Thursday, August 21, 2014


She revealed in her womanhood. As if some door was opened for her for the first time. Suddenly she felt awakened and she smiled for no reason. It was perhaps the gushing hormones or maybe just the knowledge that she was going to be a mother.

On hind sight, it seems to her that she was keener to have a baby than S ever was and now that he had given her what she wanted so desperately, he shed all pretence of being intimate. That was when they stopped sharing the marriage bed. He was repelled by the changes to her body. He wouldn’t even let her change her clothes if he was in the same room. But everyone around her said she was beautiful. Her cousin teased her about how S must be taking advantage of all the ‘glow’ as she winked naughtily. For the longest time she couldn’t fathom why S was suddenly even more averse to intimacy. He was never the one to initiate, and she thought this was probably a phase that he will grow out of. After all they were already married for over two years. For the first time she felt good about how she looked and about herself. She wanted intimacy like never before. But then he told her. To stay away from him. That he found her ugly with her slightly swollen belly, fuller chest and her silly smile. And that he would never ever touch her again. It hurt her like nothing had before. It chipped away a large part of something deep inside. She had grown up knowing she was ordinary and that she would never be pretty like her cousins and she had accepted that. By the time she was in college she had embraced her ordinariness and found beauty in it and solace too.

With pregnancy, her hitherto plainness has turned her into a woman whom everyone noticed when she went out to the market or for an evening stroll. Strangers turned and then smiled. Some even asked her about when the baby was due. By then she had a small bump that made her condition known. And the men often stared, trying to hide their expression of appreciation. It shocked her at first. Why would strangers look at her in that way. But then it happened often enough to convince her that it was because of how she looked. It was then obvious to her that the prettiness she felt when she looked at herself in the mirror was not just in her mind. Thinking back, it was perhaps the confidence she felt in her body that made her pretty and made people notice her for the first time. Not pretty in the conventional way but someone who would arrest attention and tempt you to look twice. But S’s words shattered all that and she was grateful when the doctor advised her to fly to Bangalore by the mid of her third trimester. Her in-laws had decided that the baby delivery business would have to be taken care of by her parents as was customary for them. She had protested and begged S that she wanted him to take the responsibility and she wanted to stay with him and it was their baby after all. But S refused to talk to his parents and it appeared to her that he was relieved to see her go. She should have seen it coming. She should have anticipated what her life would be like for the next five years. But she didn’t. In her new found happiness and her joy of becoming a mother, she let that unsavoury thought slip away from her mind.

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