She sat on the floor on her haunches, her back to the wall, her eyes looking out of the window. Her hands grabbing her saree around herself, more for comfort than for covering herself up.
She had been sitting there throughout the night, waiting for the sun to rise, waiting for another day to start.
He had come home late last night, in a very bad mood. Probably had some problems at work. She hated it when he brought the pressures of his work home. He got angry at the smallest thing when that happened.
It was not really like any other day, it was their marriage anniversary and they had planned to go out. But when he barked on the phone, asking her to keep the dinner ready, she knew that their plans for a candlelight dinner were cancelled.
She was all dressed up when he got home. She always made sure she was ready before he came home, if they had to go out. He hated it when he had to wait for her to get dressed. “You damn women take ages to get ready, its not as if anyone is going to give you a second glance, you fat slob” was his favorite line.
The words hurt. It was not as if she was obese. She had borne him two kids. She had quit her job and took up the responsibilities of being a full time mother. Between the kids and the housework, she never found the time to take care of herself…. her body.
But, she still made it a point to look good. Look good for him. She was sure that he loved her. He would have left her for another woman, if he didnt, she kept assuring herself.
He had started screaming at her the moment he reached home, finding faults in everything that his eyes fell on. The room was not clean enough, the shoes were not laid out in order, there was dust on the sofa, why was the flowervase not in the exact center of the table?
Thankfully, the kids were not at home. They were spending the weekend at their grandparents. Not that it would have mattered. He never cared much who was listening when he was angry. After all he was the man of the house.
She had avoided his gaze, as she brought in his dinner, hastily returning to the kitchen wanting to keep out of his way.
Her heart skipped a beat as she heard him spitting out the food.
“This is horrible!! Didnt your mother teach you to cook?”, came his voice from the living room.
She didnt respond, it was always better to stay out of the way, she had learnt that the hard way.
But her silence had infuriated him even more. She could feel him entering the kitchen, his anger still evident.
“All you can do is paint your face with that damn make up. Is this what you call being a woman? Lipstick? Make up?”, he screamed as she kept her head lowered and her eyes closed, not wanting to meet his gaze.
She felt his strong hands grabbing her face, his thumb rubbing the lipstick off her face, roughly.
“And these clothes?? Tight Jeans?? Do you know what a pig you look in these tight jeans? Who are you trying to impress?”, he thundered as he pinched her waist leaving a red mark on it.
Thats when she had run off. Run off to the bedroom and sat sobbing on the corner of the bed, her back to the door.
She wasnt sure how long she sat there, her sobbing had stopped when she heard him enter the room. She felt his cold hands on her shoulders as he pushed her down on the bed.
She kept her eyes closed. She wanted it to be over as soon as it could. She could feel him on the top of her as she lay their motionless. Her clothes now lying in a heap on the floor besides the bed.
“Bah !!! You are frigid, its like being with a bloody corpse”, he spat out, as he got off her when he was done having his way with her.
She lay there for a few minutes till she was sure he had dozed off. She got up and picked up the pile of clothes and kept them away. She didnt want to make any noise and wake him up. She didnt want him getting any angrier than he already was.
She grabbed a saree from the dresser and draped it around her as she went and sat in the corner of the living room, looking out of the window at the darkness outside.
The light of dawn started peeking in through her window. She hastily rubbed off her tears as she heard the bedroom door open.
He came out of the bedroom and looked at her.
“You are up already?”, he asked her, oblivious to the fact that she was not besides him for the whole night.
“Today, we will go out for dinner. We will celebrate today, okay?”, he said as she simply nodded, trying to give him a weak smile.
“Okay, I will go and get ready now. Can you make me some tea?”, he smiled at her as she rose and moved towards the kitchen.
“And listen”, his voice stopped her in her tracks, “Happy Woman’s Day”
She looked back over her shoulder and saw him giving her a smile. Her lips curled up in a smile even as her eyes remained dull and unmoving.
Today will not be like any other day, she assured herself, today will not be like any other day…..
Disclaimer: To all those women who are celebrating “Womanhood” for this one day out of the 365 days, a very Happy Woman’s Day from me. I will celebrate Woman’s Day when there are no longer any more atrocities on Women in that Country which boasts of having Temples for Women. When there are no rapes to “show women their place”. When there are no acid attacks to confirm “Tum meri nahi ho sakti to kissi ki nahi ho sakti”. When women are not treated as properties in this patriarchal society. When women stop treating themselves as the second fiddle to someone. That is when I will celebrate Woman’s Day.