Let Her Be

“Tring, Tring”

The shrill sound of her ringtone jolted her from sleep. Slowly, she fumbled with the switches and glanced at the time.

2.30am!

“Who is calling me at this unmanly hour ?”Lost in her jumbled thoughts, Richa searched for the ringing mobile phone.

A look at the screen confused her even more. She had never saved his number, but could never forget the last four digits of Ajay’s mobile. A chill ran down her spine. They had parted their ways 10 years back. Even though Ajay had been courteous and decent always, but she could never forget the years she had spent with him, thanks to his family.

“Why was he calling today?” She gathered courage and answered the call.

“Hello Richa ! Ajay this side. I know it must be night there, but it’s a matter of life and death. Aai is serious. She wants to see you and Diya one last time.”

15 years ago, A new bride Richa had entered Sharma household with hopes of a happy married life. Little had Richa known that she had placed her foot inside a Lion’s den. A bubbly full of life Richa had been the darling of her Papa. A university topper always, she had completed MD in pediatrics from a prestigious medical college. She had even got selected for further specialisation in Neonatology. Fearing that a highly educated girl doesn’t get good grooms, her parents had manipulated her into getting married as soon as she gave MD exams. Ajay was a surgeon in the same medical college and they both had been fond of each other. Life seemed to be set, that’s what she thought.

Within the few days of marriage, Richa realised that her priority to complete her studies was of no concern to anyone. Whether she had a heavy night duty, or an extremely tiring emergency, a presentation or even an exam the rules for her were clear. She had to wake up early, take a bath and cook meal for the entire joint family before she left for work. Once she had entered kitchen without taking a bath. Ajay’s grandmother had accused her of spoiling the sanctity of kitchen. The grandma hadn’t eaten food the entire day, till a pandit had been called to perform a puja.

Ajay’s night duty or emergency meant that he would be allowed to rest and sleep. He would be treated like a king. Richa’s duty meant nothing to them. No one ever bothered to ask if she had eaten or had she even slept? Richa was the free maid whose responsibility was to cook and clean, no matter how hard her shifts were.

Another time, she had slept on the same bed as Ajay during her menstrual period. Her MIL had replaced the entire bedding and accused her of being ill mannered, uncultured and uneducated.

They had wanted a heir to the family as soon as Ajay and Richa got married. Richa had been very frank with Ajay and conveyed that she would finish her studies first. Though Ajay had agreed, but in front of his mom he never opened his mouth or defended her. The entire family would keep a watch on if she bled that month.

Sometime after the first year, her sister in law had found out that she had been taking pills to prevent pregnancy and all the hell had broken loose. Even though she stopped taking pills after that, she couldn’t get pregnant for another three years. This started an endless visits to Infertility specialists. Multiple cycles of IUI ( Intrauterine Insemination ) and later IVF ( Invitro Fertilization ) which failed left her depressed, lifeless and lonely.

Till the time Diya blessed her womb she would be tortured daily for being barren. Though Ajay supported her in private, he never came to her rescue in public.

It is said a Woman can bear everything but not a word against her children. When little Diya arrived, Richa was already suffering from depression. Postpartum stress and abandonment even from her husband for bearing a girl child broke her further. She hadn’t fallen in love with that little girl the moment she had held her in her arms. It seemed another burden. She was not able to give even a drop of milk to the little baby who wailed hungrily.

The elders in Ajay’s family had suggested to let the girl die. ” Let her cry hungry. Soon, she will die.” This had been the turning point in Richa’s life. What kind of woman she was ? Could she let her own child die ? She was a doctor, a paediatrician. She couldn’t let her own child die. Wasn’t she the one who toiled in hospitals to save so many children ?

Soon after, she had filed in Divorce. She did not want to raise her daughter in this part of the world, where they prayed to a Kanjak, but voilated her once she grew up.

Richa had moved to US with a toddler Diya and never looked back.

“Richa, are you on the line ? ” Ajay’s voice brought her back to present. “I am sorry Richa. I never had the courage to stand against Aai. Please come and see her once. She has suffered a lot in the last few years. Karma they say. Please come and forgive us.”

She didn’t know if she could forget ever. Forgiveness was not hers to give. Still she packed the bags and early morning, Richa and Diya drove to airport to catch flight to India.

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

Every woman goes through two major life changing events. How she is treated at these interchanges of life, leaves her with memories bitter or sweet that determines the type of woman she will be. Some become strong like Richa, however some succumb to the same cycle and the trauma in generations continue.

The first event is the marriage, when she leaves her maternal home to adapt to a new family, a new culture, new habits and in fact a new life. These new beginnings are not easy for many especially in India. She is expected to forget overnight her parents, siblings, cousins and friends. Each family even in the same culture has different traditions. Yet, from day one she is expected to be know it all. The support which is needed at this step is missing in most of the families. The moment the girl becomes the bride she is supposed to have learnt the art of housekeeping, cooking, managing finances, relatives and so forth.

