Can you ever understand a person? thought Rathi. Almost two years into her marriage and she did not know whether she knew Abhay at all.
But then did her mother understand her father, a docile woman compared to her self-assured father, she took his word as a command, never expressing her wishes or her wants even though her husband insisted that she aired her own thoughts. According to her mother for a dutiful wife her husband’s wish was the ultimate truth.
And so Rathi has started her marital journey in a confused state of mind, whether to be dutiful or assured, to accept what he said or say No if he was wrong and so on.
Coming to a foreign country was even more confusing, how to behave, how to talk, oh so many confusions. But the most confusing part was Abhay’s behaviour.
He was frustrated that he did not have a job that he was qualified for and then when he got one he complained that he was being sidelined because he was an Indian. In other ways he was good. He never complained about how the house was kept or if the curry was salty, he listened to what she said (at least he pretended to) and yes he was a good lover. But she never knew when his temper would burst or for what reason.
Last week they had been to a party and it seems everyone were quite impressed with her dusky looks and her sari. And that had made Abhay very proud. But then he had become angry saying that why she was flirting with everybody. ‘I was so very confused with the different conversations going around that whom would I flirt with’, she thought.
Just then Abhay came home and she had no more time to think
Rathi lay on the bed shocked, what had happened that day had shocked her to the deepest core.
Abhay earlier had told her that his Boss had liked her a lot and wanted to spend some time with her. Rathi in her innocence did not understand the actual meaning and had said, ‘Sure, we will invite him one day for lunch.’
And so Abhay had explained what Ryan actually wanted. She had been shocked and had cried out that how he could have even suggested something like that . Hadn’t he vowed to look after her, protect her. To which ABhay had called her inconsiderate. His boss was asking a favor, just for one time could not she go with him. Didn’t she see that his promotion was banking on her. Couldn’t she see that he would get a raise. What use was chastity when they had to forsake a good life for its preservation, he argued.
And before she could argue her, took her to Ryan who had booked a room in a Hotel and left her.
Ryan had been more considerate than what Abhay was. Seeing that she was upset, he just talked with her and when Abhay came, asked her to go. But she caught the whispers,’Next time’, raise, promotions etc’ and she understood that there would be another time too and probably many many more times and maybe there would be no end to it until Abhay was satisfied with his possessions.
She had to escape but how?
She was absentminded at office and messed up most of the work until Mrs. Pinto the Goan secretary of the GM stepped in and asked what the matter was. Her matronly tone touched Rathi and she told whatever had transpired.
And then Mrs.Pinto asked, “If you return, will your parents accept you?’
”Yes, My father’s parting words were that, to remember that they were always there for me’.
So you want to go away from here?’
And so they made a plan. Rathi would withdraw her savings, and somehow take out her passport from the locker without Abhay knowing it. Mrs. Pinto would make arrangements for the ticket’.
That evening Abhay told that the next day, she had to go to Ryan and Rathi gasped. That meant she had less than 24 hours to escape.
Luckily Abhay got a call on his mobile but because the network was not good had to go out of the flat to listen clearly. Rathi made good that chance and took out her passport and sent a SMS to Mrs. Pinto that she had to escape the next day.
The next morning she left home on pretext of going to the office but instead went to the Bank and withdrew all her money by that time Mrs. Pinto called to tell that her ticket was ready and told her to come to the airport by noon, as her flight was at 2.30 pm.
Rathi returned home, by that time Abhay had left for work. She packed hurriedly, took all her documents, jewellery and left in time ro check in. Mrs. Pinto was at the airport with the ticket and told her that she would handle Abhay if he called at the office.
Rathi checked in but was fidgety, till she boarded the flight she would be tense. What if Abhay came to know, what if he lodged a complaint as fugitive, what if…… a dozen doubts ran though her mind.
But nothing happened, she boarded the flight and flew home.
There are a million Rathis out here, some forced to trade themselves for their better half’s wishes, some abused, some disillusioned. Many won’t be lucky to escape, many won’t be able to get their passports and all may not get a Mrs. Pinto and many just won’t have the guts to escape.