It was the year 2007. I was married for two years then. Except for first six months of my marriage, it was never a smooth sailing for us. Even though she was very young compared to me, she used to abuse me a lot. They were rich and she was beautiful. Even though in the initial days of our married life she used to behave well but after six months of our marriage, she slowly started changing her behavior.
I used to work hard to earn more money so that she could have a good life. I was well qualified – an Engineer and MBA and hence very confident about my life. I believed in a simple life and wanted to lead a comfortable life.
Their cruelty increased with every passing day. Initially, I wanted to reason out things and be happy my way but that was not enough. Very soon I started observing her making long calls. She wouldn’t bother when I was around and she would continue with her calls. Many times I had to take my dinner on my own and finish. Ironically she would always blame me for not spending quality time together.
This was the time when I was in Chennai. So I decided to go back to Kolkata so that she could be with her parents and family and enjoy her life. I took a job in Kolkata and we shifted there. But the situation worsened there. This time even her family members joined her and continued to abuse me in different ways. My patience broke up. We started having frequent quarrels.
In the meantime, I discovered obscene chat messages on her mobile. I realized that she had a relationship with a guy and they had married her off me because of my education and social status. Since she was beautiful and her family was well established I too didn’t have any problem in the marriage. I asked her before marriage if she wanted to marry someone else but she answered in negative. So I went ahead with the marriage. However, even with best of my intentions and actions when I didn’t find her happy and when her family members continued to torture me in different ways I was completely devastated. With this new discovery of her affair outside the marriage and their lies, I was on the verge of committing suicide.
So I decided to take those SMSs to her parents and show it to them. But they have deleted all messages and started accusing me that I was mad and hallucinated and needed psychiatrist treatment. They also threatened me of filing false cases and sending me to jail or informing some women NGO who would send their goondis to manhandle me in public. I came to know about IPC 498a and unnecessary arrests without evidence on a simple complaint. I was completely at a loss and was looking for some help to survive. I found committing suicide needed huge courage.
From my childhood, I was being taught to respect women. I was taught by the entire world how to be a good provider and protector for the weaker section of the population. In this quest to empower the weak, I didn’t realize when I had become weaker myself and there was no help available for me. In fact, I didn’t realize that my gender had branded me as a criminal from the day I was born.
This was the time when I felt that I should have learned how to be a provider and protector for myself first. All my education, hard work, and honesty went to the gutter. My degree from IIT seemed fake to me. My simplicity became my weakness. I started feeling that the whole society was bent on proving me a criminal because I was a male and I got married to an unscrupulous family. I felt that my parents had done the biggest crime by being simple and down to earth persons. I realized that in today’s world the simplest persons are destroyed first. Someone rightly told this to me once – “The trees that are straight are cut first”.
I searched the internet and found some numbers that I could call for help. Some of them were not responding but one person responded to my call.
Initially, I was ashamed (not sure why probably men are brought up to be ashamed of everything even without any reason) to discuss my issues with others. I started the discussion to have a call only for five minutes as I didn’t want to bother him much. Also at the back of my mind, I was thinking how he would demand money for his consultation. So I wanted to keep the discussion short and simple to have minimum effect on my wallet. But with progress in our discussion we continued to dive deeper and gradually I was sunk in a two-hour long discussion. Even after ending the call I felt that my case was not properly discussed.
I was feeling guilty continuously as I was bothering this person for hours and I was sure he had his work too. But there was no one else to help me. My in-laws were very powerful with a connection to judiciary, police, political parties and women NGOs. They had access to local goondas and civil societies that could prove me insane or a criminal anytime. In fact, my in-laws had threatened to do all that when I showed her obscene SMSes with them. Only this person came forward to help me.
I called him again after two days and he replied to that call. We had another discussion for one hour and he never showed any hurry to close the call. I felt relieved that there was someone to help me.
I was too afraid of the political clout of my in-laws to do anything. I wanted to save my family and a peace-loving law-abiding average Indian male that I was, who was taught to respect women from his childhood and to fear God and fear police and judiciary all through his life, was rendered too weak to save his own self, leave alone his aged and ailing parents.
The so called Good-Boy who had studied all through his life to secure a place in some of the most prestigious institutions in India, the boy who didn’t get any seat anywhere without a fierce battle with best brains from all over the nation because he was a general category student from a poor family and didn’t have luxury of getting reserved seats, the boy who was not given any grace marks anywhere because of his gender, the boy who was thought to bring good luck to his family had actually brought a big curse for them in the form of his bride. The bride who was supposed to be a Laxmi had turned out to be otherwise.
The only reason I survive today was this person who spoke to me for hours but some of the remedies he told me was impossible for me to follow. But those free conversations helped me stop thinking about committing suicide or committing any crime.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember his name today. The person who had given me a second life is not known to me by name but by his act. He didn’t want any recognition. All he wanted was to help me and prevent a possible suicide. He didn’t want any money for his help. It helped in the PUREST possible form.
Many years had passed ever since. I had to undergo four more years of cruelty and constant bashing by the woman with whom I wanted to spend my life, to realize that I too had some value and women need not be respected just for being women. I realized that the lessons learned so far were fake, they were big lies told to generations to mold them in a certain way. Today I understand, that this is the reason educated and learned men like A R Guruprasad commit suicide or crime when they can’t save themselves.
Today, as a respect for this unknown man who has helped me when I needed it the most, I fight for justice. I fight for others who probably do not understand that I fight for them. I fight for men who think I am a criminal and a lifelong hater of women. I fight for children who have no idea what trash they are getting every day in the name of education. I fight for those “peace-loving, law-abiding” citizens of India, who don’t even understand what world they have created for their children. I fight against a crime, for a cause for a better tomorrow. All my effort is voluntary. No one has ever forced me to do this but my conscience tells me every day that I am probably not doing enough. There is a vast ocean of activities that I need to do and still, I am wondering on the shores of it.
Today, I know that there are many selfless people who are helping other men in distress over the phone. They don’t charge any money but spend their valuable time to bring down India’s suicide rate. I salute all those who are selflessly dedicating their time to help the helpless. They all are my crisis angels. I may not know the name of the person who helped me in 2007 but today I am surrounded by a lot of crisis angels who will help me simply on a call any time of the day.
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