There was a time when people complimented me on my sense of dressing, my immaculate style and my confident personality. That was the time I was in the prime of my youth, radiating with the glow of dreams yet to be achieved and paths yet to tread on. Even though technically I still am in the prime of my youth there is a heaven and hell difference between the two times. Mirrors don’t lie.
That was also a time when my spouse and his family chose to stifle my dreams, stamp out my confident personality, trash my whole existence to create a robot out of me which would do only their bidding. Every time that I tried to protest they found a new way to stifle me and bash me into a pulp, verbally and physically till such time I had no strength in me to get up and fight back. This unfortunately I realized is the story of every Indian girl pawned into the arranged marriage system by unsuspecting parents, conniving In-laws and equally manipulative groom.
While this has remained a norm in most Indian homes, in certain cases like mine, the conniving spouse and his parents make the mistake of not just undermining the courage of the girl but also her will to survive. So I fought back with every ounce of strength I could muster and I survived. I showed them that coming from a family where every second member has served in the Indian Defence Forces, survival is in my blood even though I am a girl and even when the society hinders me into being submissive.
But after the physical and psychological warfare, when I look at myself in the mirror I see a reflection of youth mixed with bitterness and cynicism. This reflection is not even one iota close to what it used to be, but strangely I revel in the changes calling them my very own battle scars. The creases on my forehead, the worry lines, the physical scars and the psychological scars are all testimony of not just the abuse but more importantly a testimony of my will to survive and the fact that I have survived.
So now when I walk into a room and people turn around to look at me, not just for my beauty or fashionable ensemble but for the confidence in me of surviving in a situation and in a country against all odds, where it is considered to be a curse to be born as a girl, where at every step a girl is treated worse than an animal let alone a second class citizen and where a girl is expected to be submissive even when she is being raped.
The mirrors don’t lie since they tell the story of my survival in every inch of my reflection.