She was 8-years-old when she first set her eyes on the most extraordinary piece of cloth in her mother’s closet. It was a crimson-red, heavily-embroidered, 5 kg heavy lehenga staring back at her. (An Indian bride usually wears a ‘lehenga’ or a ‘saree’ on her wedding day as a part of the wedding attire.) While playing with her friends, she would always insist on playing the bride. Being a tiny 8-year old, she would always imagine a fortress lit up with lights and flowers, where she would be sitting besides her Prince Charming dolled up in that red lehenga. “It’ll be a SAB-YA-CHEE lehenga”, she would say, that’s what Mom wore! (‘Sabyasachi’ is a famous bridal wear clothing brand.) All these years, every once in a while, she would longingly glance at that beautiful lehenga. Similar to the one that she will wear on her wedding day; just like a delicate piece of armor, fit for a royal princess.
Over all these years, she grew into this beautiful young lady. Talented, beautiful and a set of fiery eyes all set to burn the floor. She graduated from school with distinction and found her dream job too! All the aunties hailed her as the perfect bride to-be. With a girl who had everything at her feet, she was unstoppable. At one such party, she ran into him. They talked for hours that evening, almost inseparable. That night, she saw the red lehenga again and it seemed to shine more than usual, almost dropping her a hint. And eventually it happened. Those 3 hour-long phone calls turned into regular dates and one no sooner, they announced her marriage.
The wedding turned out to be all that she had ever dreamed of! It was indeed a royal celebration where she rejoiced standing besides her Prince Charming. And of course, that day she wore her very own red lehenga.
She opens her closet, taking out all clothes from the closet and neatly arranging them again. It was her trick to keep her mind occupied. When suddenly, something shiny caught her eye. It was her very own red lehenga! Staring deep into one of its shiny mirrors, a blackened eye stared back at her. In another one, she could almost see an imprint of two fingers left on her cheek. She sat on the floor, feeling relieved that the horrific night was finally over. But she knew, there would always be another such fight. She momentarily closed her eyes. And one by one, the tears started to trickle down those beautiful brown eyes; while she tightly clutched her fingers over HER red lehenga.
An alarmingly high number of women all over the world suffer from domestic violence. It’s not only a setback for the feminine side, but firstly it’s a huge setback for the entire humanity. Marrying a woman doesn’t give you a right to abuse her, physically or mentally. Respect her for being the glue that holds your family together. When you marry a girl, their parents trust you with their greatest creation, their little princess. If at all, empower her, support her and more than anything else, love her. And to all the amazing women out there, don’t ever let anyone harm or demean you because you are a woman!
“I would rather stand alone and engulf the fierceness, than to dwell under someone else’s shadow.”