” No I ain’t going anywhere. This is my house and I shall not leave.” She screamed at the top of her voice. Her own self was misleading her today. At the same time she wasn’t sure as to who was it that was speaking out for her. Her husband walked towards her, taken aback by the sudden uproar in the house. His mother stood next to her, facing the wall to her right. “Leave me alone here. Go! And take your husband along if you wish. I need no one. This house was not built by your father after all. Who are you to shout at me?”
“Dare you speak a word about my father!” she blurted out. There was no stopping her this time. ” I have for so long maintained the audacity of not dragging ‘your’ father or your whereabouts thereof. So I expect you to do the same and keep this between the two of us alone.”
She could feel the old woman shaking as she spoke. Not that she was that old either. But yes, she was undoubtedly shaking. Her tiny fingers were trembling as she kept walking in to and fro movements in the dining hall next to the kitchen. There was a tremour in her voice and restlessness in her body language. She was no longer the woman who could dismiss the girl’s act with a single nod of her head, create terror in the fragile heart of a young woman who had to make this place her home despite not having seen a single corner of it before. But such are the customs in place in the society. Customs she could not refuse after all. So she accepted them and kept doing her part. She entered this new house and tried to feel at home. She left her own behind to call this woman “maa.” And she tried to find own-ness in the man she had met only a month before the wedding. But as if this was not enough.
She started to develop a submission unconsciously, subdued emotions in front of this woman which slowly took the shape of fear. Immense and intense fear in her, with or without her physical proximity. So much so that even after she moved to a new city to stay with her husband alone, this fear used to grip her at the slight remembrance of her mother in law. As if this woman had sabotaged the confident and carefree girl she was used to being. As if her bright and reverberating youth was being held to ransom by this one woman who had entered her life all so suddenly and had now stormed it over.
She knew that anger was bad. And anger was all that this woman was projecting onto her. What she failed to realise was that “fear” equally was. Whether she chose or not to retaliate was a different story. But that she was finding herself drowning in an indecipherable fear every time her mother in law spoke foul to her or behind her and every time she decided to quietly absorb the pain within her, that was what she was unaware of. It was as if all the turn of events which accompanied her marriage had caught her unawares so much so that all what was left of her was a burdened soul that was forced to take more than what it actually could. But for how long? Fear was not ”she” after all?
Yet it continued. Until today. Six years had passed since she entered the lives of her husband and her mother-in-law and they into hers. She had been blessed with a charming and adorable child in between. Also a formidable relation with her husband which seemed to grow stronger every passing day. That she had the power of begetting such a wonderful kid was something she found it hard to believe. Yet she knew that her son was her godsend. What however she was unaware of was the power that could protect, aid and heal her beyond measure and the understanding that that power emanated from within her alone. That it could erupt amidst the flagrant attitude of the few who were convinced that she was the weak among them all for the simple reason that she was young and naive and new to all what they called their ”own.” Such force which could pull her out of the abyss she was in and diminish all the vitriolic energies that had found ground around her. That she could release herself from all what she had started considering to be her destiny. That she could create empowerment for herself in the very situation she was in, not by running away from it or by finding solace in others but by challenging it and by refusing to be smothered. That she could be so powerful that she needed no other to stand up for what she truly was.
That moment she knew she had been released.