The next event is the “childbirth”. The pressure to bear a family heir, the comparison between other kids or even elders in the family, breast feeding leave many a females at the verge of depression. There are already hormones raging havoc inside her, and all these other factors push a female towards post partum depression. India is one country with a very high rate of post partum depression.

Motherhood does not come in easy. Unlike is shown in movies, you don’t fall in love with the little being the moment you hold her in your arms. The perils of a long labour, pain in the incision of a caesarean section, the apprehension over breastfeeding are just a few internal factors which are enough to throw you off the track. Combined with that the taunting on the size, gender, colour of the baby are enough to push you to depression in that precarious state.

In India, we pray to Durga Ma. Navratri, Durga puja there are so many festivals in each part of the country. The same girl we get as kanjak and whose blessings we seek, becomes impure once she starts menstruating. She’s denied entry into temples, can’t pray, can’t cook and as per many cultures has to sleep in a separate room.

The irony of all this is that it’s not the opposite gender whom we blame, but so many other females who support such notions. Wouldn’t a new bride feel more at home, if her own tribe aka her MIL, SIL help her adjust. Of course, you can’t clap with a single hand. The bride or the mother in question needs to grasp that with open arms.

A new mother needs love and understanding more during that time due to her fragile physical and mental state. Wouldn’t the world be a better place, if we gave her just love when it is needed most.

I too have gone through many ups and downs post marriage and post pregnancy and I know many other females, close friends who have been in similar situations. Sometimes it’s just an ear or a helping hand.Come let’s be that chain where we can be that support. Let each one of us be the woman who supports the other, may be just a smile to someone who has had a hard day. Or just a patient listener to someone whose heart is full. Believe me the world needs more of such people who are just there to hold the hand, or walk besides without judging the other one. More women are pulled down not by the opposite gender but from those within.

This Women’s Day let us pledge our support to each other. Because inside each woman is always that little girl who is always sugar, spice and all things nice.

This post is a part of ‘The Woman That I Am’ Blog Hop #TheWomanThatIAm organized by Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul #RRxMM. The event is sponsored by Kraffitti.”

89 thoughts on “Let Her Be

    1. Yes Pooja someone had to say this … wherever we might be on gender equality this is something very basic and every second female has to go through this.

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  1. This post made me emotional. This is true and the bitter reality of women’s life. Whatever she achieved, nothing counted. She has to face some specific set of rules and regulations. Marriage and Childbirth are the two major changes in a girl’s life guys please understand she also needs time, love, care and support. Everything is new to her like for you. I am glad you pointed out this so strongly. Love you for this post.

    Deepika Mishra

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very heartwarming post. True said sometimes a girl or a woman just needs someone to hold the hand, or walk besides without judging without asking why & how. The sad truth is the other women herself are the reason of distress of one woman. When will they come out of customary notions and traditional chains. When will dil’s be liberated for not getting judged or weighed by society. Penned nicely filled with emotions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have always been a strong advocate of the thought that it is a woman who need to support another woman, only a woman can understand what another woman goes through and specially after marriage if the mil and sil are supportive and instead of going with the mantra that “I did it why can’t you” it would be so much better if they understood that the new comer is not you so be helpful and understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I could relate with each and every bit of it. Such a thought provoking post it was. I was reading it and I was having goosebumps. Seriously, a woman in such situation face a traumatic phase. It reminds us the real scenario of domestic violence against women. Really loved your piece. Thanks for sharing. More power to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Quietly accepting the so-called rules and norms of societal mindset OR start questioning them – either becomes challenging for women and takes a toll on her wellbeing. You have beautifully depicted it through a heart-touching story. Completely agree – Let’s form a chain of support for each other and create a happier world!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Unfortunate reality for many women. Even when we are educated and married into so called educated families, we might be subject to domestic abuse. And truly, it is just sisterhood support which can get us through. Wonderfully penned!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Face off with a harsh reality of a woman’s life, unfortunately even in this 21st century nothing much changed for woman, cases of domestic violence, cases of biased treatment, cases of girl child abortions, cases of dowry, cases of rapes, has been increased over the years. So well pointed out the pain of every woman next door!

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  8. This story tells the truth of what it is like for a new bride. Let’s not forget that the women who abuse her have been ingrained with rules made by men for centuries. Men no longer need to say anything because women think it’s their duty to make other women follow the “rules”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What an absolutely brilliant post this one is and you wanted to copy paste 😉
    You have written about something so important. The common perception is that only uneducated people think a girl child is a burden but even today the most educated families think the same. Women suffer because other women do not support them. I agree with you this Women’s Day let us pledge to stand with each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A little love and care makes the world such a better place. But so many women are deprived of the same. This is the sad reality of life! You have poured your heart out in this post. It is very touching.

