“An irreparable mistake, I blame myself for this predicament,” Rupa muttered to herself.
“Did you say anything? Why are you mumbling, idiot?” shouted Gattu,short for Gautam..
She did not answer and turned her face the other side only to invite further abuse.
“Are you deaf? I will beat you blue for your arrogance so much that your mother cannot identify you, beware.Tell me what you were grumbling about”
“Nothing that concerns you. Can you leave me alone for a while?” she replied
In anger he threw a book, he was holding, at her face. It hit her hard on the head and she fell down on the sofa. He stomped out of the room in anger.
Three years of misery, humiliations, insults and beatings, she had suffered, almost daily. A bully and alcoholic, his true nature was revealed within two months of marriage. All the information he gave about him was false. The car he said his own was borrowed and the house he said he owned was a rented one with rent in default after the first two months. His qualifications were fake, he had no job and lived on her salary. He had dubious company for friends.
”It serves me right for disregarding my parent’s endless pleadings against my choice” she accused herself. She had not invited them to her place for fear of being found out. Friends and colleagues knew from her jaded face that something was amiss. An outgoing and sprightly person by nature, she avoided people. She was hesitant to confide to anyone, including her parents.
Whenever she tried to broach the subject of the need for him to find a job and transform himself, Gattu flew into rage and became violent. He was an ordinary graduate from humble circumstances with no skill whatsoever. She can tolerate a jobless and poorly qualified guy but not a violent and inconsiderate alcoholic.
She thought of the happenings six months back. When she had conceived and was eight weeks pregnant, she broke the happy news to him in the fond hope it would please him and make him a responsible person. Instead he flew into a rage and shouted “I do not want a child.I don’t care what you do but there is no place for a baby in this house.”
“I want one no matter what you think. This alone would give me some cheer in my dreary life”
“How dare you oppose me? See what happens to your baby” he said and pushed her down to kick her in the stomach hard even as he left her in pain.
That night there was a miscarriage. He had not returned home. It was her friend and neighbor Lalita who took her to a nursing home. This incident had left a deep scar.
She knew that he was beyond redemption and the only option was to leave him once and for all. She had made up her mind but was apprehensive how it would affect her weak-hearted father. May be she could tell her mom and ask her to prepare him slowly for the likely denouement that she wished to happen very soon.
It was a Sunday. She was waiting for the maid to come and clean the kitchen. She switched on the TV and flipped from one channel to another. She heard Gattu enter the bathroom banging the door shut noisily. She felt anger rising within her, felt it like bile in her throat. She closed her eyes to calm herself.
It was then that she heard a big thud of him falling in the bathroom along with a clang of metal. She heard her name being called faintly. She did not stir but steeled herself to increase the volume of TV sufficiently high.
“Rupa, Rupa…”, the voice grew weaker and weaker till it fell silent. Soon a red fluid was oozing from under the door.
Rupa continued to listen to the debate in the TV on the plight of women.