I fidgeted with my sari nervously. I knew that the boy who had come to ‘see’ me was employed in a nationalized bank and made a decent living. Ravi and his parents had come to my house to meet my family. When I heard the news that a guy had asked my hand for marriage, I was hesitant and protested with my parents. After all I was no ordinary girl.
“I think we should send Nirmala and Ravi to talk to each other. It’s a very important decision in their life and it’s good that they get to know each other better before deciding”, Ravi’s mother said in a gentle voice. I looked at her as she smiled at me affectionately. My eyes were a little moist as I stood and lead the way to our small balcony.
Ravi’s parents were really nice people. They were kind and understanding and assured my father that they didn't want any dowry if the marriage was fixed. How I had wished that I would be married into such a considerate family but I was sure that once my truth was laid bare, they wouldn't hesitate to turn their backs and walk out of our house without a second thought.
“Hi, do you have any questions for me”, Ravi asked once we were outside in the balcony.
“No but I want to tell you something. A reality of my life that remains hidden in my past because it’s so ugly that every time it resurfaces it leaves behind a scar. 5 years ago when I was studying for my Degree, I was raped by 4 college boys. I was studying in Mumbai and there was a guy, senior to me by 2 years. He was the son of the local MLA and also he was the college brute. Apparently he fell in love with me and proposed to me many times but I rejected his overtures. One evening he was drunk and he tried to kiss me forcibly. I slapped him. The next day along with his friends he kidnapped me and took me to a remote area. There they raped me for 5 days. I would have been killed if it was not for the police who found me and rescued me.
When I recovered my friends and my family members wanted me to forget the whole incident. They advised my parents to move to another city and start my life afresh. But I was adamant. I wanted the culprits to be brought to justice. I fought a lonely, tiring battle for years but finally justice prevailed when all the culprits were given life sentence. I would have personally wanted them to be hanged but I didn’t have the strength to fight another long and exhausting battle in the courts.
Now tell me do you still want to marry me?”
Ravi was patiently listening to me as I poured out my acrimonious past without trying to soften the blow for him.
“I know of your past Nirmala. Before coming here your father called me up and told me everything.”
“And you still want to marry me?” I asked incredulously.
“When I first saw your photo I liked you but now, I respect you. What happened to you was not your fault. But I appreciate that you stood bravely and fought for your rights. Will you be my wife, Nirmala?”
For the first time I looked at his eyes which was full of sincerity and silently spoke volumes of the promise of a happy, contented future that lay ahead of us.
This post is written for The Language Of Love contest at WriteTribe.