    Meena from balconysunrise.wordpress.com

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  11. What a lovely story. Many can relate to it. As long as we pledge to pull up and support other woman, things will not change. Each and every woman has to contribute.
    Janaki@beyondthefamiliar

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A harsh reality? Yes. This is one of the most troubling realities of our society today. However, It is only because of such strong women that our society is changing for good. Anyways, what happened after she met her Ex-MIL? Did she say anything? Did she forgive? You’ve left me at a juncture where I need to know what happens next. Will wait for the continuation 😀
    — rightpurchasing.com

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      1. Like Ajay mentioned that she had been suffering a lot for her doings or either ways, I guess it is right to forgive and move on. Hope our society grows over such silly beliefs. Nice read Ruchi. I just loved it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. A woman’s whole life is all about transformations. She keeps changing role from time to time and to make matters worse, the ghastly expectations never help. This is a wonderful piece highlighting the same. We all should look around us and try to atleast provide an ear and extend our hand to whomsoever possible. Keep churning out these write ups Ruchi.
    #RRxMM #TheWomanThatIAm

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  14. Ruchi, the post made me very emotional..It touched my heart..It was an intense tale about the life of a e9man,which unfortunately is true in most cases ..Am happy to see that she put her foot down eventually…You conveyed the emotions very clearly.. Best wishes for the future..

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Brilliantly written. Women have to change and play so many roles. Yet their is hardly any recognition of their work much less appreciation. Loved your post. So true for all of us. Everyone goes through something or the other mentioned in your post. Amazing read.
    Deepika Sharma

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I believe the same a simple can do wonders to help others !! Women should be supporting each other and the world can become much more beautiful!! Wonderful post

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I believe the same a simple smile can do wonders to help others !! Women should be supporting each other and the world can become much more beautiful!! Wonderful post !!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Its every woman’s tale that you have mentioned. The trauma we face is more from our own tribe. There were so many things I could relate and have faced in my marriage as well as during pregnancy. Thanks for bringing this out.You have penned it beautifully

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the saddest part ..so many of us identify with this situation and to say we belong to educated families. Love and hugs. Together we will help create a better world.

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  19. Reading this and the comments makes me realise that I have been so blessed in my marriage with my extended family! A lot of it sounds alien to me, but maybe the situation is still like this in many families!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so sad Mahek ..that so many of us educated females married in good families identify with the situation. Love and hugs. You are not alone. We are together in fight against these prejudices.

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  20. Very heartwarming post women also need loves and care but the sad reality of life violence against women is not only physical, sexual and emotional violence is also very common and can cause great harm and common and can cause great harm and lead to death. wonderfully penned dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This post is reality check on today’s families who present them so educated and forward thinking to the society. However, inside they are still backward, dragging old customs and false notions since ages. They dont want to understand the need of change with time. Worst is a woman is one who fails to support other woman. Dont know when this will change!!1

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  22. Customs and traditions why are only women bound by them? Why don’t men fast on karwa chauth? Why there are no restrictions for a widower and why do people don’t change with time and education?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It’s very unfortunate that this is still the sad reality in a lot of homes and relationships – and that even education doesn’t eradicate some of these superstitions and bring about any change in old and outmoded traditions.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ruchi, you are so right in your assessment when you say that it is often women who pull other women down, in the name of societal expectations. We must change that- we must empower each other because if we don’t, there is no one else to do it for us! Well-written and thoroughly real post.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. So true. Even in this modern world we are busy setting standards for women. Their desires are still suppressed. Women’s wish or her choices are still a mockery. Thanks to the Indian Media, who are still encouraging this in our society.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This is quite a common story but I’m lucky I’ve been spared this narrative. While I do have my differences with my in laws, my husband takes my side . My in laws are very progressive and do puja even when the girls are menstruating. I have two daughters who are professional working women and have been encouraged and supported to be their own selves . But you are quite right about women being cruel to other women ….. we must stand together as sisters

    Liked by 1 person

  27. women supporting women is a distant dream that would make this world a better place to live in. Many a times i feel that women, and not men are responsible for patriarchy and it comes out clearly in your tale too. Loved reading it. More power to ur pen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. So beautifully penned down. Yes it’s true sometimes we women don’t support each other. And you presented this through your story. Loved reading your post.

    Like

  29. Most educated women go through this torturous journey after marriage. Only few are lucky enough to have a supporting family with understanding and limited expectations. Women must stand for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. What a strong post Ruchi! I think most women would identify with multiple issues that you have brought out in this story. Yes. We need to support each other. We need to understand where the other woman is coming from. We also have a long way to go as there are so many changes across generations and the changes are happening at an even more alarming rate now.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Can’t explained more than this.
    Most of the girls or do I say every girl had gone through this.

    And even the well educated families put a doctor to the pavement

    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  32. This post truly touched me. Only in recent times the pain of motherhood and postpartum depression is being recognized. Breastfeeding can be an ordeal. It is not as smooth as people make it out to be. I am glad you spoke about it as I am sure many women will be able to relate to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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