For all ANNs out there

Boy wearing bindi

I started writing on a day when I was terribly low. We had finished an event at work and the hardwork and effort of over a month had finally come through. But I was not allowed a day to enjoy the pleasure of a job well-done.  My lawyer called to inform me about the Judge’s order to bring my child to court.

I was hit, the feeling that everything was slipping out of my control. I am sure my lawyer felt I was being dramatic (I can do that sometimes) but the point was I was distressed, angry, and sad. And it’s a feeling I dislike terribly.

I am a happy person. I bounce back real quick no matter how hard I am hit, but this time I was inconsolable for days together. And so, I wrote.

When I published my blog, I wasn’t really sure what was going to come my way. I was apprehensive, so used to keeping things in my head and within close circles.

  • What if my family doesn’t approve?
  • What about friends and relatives, would it be alright; would they understand or was this going to end up looking like some desperate victim-play?
  • Who talks about these things and I had managed to do such a good job at keeping things under-wraps for so long?
  • But most of all I was afraid, what if the man in question sees it?
  • And what about those organisations he was involved with-the Men’s rights activists? Wouldn’t they see me as a threat?
  • What actions could/would they take? Would I be risking us?

Honestly, I didn’t foresee the hundreds of messages and concerned calls that have been pouring in the past few days. I was touched! No, I am touched!

When I started writing, I simply knew one thing – my life could not be a one-off.

I have had a blessed childhood, a great education, an even better family. Despite all the things that were working for me, one wrong step and I had landed into a hell-hole. Here I was struggling despite all the things that I have working in my favour – a supportive family and a great workplace. What about the others who may not be as blessed?

When I decided to get separated, I had to make that choice single-handedly, because no one around me, no one I knew had gone through what I had. Honestly, I did not have one divorced friend in my close circle. The interesting bit you must understand is that for a woman in my position, married to the kind of men we do, there are no close circles. The longer you stay in the marriage the fewer, if any, the friends you are allowed. So when you have to make a choice to stand up against the man and his family, let me assure you, you are doing it alone.

So there I was, with no one who had been through a similar situation and hence, no sensible advice coming my way. Whatever I did, I was doing by gut. The best I could do within my limited understanding, resources and energy.

Two years later though I have met so many people, seen so much more in life that I know better. I know I am not alone.

And if I could speak to the Ann from two years ago, gosh how many things I would do differently.

And that was my purpose of writing. That there may not be many Anns who have no one to talk to or ask how they could navigate their life for the better.

Many of you who wrote to me felt guilty that you had not been in touch or not been around. That was not my intention. Life moves on, people do too. We truly get busy with things and you and I just got taken into the roller-coaster ride. No one is to blame.

What I am facing today could be anyone’s battle. And that’s what we need to change. The system that allows for one gender to be stronger than the other, one person more powerful than the other, the fear that one will be shunned if they stand up for what’s right.

Boy wearing bindi
My boy wears his bindi with such joy

Let’s start with the smaller issues.

Let’s start with the colours we pick for our children and the toys too.

Allow the boy a Barbie if he feels like it and let your daughter fall in love with a hue of blue.

Let’s start with looking beyond our perceptions of how things should be. For one, educated women may also end up becoming battered wives and yes, they could be right next door.

So people, hang on to your friends, stay in touch and talk. Talk about things, big or small, and don’t allow for them to swept under the carpet.

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