She was a twenty-something, married and broken girl in 2013.
Dressed in a shabby kurta, hair escaping the loosely clutched clip on her hair, she describes herself as the one with sad eyes. She remembers the precise date when she stood at Saket Metro station almost throwing herself on the track; it was February 8, 2013.
Something pulled her back. May be it was her parents, her nephews or may be it was just her courage.
Her thoughts running like a wildfire probed her again and again, ”Why me?” ”What did I do wrong?” ”Didn’t I satisfy their egos?”
Prachi Bhutani got married in 2012. In her one-year stay, she felt unloved, disrespected and abused on many levels.
”I had tried hard to get love, I would be lying if I say he never gave me love. He would, if the conditions were in his favor, if his parents were happy, if I was performing, if I looked hot post 9PM, if I was cooking and if my hair were straight.
There would be an overflow of emotions.. If I was not thinking about my parents, If I was not ambitious, If I allowed him to hurt me or twist my wrist or drag me out of the house if I hadn’t cooked well, if I took orders well and did not revolt, if I let him call my parents & humiliate them.”
The misery of Indian women is that they grow up with an innate feeling of guilt and apologizing. In spite of all that she went through, she often wondered where did she go wrong.
She was criticized for her cooking, her curly hair, her skin. her not-so-thin figure. Her parents often had to hear ”ye kaisi ladki hai.. lejao isko..kuch sikha ke bhejdo.”
Prachi’s confidence had shattered by now. Her self-esteem was in pits. Tired of trying to be a perfect daughter-in law, Prachi left the house.
But as things go in an Indian society, Prachi was prepared for the worst: Log kya kahenge .
”Log kya kahenge, this killed me more. Move out of the country, hide somewhere , do not go out too often, People suggested all kind of things and life became even more difficult.”
But what makes Prachi different from all other women is her courage and belief. She didn’t run away but answered all the questions while putting faith in her future.
”I gave back the engagement ring which was so heavy that it pulled me down. I could not take the burden, it didn’t let me fly, it didn’t let me dream & above all, it didn’t answer my need for love & companionship, so I took it out & returned it.”
Back from the flashback, today Prachi is heading Medical Operations for a health-care consultant company along with part-time modeling. She started modeling to boost her forgotten self-esteem and feel good about herself.
Prachi admits she was not very ambitious prior to her marriage. She was simple and content with the usual. But now, Prachi is a self-confessed dreamer, believer and a performer.
With a life like the one she’s living with her parents, her work and her doting nephews, Prachi feels blessed to have had the courage to pull herself back from her withering marriage and her unfortunate desire to jump in front of the train.
Had she succumbed to the pressure, she admits she wouldn’t have known this beautiful life which was waiting for her on the other side.
Prachi hasn’t given up on love or life. But she now knows what we all in India need to know.
Marriage is important, but the right way is to dream big, fly high, know your dreams & then fall in love in the process. The imposed way of society is not the best way.
Prachi is a beautiful inspiration to everyone who thought of giving it up believing that this life couldn’t get any worse.
The truth is, time is an illusion and a lesson.
‘This too shall pass’ was Prachi’s mantra and should be that of everyone who mistakes the darkness will last forever.
The truth is, if winter is here, can spring be far behind?
Believe in hope.
Picture Source: Prachi Bhutani