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  • Silky Jaiswal

Human Rights

"Theft and every wrong thing, is an alternative to robbery. Every liar is a thief", said my father. I asked him why. " Every person who has told a lie has robbed the truth. Every man who has killed someone has robbed his right to life, the wife's right to a husband and the children's right to a father. This way every wrong thing is an alternative to theft."

After this incident, twenty years have passed. I am now getting ready, unwillingly, to have a meeting with my husband-to-be and his family members. I do not want to marry. I want to live an independent life. A life in which I have a job of my own and a house of my own. I want to live a life without any regrets but here I am, about to see all my dreams washed away with the agreement to this marriage.

Slowly with a tray of crispy wafers and hot tea, I walked into the room. My long hair was tied into a bun and I was wearing a red and beige coloured sari, in which I almost seemed to topple over as I inched forward. My future mother-in-law was not very happy to see me. She made me sit beside her and observed me from head to toe. She asked if I could cook. I said I could cook noodles and tea, coffee and lemonade also, but did not do 'cooking' as such. She looked at me as if I had said something very wrong. Her next question was very peculiar, she asked me if I was wearing a wig. I said, "No." She opened my hair and tugged as if to see if it was false. I was horrified. I went over to my mother and started crying. I started thinking about what my father had said twenty years ago. I was wondering, had not my father stolen my right to a job, my right to an independent life?

I saw my mother enter the room from the corner of my tear-stained eyes. She consoled me, then told me to go downstairs and apologize for my 'rude' behaviour. She said that the fate of the woman is always the same. Marriage, looking after the children and in-laws, there is no ME. My father joined in. He said that my fiance wanted to talk to me….alone.

My parents left me and he came inside. He asked me for a car, a television, an air conditioner and many other things. I was shattered.

It would be an insult to my parents if I said 'no', but also a big burden for them if I said 'yes'. Right then all I could see was darkness. Now it all depended on me. I decided to run away. I was not a coward. It was not that I didn't try talking to my parents, but they always say jobs are for husbands and kitchens for wives. In which book of law has that been written? I don't understand the restrictions which are applied to me and not my elder brother. He has a job, he is independent, why not me? So I decided to run away from my fiance, my potential in-laws, my parents, brother, but most importantly, from LIFE itself…

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