The door of Kavita’s room slammed loudly. Ravi was in rage yet again. He opened the buckle of his belt and pulled it out. Rolling one end of the belt around his fist, he swung the other end in the air hitting Kavita on her head. Kavita shrieked with pain and started howling. But this wasn’t a new story. This had been happening every other day for the last 6 years. Kavita and Ravi got hitched 6 years back in an arranged marriage setup. Kavita’s parents found Ravi to be a sincere and well earning boy and suitable for Kavita. After marriage, Kavita often complained to her parents that Ravi was surely hard working in office but used to take out all his frustration on Kavita beating her with his belt, his slippers or even with his mighty hands. His father said just one thing, “Once you are married; only your husband’s home is your abode and a permanent one. You will have to adjust with him in various situations and that will only make yours a successful marriage.” Kavita stopped complaining after that. She knew her parents were too conservative and narrow minded. Instead of understanding her situation they would always blame it on her saying that she might be at fault somewhere or the other.

That day on, Kavita used to sit in the corner of her room and sob. Days passed and turned into months and soon into years. Kavita did not have the courage to speak up in front of Ravi’s parents too. When she didn’t get any support from her own parents, why would the culprit’s parents support her! Two years after marriage, Kavita got pregnant with their first child. Kavita didn’t want to have a child with Ravi. What future she would give to her child? Her child would always grow up seeing a helpless mom getting beaten up by a cruel dad. Ravi used to beat Kavita on petty issues- “Why were you talking on the phone with your friends when I was home?”, “What were you doing downstairs till 7pm?” “Why haven’t you cooked my favourite food today?” Kavita was an excellent cook. This was something or maybe the only thing Ravi admired in her. And when Ravi was happy, he used to buy new sarees for Kavita. This made Kavita happy but only for a short duration. The beating would start again. Kavita couldn’t do anything about the beating. She used to stand like a puppet in front of Ravi ready to be tortured. She did not have the courage to retaliate in any possible way. She felt caged and wanted to run away but knew that she would have nowhere to go and she wasn’t educated enough to earn a living.

This way six years passed and now Kavita had a 4 year old child Rahul to take care of. Ravi did not love Rahul like other dads loved their children. Whenever Ravi used to get angry and Rahul was around, he used to get beaten up instead of Kavita. Because of this, Kavita tried to keep her son away from her monster husband. She was ready to take all the beatings if her son was spared.

One day, Ravi beat up Kavita so badly that her front tooth broke. Kavita felt all the more humiliated and didn’t step out of the house for few days. After 2-3 days, one of Kavita’s very close friends Neha was at her door to see if everything was fine as Kavita hadn’t met her since so many days. Kavita tried to hide her mouth from her so that she doesn’t figure out the broken tooth but in vain. Neha was shocked on seeing that and insisted Kavita to narrate the entire episode. Neha told her it was high time she had been living with such a monster. For the sake of her and her child’s life, she will have to get rid of Ravi for once and for all. He didn’t deserve her and she really deserved a better life. “Stop living in this jail Kavita. It will take a lot of courage but once you are free, it will make your life a much better one.” “But what will I do? How will I earn?” Kavita questioned. “First of all, divorce your husband and ask for alimony. With the money that you get, you can rent a small house for yourself and Rahul. As for earning a livelihood, you will have to stand on your own feet Kavita. It is okay if you are not educated. There are a lot of other things that you can do. You are such a good cook, everybody is a fan of your cooking and the food you cook. Start your own tiffin service and believe me, a bit of perseverance will give you a lot of success.” Neha said, “Think about it. You have to get the freedom you deserve.” Neha left and Kavita sat there thinking about all she had said. That night Ravi hit her again but she couldn’t gather the courage to raise her voice. This repeated for two more days but on the third day, as soon as Ravi raised his hand to hit her, she held it will all force and put it down. Ravi was shocked. Then with all her might, Kavita slapped Ravi on his face. Ravi was about to pull her hair but before that, Kavita threw divorce papers on his face.

With Neha’s help, Kavita found a good lawyer to fight her divorce case, got divorce as well as alimony from Ravi and started living with her son Rahul. Ravi pleaded and cried in front of the judge that he will mend his ways but Kavita got the justice she deserved. She soon started her tiffin business which started doing really well and of all, she got the freedom she always yearned for.

— Ipsa Arora