“January 2020 was the time I thought my life would change for better and I would be happy, but now I am just feeling suffocated inside the four walls of a house that is not even my home,” said Anurita, a 24-year-old woman who had an arranged marriage in February 2020. She said, “I thought my marriage would be the reason I’d see a positive change in my life but this whole pandemic has brought nothing but negativity.
I got married on the 10th of February. Being an arranged marriage, I thought I’ll take some time to get acquainted and adjust to the new rules of the new house. My in-laws seemed to be understanding and busy people, always worrying about their own work, and at their house everything used to be calm and peaceful..but soon everything just turned upside down with the onset of coronavirus.
Everyone was at home, under the same room 24*7 in the same house that included my in-laws, brother-in-law, my husband and me. Soon everyone started to put up their demands. Each had a set of different desires to make themselves feel better while working from home, or doing nothing from home. So my brother-in-law wanted to have pasta, my mother-in-law wished to have daal baati, my father-in-law always asked for different desserts and my husband, well because we were in our ‘honeymoon period’ he was always mushy and cheesy with me.
Initially, I liked doing things for others, it made me feel homely and part of their family. Also, I used to feel awkward about saying a no. But soon, everyone just started taking me for granted to fulfil their demands. I had no option of saying a ‘NO’ to anyone because I in a month and a half I had made them used to throwing their demands towards me. Now I am caught up all the time in the in-law’s house doing things that they want and whenever they want.
I haven’t gone out of my house for three months--first because of the lockdown and now because I am not left with any time. Even now when the unlock phase has started, my in-laws and my husband aren’t allowing me to go out because of the virus. I am not allowed to go out for grocery shopping, nor am I allowed to go out for a walk.
I haven’t been able to make any friends in the new society because of the lockdown. All the dinners and the parties planned to welcome me and introduce me around in the family, were cancelled because of the lockdown. So, I am literally on my own, amongst a group of people, who are still new to me and the only one person I can talk a bit to is my husband. I feel miserable and very very lonely. My parents stay in another city so at the most I can only talk to them on the phone. And now that I have time and can perhaps talk to a few people in my in-laws society, I am left with no time.
I feel tired, exhausted, and used. I feel the lockdown has been most convenient for everyone in my in-laws home, besides me. I was new and awkward and didn’t have a voice in the start, and so they manipulated me as per their convenience, and now I don’t have the guts to say "no" to them even when exhaustion kills me. Since, I had left my job also, so for them I am perhaps the most useless person around who is saddled with all the housework.
Most newly married girls go out with the husbands on dates and shopping. I was deprived of all this because of COVID and it makes me angry. There is no charm in my marriage. Since everyone is at home, I don't get any couple-time with my husband and we can't even go out anywhere to talk and understand each other better. He does not like showing care and affection in front of his parents and that makes me feel forsaken. We hardly get an hour or so before bedtime to talk, to discuss things. I look more like someone who has been married for ten years than someone who just got married around a month back.
When I told my mother about all this, she tried to calm me and told me this is how a woman’s life is supposed to look like after marriage. Following the rules and orders put forth by the husband and the in-laws. Always being available for everyone without being able to do what I wish to or like to is so pressurising. Yesterday when I said I WANT TO GO OUT, Ajinkya took me down for a walk. But now everyone is just moving awkwardly around me as if by asking to do what I want to do, I have done a huge mistake or a crime. Is this how being married is supposed to look and feel like? If it is, I don’t want to be in this situation, but now I have no way out and I am just suffocating myself till the time when things settle down a bit hopefully," Anurita muses sadly.