SERIOUS PLEA: Honestly, read it only if you have time. Read it till the end, people!
“Hello” said Maya on the phone. “How are you?” replied her mother. Maya wiped her tears and said, “Yeah Ma, I am fine. How are you?” “I am fine. Are you planning to come to Mumbai this month?” replied her mother. Maya nodded and said “Yes” on the phone and they disconnected the call.
Maya tied her hair and went to the kitchen and kept water on the stove. Maya kept looking at the boiling water as if she found something very interesting. She was lost in the water, just when her husband came from behind and said, “The water has dried up.” She trembled and added more water to the vessel and added tea and sugar to it. She turned behind to look at her husband, who took a bottle of water and left. She heard the TV had some cricket cheering going on in the living room. She made tea and served it to her husband. She sat on the chair next to him and said, “My mom called a while ago. She asked me to go there for a while.” Vishal ignored her completely and yelled at the cricketer who dropped a wicket.
It was the weekend, and Maya was packing her bags. Vishal walked in the bedroom and said, “Why are you going there?” Maya replied, “My mother wants to meet me.” Vishal ignored her statement and said, “Tonight let’s go out for dinner.” Maya looked at him blankly and shrugged. While coming back Vishal was angry with her because she was wearing sleeveless and there were men staring at her. Maya was quiet.
The next morning, she had to leave for Mumbai. She was standing in front of the mirror with her concealer and making dots on her neck to cover up a hickey. She wore a full-sleeved kurta to cover up some scratches. Vishal came to the bedroom and informed her about the cab arriving. Maya took her luggage and handbag and opened the door. Vishal pulled her back in and whispered, “Come soon…”
Maya was done with the procedures and was sitting at the airport waiting for her Delhi to Mumbai flight to arrive. A lady sat next to her in the waiting lounge and said, “Concealers these days don’t work so well, does it?” Maya looked at her and frowned. She took her scarf from the handbag and wrapped it around. The lady said, “Girls of your age are usually proud of showing their love bites.” Maya was in tears as this lady was pressing the wrong buttons. Maya got up and changed her seat. There was an announcement made for the Delhi to Mumbai flight. Maya sat on her window seat and looked at the other planes from the window. She saw a sari touch her feet, she looked and it was the same lady, the lady from the waiting lounge. Maya searched for her earphones, but couldn’t find them.
The lady next to her said, “You going to Mumbai for work or pleasure?” Maya looked at her and said, “My mom lives in Mumbai.” The lady was excited and said, “That’s great. So you are married. I saw the sindoor on your forehead.” Maya nodded. The lady said, “I was married once.” Maya looked at her and asked, “Once?” The lady laughed and said, “Yeah once was enough…” Maya smiled and stared at her. It was something about her that reminded her of someone. The lady was in her late 50’s. The lady asked, “Love marriage?” Maya nodded and said, “Sort of…” The lady looked at her and asked, “You are confused about your marriage?” Maya didn’t say anything and looked outside the window.
The lady said, “You need to speak up more. Anyway, let me tell you about myself.” Maya looked at her with a faded smile. The lady said, “I was your age, when I was married. Mine was a love marriage too – sort of.” Maya smiled and the lady continued, “Things after marriage are not how they show in movies.” Maya said, “They never show what happens after marriage in movies.” The lady laughed and agreed. The lady asked Maya, “Can I ask you something very personal?” Maya looked at her and said, “You may ask, I will choose if I want to answer it or no.” The lady smiled and asked, “Are you happy?” Maya looked at her. The ladies’ eyes spoke a lot. Those eyes were old but were attractive. Maya said, “Can I ask you something?” The lady smiled and nodded. Maya asked, “What is happiness?” The lady smiled and said, “It is different for every person.” She continued, “But if you have to ask me that question it means, you are not happy.” Maya looked at her and smiled and looked away. They didn’t speak anymore.
