Behind the Smile

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” . This morning Rita, my house help came a little over her usual time with tears rolling from her big beautiful eyes on her dark-toned face. She always had a smile on her face but today, she couldn’t control her tears. She was beaten by her husband, which happened usually, but today she had marks all over her back and face. I offered her some tea and started to convince her to file a complaint but according to her, it was all her faith. What would the people say? So  much worried about the society, slowly she started opening up about her family life

She was just sixteen years old when she had to go to her elder sister’s house to help her with her pregnancy. She was happy helping her sister with the baby and doing all the household work. One night her brother-in-law seeing her alone in the room raped her unable to talk to anyone, not even her parents thinking it was a disgrace she suffered alone. She was talking as if these things happen and to her it is fate. After some time her parents got her married. She was happy being married to a musician living in Dubai thinking she would go with her husband to Dubai far away from her village leaving back her past but here too luck was not on her side. Her husband left for Dubai a week after her marriage and she was left alone with her in-laws. It was barely a month after her marriage when she went out to fetch water from the village well she saw her brother-in-law -Shambu standing behind the pipal tree. He signaled her to come towards her, and when she went there he told her to sit on his bike as there was some emergency at home she told him to inform her in-laws but he said he has done it and to come immediately as his father has met with an accident and they have to reach there fast without thinking much she just sat with him on his bike. When they reached midway he started blackmailing her. Now she had nowhere to go and if she didn’t come with her no one will accept her as now she had a runway with him, no place to go, and ashamed of herself she felt it was better to go with him.

When asked about her elder sister she said, her sister left Shambu and her daughter blamed her for her broken marriage and her whole family boycotted her.

Shambu married her and for now, she had three children and a drunkard husband and defamation, so they shifted to the city with nothing in hand. Shambu would regularly beat her and torture her for all her failures. Thinking it her fate she started her life afresh again finding pleasure in little things like nice clothes, bangles, earrings, etc., and educating her children. she had grown a friendship with a local kulchavala who stood near the bus stand who would praise her and would have a light lively chat with her. For her life was just being liked and not being abused but these women never complain about their abusive man and feel happy as according to her the world is worse outside.

Once I remembered her helping a girl who had eloped from her village and was crying alone at the metro station. She said seeing her she felt pity for her and didn’t want her to have her fate so she connected her with her parents and helped her reach her home .She was at pride helping the girl. After so many problems she still liked helping her .There were so many faces I had seen in her enjoying little moments and finding the meaning of life dancing her way out. She was a woman of different shades happy with what God had given her finding solace in her children and her new friend she was beaten as her husband had seen her talking to her new friend and was now more strict with her after venting out her troubles she was satisfied and again herself going with her abusive husband and blaming oneself for all the misunderstanding. She left my house keeping me wondering what is happiness and every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,

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