That fateful month (at that time I thought it was the best time of my life), when an alliance came for me. My parents were then only to keen to marry me and see me settled in life. They did some research on the boys family through common friends and were satisfied with the results. By then I had completed my masters and was open to meeting with this person, to check out if we clicked. Well he came down from USA(ahh…yes the US of A) for 2 weeks. We met, dated a few times and I can plainly say that our thoughts matched. He was educated and so was I and I didn’t have any other expectations or fancies. We got engaged and next year married again within those famous 14 days. My parents arranged everything with no qualms. (today when I look back I wonder why my parents so voluntarily arranged everything. Okay, they were being generous but did not the boys side have any onus to take some responsibility too after all was he not their child just the way I was my parents child? Oh yes…how can I forget, we are girls side !!!
I reached USA and was taken to our apartment. The first few months passed by peacefully and we very much enjoying our honeymooning phase. Shall I call this the silence before the storm? Then came the expectations. He wanted $25000 from my parents that too to be transferred to his account immediately. Initially I did not comprehend why? I was worried that something was wrong, that he was some of serious trouble and therefore he was in dire need of finances. He did not say anything. He wanted the money and asked me to bring it. Obviously my parents did not have $25000 to give away and neither was I going to request my parents. I coaxed him further to get to the bottom of this. It was worrying him no end. Though my husband refused to tell me why he needed the money, I then suggested to him that he use his savings. He had a comfortable 6 digit salary and enough savings from his years of work experience in USA. That was when I received my first slap for this suggestion. And more slaps complete with abuses followed.
My world came to a stand still.
I went into mourning for several weeks. Loathed to get up in the morning because to me sleep was a get away from the reality. Went early to bed to avoid him. He kept demanding it aggressively now and I kept refusing it until I would get a valid explanation from him. He would slap me, punch me and assault me. I had nowhere to go. But one question still haunted me “why did he need $25000?” I had no one to talk to either. Our landline was disconnected and so was my internet connection. Obviously I had no money now and was completely at his mercy. In his absence I use to agonize, think to no end and ask whys. The word ‘dowry’ striked me once and I denied the thought. A guy who has 6 digit salary, what would he do with a mere $25000. It did not make sense to me. But that was the only answer that kept coming back to me.
I took a bus once to go to the Indian market, sold a pair of gold bangles that my parents had gifted me to get some money for myself. The following week I found out I was pregnant and informed him the same. He was absolutely unhappy. I requested him to take me to the doctor and he said he had no money to spend on an unwanted child. He convinced and threatened me that if I don’t have an abortion done he would tell my parents the truth about our marriage. I thought the news of the child would mellow him but it only got worst. He got more violent and cohesive with his demands. With the stress, the tensions, his sadistic behavior, his violence, his threats, his aggressiveness, his abuse I had no choice.
One night when I was asleep, excruciating pain in my left ear awakened me. I put my hand over it to and felt something wet. I saw my husband next to me, staring at me. I hurried to the bathroom to see what was going on with my ear and as I faced the mirror I saw my ear bleeding and blood pouring down my neck. For the first few seconds everything went blank before my eyes. I felt nothing. I was jolted to my senses ruthlessly when my husband was pulling my hair and almost ready to bang into the door. He kept asking for the $25000, threatening me and abusing me. Most part of the night I was thrown from one corner to another corner. I begged him to stop, for the sake of humanity to stop. He asked me point blank for the money. To safe myself, I offered to call my parents so that I could make the request to them. He happily obliged and I made the call. My parents knew something was wrong but I did not care now. Sooner or later they would know and they would be glad to have their daughter back alive (atleast).
After the call, he went of to sleep as if nothing had happened. Once again I felt the excruciating pain on my ear and I realized that it he who had pulled the earrings off my ear while I was asleep—and that lead to the bleeding.
The man that I had married, the promises we exchanged to spend a lifetime, to protect each other, would attack me viciously when I would be asleep!! I mean what kind of a human being thinks of this or does this? Till date I cannot fathom what was he thinking when he attacked me this way or how such a thought can cross any human beings mind.
I waited for the sun to rise. It was the longest wait of my life. He went to work as if nothing had happened. That was the last I saw of my educated civilized husband who worked in an IT company in USA.
I packed some of my basic things, called for a cab( oh yes little did I ever know that my mother would come to my timely rescue—her gifted bangles to me) and once gain back to the Indian market, sold some more jewelry of my parents, enough to buy me a ticket back home. To the airport and waited for the flight.
Once in India, I directly went to my parents’ house and told them all, just the way it was, the whole thing. My father was the strongest. We consulted a lawyer and filed the appropriate cases on him. . His parents were livid with rage when they had to appear in court. They had no remorse or any guilt at their sons doing or actions. To me it felt that they were rather unhappy that they did not get their $25000.
He still has not retuned back to India. It has been years. Initially he called me with his usual threats that he will take me to task for daring to file the case on him. The criminal cases are still in court and will remain there and I will see to it they remain there. Today I have my own life, happy, I work, I earn and I am free. I can travel to any country. Unlike him—that irritates him know no end that his freedom is restricted. I pay my lawyers regularly, thinking that they are my kids on whom I spend my money on(if I had one I would have spent on him/her right?) who by the way reluctantly accept any, and have clearly expressed my intentions to them. He needs to got to jail the minute he lands here. The fear of this will never make him return to his home country–which is fine by me too. If he is innocent then he is welcome to come and fight for it. I want justice. I WILL get justice
Currently he is a member of a disreputable immoral mens group that exists here and Usa too, who claim to be on a rampage to save the Indian marriage and culture. Their rantings and sadistic intentions are well known to everyone. Obviously this is only a farce, a charade by them and the actual motto of this group is to abolish dowry laws and domestic violence laws that hinders their freedom of speech, plans, action and materialistic demands.
I and many others who have been through this trauma and ordeal we will get justice in this lifetime. Recently the DV act came into existence. Surely it will give many woman solace and some respite. Spread the word, as most rural women do not even know about it.
A survivor – A woman