You are such a lucky girl. The last few months this expression had been following Lavanya like a pesky fly. That she found it annoying will be putting it mildly. Lavanya wished she had a giant roll of duct tape to seal off those mouths that were busy telling her how she should be feeling. Fine, no one had bothered to consult her before making the biggest decision of her life but at least she had the right to be left alone to wallow in misery! Imagine being woken up one fine morning only to be told that your life is about to change forever! Not even being given a minute’s notice to bid adieu to dreams that you have nurtured for so long.
Lavanya felt cheated out of a life she could have had.
Her face slathered with fruit pulp, body glistening with turmeric-mustard oil paste, Lavanya was getting beautified for the most eligible bachelor in town. She felt like a marinated fowl ready to be thrown in smoking oil.
Having just given her civil services examinations, she was waiting eagerly for the results. A student with a brilliant academic record, Lavanya was confident of cracking the exam. Ever since she was a child, she had wanted to be an IFS officer and travel all around the world. “Maa! I don’t want to get married now and that too to a complete stranger. Couldn’t we have waited a few more years? “
“It’s not every day that a middle class girl gets a marriage proposal from one of the richest families in Delhi. Do you realize how lucky you are! “
Her parents had just clipped her wings and she was expected to erupt with joy.
That evening the women of the house tired her out with the constant fussing – should she wear a Bandhej or chiffon in a wine shade? Will she look better with her wavy hair left open or should it be tied in a bun to show off her cheekbones. Lavanya couldn’t care less! When she finally came face to face with the man she was expected to spend the rest of her life with, she felt no emotion. When he looked her up, his eyes lingering a little longer on the curve of her breasts, she felt a shiver of revulsion run down her spine.
Yes, Lavanya was the luckiest girl alive. Harsh Vardhan, the multimillionaire, debonair scion of the Vardhman empire had chosen her over thousands of women ready to swoon at the mere mention of his name, women whose sole ambition was to be his soul-mate. How ironic that he had handpicked a girl who had no interest in his stature or wealth.
The next few months passed in a daze. Lavanya’s spectacular performance in the civil services exams went uncelebrated but her parents made sure that the news was passed on to the groom’s family. After all, her achievements were for them to flaunt as another feather in their cap. Harsh’s fiancée was not only beautiful but intelligent as well. When the interview letter finally did arrive, Lavanya was already married to Harsh Vardhan, living in their 16 bedroom mansion, with ten servants and four dogs and a life partner who was never home. She soon found out why, her husband was a compulsive womanizer.
Lavanya often wondered why he had married her in the first place. It was not as if he was missing a feminine presence in his life. And given his insatiable appetite, he could never be happy with just one. Perhaps he wanted a woman in his house - just like his fleet of cars in the garage, the expensive sculptures in the living area, his hundred crisp white shirts behind his glass-doored wardrobe. One of his many underlings constantly at his beck and call, only this one was bound by a contract called marriage! A trophy wife who could play the gracious hostess to his business associates, charm them with her wit, impress them with her awareness about world affairs.
Two months into the marriage, when Lavanya suggested that she should join him in his office, she got an icy glare from her husband. Later in the evening her parents reprimanded her bitterly for behaving so unreasonably. She was expected to reconcile to the bitter fact that she was but an extension to her spouse and had no right to seek an identity of her own.
But Harsh made sure his wife looked like a million dollars – a personal trainer who kept her in fab shape, a stylist who made sure she flaunted the best designers. After all Lavanya was Harsh Vardhan’s investment and he expected good returns.
Mr and Mrs Vardhan were the toast of Page 3 – the dashing millionaire with his stunning wife. Lavanya’s parents loved showing off pictures splashed in newspapers to their envious neighbours. What they didn’t care to know, how unhappy their daughter was – that their daughter’s marriage to Harsh Vardhan was merely a business deal.
And when he did demand his conjugal rights, he was an insatiable beast.
Lavanya made this shocking discovery on her nuptial night itself. That beneath that suave veneer was a monster who derived pleasure by inflicting pain. And when she did try to fight back, Harsh would turn even more violent.
Strangely it was she who felt ashamed – embarrassed of being the silent victim, petrified that someone might notice the angry scars. The last thing she wanted was pity. So she never let anyone get close to her – she met them at parties, attended their fund raising events, oohed and ahhed at their latest Souza but never let them invade her personal space. People called her aloof, arrogant and she never tried to change their opinion.
Lavanya often contemplated suicide but life had other plans for her......
To be continued.......