I am a 29-year-old man, who got married some seven years ago. My daughter is a little more than 6-years-old today and we seem like a normal happy family, just that my little one was born exact nine months after our marriage.
Her birth left me ecstatic and on top of the world, but the only thing that irked me post her birth was the fact that my wife used to spend most of her time at her parents’ house and this continued for good five years. Later, my daughter started going to school and my wife’s trips to her parents’ house decreased with time.
It was around this time, my wife hinted at expanding our family and she seemed pretty serious about increasing our brood. I seriously thought the baby would improve our relationship and instantly agreed to her suggestion. But, despite trying for one whole year, my wife was not able to conceive. Our moment of awakening came on the day we got ourselves tested for fertility. The test report suggested that my sperm count was zero.
We reached home, all grim with sadness. My wife couldn’t curtail her tears. I empathised with her and apologised to her for not being able to give her another child, she wanted the most at that point of time.
“I am sorry that you cannot become a mother again, all because of me. But you’ve given me such a wonderful gift in the form of our daughter, and I’ll always be thankful to you for that,” I said to her, with a heart full of love. But what she told me after that shook me completely. “She is not your daughter. She was born because a man raped me.” I was shocked beyond words. Lost all my senses and went blank for a moment.
She broke down and started to relate the horrific incident. “In my home town, a local goon wanted to marry me because he was almost obsessed with me. But I refused. Later, when our wedding was arranged he couldn’t accept rejection. A few days before our wedding, he abducted me with the help of his influential friends while I was coming back from the university after collecting my degree. He raped me out of revenge and later threw me near the house. He told me and my parents that he had taught us a lesson.” After that she continued to reveal more: “When I missed my periods, I was already married to you and in our honeymoon period. And when you discovered my pregnancy, I could not get it aborted.” She took a deep pause. I did not know what to say or what to do. After the pause, she said, “For first years of our marriage, I was attending the court sessions with my parents, to get him punished.” She paused again. Well, that explained her long absence from the house every now and then. She retired into the room after speaking the last sentence, which went like this, “I will always feel guilty about the fact that our daughter was not fathered by you. That is why I wanted to have another child with you, as the father.”
I had no words in my mouth, I went mute. After introspecting the situation, which had shaken me beyond imagination, I realized the torment my wife went through for five long years, facing everything all by herself. For five years, she had flashbacks of her rape coming to hound her as out little one played in front of her eyes. She couldn’t hate the child she had given birth to. She had gone through much more trauma than the shock I was trying to gulp down my throat. What happened was not her fault. It was the fault of her rapist, the man who left her scarred and hurt for life. And what was the mistake of the little one I remember holding in my hands while her umbilical cord still dangled to her tiny body?
That day I decided to undo the wrongs done to my wife by loving ‘our’ daughter to death.
(By Ajay Trivedi)