No sooner Shelly had left, the arena had come alive. All 4 of us were sat in the Living Room, when I had once again suggested hiring a maid for atleast sweeping and swabbing; I was curtly quieted. Inturn, Lady P had wanted me to answer that what was there for them to be obligated about anyways; I had never done anything for them ever. My state of orphan-ship was once again dragged in. I was then accused of not knowing the “worldly relationship conditions”; since, I had desisted from preparing those Heavy Duty lunches for the visitors- back at the hospital. Even though that I may have had; wasn’t I the one, who had slogged myself over that without having told or asked? Upon my silence, she had then stormed- What would have the Society said that despite two women being in a house; Sharma family needed a maid. OMG, this can never happen here. We had thought that you would understand the family norms; but you seem to have decided to stay ignorant forever. In other words, women in Sharma family were equaled to maids; what else had that statement meant then? Hemant was offensively dismissed; I was told that I could hire whoever for the 3rd floor; but was not to suggest anything then onwards, for the 1st floor. Uncle had then asked me to leave in the manner one dismisses a kid, after scolding her for a grave mistake. While I was walking up the stairs, he had shouted out that I could probably stay upstairs alongwith the maid or servant whoever I had wanted to; and not come down anymore.
Just to surprise her on her Wedding Anniversary a few days later, I had called up Ruby to comeover. They had wanting to visit her. Ruby had comeover along with Rita (her elder sister), her husband, and mother. She had carried a big bunch of Litchi on my request alongwith other fruits and sweets. She had observed me very closely. She had then narrated that in her family that how meekly I stayed at my marital home. She had merrily joked about the fact that I was the same girl, who was thought of being un- tamable. Atleast, till then.
I had then begun to realize the mistake I had committed, marrying Hemant. It was too late then. What options did I have then? The lack of those had made my state of being even more miserable. My smile had wiped out and instead, a permanent scorned look had sat upon. Any day, I get those snaps back; I would upload them for you all to see those. My Convergys colleagues had often wanted to know about those bruises and marks on my face. I had looked straight in their eyes as if not knowing where else to. That was stark opposite of my nature. Compromising or adjusting or even giving in was one thing and getting beaten up was exactly the opposite. For crying out loud, I had wedded a handicap and had earned far better than him. And, his parents had not approached for our alliance till I struggled to find a decent job.
The next day, I was to join work. I had requested for an extension of my leave; my TL had granted that. I had told Hemant that I was to join back immediately for Training and had packed up my stuff to travel to Chandigarh.
Instead, I had gone to Rohini and had sat crying my heart out. I had already been branded as liar; I was only living upto that.
For the next 5 days, I had sat retrospecting, that what could have put the situation back at a level that may have been a little tolerable. I had found no answers. Ruby’s dad had expressed his desire to talk it out amongst the elders; I had not let him to. I could never tell them that how they were ridiculed because they had not borne expenses for my Wedding. Why did Sharma family behave as if nothing was known to them; and that, that they got a raw deal that was forced upon them? Note, how Hemant had been off- limits throughout my constant friction with his family members.
The next week, I had joined work; and then, that had sparked off a new controversy. I used to prepare breakfast after reaching home at 6am. I used to stay 2 extra hours back, after my shift was over, to reach home at that time. Go off to sleep at 9-ish. Wake up at 1, and prepare lunch and dinner before leaving at 4.30. One day, Ratan had politely asked me not to knock at 6 in the morning; since that was the time he slept after studying late. A couple of days later, a poster were stuck on the kitchen wall reading: PLEASE DON’T COOK RICE. Hemant had as if closed his only left eye tooupon that paper. They had then complained that the chapattis prepared at 4pm, didn’t taste good at 8pm and had wanted me to not prepare those too.
Only 2 months had gone by when I was relieved of the whole exercise. They had wanted me to quit my job and slog over house- work. Had they pondered to realize that my quitting the job, would have stopped all the post operation medication? Maybe, she had not deserved any of my help and concern. That poster was sat even on the day- when the executive for AquaGuard had come over. I still drank the supply water. I wasn’t let to fill bottles for myself and take upstairs.
We had then soon attended her elder sister-in-law’s son’s marriage. Once again, they too lived in some small Janta Flat in Pashchim Vihar. However, that lanky uneducated guy had managed to settle himself down with a girl of very affluent maternal relations. Aunty P had attended their engagement ceremony; that was before her operation. I had worn a lavender colored, chiffon sari with stone accessories. She had picked up a disagreement on the fact that I had not worn a bindi. It didn’t go well with my get- up and hence, I had avoided. I had given my Wedding Pochampalli for her to wear. She had smudged the whole sari with food marks. That was the same sari that she had ridiculed saying that that was a white- colored fabric! I was supposed to not dress up like a widow..
Hemant’s cousin’s marriage date was fixed sometime in October, i.e., after her operation and post treatment; hence, she had not attended that. Yet again, people had taken fancy to me. I had worn my wedding lehanga, boarded an auto and traveled to Paschim Vihar. I had invited over that Saharanpur Bua (her sister-in-law who stayed at Saharanpur), for lunch. Little had I known that she had not visited her brother’s home for a long time- maybe over some disagreement with aunty P? Upon their visit and stay for a day’s time at my marital home; they too had appreciated my being. Seems, I was not that bad after all. I had a huge boil that had grown on my waist. That lady too suffered of those bloody boils bleeding all over her body. Hemant too suffered of those. Now, that was my turn. Never had I stayed so unclean and unhygienic to develop such unmentionable infections. I had attended to all housework and had prepared meals for 10 people with that boil sitting on my waist next to where I wore my slacks- for the next 1-1/2 days. Aunty P had literally lifted my long skirt up- to see that Boil- if that was; saying that if something had really happened to me; I ought to be “showing” that to her. She had then circulated across the house that Hemant had pinched me while we were into “it” and then; I was making a huge issue out of that.
For days, I had wailed, while on my own and had sat crying for hours at my hopeless situation. Once home; I could and was to not go out anywhere. I was as if locked up at my own home. Hemant and I met only on weekends. Uncle had calculated the number of hours I used to be at home on week- offs, vis-à-vis the number of hours I spent with them. My sleeping time was not exempted.
Karvachauth that year, was pain in my ar*e; remember, that bloody boil on my buttock? Thankfully, they had sat in the park that year. After that Beggars’ Act of passing each others plate; an argument had (again) flung open. I had wanted Lady P to sit back and enjoy food instead of slogging herself up on the fire. She had sobbed and cried while eating and had sat separately to dine. No sooner, I had sat to have food; I was sent upstairs saying that I ought to be wearing what I wore during the evening. Why then she had let me change the 1st year and not whisper a word about that?
I had tried saving myself and my Birthday back in August; but that was ruined rudely by (who else than?) Hemant. I had decided to stop contributing, buy things that they had needed- in the name of presents and at all communicate with anyone at the 1st floor- come what may.
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