Sonia was a slim and extremely beautiful girl. Fiercely independent and a go getter. She finished her Architecture from a leading college in Bangalore. Her parents, both successful doctors live in Kerala. While she was doing her engineering she spent her free weekends at our house as my parents were her local guardians. I was very fond of Sonia and she was my adopted elder sister. It was nice to have a sister and she slept in my room whenever she came over. We spent hours talking into the night. The bond between cousins is much stronger especially if you have stayed in each others house. After a point of time you stop being cousins and become family. I have several cousin sisters and I know the familiarity and trust that we share even though we meet only during vacations.
Pretty soon Sonia’s parents were looking for a groom for her. After a prolonged hunt they zeroed in on a boy from Trichur, a software engineer in a leading firm in the Gulf. I was aghast. I protested to Sonia that she would have no job opportunities in the Gulf. But Sonia was already in love with the photo of the groom. She would look at me dreamily and say that “You wouldn’t understand. When you grow up you will realize the importance of marriage and settling down.” Somehow even at that age, I realized that this was wrong. It felt ridiculous to see this girl who burnt the midnight oil in my house during weekends, completing complicated projects and earning a degree only to throw it all away.
Sonia’s groom was extremely good looking. He was a six footer and looked quite aloof at the Engagement. Sonia looked resplendent; she stood demurely her head bowed like a dutiful about-to-be wife. A faint blush lit her cheeks at the proximity of the strapping man beside her. I felt sick. Something was not right. I kept quite as my mom had pleaded with me to keep my sharp tongue in check for the sake of Sonia.
Sonia got married soon after and left the shores with her husband. Soon she was pregnant. And she had a baby boy. One day a cousin of my mom called up. She sounded absolutely thrilled at the scandal she was delivering. Apparently everything was not hunky dory with Sonia. Her husband beat her up regularly. He was a short tempered guy and a very jealous man. Soon, suspecting her fidelity he made her pregnant again so that she would look ugly and undesirable to other men. I sent frequent mails to her telling her to stop taking the abuse and leave him. But she never replied. I reasoned with her that she had the qualifications and the money to survive on her own, besides two apartments of her own in Kochi. Her mother called up my mom one day telling her rather sharply to rein me in and my ‘modern’ ways. My mom flatly refused as she said she found nothing wrong in my advice to Sonia.
The beatings and abuse continued. As soon as Sonia’s second child was born she was pregnant again. One day she came on Yahoo chat. I had nothing to say to her. What do I talk to a woman who deliberately takes punishments? As she filled me on the news, gushing over her children and their antics, I replied in mono syllables. An “ok” or an “oh”. She soon sensed my mood and enquired why I was being so distant. I told her rather frankly that I found her a loser for staying in an abusive relationship and a hypocrite…for chatting with me as though I didn’t know anything. She quickly said a bye and logged out.
Some time ago we heard that Sonia was back in Kochi to recover from an abortion. She had apparently lost her fourth child due to a merciless beating session. She was sent back to India with the kids to recover from the miscarriage. After her discharge from the hospital she packed her bags to go back to the Gulf. I made a last ditch attempt to stop her. But it failed as her mom would not allow her to take any calls from me. Sonia just left for the Gulf. She has a job now as her husband is unemployed. He has grown fat and is just as aloof as ever.
Is there any sane explanation for such behaviour?