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Kamala Sarup: Women Forced Into Marriage

Women Forced Into Marriage - :A True Story


By Kamala Sarup

The wind is blowing and in the sky the moon is shining. The flowers, trees and small plants are dancing with the music of the wind. I feel, I don't know why, sometimes to transfer myself into a flower. Everybody will appreciate me and say, "What a lovely flower, how pleasant! How charming !" May be, people will insert me into their head and may others will compose poems seeing me.

I was shattered and done in on the street. Perhaps I wanted to pour down myself within the scattered voices. Why does the mind ceaselessly turn sentimental while I am walking? The word failure is such a gulf of life from where I constantly try to escape to an endless journey. I began a journey maybe, in order to keep my days safe for death and violence or perhaps for a possible honor after death, where I broke myself up and am walking all alone. A human being has naturally a short existence and I am not an exception. Why couldn't I encompass myself in words? Perhaps to go on being shattered constantly is to escape from violence, life and to be unable to shape the circumstances according to the needs of the time is not to succeed in keeping life in equilibrium. I know that the ideal I have envisaged to live a kind of life will pull me down heavily each day with my steps. And again, seeing my own time would be sentimental as I am now.

My friend is chronically sick. She is incapable of coping with situation with enormous difficulties that emerge due to limited financial income. I know that my her father, like in the past years, will not send any letter this time also and there is no communication with him about him being alive or dead. Her mother became chronically ill crying all the time with the thought of her father's harsh treatment. I too get completely exhausted trying to console her mother and cry a lot. This crying has no end. There is no solution except to get emotionally upset and drop tears incessantly. Her father left her for joining the foreign army when she was just a lass of six years. I faintly try to remember him but a dim memory of a shattered girl like me of her father has no value whatsoever.

Her mother goes on relating to me how she met her husband for the first time at the market, "I was poor. I used to gather firewood and carried to the town to sell. In the meantime, my husband had come from the army on leave. He was quite handsome to look at. We fell instantly in love with each other. I left the village and my dear friends, the forest, slopes and cliffs, to come to Kathmandu. He went back to his army but returned to me every year during the festival of Dashain. He brought many things for me. I was happy, but, I heard sometime later that he married another woman."

Her mother couldn't control herself further and cried bitterly. I know it fully well that after this, her husband didn't send any money to them nor did he visit them at any Dashain then on. Her mother started a small tea stall and they made their living somehow. The tea stall was their necessity in the process of living and they have spent years on it.

" A handsome young man has come from the army." When her mother told my friend this during their meal time she was speechless for a while and asked later, "Which one from the army are you talking about?"

"The same one who comes to drink tea everyday," her mother laughed.

Her replied in a not too certain tone, "Mother, when I go away after getting married, you will be left all alone. I do not want to leave you all by yourself, perhaps I am unable to leave you that way."

Her mother became serious and said, "My daughter, maybe after your marriage I will also get happiness. It is said that he has a good income in the army. He is quite an appropriate and handsome husband for you!"

She just smiled for her sake. I feel like laughing at words like army, earning, and appropriate. I naturally compare the man who wants to marry her and her father who has gone to war. Somehow both the faces coalesce into one and I feel as if it is jeering at me. If I have to tell the truth their faces are quite similar.

From the roof of my home the room of the military man can be seen. From his room where a dim lamp is burning, a continuous tune of violin is heard too. I came to know that the man sang also and I don't know why my mind tempts me to listen to his songs. And really, the man sang songs which sounded very sweet, indeed. When I listened to his songs, I felt like submitting myself to the songs all through the night just sitting down right there. Many pages of my life are blank and I felt like coloring the blank pages of my life while I listened to the tune of his songs. Ah! what a thrilling sensation!

Maybe it was late when I went to bed last night.

Her mother told my friend early in the morning, "Look! that young man comes today, you have to give your decision. "

She tried to evade her.

Three men came, including him. I also come out with my friend. The man smiles slowly and I feel uncomfortably embarrassed. Why was I feeling so weak and sentimental? I try to remember my ideal which includes a life which I wanted to live and the unexpected struggle to achieve it.

My friend told me "After marriage, I will be in a bondage Kamala. That means I will have to live like a slave as I will have to spend all my life in his charity. Alas, where will my ideal go? My desires will spill everywhere and I will be lost, unable to control myself within me".

Without any reason, somehow all my imaginations that crowded inside me just a moment ago are shattered to pieces. I feel like running far away from that man and reject him outright. I observe my mother deeply and find her smiling. The man is talking about something for the preparations of the wedding. My friend rush inside straight on and begin to breathe fast. She experience a kind of freedom. I enter inside with a sad face, "What happened to you all of a sudden, my sweetie?"

She started to cry and say, "Kam, I don't want to get married. Please do not force me. I want to live freely.."

I try to pacify her, " you are a woman! You are not permitted to stay all your life with your mother. Look, you don't have to be afraid of anything. He has decided not to accept any monetary gift. And besides, these days it is extremely difficult to find a good man."

Again, I begin to spill over within all over me. A cold blast of wind enters through the widow and my hair is blown here and there. Flowers dance submitting to the blowing of the wind and the path is completely covered with the leaves fallen from trees. Perhaps, it's going to rain.

There is a storm blowing inside my mind as well and there is a flash of lightning within me and the heart is shrieking with a terrible situation. What should I or shouldn't I do? I feel like running away outside in the rain. But, again, I try to console her, "please come outside."

She don't obey me but stay inside and slowly start to point me at the picture of her father hanging on the wall. I go on staring at her without winking my eyes.

*************

Journalist and Story Writer from Nepal, Kamala Sarup is an editor of peacejournalism.com. She is specialising in in-depth reporting and writing on Peace, Anti War, Women, Terrorism, Democracy, and Development. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowermentin(South Asia, Nepal)Booklet). Prevention of trafficking in women through media,(Book) Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (Media research). Two Stories collections. Her interests include international conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication, philosophy, feminism, political, socio-economic and literature. Her current plans are to move on to humanitarian work in conflict areas in the near future. She also is experienced in organizational and community development. A meeting of jury members held on 21 March in Geneva has decided to attribute Kamala Sarup, writer, with a Honurable Mention of International Award for Women Issue. http://peacejournalism.com/

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