I had a slightly emotionally disturbing conversation with a woman I met in the gym. It got me thinking about independence, love and control.
So, this woman was in good shape and definitely needed no gymming, all the rest of us kept kidding around with her asking her to take some of our weight since she badly needed some of it. She laughed with us for a while and then turned silent and looked hurt.
Now all of us were slightly perplexed since just a minute ago there were squeals of laughter and suddenly we were left with a woman who was on the verge of crying.
On enquiring what happened, we came to know about her life, a part that left all of us shocked. She is a 25 year old and has been married for the past 3 years, she got married right after she was done with her engineering and wasn’t given the chance to work since her father expired, during that period she was married off too, unfortunately it was a hurried marriage, with the match being fixed in days and the rest of the family being in mourning, adding to that the societal pressure that an unmarried girl without any male member in the family is the perfect recipe for shame and disaster.
She never interacted with the man before her wedding, thanks to the rave reviews that were given to her by her relatives. Turns out that the man had a good character and was madly in love with her, he loves her so much that it has now become an obsession.
In the past three years she has hardly spoken to anyone, including her and his relatives and her own mother too. He has a problem with her even if she talks to his mother, always chiding and scolding her if he finds that she isn’t present right next to him from the moment he enters home. He has banned her from cooking for anybody else at home, she is allowed to cook only for him and has to mix his rice and dal and feed him with her hands.
She isn’t allowed to talk to her friends; he changed her number and doesn’t allow her to use a phone. Such is the restriction that she isn’t allowed to go out anywhere, not even to the market right next to her home though she requested that she would take his mother along to purchase the groceries. Standing in the balcony too is out of question because there is a chance of others getting a glimpse of her.
The gym is the only interaction that she has had with people apart from her husband and mother-in-law in the past 3 years and the only reason she was allowed was because she spoke of how she wanted to continue looking beautiful for him and the fact that it is 5 steps (actually, I did count) away from the gate of her home. Despite being so close, she is required to wear the burqa.
During the early years of her marriage she felt blessed that she got married to a man who loved her and tried to talk to him about her aspirations to do an MBA or to work but the kind of response that she got because of that talk scared her. He discouraged her, fought with her, threatened to hit and then hit her after which he profusely apologized, took away all the means of communication that she could get her hands on, then threatened to cause harm to himself. Dejected she left all hope, and accepted her fate, that this obsession was going to be the rest of her life.
There are times when we talk of love, of how anyone would be lucky to find true love but when love gets stifling and turns into obsession, it gets dangerous and fills a person with hatred.
She can’t leave him since she has no support and income, her mother will not support her under any circumstance since her family is without any male member to accept her responsibility atleast till she gets financially independent, further she is terrified as to what result any effort of hers to get away may reap, so she has submitted herself to fate.
This got me thinking about love and independence, of how they go hand in hand, you can’t force a person to stay with you and control them, cause in that case it’s not love, but a means of control, it reduces a person to a thing or a commodity.