Anjali had just returned from school when she saw her father accompanying a man she had never seen before to his car. Politely she greeted them and her father answered her pleasantly with a wide smile which showed that he was in high spirits that sunny afternoon. The man ran his eyes over her with a knowing smile that made her uncomfortable. She didn’t know if her father noticed but if he did, he didn’t seem to mind.
Anjali left the two men and went into the house to seek her mother and her grandmother. She sought their blessings by touching their feet and touching her forehead. Her grandmother laughed and hugged her but her mother didn’t seem too pleased. Without really responding to Anjali’s greeting, she instructed her to go eat her lunch then return once she was done because her father had something important to tell her.
Anjali was anxious. She didn’t know what her father wanted to discuss with her. She grew tensed hoping that he was not going to tell her to stop schooling since he was never in support of it from the beginning. But remembering that he had heartily responded to her greeting outside, she calmed her nerves and presumed that whatever the matter was, it couldn’t be that bad.
But she was wrong.
“You are getting married!” Her father announced cheerfully when she went to him as if he had won a lottery.
“What!” Anjali gasped. She was shocked. She turned to look at her mother to find out if what her father had just said was true and from her mother’s sad lowered eyes, Anjali knew that this was not a joke.
“I am getting married?” She asked in disbelief.
“Yes, Mr. Rahul has found you attractive and has come to seek your hand in marriage.”
“What! But I just turned fifteen.” Anjali protested.
“And so? You have started your flow and that alone signifies that you are a woman.” Her father said.
“What about my dream of becoming a surgeon, what will happen to that?” Anjali bemoaned.
“Dreams are for men not for women! A woman’s place is in the kitchen and her role is to serve her husband! You should be glad that Mr. Rahul has asked for a little dowry in return. He’s wealthy and you’ll go and live with him in Mumbai once the marriage rites have been done. You shall no longer suffer. You can have as my beautiful saris as you want.”
“But I don’t feel anything for Mr. Rahul. He’s is as old as you are and besides, he already has three wives.” Anjali protested.
Her father’s demeanor changed now. “You insolent child! You shall not defy me! I’m your father and I decide what is best for you!”
“Mother!” Anjali reached out to her mother for help but the frightened woman quickly turned her back to her. As usual she was powerless against the dictation of her husband who beat her up at the slightest provocation. Her grandmother also had no say. With tears in her eyes, Anjali rose from the floor and fled to her room, crying.
Three weeks later after all the marriage rites had been done by the village priest, Anjali was on her way to the city of Mumbai. In the courtyard of Mr. Rahul’s house, his first wife, Bikram was waiting to receive them. She was fat but kind and she embraced Anjali with warmth but turned a scornful eye on her husband as he walked by without acknowledging her.
Anjali wept in Bikram’s arms and when she had quieted a bit, the older woman wiped the child’s face with the end of her veil and said: “Now, calm yourself child, I’ll show you to your room and you can bath and rest after your meal.”
Night came quickly and Bikram was in Anjali’s room trying to soothe the child. They had created a bond in just the few hours since her arrival and Bikram had grown fond of Anjali because she also had two twin daughters who were about her age. Their chatting was suddenly interrupted when Mr. Rahul walked into the room already dressed in his night clothes.
Bikram stood up with alarm when she saw her husband. “What are you doing?”
“Leave us woman, it’s time for our consummation.”
Bikram stared at him, aghast. “You are going to lay with her tonight? Can’t you wait till she turns eighteen?!”
Mr. Rahul scowled at his wife. “Why would I marry my bride only to wait three years to consummate our union? Is that not foolishness? I will not be a laughing stock to the neighborhood, now leave and let me perform my duties as the head of this family!”
All efforts by Bikram to dissuade our husband from such act fell on deaf ears and he only grew furious and shoved her out of the room, bolting the door from behind. Frightened out of her wits, Anjali quickly recoiled from him to the corner of the room. He beckoned to her with a leering smile on his face but she refused to come to him.
Infuriated by her defiance and adamancy, he lunged for her and seized her by her arms. She shrieked and beat at his hairy chest but she was no match for him. He threw her on the bed and ripped her garments off her after trying to correct her resistance with a couple of blows to the face. Pinning her down with his arm, he undid his wrapper and tore through her body making her squirm and writhe in intense pain under him.
But her agony mattered not to him. He thrust in and out of her without pity as he would do to a mature woman. When she kept crying and screaming in his ear, he covered her mouth with his hand to muffle her screams. When he was done defiling her young body, he withdrew from her a satisfied man, sweating from what he had just done before he grabbed his clothes and exited the room leaving her a complete mess on the bed.
The pain had been so much that she had peed herself and curling into a fetal position, she remained on the filth of her ravished virginity and wept into the night. Even when Bikram came to clean her up, she was still in shock and wouldn’t speak nor eat.
This rape continued for six nights. Mr. Rahul would come into her room, have her to his fill then leave, feeling accomplished. Weeks later, Bikram discovered that Anjali was pregnant. The child had lost her spirit and she seemed like a walking dead. Bikram had to bath, clothe and feed her and Anjali mostly spoke in monosyllables.
Anjali’s pregnancy was a new hell for her. She was sick and weak through it all but Bikram stood by her. When the 9th month came and Anjali went into labour, the doctors complained that her hips were not wide enough to help push the child through the birth canal.
Anjali insisted that she would not be cut open. She had given up on life and it seemed that this was her only way to escape her torture as a young wife. Mustering all her strength, the young wife pushed, letting her baby destroy some of her vital organs as she strove to give it life. There was nothing Bikram could do to stop her as the child destroyed anything in its path in order to come to the world.
When the baby finally popped out, Anjali gave a sad but a victorious smile whichand made Bikram promise never to let her baby be married off at a premature age since it was a girl. And her last word before the life left her skinny body was: “Tell my father that I have gone to where he sent me and tell my mother that I forgive her.”
Well, having little or no remorse about Anjali’s death, Mr. Rahul’s next target (victim) was another child he had seen grinding at the mill.
Child marriage does not only happen in Asia but also in Africa and most young girls have fallen victim and still are simply because a paedophile given the title of a husband found them appealing and the child’s ignorant parents consented due to material gains or for some other flimsy reason.
LET’S PUT AN END TO CHILD MARRIAGE!!!
Your likes, comments and shares matter, please be generous😘