Shattered, No More

Shattered, No More

The dictionary meaning of shattered is broken into many pieces.

Well, that’s what precisely she was… burning in the turmoil of deception, hatred, victimization, personal loss and agony!

But she wasn’t always this subject of pain and despair. She was a happy tall slender beauty basking in the sunshine of love and youthfulness! Geeta was a docile compliant girl… a matured one for her age! Brought up in a prominent family of scholars and educationalists, she wasn’t exactly the apple of her parents eyes, but definitely cared and looked after; the only daughter amongst 3 brothers. An affable family of 6, that fed on prosperity, humility, modesty, and affluence.

Her mild giggles and shy mindfulness grabbed her right through her puberty and the passive dutifulness was fed on her partly by her mother and partly by herself. Her brothers were self-occupied mostly, nobody pampering her in particular. But she was a doting daughter, closest to her father, in fact she was much like him: simple, faithful and willing. Her father a government employee, a well paid officer in the postage department, loyally discharging his duties ever since he joined.

He had a transferable job and where ever they moved… the whole family moved together, they got posh bungalows with servant quarters, helpers, cooks, drivers and all the amenities that could make life a little more easy breezy.

Geeta was preparing for her final year BA exams when suddenly the news of a government transfer came in crashing. Now they had to start preparing for a change, gearing life into a transition. She would dread these altercations because the daunting task of readjusting to new places, new people, reshuffling the academics would take a toll on her. Considering her quiet persona, it was definitely a detrimental when it came to socializing glibly.

Now this new place demanded new synergies and enthusiasm to pick up the staggering pace of life. Geeta somehow managed her exams well from the new university and finished her graduation with first grade marks. Her mom insisted she could stay back in the old city at the college hostel to attend college but Geeta being her, avoided staying amongst friends at all costs.

Years passed meandering in the hustle and bustle of growing up and family lovingness. Soon the worries of marriage for their only daughter started grasping the aging conservative parents.

As soon as they started searching for alliances, Geeta realized that life started changing colors and prospects. Her portfolio size studio picture in splendid saree and jewelry was taken at Ajanta photo gallery. Ready for distribution, it was framed in glossy scrap frame for attractiveness. Days passed, alliances came and one such stuck with her parents. An affluent family had reached out to them for the ladki dikhao ceremony.

It was a formal meet at a temple and the ladkawalas were an affluent family of lawyers. They interviewed Geeta with some basic questions and agreed to revert back as soon as the results were out. It was a day of enthusiasm when they agreed and replied with an affirmation. The parents were ecstatic for the potential alliance and joined in full fervor with the preparations for marriage. Brothers followed suit and all the affluence was utilized to put a big show at the grand marriage gala. 

Reportedly a big dowry money was asked, which Geeta’s father obliged with sincerity. It was a happy ceremony which went off smoothly. On her first night, Geeta realized that her husband wasn’t happy. His agony was visible on his face and in his disturbing behavior. They slept separately and she spent the whole night sobbing in misery and questions looming large in her disturbed heart. Her wet pillow reminding her constantly of the upcoming pains. She was forced to put up a happy show infront of her otherwise cordial in laws and caring old parents for the fear of infamy and  anxiety. Her husband also cancelled the honeymoon trip, her father had financed for both of them with dreamy aspirations. After several sleepless nights, she decided to confront her husband and demand an explanation for the ruthless behavior. He declared blatantly, “I’m not straight, I’m gay and my sexual desires aren’t that of a man. I was forced into this marriage by my parents and I will not be able to keep you happy and contented”.

Shell shocked in despair and disbelief, Geeta’s mind blocked. Her mouth parched, and heart pounding in nervousness, she couldn’t decipher a word. Aghast, blank as a white sheet, she wanted to shout out of her stuffed lungs. The pain was molesting her mind and heart. Tears overflowing, she somehow could muster the courage to speak in sobbing, “What?”

“What are you saying? How could you do this to me…..please say that its not true! Please”

She was appalled by the deception. Falling down in his feet, she begged for her life, her respect and happiness but he preferred to walkway muted, shutting the door behind her. Geeta was left silently moaning in her virgin youthfulness. The silent pain sedating her. She was shattered. The courage to live life and the spirit to celebrate the marital courtship had evaporated itself. She was deceived by her husband, inlaws and everyone who knew of the fact and they had been cheated into this alliance. But what now. “Could she turn back to her parents?” her mind unable to ponder. What if’s and the fear of notoriety and slander blocked her. “Would her parents be able to take her back. Her father is a reputed personality and his health isn’t any good these days.” The apprehensions deprived her of the courage and strength to raise her timid voice. She grew lifeless and guilt ridden with each passing day. Avoiding conversations with her parents, she started becoming self-absorbed, meek and unsociable. Further few days later, she found that her brother in law was trying to misbehave with her while she was sleeping away in her bedroom. Fear stricken, she couldn’t raise a voice and ran away to her husband’s shelter. When she tried sharing the incident with him, instead of understanding and empathizing, he tried to smack her in the face. His male ego and patriarchy didn’t let him accept any malice in the family. 

