Deepika Vemulakonda



Deepika Vemulakonda


One day can change everything

One day can change everything

10 mins

Maya is a 16-year-old girl who is unique and fun loving in her own way. She bunked her class in the women’s college and jumped her college wall to watch the 1st day 1st show of the movie Abhilasha (Desire). She is a big fan of Chiranjeevi (the Telugu hero) and is quite progressive in her thoughts. She is a rebel and has her own unique sense of fun. Her mother is a housewife and is subservient in nature. Maya’s dad regards education to be the only and utmost important thing in life as he struggled to achieve a sustainable income. Maya’s younger brother is a bit more studious than her and likes her sister in all her madness. He tries to correct her ways with not much luck.

One morning when Maya woke up, her mother told her that she can skip college that day which is a happy shock for her. Maya starts enquiring her mother while sipping her bed coffee as to what’s the occasion because her mother wouldn’t tell her to skip class without her father’s knowledge. Maya got the shock of her life when her mother told her that her marriage has been fixed and she doesn’t know who the groom is? Maya had 1001 questions as to what??? When??? Where??? How???

Maya’s mother only had one response that someone told his father about her skipping college and going to the movies. Maya knew immediately that there’s no debating her father about this, but she didn’t want to go down without a fight. With all the courage that she can muster she hurriedly reached her dad who was getting ready to go out and get snacks for the marriage party. Maya said “Appa, I don’t want to be married right now and I want to study. I want to get a job and be independent. Please….. I beg you not to get me married”. Her dad responded in a stern voice “You have passed 10th and if you study more, I don’t know if I could get a guy with the little dowry I have saved. Don’t bring disgrace to the family by talking all this non-sense and you should be thankful to god that I am able to get you married into a good & well to-do family. If you listen to the news, you can understand that there are so many girls who are being sold into slavery like cattle. Don’t be a nuisance and go get changed”.

What could Maya say to a man whose logic has long been erased; maybe because of societal norms or peer pressure. She stood up and got dressed in her best clothes with her long hair full of flower garlands. She was nervous and was not sure what to expect. She brought coffee that her mother prepared and served it to everyone who were present. To her surprise the groom, Ravi was a distant relative from her father’s side and has a charming smile. He wasn’t fair or tall but he wasn’t dark or short either. He didn’t talk much and only her aunt (future mother-in-law) kept chattering. She wanted to observe her surroundings however her mother kept nudging Maya’s elbow to have her in control. At the end of what felt like forever (even though it was only an hour) her marriage date was fixed along with a dowry of 50,000/- which was too much for her father. Yet, he was only eager to get Maya married and sent. As per him, girls are like burning coal on the father’s head and sending them away via marriage is the easiest solution. Maya hates the concept of dowry and prays for this to be abolished.... (high hopes Maya).

Maya was advised by many to go forth with the marriage as the boy’s father had a big house and they had a kirana shop (departmental store) in a prime location of the town. By the way this town was a much smaller town than what she is living now, and the journey is at least 4 to 5 hours in a train. So, she packed all her luggage before marriage and is being mentally prepared for the day she is going to leave her family forever. Her younger brother promised to come to visit her whenever he can while confessing that he was the one who ranted her skipping college to their father. It was gut-wrenching pain that she couldn’t comprehend. How did he do it? How could her own brother could put her in this situation. She didn’t even have to say anything because her facial expressions were enough for Maya’s brother to know what was running in her mind. He quickly tried to explain that their father was about to punish him, and he just was trying to save his own skin. He never imagined that their father was capable of such drastic decisions and was just as freaked as her because of the turn of events. He started crying but Maya herself was a 16year old and her brother was younger to her. She put on a brave face and tried to console him but couldn’t do much because she was taken away to the marriage mandap.

Once married, she couldn’t understand how her husband Ravi didn’t have his own opinion. No matter how small or big the situation might be. She was looked down by her mother in law for everything she does. Whether it was cooking or cleaning. Yes, they had a big house but they had numerous restrictions. She was told to wake up early in the morning and take bath with cold water in an open area. Once bathed, she was supposed to clean the pooja area while still in her wet clothes. As Maya had long hair and she couldn't wash all her hair by herself she needed her mother in law's assistance who almost stared at her as if she wanted her to be bald. 

