It was one of those cool winter afternoons, and I was out with my friends for this jungle safari at a hill station. As we stood in a group and listened to the instructions from our guide we could see people staring at us...the “overdressed” girls from Delhi. Our safari didn’t go that well, we only spotted neel gai, deer, boar…no tigers. Only a cigarette could lift my mood then. I saw a guy in a leather jacket smoking a cigarette nearby; he also looked at me. After stealing glances for some time, he gathered nerve and walked up to me.
I don’t remember what he said, I just took a cigarette from him. We had a nice conversation that night and found out we stayed in the same area back home.
Back in Delhi, we hung out, went for dinner, dancing… Within a month, he went down on his knee and proposed to me. I said yes and we got married in two months’ time.
My honeymoon period literally ended after a couple of months.
I gave up my name for our marriage, but he couldn’t give up his OCD about neatness. I left my family, my home, but he couldn’t even provide me a shoulder to cry on when his mother was mean to me. I even tried to change my religious beliefs to his. The only thing I got from him in return was physical and mental abuse, and sometimes a “divorce” warning.
I am told that because I opted for a love marriage, I should have stuck with it. He was my choice, so I should have borne with him. If a man hits his wife it’s his masculinity, and I should not fight back. When he walks in drunk at night and yells at me, I should just listen. If he ridicules my very existence, talks ill about my family, I should not defend myself. When he makes jokes about my weight or looks, I should respect his opinion.
I did respect his opinion. With all due respect, I packed my sweatshirts, tank tops, jeans, my earphones, my wallet, my diary and my four pens - black, blue, green and pink - and I left.
I have walked a mile or maybe ten, leaving behind those years, those inhibitions, those tears, all the melodrama. I walk not because there is a destination worth it, but because sometimes it is the journey that matters.