“What pain can be bigger than all this?”, her mind would murmur in anonymity. Suicidal thoughts had started invading her and depression started to creep in sluggishly. No social contacts, hidden in her room mostly, eating only on demand and staying bland.. Geeta had sucked the life out of her after marriage…..sucked the life out of her. Her inlaws weren’t bothered to intervene in the situations and remained inert. However, Geeta’s parents tried contacting her several times. Finally she awoke to the news that her father had suffered a major cardiac arrest and was hospitalized in emergency. Devastated, she ran barefoot to the car, without combing her hair, without eating her food, without being sound in her senses and sanity. Her agony trailing her in shadows and silhouettes, she ran to his ward as soon as her husband brought her to the hospital. She sat there holding hands with her mother, meeting the whole family after months of desperation. Her mother was flabbergasted to see her in such misery and unhappiness. Her shabby appearance and lifeless behavior was throwing clues at her. She tried interrogating her about the whereabouts in her husband’s absence in the hospital corridors and insisted on her coming home for a few days. Her father was stable under the supervision and was later shifted to normal ward from ICU monitoring. 

It was the day; father was supposed to return home when a sudden unexpected court affidavit arrived through the postage. Their Uncle had forced a case of forgery and property defamation on them and their claim and right to ownership had been questioned. Reportedly several previous court orders had been sent by the court but the family had not responded timely. This final order was the reprimanding one, the inebriated one in legal hassles and debauchery. Their uncle a lawyer himself had woven a fake case and was trying to snatch away the property rights from his younger brother, making them homeless and grief stricken. The dilapidated condition of his younger brother didn’t stop him from such dishonesty. In fact, he tried to gain advantage and silently creep up and form a cabal of conspiracy. This gave a blow to Geeta’s father. For him honesty and fidelity in relationships was a faith, a belief that underlined the philosophy of life. The deceit was too much for him to handle. The already feeble heart wasn’t able to bear the pain. It broke! It gave up on life. He suffered a major cardiac arrest, one that he couldn’t win over. The sad news of his demise spread like wildfire. Geeta was speechless….lifeless. Once again shattered, shattered to pieces this time….. her world was collapsing in front of her and she lied there groping in the dark. Muted and blind, she stopped trying… trying to live. In the time span of few months how her world had come crashing down to its knees, not ready to cope up, not ready to stand up. The tenacious losses were rippling, her rickety feet not able to grasp the ground. 

Her mother and brothers had tried to come in terms with reality. Unable to fight a court case, they gave up on the patriarchal property rights and tried to move in a small rented home. Geeta was asked to go back with her husband to her luxurious bunglow. She couldn’t dissipate a word, she couldn’t share the harsh realities of her life. The bitter truth of her marital status and the marauding hands of gloom and fear that had enveloped her completely.

She came back teary eyed. Surprisingly the tears didn’t dry up, they had decided to flow uninvited and dry up unnoticed with each passing day. Harsh comments, unloved company, brutal house members now didn’t affect Geeta much. She carried on with her life now in an inert state of mind, unreactive and neutral. 

They say time is the biggest healer. Geeta had moved out with her husband to a different state owing to his job requirements and this had brought the couple a little closer to each other, only emotionally. Physically they weren’t meant to be compatible and Geeta had accepted this as her destiny. She tried to rub her dissatisfaction and pain on herself through self-pity and self-loathing. Though the couple stayed separated but since they were physically competent, Geeta bore a baby boy soon. The disillusioned life grabbed a ray of hope. Baby’s little feet brought happiness and contentment back in the grief-stricken barren lands. This was the shower of enlightenment, Geeta had been parched off. 

How couldn’t she not rejoice in motherhood and parenting. She started grappling with small moments of happiness and delight, trying to pump life and spirits in her dying soul. Any support from her husband was greatly appreciated but she started avoiding hassles and arguments at any cost. Her physical and emotional distraught from her husband was being fulfilled by baby’s tiny love gestures and mighty presence. 

