“Where are you my love? I just woke up and you are not here”, cooed Kushal in a sleepy voice.
“I had to drop Roshini at the airport-remember? She was leaving today? ” Ananya replied softly.
“The flight was at 10 in the morning, it’s way past that. So where the hell are you?” He asked rather roughly now.
Ananya chewed her lips, breathing deeply before answering in a cautious voice,” I needed sometime to myself, so am at the bio diversity park for a walk.”
“Who are you with? Rahul right? From your office? You bitch, wait till I get my hands on you,” he was now frothing at the mouth and the abuses were flowing freely.
“Calm down Kushal, I am alone. I meant it when I said I wanted to be alone. I will be home in an hour and then we will talk, we need to talk,” she said firmly though her knees were trembling in fear.
“I want you home right now. Right now I said.”
“An hour Kushal, I will be home soon.”
“No, no, no. N.O.W.”
Ananya put the phone down and sank back on the bench. She wasn’t lying. She was in the park and she was thinking. The long heartfelt chat with her best friend had helped to sharpen her perspective and she knew it was time to take a stand.
Her phone rang, it was Kushal. She deliberated but then cut the call. He called again… And again…. She dropped the phone in her bag, folded her legs beneath her and closed her eyes. He will keep calling till she would pick up or walk into her home.
Home! No longer a place she wanted to be in. She had no place to go or call her own.
Ananya had been bought up cloistered and protected by an extremely traditional (read conservative) family, where girls were meant to be seen and not heard. No cutting your hair, or playing in the sun or wearing western clothes. Education was not a priority but a time pass till the girl was married off. Mastering housework was of utmost importance, never mind if you failed in school exams.
She had just turned 19, when she was “shown” a boy by her family. Nirav Shah, 28 years old and belonged to a diamond trading family of Surat. They saw each other, his mother asked her a few questions and then it was fixed.
Her mother had been over the moon that her daughter was going into such a moneyed family and would want for nothing in the world. Nobody asked her what she wanted. But then she wouldn’t have been able to say what she wanted had someone asked. This was the way of life that she was bought up in; had seen all her older cousins go through it without a murmur. It was the known and accepted way of life as she knew it.
It had been a terrifying journey; from her parental home to the husband’s. Her mother-in-law was the towering matriarch of the house and took Ananya to task from day one.
First Night!! Nirav was cold, withdrawn and aloof. Its as if she had done something to upset him. She tried to do what her cousins had giglingly told her but he wanted none of it. In fact, he slept on the couch in the room, while she cried herself to sleep.
Honeymoon!! They flew to Bali where she spent the entire week scared and alone in a hotel room as Nirav never stayed there with her. She didnt know where he was or what he was doing. A week later, they flew back to India.
Ananya soon came to realise that her husband didnt ‘want her’. She despised herself and spent most of the time crying. Her mother in law kept her busy, parading her in front of never ending queue of relatives and friends. Dinners, kitty parties, club nights – she accompanied her everywhere. All this time Nirav spent either in office or traveling.
Three months later, she was a wreck when her mother in law announced its time for her to visit her parents for the traditional first time after marriage. Ananya was esctatic – it was the escape that she needed.
Her father came to pick her up and Ananya couldnt stop herself from hugging him hard and bursting into tears – her father was shocked and embaressed for in their family, girls dont hug male members.
Back in Bombay, Ananya did the same when she saw her mother – only this time her mother responded in the same manner for she had missed her daughter too.
“So tell me how are things? Your in laws are happy with you na? You havent done anything to shame us, have you? I made sure you were taught everything”, her mother wouldnt stop with the questions cum admonishments. All this while Ananya kept holding her and crying.
Soon her mother was alarmed and insisted she tell her what is wrong. “He doesnt want me or love me”, wailed Ananya. Sobbing piteously, she narrated the entire tale.
“Oh you silly girl. Thats just the way of the men. Start dressing up some, put on makeup and wear something nice to make him look at you,” intoned her mother.
Two of her cousins were down from US and showed her some porn (much to her horror). “I … what .. I mean.. I cant do this!!” “You girls are mad and this is sick”, she mumbled, scandalised to the core.
“Dont be silly. This is how things are and you need to take the lead as its onvious he is the shy one,” they counselled her sagely and deivsed a strategy for her to win her husband over.
Soon it was time to go back but Ananya refused to go. Her parents tried cajoling her at first and then scolding her; but she was adamant.
“You have to go back to your husbands house for thats your home now – thats where you belong,” her mother declared firmly to her. Her relatives too made similar noises and pressured her to go back.
Ananya didnt budge; wouldnt budge.
Her mother in law was appraised of the situation; she commanded Annaya over the phoneline to hasten back. “I will come back but Nirav has to come and pick me up”, Ananya negotiated with her.
Her mother was all aflutter at the thought of welcoming her son-in-law and preparations were planned for a grand feast to welcome him.
At night, Ananya put the startegy into play – slipped into a sexy lingerie (purchased online ) and sprinkled some perfume. She sidled upto Nirav and boldly put her arms around his neck. He stiffened and jerked her arms away.
“Why dont you like me? Why did you marry me? What is it that I am doing wrong?” Ananya cried out.
” My liking was never taken into account and there is nothing wrong with you,” Nirav said softly.
“Its just that I am gay.”
To be continued…………………………………………….
Its not strange to find a gay man being married away as a straight one; society and its pressures plus the mentality of people towards homosexuality – both have attributed immensly to such fake, loveless and unhappy marriages in the Indian context.
Posting my day 5 post for #Dailychatter Here as I take my blog to the next level with #Blogchatter and #UBC – the ultimate blog challenge in October 2016 through fictional series which will become a regular feature on my blog under #FridayFiction