Posted in Books, Family, feminism, Fiction

Tell me a story

“Mummy, mummy, story, please!” Little Ritika hovered around tugging at Indira’s sari.

“Not now, dear, I have a lot work to do”, she bustled about the kitchen chopping, frying and stirring.

Rishi had invited his friends for drinks. Again.  He’d called her just as she was stepping out for her yoga class, and told her his office buddies wanted a home cooked meal. There goes my evening, she groaned inwardly.

Indira had grown weary of these “fun get-togethers”, as Rishi called them. There was certainly no fun for her in flitting in and out of the kitchen to serve the guys, keeping a smile plastered on her face while they talked at her, and clearing away their mess, late into the night.

“Mummy, Dadda’s call!” her daughter handed her the phone. “Hi, Just letting you know, we’ll be home in an hour.” “You could’ve checked with me before calling them over, Rishi”, she regretted her words the moment she uttered them. Her Rishi was a good, kind man; but he hated any form of dissent, disobedience or disagreement. Especially from her. When angered, he would, depending on her luck, sulk for hours or rain fury and abuse.

“Why? Do you have a meeting lined up?” he sneered. “What do you do everyday at home, other than sitting in front of the TV growing fat? Look, I work hard all day and I deserve to come home and unwind. Now, go and get ready. This conversation is over.”

“Mummy, tell me a story pleaaasee. About how the princess met a handsome prince.” Indira looked at the phone, smiled, scooped up her child and turned off the stove. “Not a fairy tale, honey. Let us do something else today”

At 7 pm on the dot, Rishi and his buddies walked in. But instead of a smartly dressed wife offering water and words of welcome, he found Indira on the couch with their daughter in her lap. “Do you know why we celebrate Dussera? Once upon a time, the world believed women are weak, foolish and timid. But a fearless Goddess riding a lion into battle proved them wrong ….”

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Posted in Books, Family, feminism

To my little girl

My dear little girl,

I fell in love with you the moment I saw you. Your father, well, he thinks the sun rises when you open your eyes, and the best music in the world is your laughter.

As parents, we have many hopes, dreams and wishes for you. And we also have our secret fears, that we hope never come true.

To my little girl

Your world today is filled with people who care for you, take pride in your tiny victories, and want you to be the best ‘you’. But what if you choose someone who breaks your heart and makes you cry? No, I don’t mean a brute who may lay a hand on you, for that will be the last thing he ever does. (we intend to teach you to ‘don’t start a fight, but finish it’). My worry is about the boy who will not “let you” meet your friends, or get that degree abroad. The man who thinks he should handle your money, or worse, that you don’t need to earn any. The spouse who asks you to “adjust or get out” when his mom throws ugly tantrums. The partner who demands all your passwords to “prove” you’re worthy of his trust.

I worry, child, that you may unwittingly let an abusive monster into your heart. If, God forbid, that happens to you, remember this, dear. You are kind, courageous and smart. You deserve a relationship of love and support, where you both will grow into better people. You are worthy of a rock solid friendship with someone who will cheer at your successes, kiss away your pain and encourage you to try again tomorrow.

Anything less than this, and you get out. You get out with your head held high and a smile on your face. We got your back, kannamma.

 

  • I wrote this post as part of the Blogathon series #ALettertoHer by Women’s Web to create awareness about domestic violence.
  • I would like to read Meena Kandasamy’s new book, When I Hit You, to see if she has brought in a fresh perspective on the subject of domestic abuse, especially in a society where the primary tool to deal with this is adjustment, and silence.