“Saurabh there is something I wanted to discuss; it’s a very sensitive matter.” Vibhor started tentatively. He is still not sure how to tell him.
“Vibhor, Can I have some food, I promise to behave nicely. I am dying out of hunger. I have learnt my lesson, I swear..” Sonam suddenly burst into the living room pleading to her husband in a cracking voice. “Oh, I didn’t realise you had company…I’ll just..” She left the room meekly.
Vibhor ran his hand through his hair gazing at the ceiling. He couldn’t meet his best friend’s eyes, what would he say. This incident will only confirm all the rumors that have been spreading like wildfire. Saurabh left telling him that they will talk later.
“You sure you can deliver the consignment in 45 days?” Mr. Garg asked for the fiftieth time. His voice still wavering with light apprehension.
“Be assured Mr. Garg,” Vibhor replied in a confident voice “I have delivered consignments at shorter notice in past.”
“I am worried from what I have heard… but if you say you will then… here is the advance 35 lacs in cash, rest on delivery.” Mr.Garg handed him the bag of money and left but Vibhor is still stunned by what he had insinuated. His personal life is now affecting his business as well. He had given solid 15 years of his life to his father’s textile mill; he had nourished it with his own blood, working day and night without even bothering to live like a normal boy, no partying or roaming aimlessly with friends, no movies. Now Sonam is costing him his business.
“Sonam where is the bag Mr. Garg gave me yesterday.” Vibhor called for Sonam.
“What bag?” Sonam asked bewildered.
“I kept it right here Sonam,” Vibhor pointed at the locker “The bag of advance money for–”
“Are you calling me a thief??” She snarled at him.
“Thief? What? No Sonam, I am merely asking. It wasn’t my personal money.” He blurted quietly.
“You bastard, you are calling me a thief! I am your goddamn wife.” She pushed him hard and he lost his balance. He knew it is pointless to argue with her so he went to search her room and there it was, the money in her wardrobe.
“What the hell are you doing in my room? That’s my bag, give it back.” Sonam barked and tried to snatch the bag but his grip was strong. She took the brass flower vase from the side table and threw it at him, he ducked. She charged at him and pushed him with all her might, his head hit the edge of the bed but he gathered his courage and ran for the door. Once out, he rushed for the mill. This is not the first time she had stolen money but luckily he had retrieved it a couple of times before she sent the money to her parents. He didn’t know why she was doing it; he would have given it if she’d ask, after all he is earning for his family but stealing isn’t the worst of it.
3 Months back:
“Oh Sonam Darling, You know I don’t like toor daal.” Vibhor jested with his wife.
“Oh you don’t…” She tilted her head a bit and fluttered her eyes and then out of a blue she poured the bowl of daal on Vibhor’s head.
“What the.. Soman… AGH!!” he stood there trying wipe the daal off and started laughing.
“You think it’s a joke? I don’t care what you like or what you don’t.” Sonam growled vehemently. Vibhor laughed louder finding it adorable. It has been around six months since their wedding, it was an arranged marriage, he never had time for even his love life by the age of 34 but now he is finding himself in love with her by each day that passes.
“How dare you laugh at me?” She slapped him hard. He was stumped, isn’t she taking the joke a bit too far.
That was the first time she slapped him and then, things changed. She would slap him or hit him for no reason. Firstly he was too confounded to understand what is happening. With time it got more frequent and that got him worried. Could it be some medical problem, is she bipolar? He would think and his silence only gave her more power. She had no problem, she was perfectly healthy. That’s what the doctor told him.
One day, She went for shopping, when she didn’t came back till late, Vibhor got out of his mind with worry.She wasn’t receiving her phone. He went to search for her in all the possible shopping malls she could be, without success. When he came back by 1: 00 midnight, he saw her getting out of someone’s car, he couldn’t see much since it was too dark. When he inquired about it, she didn’t just throw a fit or slap him but she took his golf club and hit him on his chest so callously that the club broke into two, Vibhor thought he broke his ribs but they were only badly bruised; hitting her back was something his couldn’t gather his courage to do.
After eight months of their wedding, Vibhor bought a gold necklace for her, he still wanted their marriage to work, and he wanted to make her happy. She took the necklace and hit him with a rolling pin saying he should have bought a diamond necklace, when things got carried away, he hit her back, she sprawled on floor and started hollering and shrieking “Vibhor, please stop..it hurts Vibhor.. Don’t hit me please…” She kept wailing and hitting herself. The more he stopped her, the louder she would scream. That day Vibhor realised what she was trying to do. Next day when he got out, everyone in their building was giving him an evil-hostile glare; obviously they have heard last night’s catastrophe.
