At a time when the only exposure to the concept of marriage among adolescent girls was ‘playing house’, she was forcefully married off into a wealthy family. She was 14 then.
Who could she blame?
Money had always been tight. Her father’s job as a singer could hardly scrunch up money to feed the family. She would take up odd jobs such as colouring people’s hair or getting groceries for someone for a meagre 50 Paise.
It couldn’t be worse than that, right?
But only, it was.
Within a day after her marriage, this child bride was subject to domestic violence. Everyone around her turned silent spectators, including the police who told her to ‘resolve the matter within the family or find a relative to live with.’
Speaking to the Humans of Bombay, she narrates, “He’d beat me over nothing. He used to drink, so his rage attacks were normal. But I couldn’t see them coming. My mother-in-law saw everything, but she said I had no right to resist. Even my father told me, ‘once a girl’s married, she belongs there until death’. This was worse than death.”
She continues, “He forced himself on me. When I tried to resist, he said it was my duty.”
She was too young for the pregnancy, and at 15, suffered a miscarriage. The doctor yelled at her for getting pregnant so early. Little did they know.
She bore two kids after that. Amidst all this, the beatings did not stop; her husband even hit her with a belt, leaving her with nasty bruises.
She decided that she wouldn’t let her kids bear the brunt of this toxic marriage. And so she walked out.
As a divorced woman, nobody wanted to lease her a room. With two kids and no place to go, she knocked the doors of a gurudwara. She washed, cooked, even danced in a bhangra group to save money and eventually rented a home. Her ‘ex-husband’ would yell outside her home, calling her a prostitute.
But it did not deter her.
“I began asking for more work when I came across a job opening for a stuntwoman for a tv show. I grabbed it, I already knew how to ride a bike and was a tomboy growing up – so, action was my thing! I was nervous on my first day, but I loved it — I finally had work. I’ve been a professional stuntwoman since the last 10 years–I’ve worked with Rohit Shetty and met all these actors– my dream is to become an action director!”
This is her story.
Read the full post about this resilient Mumbai woman here:
These are everyday women whose stories invoke a range of emotions within you. More often than not, they anger you for the injustices women have to suffer. Often, they make you tear up when you see them fall.
But beyond all, they make you feel proud, and celebrate their strength of picking up after themselves and turning their lives around.
They do not need heroes to rescue them, they become their own heroes.
Here’s to strong women. We know them. We raise them. We are them.
Feature Image Credit: Facebook/Humans of Bombay