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Friday, 30 June 2017

Letter to Her! Say No to Domestic Violence


Dear Smriti,

                 You might not know me very well. Apart from passing a smile when we coincidentally bump into each other at the nearby grocery shop, we haven’t had any conversations. I am the girl who stays with her dad beside your house. Now, you might be wondering why I am writing this letter to you. Well, I hesitated at first, but couldn’t stop myself from reaching out to you. A woman’s heart compelled me to do so. I would plead you to read the letter till the end.

                I still remember the day when you got married to Rajdeep, my neighbor. You looked beautiful with that striking smile and the glow of happiness on your face. When I met you at your reception and congratulated you, I could see a vibrant, happy woman who wants to live life according to her own terms. But within a few months of your wedding, I could see the smile on your face gradually fading. I could often hear your sobs and sometimes shrieks at midnight. 

              When I wake up in the morning every day at 6 am and do my yoga, I can see you cooking in the kitchen and then getting ready for work. Sometimes, I wonder how many hours do you manage to sleep. When I watch television at the end of a tiring day, I can see you again in the kitchen preparing dinner. The maid of our house used to work in your house too. When I asked her why she is not working at your place, she said that your father-in-law has told her they don’t need her anymore.

                To say that I was shocked that day will be an understatement. I couldn’t fathom how anyone can treat a family member in this way. I used to wonder why you don’t realize that you don’t get any time to rest the entire day. Why don’t you protest? Sleeping after 1 am and waking up before 5 am is not healthy. Moreover, you have your office every day. I wanted to ask you these questions whenever I met you at the grocery store, but somehow I hesitated as I did not want to interfere in your family matters.

               But the incidents after your miscarriage enraged me to the core, and therefore, I am writing this letter, shedding my inhibitions. I did not even know that you were expecting due to the tremendous amount of work that you do every day. I couldn’t see any changes in your lifestyle to understand that a new life is blooming within you. Then all of a sudden, one day at 10 pm, I could hear you wailing and whimpering. You were taken to the hospital. 

               Two days later, I learned that you had a miscarriage. From that day onwards, I can hear you getting tormented by your husband and in-laws. Although I can’t see exactly how they are treating you, your inconsolable sobs and wails every night tell me your story. I can hear your husband shouting at you when you refuse to stop crying. And then again in the morning, I see you cooking in the kitchen and then rushing to work. I also saw some cigarette burns on your arm when I met you at the grocery shop last time.

              My dear girl, I don’t know why you are choosing to live such a hellish life every single day. I can only tell you that it is not right to tolerate domestic violence of any kind, whatever the reason may be. The person who tolerates injustice is equally at fault as the person who commits injustice. If you become a mother of a daughter, have you ever thought what kind of a life your daughter will get? She will see her mother tolerating injustice every single day and believe that this is how it should be. Do you want your daughter to suffer in silence like you all her life? 

              You are a special person sent to this earth for a purpose. Do not embrace a life where people treat you worse than a doormat. Search for your light within, gather the courage, speak up and rise above your pain. Your beautiful eyes are not meant to shed a thousand tears every night. They are meant for seeing this beautiful world. Take a stand against the injustice.

               Today, when you take a stand, you will not only fight for yourself, but also for the thousands of women who are frightened to take a stand against domestic violence. And if you need my help, just know that I am always there for you ready to help you. But today, you need to help yourself and then everything will get better. I can assure you that all your wounds will get healed, only if you take a step to save yourself today. I hope this poem of mine can motivate you to some extent:

Dear girl, stop!
Don’t do that to yourself
A couple of people might be cruel to you
You don’t need to be cruel to yourself;
Look away from the arduous wounds
Don’t pinch or touch them
Let them be;
Have faith in the greatest healer, Time
The scars will evaporate like magic
You won’t even understand how and when.
Embrace yourself today!
Embrace life with all your love
Breathe, smile, live!
Let the positive energy flow into your heart
Drop the baggage that robs you of life.
You are stronger than your wounds
Your life is much bigger than your pain;
Have faith in the greatest healer, Time
Embrace yourself today!
Embrace life with all your love
Breathe, smile, live!

Love and light,
A woman who believes in your strength,
Purba


Note: The incidents mentioned in the letter #ALetterToHer are largely drawn from real life and is slightly fictional. I have changed the names to protect privacy.

Meena Kandasamy's latest novel When I Hit You is a chronicle of an abusive marriage and the celebration of the power of art. I would love to read this novel as it is a courageous take on traditional wedlock in modern India. The incidents in the book are inspired from the real scenario in the country. 


13 comments:

  1. Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

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  2. Truly moving. And extremely disturbing. Haven't we women heard these stories ...or seen them on the big screen...the pain and silence.

    The letter from a neighbour to a victim was a beautiful way of getting the message across. It made us privy to the victim's world

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    1. Domestic violence should not be tolerated in silence. I hope women find the courage to speak up and take a stand.
      Thank you so much Sujatha :)

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  3. This story and poem is a true inspiration to all who remain silent to the atrocities.

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    1. Thank you dear Upasna. I really pray for the day when women will find the courage to take a stand against such atrocities and not tolerate them silently in the name of marriage.

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  4. Inspiring...there are so many women out there who keep on tolerating all the atrocities without uttering a word... it's high time they should raise their voice....

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    1. Can't agree more! Thank you so much dear for reading the post :)

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  5. Your letter is indeed so inspiring buddy, it touched my heart. I wish she is able to help herself.

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    1. Glad it could touch your heart dear. Thank you so much :)

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  6. Great letter, Purba. Women often blame themselves for abuse, and provide excuses for their husband's behaviour. They need a lot of love and support of friends and relatives to understand they are not to blame, and have to raise their voice.

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  7. Such an inspiring post dear... it's a source of encouragement for all those women who are struggling silently without raising a voice against what's happening to them. And a heartwarming poem to follow up with!

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