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Geeta was sitting under the tree in the front yard of her house and staring blankly at something. At a point many images and thoughts were running in her mind and in a moment none.she was sad, also angry and felt like dying. Was it her fault that she could not bear a child. Since the day of her marriage she had done everything a good wife and DIL does.
The flashback of past 5 years was running in front of her. Her childhood, marriage etc and again she felt blank. She lived in a small town usually called kasba (bigger than a village but smaller than a city)in India. Her parents were very simple and she belonged to a middle class family. She had two younger sisters. She had not studied much and as was the elder girl she was always told to take responsibility of younger siblings, do household work and be submissive. All around her this happened since ever in families like them and thus she was OK with it.
She got married at an early age of just 18 and came in a house which was well off in comparison to them. Her being pretty had worked for her. She adapted to the people and traditions in the family and soon was looked upon as a good wife and DIL
All was well till the time her MIL , neighbours and relatives started asking about the good news. It had been just 6 months of her marriage and people started expecting her to give that good news. To her dismay she couldn't give it for the next year also. Now, her MIL started questioning her as to all was well in her married life and relation with husband. Even her personal things and bedroom stories were discussed. She felt embarrassed but had to answer them. She was given lot of suggestions on how to conceive etc not only by her MIL but also other ladies. She felt shy but thought they were worried for her and now as 2 years had passed she also wanted a child.
As more time passed someone suggested about going to a doctor and getting a checkup.when she went to the doctor and got a checkup she came to know that her reproductive system had severe complications.
The doctor did some more tests and her treatment started. Post which she thought all would be OK. She was also suggested to keep some fasts, do lot of pooja, visit temple's etc and do some hardships so that god will be happy and forgive her sins and bless her with a child. She did everything with full faith and fervor but to no result. By this time 4 years had passed and no results.
The treatment was not proving useful and even doctors from nearby big city had recommended that it will be impossible for her to conceive as there were formative defects in the system and even surgery won't be successful. Even IVF couldn't be done. They can only go for adoption. She knew the family would never agree to this.
This was the last time she had experienced or seen love, support and sympathy in the eyes of her in laws and many related people. Her husband even though never used to say much but his expression of diagust said it all. Her fear came true and she started getting insulted and rebuked for every small thing.
The attitude of relatives and neighbours had changed. They avoided her when came to their place, some elder ladies would not accept anything to eat or drink from her, she was not invited in marriage or god bharai functions or any auspicious ceremonies. Many people who previously appreciated her had hatred in their eyes. Even if someone from her age group would try to talk or mix up they were scolded. She literally felt like an untouchable. She heard people calling her baanj and manhoos. At home also her status was changed to a servant. She worked day and night, was not given any new clothes or gifts, just food was given. Her physical and emotional state was getting bad.
Her MIL always used to repent as to why she got her son married to her, she can't have the pleasure of being a grandmother, now there vansh will finish, she called her a sinner and thus god is punishing her. Even bad words were said about her parent's and sisters. So much was happening to her and she was bearing all this just for the sake of her marriage. Also, after few days of crying now she had become immune to everything that happened to her. Initially she had wanted a child to experience motherhood but now it was to save herself from this life of agony.
So much so that she had also started to consider herself responsible for her plight. The only thing she could do was to pray to God. Her parents also could not support her as after marriage of her two sister's they had just enough for themselves. Also her mother once said that not bearing a child in our society is unforgivable and thank God that her two other sister's are married and have kids otherwise it would very difficult for them. Her prayers were not getting answered. She wanted to turn to her husband for support but their relationship since marriage was a formal one. Apart from normal physical relation and a bit more he was not close enough. He was busy with his work, was always busy prooving himself to be a good son and his wife was there but not so important to him as his own family.
Things were moving until one day her husband called her in front of the family and declare that " mein doosri shaadi kar raha hu, ab Hume bacha chahie". It was just told to her. She felt like a victim in a court whose final sentence was passed. Her MIL added that we have waited for enough years and now we want our grandson. The waaris of our family. We can't let our vansh finish because of you.
Thus, today Geeta was sitting under that tree contemplating that actually "being childless is a sin", should she go back to her parents, which seemed not possible, should she commit suicide or accept her husband's new wife. What will they do to her after second marriage. It was as if a defective child producing machine is being replaced by a new one. She was feeling like a non living thing. She was not much educated and was unaware of any laws that could help or protect her. She had no one to go.
This was the sad story of Geeta and many such women in our society. They usually dont go for help to anyone for fear of family and society. Even if some of them dare to go panchayat's and local law bodies bend under influence of the husband's family. The whole mentality is pro men.
We today live in a fast developing nation where technology is improving, standard of living is improving, lot of modernization has happened, females are equal to males or at least aspiring and fighting for it. But sadly this is Still a cruel reality in our own country. The modernization and development phenomenon has still not reached small towns and villages. The mentality right from parents, to girls to in laws and society is such.
Things have changed for women since old times. They have come out to work, get educated and able, know thier rights, can get help when in trouble, fight for themselves but still we hear constantly about rapes, domestic violence and many such crimes against women. Mind sets and practices have changed related to girl child getting born, acceptance to love marriages, intercaste marriages, dowry etc. But on the other hand many women in villages and small towns , or even sometimes in metros or large towns face issues like Geeta. It is true that males marry second time to get a child, if a male has a reproductive defect sometimes the woman is shamefully asked to sleep secretly with someone else to get a child just to prove that her husband is perfect and the family gets a waaris. Women are compelled to bear child after child , even if they die to produce a son. I am sorry to say that even though many things in our country have changed but a lot has still to be done at grassroot level. Then only we can claim to be a developed nation by the end of next decade.