Maya got her luggage at Mumbai Airport and was on the way to leave, just when the lady called out for her, “Hey Maya?” Maya turned back and saw her waving at her. Maya smiled and waved back and left the airport. She took a rickshaw for her mother’s place. Her mother was excited to have Maya. After lunch, her mother asked, “How are you?” Maya smiled and said, “I am okay.” Her mother said, “I can see that you have adjusted well in Delhi.” Maya smiled. Her phone rang and it was Vishal. She went to the bedroom spoke to him and came to the living room again. She saw her mother having content on her face. Maya’s mother was happy that her daughter got married.
After a few days, Maya and her mother were watching TV and there was molestation news all over. Maya’s mother said, “How can men be so inhumane?” Maya said nothing. The news continued and just then Maya said, “Ma?” Her mother looked at her and asked, “Yes?” Maya said, “I want to leave Vishal.” Her mother was devastated. She switched off the TV and asked her, what’s wrong. Her mother said, “What happened? I thought you are happy with him.” Maya thought of the lady from the flight and said, “What is happiness ma?” Her mother replied, “Don’t ask me foolish questions and tell me why would you tell something like that after 6 months of marriage?” Maya kept fiddling with the hem of her dress. Her mother asked again, furiously this time.
Maya was in tears as she said, “He rapes me, Ma!” Her mother looked at her in shock and said, “That’s not rape! That’s love. A husband and wife have physical attraction.” Maya’s tears didn’t stop as she repeated, “Ma, I know what Sex is and I know what Rape is.” Her mother said, “There is no Rape in married couple. Don’t talk non-sense now.” Maya wiped her tears off and let her head fall behind. She knew her mother won’t understand, but she didn’t realise her mother to say what she said next, “You should go back to Delhi tomorrow. See if there’s a flight there.” Maya cried until she slept that night. She booked herself an early morning flight and while leaving she left a note for her mom in the kitchen. Her mother opened the note that said: ‘Rape is Rape, Ma. If it is forced, if it is done without my consent; it is rape.’
Maya reached Delhi and opened the house with her keys. The house was a mess. She entered the bedroom and saw Vishal sleeping there with all the mess around him. She woke him up and said, 2We need to talk.” He woke up and tried to kiss her, she pushed him and said, “Please freshen up and come to the living room. I need to talk to you.” He was furious. He banged the bathroom door. He joined Maya in the living room and asked, “What is it?” She said, “I want a divorce.” He held her hand tightly and yelled, “What?” She got rid of his grip and repeated, “I want a divorce.” Vishal was furious by now and he started yelling in the house asking for a reason. Maya looked at him and said, “After what is happening since the last two months, you still want me to give reasons?” He looked at her and asked, “What happened since two months?” She stood up with tears in her eyes and said, “It is not easy for me to live with my rapist. I am not okay with making breakfast for my rapist. I can’t let you rape me more.” He laughed out of anger and said, “What rape? I am your husband.” She yelled, “Does that give you the right to have sex with me without my consent?” He said, “I am your fucking husband, if I want to have sex, I will have it with you.” Maya replied, “And what about when I say ‘NO’? Is forcing right through my vagina, makes you a man?”
Maya was raped since the first time she said she doesn’t want to have sex on a particular night as she was tired; but Vishal forced his way through, until he was relieved. Night after night Maya was raped, in spite of her yelling and screaming in a NO. Vishal and Maya had a nasty divorce. Maya’s mother didn’t understand the concept of MARITAL RAPE and hence, didn’t support her.
Maya left Delhi and moved to Mumbai. She got a rented apartment near her mother’s house as she knew she has to take care of her. After months of fight and sleepless night, Maya was settled in her new apartment and she sat in front of the mirror and looked at herself – that is when she realized, the lady was no one but her from the future, it had to be. She saw the same eyes.
Though this story is a work of fiction, but one needs to understand, the work of fiction is inspired from somewhere. Marital rape is not acceptable. Husbands need to understand the meaning of NO. Forced sex is a Rape. Also someone recently told me, “If the husband doesn’t get sex from wife, he will go out and have an affair.” If that’s the case, one should not marry at all. If a wife is expected to cater all the needs of her husband, he should do the same.
Please stop Marital Rape. Rape is Rape – PERIOD!