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Ranju was playing with her brothers and sisters, all 5 of them when her newly married uncle came visiting along with his new bride. She always used to look forward to the visits from uncle, he would bring along with him sweets from the city and a adult male presence in the house which was missing since her father left them all to deal with their luck and poverty one day to become a man of God, a man of God he wanted to become when he really couldn’t even become a man of life. In her uncle she tried to find her father, a father they had lost.

She was smitten by her aunt too. Pretty like any other new bride, gentle with her, she played with all of them while uncle and her mother tried to work out how will they survive the next month. When they were leaving the aunt asked Ranju if she wanted to go to city with them. The thought of a vacation excited her, she packed her bags quickly and was ready to go. A couple of days passed by like a fairy tale – good food, new clothes and many places to see. After couple of days the aunt suggested her that why doesn’t she stay in the city with them, study in a good school. She was enrolled in the near by school and the aunt brought her up like her own daughter. She had kids that treated her like their elder sister. Time passed by Ranju graduated and started doing a job, the aunt was more her mother than the one in the village. And like all girls one day it was declared that she is ready or marriage, some rishtas came her way and the one that sounded suitable to everyone was promptly fixed. A decent looking guy who runs his own shop and a nice family what else does one check. Ranju and Mohit were married with all the grandness the aunt could afford.

However reality dawned a couple of months later when she realised that the shop is owned by the father and he actually does nothing in it, a job was arranged by the uncle who came to her rescue. However Mohit didn’t last in the job long and when Ranju asked him why, began a new chapter in her life, Mohit slapped her the first time that day and the abuse never stopped after that. The mother in law and everyone else in the house would stand and watch when Ranju was being beaten and later verbal and emotional abuse would follow from all of them saying that if she didn’t even care for her mom, its only money that mattered to her. The thought that she has already troubled her aunt too much and her mother could hardly do anything. Bringing up 4 children with no source of income wasn’t easy made her tolerate the abuse and so did the fact that she was carrying her first child.

The abuse continued, eventually the aunt came to know about it but hardly could did anything she had her own kids to look after, she would sit at times and think how life came a full circle and her situation  became much like her mother, probably worst she atleast didn’t have anyone beating her, she would live on the money given to her by her aunt and Mohit’s brother. If she would talk about going back to work, she would get beaten again and slowly this started taking toll on her health but she held her fort. Today she has by her sheer will power managed to bring up a daughter and a son who are both educated and working, who stand by her and ask their father to stop if he tries to raise his hand. The emotional  abuse unfortunately still continues but she has made the focus of her life her kids and derives her pleasure from them.

Ranju’s story is unfortunately a story of many women in India. We as a society need to do something about it. Stand up raise a voice, do something about. If you observe domestic abuse around you, don’t be afraid to interfere. You could save a life