Husband started working in a private firm, however the money was less and in scarcity. How she moved from the palatial bungalow to a rented 2 bedroom house and any luxuries became an extravaganza. Now life was smooth on a known trajectory, not elated but not agitated either. It was meager but bereft of blunder and sorrows. A regular emotional connection and 2 way communication with her husband had realigned her with the purpose of life. To live and live with spirits. Her son was her life now. A reason to breathe and gather goodness. Time started wandering away again in the meandering bylanes. Her son Ramesh started growing up, school college everything passed like jiffy, like a picture in the running kaleidoscope. Geeta had started to grow old and pale. Her hollow structure deprived of self reliance and poise. She had grown dependent on her son for any emotional upheaval and support. He was a talented kid, bright academically but introverted. Again, he had borrowed her mother traits of being a shy loner. He didn’t make friends or socialize much but had etched a well deserving career plan for himself. Soon he cracked a job interview and landed a handsome job in a big IT firm. This was going to be the biggest achievement for Geeta and she couldn’t stop showering blessings upon her doting son. Soon the plans for his marriage and discussions started ascending upon the family. A nice prospective bride was searched for him and the marriage plan was etched out. Geeta’s inlaws and mother also participated in the proceedings. His brothers were all married but all her sister in laws were either too haughty or conceited to form a bond or repair an argument. Time elapsed and soon Geeta’s daughter in law,came in the house. Her sharp quarrelsome behavior had started to show up soon after marriage and the spiky reactions had started creating a disturbance. Anuja wasn’t a plain jane and her sharp repartee had already started stinging Geeta’s placid presence. Anu as Rakesh called her fondly, started creating a drift in the family and soon became an eye sore. Geeta was grief stricken again. What in the world she should do!

Where should she go and stay. The harmony of the house was getting bereaved. Everyday Anu would pick a new fight with her mother in law, taking a cantankerous avatar and getting deadlier by the day. Now even her son had started supporting Anu. In one such sway of events, Both son and daughter in law started arguing and Rakesh proposed her mother to move out of their way….out of their house. 

Geeta was shattered. Her husband had always stayed inert in all the chaos and stayed unreactive and unavailable for responses. He had withdrawn his support and backing from his wife again, on many occasions many times now, subsequently. Geeta had numbed herself from all his agonies and disloyalties. But this was damaging and destroying. She couldn’t believe what she heard.

How much more shattered she could be? What uprooted inside her now? Was anything left inside her or was she a hollow piece of flesh just breathing. What was this shattering now? A lifelong of pain that still refused to subsidize. A killing insult by her own son whom she had regarded as her only means to stay afloat. Now he was affronting her, to vacate the house and wander away, just because his wife was squabbling everyday….. she was being asked to move away giving them their space. Was she eating up space in her son’s life and deserved to be left brooding? A lifelong of anguish seemed trivial but this last blow was too much for her to bear.

What was self-respect? what more ways she could be harmed because she was still alive. The destiny was conspiring ways to destroy her, rip her of all the sensitivities and sanities and declare her a lunatic. She was deprived of her happiness, her identity, her worth and labeled an outsider in her own house. The house she had enshrined with her blood and sweat. Step out and wander away in the loneliness and anonymity of blackness. Sorrow, anguish…. All had become just another adjective in her dictionary of shame and agonizing pain. She got up and decided to leave the house at once.

But where would she go? How could she be self reliant? She had never been! She didn’t know how to face the grotesque truths of life alone. No wonder she had faced them all, but never alone. She had always trodden on the path behind someone. In the male dominated world, their wasn’t a place for the timid and pale. And she was one …. A quiet pale daughter, wife, daughter in law, mother and mother in law…. Who wore many mute masks but couldn’t confront? She couldn’t ever be courageous to walk out of those shams and be decisive in her own confident shell. She left herself untreated, thrown herself at the vagaries of life unarmed, unattended. But now what was left apart from self-loathing?

Could she restart again? Could she be her own savior, in this distress? Her steps picked up a pace. Her mind stopped wandering. She stopped her death from overcoming her. Wiping her tears, she started moving in a determination….. a pledge to live… now live for her own self. This was the end of a craving for love, betterment and a beginning of something vital. A beginning of something better than what had happened with her till now. The muted sufferings were now getting vocal and directing her in the front. A self reliant Geeta was emerging on the horizon. The shatterings…. The consequential pains had diluted her fears and insecurities. She headed towards the self reliant Women’s ashram and elderly Women’s home and decided to make that her abode for the upcoming days. A golden sunshine was breaking upon the peepal tree the next morning and the night of doom had leaped away in wanderlust. 

Geeta was upfront in her moves now, her jittery self-had confronted her and got vanquished. Her husband came looking for her sometime in the afternoon. Hopeless yet demanding, he asked Geeta to return back with her at once and ask for forgiveness from Anu. This enraged Geeta, now she wasn’t afraid to solemnize her feelings and speak up her mind. She at once retorted to his words and warned him to return back. She roared in authority and self-respect and ordered him to retrace his steps back, otherwise the consequences could be dire. 

Her husband was petrified to find his wife in this new avatar. She had grabbed a new power of identity and self awareness, her feminism glowing in the face. He came in awe of her strength and retreated back in nervousness. Geeta was a new woman now. Her excited aura was replenishing her for a fresh start. A rendezvous with a life of self-esteem. It was her rebirth!

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