Some lessons in life are learnt in a very hard way. There are some undeniable truth in the universe but for you to learn them and accept them might take an arduous path and a long time. Life, for me has unfolded the hard way out.
Life, never had been picture perfect in my case. What, with having lost my father at an early age and learning to fend for myself had made me a stronger person since childhood. But the overall warmth and cushioning of a stable family life under the guidance of a very strong mother however took care of most of the hardships and kept life fairly simple and unassuming. One just had to study well and take care not to get headlong into big mishaps, which however, I had my share, but that’s another story.
So, there I was breezing through a relatively simple life. A bright academic track record in school and college followed by a management degree from a B school and landing of the first job in the corporate sector had taken a relatively simple and straightforward route. To be honest, I never realized but my brother and mother, to a large extent had sheltered me from the harsh realities of life in the initial years.
But then I got married. It was an arranged marriage. A decade into my professional life, I was doing quite well and the he came along the conventional route, seemingly well- settled and the decision was taken. Marriage happened and I moved outside the country to far off Malaysia, where wives, on spouse visa where not allowed to work.
For the first time in my life I as homebound. To be honest in the initial few days I enjoyed the privilege of having lots of free time. I indulged myself in everything I hadn’t got time to do much. I read a lot of books, took care of my fitness, dived headlong into housekeeping, cooking, hosting get together, whatever was expected of me in such a situation. Soon, we were blessed with a son and I moved back to India to stay while the husband too, took an Indian assignment for a year or so, to be around.
This was my first tryst with the subtle bias against non-working partners. Suddenly, I was humiliated every turn through his barbed and cynical remarks, thrown at the slightest provocation about my status as a non-contributing member in the household. The subtlety soon made way to more open outbursts and I, couldn’t imagine that a person who was coerced into leaving the job she never wanted to give up in the first place, was at the receiving end of such backlash.
Things steadily deteriorated with him having moved back to Malaysia within one and a half year and I was taking care of my son all alone in a city, with which I wasn’t much familiar nor had anyone had to turn to. My mother was forbidden to stay at my place even though there was no on eat home because of his prejudices against wife’s mother enjoying the luxury of freeloading at his place, under his expense, as he put it. The fact that I was taking acre of his son, all alone, and was running around the town running errand on his behalf made no enhancement in my value as a wife. Every penny in the budget was accounted for and I had to maintain a log of how many nights during the harsh summer, I had switched on the A.C, at his expense, how many litres of petrol I exhausted, when I took my son for hid doctor’s appointment (Please note that it was the only time during the initial three years of my son’s life that we used the family car) and many more such instances meant to damage my self-esteem.
I learned the hard way that I need to earn my self-respect and that of my family back on my own merit. I couldn’t leave behind my son in unfamiliar hands so I could not venture into a full time job. But I started experimenting with what I was reasonably proficient at and though the initial search took a couple of months, soon the offers started pouring in and I became quite self-sufficient, with my own earnings by working as a Content Writer and Developer, on a freelance basis.
Being financially independent is mandatory for every woman, be of any class and though it took me some time to realize this I am never ever going to change my status again.