(For readers who are new to this post, please scroll down to read Part I before continuing with this story)
“For you to understand why I am here, you need to hear a story first”, Anushka sustained.
“This story is about a rich spoilt girl who met the man of her dreams in college. He was everything she had ever imagined her man would be. She was so besotted with him that when her mother said that he was too good to be true and there had to be something wrong with him, she had fought with her mother and had not spoken to her for a week.”
“Relenting, her parents had agreed albeit with reservations and married her soon after they graduated. It was after they married, that she realized that not everything was perfect in her world. The man she had married was completely different from the man she had fallen in love with, they were two completely different men. This man was prone to quick spurts of temper which he usually displayed by using physical violence.”
“Oh my God, did she tell her parents?”Isha asked.
Shaking her head she continued, “at first, he would cajole her and ask her for forgiveness saying he couldn’t help himself because he loved her too much, he couldn’t bear the thought of losing her. One day, they went out with his friends. He was charm personified when they were with other people but when they returned home that night; he burnt her back with the iron claiming that she had betrayed him by smiling at his friends.”
“That night, she had realized how wrong she had been to not listen to her parents and decided to confide in them the first thing in the morning. As soon as she had woken up the next day, she had been practicing what to tell her parents. Her thoughts had been interrupted by her favorite aunt’s phone call. Her usually full of life aunt sounded unusually dull which had scared her. Her aunt informed her that her parents had been involved in a car accident in the morning, and both of them had been killed instantly.”
“It was then that her world had collapsed around her. She was helpless without her parents. How would she fight the beast she had married without them at her side”, Anushka paused to look at her audience. Isha had not realized but there were tears in her eyes. Four months pregnant she had a husband who was arrested for murder but at least she knew she had someone who loved her and cared for her.
“Please tell me what happened next”, Isha pressed.
“It took her months and months but she learnt to practice the art of living within herself. All her joys and sorrows lived inside. The man of her dreams continued to physically and emotionally abuse her and she let him. She somehow believed that she had brought this on herself. Then, one day she learnt that she was free from all this sorrow and heartache”, Anushka continued.
“Today is that day, Isha. Believe me; your husband saved my life by stabbing him. That man was my husband”, she claimed tearfully. “I know, you think I was a coward not to leave him but Isha where would I have gone? And what would I have told them? That my husband burns and hits me because he likes it? Everyone in my world knew I had chosen him and fought with my family to marry him, what could I have possibly done?
“I know how much you went through, but, Anushka there are laws for such things. You didn’t have to live in that hell”, Isha found herself adding; she felt protective of this young, frail woman.
“How would the law have helped me? They would have asked me for evidence and my husband is the most charming and glib talking man you will ever meet, he could make a stone respond to him. He would have explained everything away. Don’t you think, I would have thought this through?” she continued in a hurt voice.
“I am sorry, I just can’t imagine what you must have gone through” Isha added. She craved to touch her hand to give her some comfort but feared her response and shied away from making things more difficult for her.
“I was afraid to come here because I was scared about how you would react”, Anushka continued, mirroring her own feelings. “But now when I have met you and spoken to you, I want to go to the police and tell them everything. I am sure your husband was provoked to stab him. Even, the knife that he was stabbed with belonged to my husband. I am sure the authorities will consider that. I suspect that he was mentally unstable as well but I never had the courage to do anything about it”, she voiced.
“Your husband gave me a new lease of life, Isha”, she added softly.
Isha was ashamed to hear this. This kind hearted woman who had gone through so much had given her husband the benefit of doubt without even knowing him. Shouldn’t she have done so as well? She had heard his story, known that he had not been responsible but she had still considered leaving him. How could she have been so short sighted? To be honest, Raj had not even stabbed him, he had hurled himself at the knife.
This woman’s visit had saved her marriage and her life.
Isha Sahai touched her swelling stomach and sent a silent prayer to Raj, “We are with you always”.