After that incident Sonam would hurt herself or cut herself and in public she would behave as if he had done it to her, she would behave like a frightened meek girl when she is just the opposite of it. Things has gotten so far that now Vibhor can’t even begin to explain to anyone that she is doing it to herself and she is the one who is violent against him not the other way around. No one would believe him so he decided to leave her, the mill and the city and go somewhere in solitude.
Just as he reached the railway station he got a call from his neighbour.
“Vibhor beta, I am worried about Sonam Bitiya, she is not opening the door and her screams are getting louder and louder. Come fast.” He almost hissed.
When he reached his home, he saw she was hitting her head on the wall, He tried to stop her.
“Vibhor please don’t leave me for her, you want to be with her? I won’t stop you but please don’t leave me… my Maa Bapu will die of humiliation if you left me. Please Vibhor I beg you.” She half cried half hiccupped. He could see no bruise marks on her face; he knew it was all for the benefit of the audience standing by the door. He didn’t know how to reciprocate. He wanted to scream that she is lying, but no one would believe him so he kept quiet as he has been doing all this time.
It had been 25 days since he took Mr.Garg’s order. He supervised whole day unremittingly. He just wanted to go home and sleep but when he reached his home he saw his parents on the sofa and Sonam sobbing with her head on his mother’s lap. His mother and father looked at him with questioning eyes. My Mother will believe me, she has to, he thought. Later, when he told her everything, he cried finally after almost 4 months of torture. He wept for how he has let it go so far, he cried for being beaten by his wife every day and still keeping quiet. Her mother promised that he is not alone and she will help him in making everything all right and after so long he doesn’t feel forlorn.
Sonam didn’t like it and she wanted a divorce. He agreed but she wanted a lot of money and property for divorce settlement. He refused and didn’t let her hit him this time.
“Beta, we are in City Hospital, Bahu got injured.” Vibhor’s mother called him the other day.
“How did this all happen Maa?” He asked as soon as he reached the hospital.
“I have no Idea; I was watching TV when I heard Bahu screaming from the kitchen. No one was with her.” Her mother told him.
Next day Vibhor’s parents were arrested for torturing their daughter-in-law for dowry. Sonam told him that if he didn’t meet her demands then she would get him arrested for domestic violence.
So, he mustered up all his courage and told his friend Saurabh everything, from day one.
“I do believe you bro. I know you won’t ever hit women.” Saurabh gave him a hug seeing him almost breaking down.
Then, Vibhor contacted his lawyer and told him everything. They went to register a FIR against his wife, Police was not very sympathetic towards him but they did file the complaint. For one month he tried to prove his innocence in court but he had no solid proof. He went to the marriage bureau from where he found Sonam. After much convincing he found that she made the payment to marriage bureau from a bank account of Gurgoan. Saurabh pulled some contacts to get the address of that account holder and went to their address. They uncovered an astonishing truth; they found that Sonam used to live there with her husband. After a vigorous search they were successful in nailing down that husband who told Vibhor that he was Sonam’s second husband, she divorced him within one year of their marriage and took a lot of money in divorce settlement. She hasdone the same to her first husband.
“Then why didn’t you file a complaint against her?” Vibhor asked.
“I had no proof, I couldn’t tell the world that I got beaten by my wife and did nothing.” He snorted. “You are brave to take action. I am not. I am living a modest life here.” He first refused to help Vibhor but after much convincing he agreed along with Sonam’s first husband.
With their help and Sonam’s bank account details, Vibhor managed to prove his and his parents innocence, though he was not able to deliver Mr.Garg’s consignment on time and lost many other tenders and his reputation. But Vibhor believes life does go on.
Hey there, my story perhaps is fictional but there is a harsh truth hidden in it. As they say “Fiction is the only reality.” My story speaks for many Vibhor’s of India who are dying each day inside and many Sonam’s who are abusing the law. I might have been able to clear my name but gossip has not stopped, many still believe that I bribed the law, many say that I am not man enough to put a wife at her place. My parents have lost the respect they have gained in their whole life and it was because I kept quiet. If only I had stopped her the first time she had hit me, the first time I realized this hitting wasn’t a jest. It’s just like bleeding gums, if one do not take proper care on time then problem will only increase and it may be something bigger then just bleeding. I failed to see the warning signs. For me, it wasn’t too late;
Moral – It’s never too late till you lose your last drop of strength to fight, even then you gather the strength from your inner most corners and when you fall down, your friends carry you and help you fight. And you keep fighting till you win. Because winning is the only optio.
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