You know I had a pretty interesting bus travel while returning from #SURGE2016, right?
I had met this simple lady, who was at a life juncture where she was gathering all her courage to step out of the confines of her father’s home and was trying to earn a living. For her child’s sake. Atleast, that is the reason she told me albeit with a lot of despair writ on her face.This is her story in my story.
I had met Mary (I am going to call her that because I never asked her name. Guilty!) on my bus ride from Manyata Tech Park to Horamavu. She was this plain looking, simple woman. She didn’t look like she had stepped into a beauty parlour anytime soon. Not really the well groomed, presentable bangalorian. A plain Jane. Pretty early into our talk she told me that she is separated from her husband. Not the truth but what I heard in her tone when she told me that, did disturb me. I heard was disappointment, helplessness, depression and a sense of embarrassment. She was B.A. (Literature), never completed the M.A. because she got married and was now working with a BPO in the tech park. In her words, “What to do? I have a child, I have to take care of her, no?”
Narrating the story of her marriage she told me, “I was doing my M.A. then. My father was undergoing dialysis. The marriage brokers had started queuing up with eligible profiles. My husband’s was one of those. The broker had said he is a very nice guy. I won’t get a better match especially with the finances of my middle class family dwindling like my father’s health.” Mary told me she met her now ex-husband once before marriage. The usual, customary boy-girl meeting in our arranged marriage system. She said, ” He seemed nice then.”
The problem apparently started the night of the wedding itself. She says, “I just thought some men must be like that. Some men get angry. Very angry.” She lived with it for 6 years and her body language told me that if the husband had not taken the decision to separate she may have lived with it all her life. She seemed more upset with the looming insecurity over her life, financially, then having had to live with someone who was so wrong for her. She looks disappointed, worried, hurt, full of despair and kind of lost.
Though, all this has given a certain wisdom to the girl. And that gave me a thing to smile about. I could see she will pull though. She’ll survive this. She asked me how old I am. I told her. She said, “Wow, you are just a year younger to me, you look…..you don’t look 32 and that is the good thing.” I could see she wanted to say something more to me. My bus stop was approaching. I looked out of the window and stood up to queue up at the bus door. That when it came. She held my right wrist and said, “umm….see the guy well before marrying anyone. Sorry….I should not say like this but I feel that knowing your life partner before you start living with him is important. I did not know it then. And my parents would not have allowed also.” I smiled at her, knowingly. She had just worded my belief and packaged it as a marriage advice to me.
I told her, “Don’t worry, I don’t beleive in the conventional arrange marriage system. There are lot of good things about that system but it has outlived its time. We live in a different India than the India when the system was constituted. Our parents understand it too. We just have to stop pretending being their yes-yesing, image conscious kids and talk about what we think and what need like the thinking adults that we actually are!”
“Horamavu”, announced the lady on the pre-recorded system. As if as an after thought, she said, “Don’t worry about being single.” I responded, “Never have.” We parted with smiles.
Not every marriage advice is bad. Some come from experience, the real ones. They may be not what you expect but they are realistic. And my experience says just stay away from the ones that come from nosy aunties!
Loved this? Read the earlier parts of Bangalore Diaries.