Sunday 1 March 2015

Prose500 2015 Longlist Vidya Anand

Break The Rules

Mekala’s household bustled with activity. A prospective groom was coming to see her. It was like a lottery that an alliance from Chennai came their way. The boy, a 10th pass, was a driver in a cab service.

A girl like Mekala couldn’t have wished for more. She wasn’t educated enough nor had she seen enough of the outside world to know what her real happiness was. Her thought processes circled in a narrow space and so did her dreams. Like every other girl around her, she was thrust with the belief that marriage was the ultimate goal of life. With no other aspirations in life, she believed that the best was happening to her.

Her family was happy with the alliance and so was she.
The bride seeing happened like a mere formality. Terms and conditions were agreed upon like a deal. Her family was relieved that they bagged a cheaper deal compared to the usual market rates for such a good boy.

In a month’s time, with pomp and grandeur, she was married and off to the city to live her dream life.
But not all stories are happily ever after fairy tales. The real story begins where the fairy tale ends and Mekala’s story was no different. Her happy bubble burst before the honeymoon ended. She woke up from the dream to see the bitter realities of her life, an irresponsible husband who threw away jobs at the drop of the hat and a nagging bunch of in-laws. By then, she was pregnant with his child. All she could do was compromise and hope that things turned bright soon but matters worsened as years rolled by.

She started working as a maid to make ends meet. Initially she hid her sufferings from her parents. Her only vent out was her pillow which soaked in her tears every night. But eventually, her parents did know about it. They advised her to adjust for the sake of her children.
The more she adjusted, more problems kept creeping in. Her financial independence irked him. He started abusing her verbally and physically. She bore everything but continued working. She knew that she and her kids would suffer if she quit. One morning, he threatened to leave her if she doesn’t stop working.

She cried, pleaded for changing his mind but he wasn’t open to any rethought. At the end of a long sleepless night, she decided not to waste tears for a man who never loved or cared for her and her kids.

Was a man required to live a happily ever after life? Should she tolerate tortures just to stay married? Are the society and its norms bigger than her own happiness? No, she wasn’t going to succumb to threats and accept defeat. Neither would she quit nor trouble her parents!
She announced to him, “You don’t have to leave me…..I will leave you!”
She broke every rule that tied her down. From now, it was her life, her rules!

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