Should I Smile Through it All?

I was raised in a house of three girls and as the elder sister, I knew what was coming. I was taught to obey, cook well and to always smile through it all. The day I finished my undergraduate, I was married to a well-spoken charming man. He was only a few years older than me and I was happy, excited even. 

But of all the things I was taught, I wasn’t taught of what was expected from me in the bedroom. 

That night, I fought, screamed and cried till my throat gave up but like everything else, this was a choice made for me. I was raped that night. And the night after that, and many nights after that, in the name of wanting to start a family early, I was used.  

And as time passed, I was deemed infertile. Not by doctors or through any form of science, but through word of mouth. My family was devastated and disgraced by my inability. They forgot that I was a daughter of their household and looked the other way when I voiced my plight. It was my fault they said. And for years this remained the cycle. 

Infertility in a woman is bound to be fixed with time. 

And until that time came, I was left alone. My family pretended I didn’t exist and my in-laws looked at me as if I was a curse to them all.  The only one who kept trying was him. In some ways that should have been comforting. He didn’t give up. But I did. 

One day, as all hope was dying out, we went to a fertility doctor. The doctor subtly suggested my husband gets checked as well and it was found that he was infertile. As we drove home that night, the hope within me slowly flickered back. Maybe this time I’d be safe. But with a hurt ego, my husband only unleashed his rage on me. 

And, and as I was gasping for breath under him, I knew that this is why I was taught to smile through it all.

— Monologue by Amulya PM

Based on a true story collected in Kerala by our team.

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