Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Letter to Her

Dear Maithili
Wondering why I chose that name for you? Because you are the quintessential Indian woman, a shadow of the one you derive your name from-Sita! Yes, the one who was the epitome of sacrifice, of the strength of a woman so misconstrued by society for years together now. Because you have been made to believe that sacrifice is the virtue that makes you a Goddess. Who are you then, if not Maithili( princess of Mithila) or Janaki( daughter of Janak) or
Ramā( wife of Rama), a woman whose name too is seeped in patriarchy. And so when you choose to look away when abused, I know not any other name by which to call you.
Don't be disheartened by my harsh words. I only wish to ignite the fire in you. I only wish to tell you that a man who torments you physically or emotionally or psychologically does not deserve your silence. There is no merit in saving the face of one who sends you into exile or demads an "agni pariksha" from you. Unmask the misogynistic abuser and set yourself free.
I have often spotted you late in the night, under the covers with swollen, red eyes. Sometimes it' s a phone call, sometimes a scar on your face...a deeper one somewhere inside. At other times its dowry or a loose remark, a slight push when your man is inebriated and intoxicated. That "not in his senses" excuse to forgive him another time; that preposterous comparison asking you to bring him back from the abode of another woman..." after all Savitri brought back her husband from the clutches of death"... and give him just another chance. I have often seen you battle it out on pitch dark nights when you know best that the world will be unable to trace your tears. And yet you have found reasons to hang on a little longer maybe. Suffering in silence is the quality of your Goddess afterall.

I find it hard to understand what makes you brush it all under the carpet? If you think of judgemental, prying eyes, well they are anyway judging; if you fear pain to your loved ones, they are anyway not immune; if you are wondering about tomorrow, there is little good in it anyway. 
Look at yourself. You deserve to be that young, effervescent woman who once used to be. These lines of worry and constant dilemma whether "to be or not to be" must end today. It requires less courage than what you already show. Give up, not on life, but on abuse. Speaking up is no longer taboo. 

Note: Domestic violence in any form must be strongly condemned and should not be spoken about in hushed tones. A woman must speak up to keep her sanity and dignity intact because the stress level that can be caused by abuse of any sort is unfathomable. When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy,, must be read to break the shackles of silence around emotional, physical or mental abuse and to rise above the idea of an ideal, silent and in turn suppressed womanhood.

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