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Essay on arranged marriages by Sravani singampalli

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My opinion about arranged marriages completely changed.
(The names have been changed to protect identities.)

When I saw her for the very first time, I could not take my eyes off her.

She was a bit chubby and killed me with her cute smile and perfect set of dimples.

I met Kaveri at her house along with my parents. She was chosen for me by my parents and I was really excited to marry her. My parents had found a very beautiful bride for me and I had full faith in arranged marriages. We got married in the month of July and soon after our marriage, we shifted to Kerala where I was posted. I worked in a naval ship so; I often had to leave Kaveri for months while visiting other countries.

On one of my trips back home, I went to my neighbour’s house to seek some advice. Once there, I was puzzled. I saw my wife speaking to someone on their phone. She hadn’t realized that I was also there and kept speaking. As I heard her words, I began to lose the ground beneath my feet.

She was speaking to another man, a lover.

She turned around and saw me and it didn’t take much time for her to tell me everything. She had been unfaithful. Even though I had heard her, I was hoping that it was a big mistake and that she would tell me all was well, but she told me her story, and I was at once, broken up and angry. For the very first time in my life I used the most abusive word I could for a woman. I called her a slut.

I always thought that Kaveri loved me a lot. I still remember the day when she cried while I was leaving for Russia. She wanted to come along with me but after my return from Russia, my life completely changed.

Kaveri was deeply in love with a man she’d known during her college days. Her parents wouldn’t accept him, so she agreed to marry me according to their will. This was her biggest mistake. She could have eloped with her lover but she decided to marry another man. She always waited for me to leave the house and would invite her lover everyday. Sometimes Kaveri went to his place. They continued meeting like this regularly. Kaveri enjoyed this till the day I caught her red-handed. Kaveri didn’t really have any reason to cheat me or be unfaithful because she knew I was very sincere and that’s why she remained silent. This made me realize that both Kaveri and her parents had cheated me.

I felt nauseated by her misdeeds. I no longer loved her but was also not willing to opt for a divorce because of our children, one was two years old and the other had just turned four. I was furious, beyond forgiveness. My neighbour tried to calm me and tried to speak to Kaveri a few times. But I was inconsolable and my wife unresponsive, even to her children. She told her parents I wanted to divorce her due to baseless accusations blaming her for infidelity.

Kaveri filed a complaint of emotional and verbal abuse against me. She told the police that I didn’t take good care of her. The truth is I always cared for her. She once had a very serious problem in her fallopian tubes and was admitted in a hospital for two months. During that time I did all the housework, took care of her and the children. I never scolded her for her mistakes and did everything the way she asked.

The police called me and questioned me about our relationship. I told them everything but they still believed Kaveri’s words. They were also about to hit me but I was in my uniform so they stopped but I lost my reputation because of this false complaint. Kaveri remained silent in the police station which created more problems. My neighbor aunty also accompanied me and supported me strongly.

The police were shocked to know the truth. I tried to solve the problem in a smooth way by asking Kaveri to just confess in front of the police. She did not respond but still I didn’t get angry. I asked her to return from her parents’ house but she refused. She said that she did not want to live near my parents. Kaveri wanted me to leave my parents and live separately with her. I said a big ‘no’ and later she started demanding money. I became a big fool but soon realized their tricks. I felt that they just wanted my money. Her parents despite knowing about her boyfriend and their relationship did not support me. They did not even ask me to forgive her.

Troubling thoughts entered my mind. I began to suspect whether the second child was mine or not. Kaveri did not say anything and remained silent as usual.

They kept on demanding for money. My parents were also deeply heartbroken and I was helpless and inconsolable. Kaveri would not change, and I just lost hope.

Now, we live separately and one child is with me and the other with Kaveri. My opinion about arranged marriages completely changed.

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Sravani singampalli is a published writer and poet from India. Her works have appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review, Spillwords press, Criterion journal, Setu bilingual journal, Whispers, Labyrinthine Passages journal, Indian Ruminations and many others. Her poems are also forthcoming in Leaves of Ink, Kitaab international, Formercactus, Gone Lawn journal, Vox Poetica, The Pangolin Review, The Blue Nib and elsewhere.

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