The Ugly Husband
The Ugly Husband6 mins 359 6 mins 359
It’s said that many people believe that abuse is only physical. As a coach, I have heard stories from many women who have faced various kinds of abuse and experiences which make me shudder. This is a story of one such woman.
Varsha was a highly educated working woman, earning big bucks in a promising job. She had crossed 30 years of age so her parents were pressurizing her to get married. Too busy making money and growing her career, she had not time for love. But, when one day, her parents forced her to meet Amit over dinner, she could not refuse them. They got along like a house on fire and before he realized it, he had proposed to her. She accepted and their parents got them married without any delay.
Amit was working in an IT firm and he got an opportunity to relocate to the US immediately after marriage. Being on a dependent visa, Varsha could not work. The first few days of matrimony felt like bliss. They did not allow her to miss her work. She got busy doing up the house and learning how to cook. Weekend parties, late nights, movies, social life - all of it was perfect. She had not expected Amit to be as romantic as he was. She could not stop singing praises of Amit to her parents and friends.
Slowly days turned to weeks and then months. About a month before their first anniversary, Varsha met one of her ex-office colleagues in a local shop and both got talking about old times. She felt elated to discuss work and just as they were about to exchange numbers and bid goodbye, her colleague said, "Varsha, I cannot imagine you sitting at home and not working. I had imagined you to be heading some vertical. This is not how I had imagined you to be. But, you look happy and I am happy for you." They exchanged numbers and parted.
Varsha was pulled out of her dream world that day. That night, she couldn’t sleep. She suddenly felt the urge to go back to work.
For about two weeks, she kept thinking about what her ex-colleague had said. Was she losing her touch? Is this how people perceived her? Finally, she approached the topic of going back to work with her husband. His standard response was about a lack of work visa she didn’t have a rebuttal. Going back to work had suddenly become a validation of her abilities – validation from others and more self-validation. It mattered more to her that she worked than it probably mattered to anyone else.
Their first anniversary came and it was celebrated with a lot of fanfare. Varsha was an excellent host. She hosted a big party, which was full of smiling faces, drinks, etc. It was all very perfect. But, inside Varsha, a small volcano was simmering. Her need to work to add value, feel validated got the better of her. She started writing articles and helping NGOs. She started pursuing everything that she could do to step out of the house and feel valued. But she did not feel complete. Her passion for work had now become her need for validation.
Every outing started backfiring and she was not able to involve herself fully. The situation worsened and thus began her downward spiral. In a few months, she spoke about shifting geographies or if they could move back to India for her to resume work, but each time she mentioned this topic, it was met with silence. Amit could not understand why Varsha was suddenly so obsessed with work and what he could do to help her. She started remaining aloof and he started spending more time at work.
Her frustration levels increased and one day she decided to go back to India on a vacation. She felt she needed the much needed break. The day Amit heard that, he sulked the entire night and then in the morning she woke up to a burning sensation in her hands…he had poured piping hot tea on her hands.
He then rushed her to the hospital and said that it was an accident. Varsha did not know what to say and agreed. She wondered why she could not muster up enough courage to tell the truth, but she couldn’t understand herself.
This was not the person she knew, this was not the her she knew.
Once back at home, Amit’s mental and physical abuse increased. He wanted her to be a housewife; he said so in many words. Amit did not want her to go back to work or move to any other visa or geography.
He took away her passport and access to the phone too. All calls to her parents happened under his strict supervision. Slowly, she realized she was going insane and mentally weaker by the day. Social outings stopped and so did all physical interaction between them. She was not able to identify with the self she was a few years back.
Amit’s abuse worsened with every passing week. On some days, he could come home, hit her with a belt and leave her alone at home to go out with his friends. Varsha started justifying this behavior of his by blaming herself for wanting to work.
By their third anniversary, Varsha was a wreck and a shadow of her former self. She did not know why she felt what she did, but she felt bad for herself. She wasn’t angry with Amit. It was her need to work which had made him into the monster that he had become. She knew he was a nice person.
Two days before their third anniversary, she decided to buy a bottle of sleeping pills and end her life. On most days, she was not allowed to step out; but somehow Amit had forgotten to lock the back door that morning. She sneaked out to buy sleeping pills or anything else that she could get over the counter. She had thought it through, that if they refused to give her the medicines, she would jump from some building. Varsha just wanted to end her life as she could not see Amit’s ugly side. She wanted Amit to be happy.
But destiny plays a huge role in our lives. Varsha ran into the same ex-colleague, this time at a pharmacy. One look at her and she forced her to come with her to the Indian Embassy. The local police was involved and within days she was deported to India.
It was not as easy as it sounds here. Legal cases are never easy. A lot of chaos did happen in those five days between her being moved to the embassy and her flight back to India.
Today, Varsha is back in India. A nervous wreck. She needs help to see herself the way she was before. Legal cases are running and lawyers are trying to get her out of her marital relationship. Doctors are trying their best to get the physical trauma of three years, but the emotional scars run very deep and will take many years to heal. Who knows whether they will go in this lifetime or not...
Sadly, there are many Varshas around us and no one knows them. Could you spot the Varsha in the lady who passed you today morning on your way to work? Probably she may be another victim of an UGLY HUSBAND.