Waking up before the sun rises is something new to Maya and she never imagined that she would have to do that. She usually would have started her day with a bed coffee but in her new house she was offered black coffee saying that the coffee with milk was only for the men in the family. She couldn't make sense of this and the same continued with many other things. Like her breakfast is the previous day's left overs while Ravi used to be served hot breakfast. For Lunch, she was expected to wait for Ravi to finish his lunch to even think about her own lunch. At night, she was asked to clean the whole kitchen before going to sleep and because Ravi can't deny his mother; he remained silent. She also noticed that Ravi's 2 younger brothers were of age yet, left Ravi to do all the hard work to maintain the store. Ravi's mother remained oblivious of this fact and used to pamper the other 2 boys much more than Ravi. The other 2 brothers received a lot of pocket money to buy anything that they want while Ravi had to think twice to get anything for Maya. The heights of this is revealed when Ravi and Maya were sent to honeymoon... let me re-phrase. Ravi and Maya were sent to pilgrimage as a concession for their honeymoon.

Hence, Maya took it upon her to educate her husband stating that he is putting in a lot of effort into their family business and Ravi could soar to new heights if only he separated. Ravi got a new level of confidence because of Maya and after a lot of struggle, they started living separately. Well, that was just the start of her end as Maya didn’t realize it then. At any given chance Ravi’s mother didn’t fail to point out the flaws in Maya like how she isn’t a great cook or how she is still trying to study and complete her degree even though she knew that Ravi couldn’t complete his 10th Grade. This only kept getting worse when Maya was compared to the new bride of Ravi's elder brother; who got more gold and dowry than Maya. Because Maya was not a person to gossip or bad mouth others, the new bride felt a pang of fear and wanted to be in the good books of her mother in law. This lead to more bad mouthing about Maya in front of Ravi at given chance. 

Maya tried to stop this bad influence but eventually she couldn’t take it any more and filed for a divorce in a fit of rage. By this time she already had 2 daughters who were quite young and innocent. Maya realized her mistake and immediately went back to Ravi. She tried to connect with Ravi again but to no avail as too many people got involved. She in-fact tried to leave the kids behind with Ravi but they chose to stay with her because they were not as close with their father. This is when the people who couldn’t bear a woman being independent meddled their way in. Too much was at stake for the people who wanted Maya and Ravi to be separated. Maya was too good for Ravi's own sake and this is the statement Ravi was fed up to her every other time. Maya's family didn't go down without a fight and they wanted Ravi to take back Maya. Little did they know that the poisonous seeds have been sowed in Ravi's mind which couldn't be shaken come what may. 

Maya is a little too late as Ravi is out of her reach and never to return. She never stopped loving Ravi and considers him as her husband. 

Maya's dad is condescending of her, but she didn’t have anyone else to go to. He gave Maya and her kids shelter in his home. Maya was quite thankful of it and she started working while completing her Post Graduation. Even though it was her dad's place that she was staying she was never given respect because she left her husband. She was looked down upon and sometimes she just wanted to end her life. But she isn't a coward and braved through all the ups and downs of life. She worked tirelessly around the clock not just at her work but at home to ensure that her kids don't feel like that they miss their father. 

She brought up her kids with some help of her brother and father. The kids have grown up to be quite independent who in turn settled in life pretty well. Her proudest moment was when her kids got a job and took her out dining. This brief moment in her life is the closest she was to happiness and could never stop forget them. These are the times that she cherishes the most and rekindles fondly. Soon, the kids were old enough and got married to the men that they fell in love with. They have been able to garner the respect within their families because everyone realized that Maya did nothing wrong. After having grand children Maya convinced her kids to go meet their grand mother and father. When Ravi eventually saw his daughters and grand children, he couldn't control his emotions.

Ravi is half paralyzed and is taken care of by his 2nd wife. He doesn’t have any children and often wishes to reminisce with his kids. He just wants to be called a grandpa and wants to play with his grand children. He wishes to tell them stories and pamper them. At this age he is no shape to ask for forgiveness from anyone and takes the punishment for abandoning his wife and kids. 

On the other hand, It’s no better for Maya either because now that her both parents are dead and kids married, she has all the time in the world to mull over her mistakes. She wishes to be with her kids but they have their own families to worry about. At the same time, she wishes to reconcile with Ravi which is futile because Ravi’s 2nd wife is worried that Maya is after what little property Ravi’s left with.

All in all, Maya wishes for the day her mom told her not to go to college to be different; like any other regular day where she would go to college and maybe have a better chance with life. A different life where she stays married to Ravi and holds his hands as they grow old.

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