him in some way or another – even if she didn’t know what this provocation was? Part II “Stop it, stop it, please, please, PLEASE!” my soft plea turns into a high pitched scream when I see him unbuckling his belt. The doctor has warned me that the chances of having a miscarriage are extremely high if I put up with another lashing. But what can I do? If he comes to know that I have slept with another man since his father’s death, he will punish me like never before. I haven’t told him for fear that he will force me to abort his unborn sibling. I am only two months along; I can hide my pregnancy for a few more weeks and then tell him that I am going home for Diwali. His employer at the sweet shop will refuse to give him leave because of the holiday season. I will tell him that I have to extend my stay there by a couple of months because one of my sister’s need surgery and I have to take care of her. Once my child is born, I will leave her (please god let it be here. I can’t deal with raising another child who kicks me around like I am a dog) with my mother in our village. I have it all planned out, I thought this was excellent timing. But of what help is this timing going to be if he is going to beat me black and blue every night? Part III My granddaughter and I will have a special bond. She and I will share a room. She will know that she can trust me. One night, she will come to me with a puzzled look in her innocent eyes and ask “Dadi, why is Baba hitting Ma with the hot iron? Why is Ma crying, but still letting him hit her?” and I will tell her, “Because, meri jaan, Ma knows that she deserves it.”
About the Author: This article is contributed by Aashna Banerjee, our Intern.