Wake me up when it’s all over.

“I’m leaving you.”

“You can’t leave me. You have no job, no money. You are nothing without me.”

There was the disturbing sound of the dinner plate smashing the wall and a blood curdling scream.

The door slammed.

She ran out into the dark alley. There was rain. Luckily the power was out. He couldn’t see her. She started climbing the old rusted pipe, each footstep resting precariously on the moss ridden, wet rungs.  “I have to get to the top. The first place he will look for me is outside the house. He won’t think to look here”.

She was right. In all the years they’d spent together, she’d learned a lot  – he wasn’t particularly smart, or he wouldn’t be the way he is. Smart people learn from their mistakes. He didn’t learn. He apologized. He cried. And he did it all over again.

The rain was letting up slowly, and she needed to move quickly incase the power came back. She heard the door slam downstairs. He yelled. And threw things. Not because she was gone, but because he’d been outsmarted. She had to move quick, down the pipe.

When she landed on the floor with a soft thump, she saw them. Those eyes. Staring. Fixated. She’d done wrong. She brushed past those yellow eyes in a hurry. There was a loud, “Meaow”. “Ssh.. not now, don’t you want me to be free?”. And she ran.

She ran right into Mrs. Gonsalves from next door. She looked deep into her old grey eyes. Her own hazel eyes brimming with tears of fear and adrenaline. “Run, my child.. go. Go now, quick. I did not see you tonight”. The walls were not thick in those rowhouses.

She ran away. From him. From the shackles that were so tastefully deemed as a long lasting marriage. I don’t know where she went. But it was a happier place than that.

I’m using this week’s writing challenge to expose the farce that my culture calls “marriage”. My country boasts of having a low divorce rate and a high percentage of long lasting marriages. To claim this is, is hypocritical, and it is a lie. We do not have long lasting marriages because they are happy. We do not have long lasting marriages because people want them. We have them because one person (man or woman) is constantly sacrificing, compromising and diminishing their own existence. Everyday, giving up a little something of what makes them, them.

We also have them because we are a judgmental bunch. Divorce comes with a stigma. Affairs, with an even bigger stigma. Our marriages often consist of abuse, rape and suicide. Our marriages often consist of eroding the soul and the conscious of one person, so that the other can say “We have been happily married for 40 years”. Also so that a narcissistic bunch of people can claim that they have “a rich cultural heritage” with a low divorce rate and happy families.

More people need to run away, like she did. More people need out.

There are two sources of inspiration behind this post. One is The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker and the other is Ambika’s entry for the weekly challenge. Both of them challenged me to write about one of the main things that “define our culture” yet plague our society.

Disclaimer: Not all Indian marriages are like this. But a huge percentage are. I did not have any one marriage in mind when I wrote this and I don’t mean offense to any person of Indian origin, or otherwise. ( I am Indian too) But I do think we need to really rethink our concept of marriage and how we treat one another. 


13 thoughts on “Wake me up when it’s all over.

  1. Excellent post, Shalini. And I completely agree to the thought: “More people need to run away, like she did. More people need out.”

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  4. I wish that there could be better methods in marriage statistics in general. We talked so much about this in a class I took last year (Mariah and Colby took it too!) and I always wondered how much sacrifice was required from one person to keep it going. It makes me sad – not that I prefer high divorce rates and little understanding of commitment, but I know how that feels (to be the only person in a relationship keeping things together) and it is so freeing to care for yourself and to be happy. I loved this post, Shalini.

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