IT TOOK but one look to realize that they had become strangers .
Life couldnt have been any better for Sheeba, a 28 year old high school teacher. From finding her dream man to becoming a mother to an adorable son, she had it all. Until the fairytale began to shatter. It started with little arguments,recalls Sheeba. Suddenly my life that had been a dream come true began turning into a nightmare. Things started going so bad for her that she felt trapped in her own home. The ding of the school bell,which would once be music to her ears, turned into a dreaded sound. Sheeba would now try to delay going home as much as possible. The final straw was when he actually hit her. Though he immediately regretted it and apologized, for Sheba her world had come crumbling down. She had seen her once loving and doting husband turn into a monster.
Packing her bags, she left for her fathers house along with her two year old son. But a rude shock awaited her. Her father, who once wouldnt tolerate anyone even scolding his little girl, was furious that she had left her husband. Every day she spent there, he would remind her about the respect he was losing in the society because of her. Helplessly she turned to her mother who sympathized with her but would remind her about her son and that a mothers biggest concern should be her childs welfare and not her own life. So when her husband came to take her back, apologizing and promising that what happened would never be repeated, she had no option but to accept his apology and return back to the house that now seemed like a prison to her.
Her husband, true to his word, kept his promise and treated her well. But something inside Sheeba had broken so bad that no amount of love from him would ever be able to mend it. A marriage that once had everything, now had nothing. Deep down she felt betrayed by him and could never bring herself to forgive him. It wasnt only she who suffered. Her husband, who initially fought hard for the marriage, slowly began giving up. The sheer joy they once felt just being together had turned into resentment. Even though they pretended to be a normal couple for the sake of their son, the unspoken issues always hung around them like a melancholy mist. The couple that once left everything aside just to be with each other looked for new chores to occupy themselves until the other was asleep. It seemed like we had made an unspoken agreement of tolerating each other just to be able to give our kid the perfect home. But sometimes, Sheeba would look at her son and regret having him. She would guiltily push the thought aside and accept her situation as her fate.
They both were suffering and there seemed no end to it. Sheeba often wondered what had got them there? How had a marriage founded on love turned so sour and loveless? Statistics show that one out of every four marriages suffers the same fate as Sheebas. Researchers found that about 37 percent of married people stay in a marriage just to save their children any distress, about 21 percent considering themselves already separated despite still living with their spouses and about 18 percent are just waiting for their children to grow up before separating. But this sacrifice does more harm than good. Children are naturally keen and pick up things very quickly. Even though parents display a surface of happiness, the children can often see right through it. Such children, besides being anxious, end up having an unhealthy attitude towards the institution of marriage. Often these kids face trust and commitment issues.
Even if kids are not involved, in a society like ours, divorcing for such reasons is simply considered preposterous. Just to avoid the taboo of a divorce, couples continue enduring this daily misery. Those who cant go on, often see death as an only means to relieve themselves from this worldly hell.
For women like Sheeba, the chance of getting a divorce while still maintaining her self-respect would bring a huge relief. Times are changing and hopefully so will our society. Maybe someday, and I wish it is sooner than later, we might actually acknowledge that no one should endure the pain of being in a loveless relationship. The day that happens, so many unhappy souls trapped in chains of culture and responsibilities will actually be free.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.