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My first husband

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

saralaFrom the Nepali Press

Srijana Basnet in Setopati, 13 August

I have thought a lot before writing this last letter to you. I have probably been branded as a woman of ill-repute by you and your society.

I was in Grade 8 when my parents agreed to give me away, after hearing from your folks that I could continue going to school. I was 17 and completely opposed to marrying you.

On our wedding night a month later, I was terrified having to share a bed with someone I didn’t even know. You were five years older, and quite plump. After all, you were a migrant worker, and you had just returned from Qatar.

tijWe didn’t talk much, you held me tight, and I couldn’t sleep the whole night. Everything was new: new place, new man, new relations. Your mother kept telling her new daughter-in-law: do this, do that. Within a week, she was acting nasty and I later realised it was because my family was poor and couldn’t afford a dowry.

I never saw you much. After a day of work, you’d claw at me for sex and I always had to be ready to offer it. What I needed did not matter. I never did get back to school. You said you were going to Qatar in six months, and I would run a shop. There was no need for an education.

I cannot tell you in this letter how much I was tortured by your mother after you left. I cried on the phone with you. The money you sent all went to your mother. She just gave me enough to buy soap to wash clothes. Your mother treated her dog better than me. When you did not return, neighbours started asking about you.

At Tij, I went and stayed at my parents’ home for two months. The day I returned, it was late when I got to your house. Your mother was eating, and said I could have stayed with whomever I was going out with. She told me to go back to where I had come from.

I tried calling you many times. Some said you had probably married again, others said you may have died and I could find another partner. I couldn’t stay in your house, and I couldn’t get to my parents’ house.

So I went to Kathmandu with a friend from the village who tried to help me heal my wounds. She found work for me in a garment factory, and I got a room nearby.

A contractor named Saila was very helpful. I once fell ill, and found out later he had saved my life by donating his blood. He brought his sister to look after me. After I got better, Saila did not let me work and brought me fruit and medicine. He asked me to marry him, and wiped my tears when I couldn’t stop crying. We went to a nearby temple and I got married for the second time.

There must be many women like me who are forced to marry again. Society is judgemental about us, and never understands. I couldn’t care less how society looks at me. I waited seven years for you, now I have cut you off. I wanted to tell you all this in person, but since it is impossible, I have written this letter.

Your first wife, but now someone else’s, Sapana

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One Response to “My first husband”

  1. Anonymous on Says:

    Good for you Sapana. You did the right thing. Your mother in law will pay for her karma sooner or later.

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