While marriage is touted to be the most glorious and celebrated relationship in all cultures, Domestic violence is the bitter reality in many marriages that society ignorantly keeps mum about in order to maintain the so-called cultural values of the society.
Why cannot a woman break the bondage of an unsatisfying relationship and choose to move on unapologetically? Why is she choosing to get married the second time to find love and respect her first relationship couldn’t give her, looked down upon?
While many women boldly fight for their rights, we don’t know how many women silently bear the torture for the sake of either their family, children, or simply because they are not self-sufficient to provide for themselves.
Such was the case of Gokul Sreedhar’s Amma, Mini Ayyappan, who bore the beatings of her husband for years only for the sake of his son. She felt that a broken household would take a toll on his son, and he would not be able to live comfortably without a father. Little did she know that her bruises and blood clots had a greater impact on his son’s mind than she imagined. Speaking about his mother, he says,
“Amma is a kind of woman who always kept her life aside for others. Her marriage was a tragedy where she suffered a lot. Once, when I saw her with blood oozing out from her forehead after being assaulted, I had asked her why she was still enduring it. I remember what she told me then that she was living for me, and she was ready to endure more.”
Gokul grew up in a toxic environment but thankfully did not turn out to be a man like his father. However, he doesn’t consider his father a villain. “I don’t consider my father a horrible villain. My parents were both different, and my mother couldn’t accept my father’s behaviour. He was aggressive and would always fight with her and shout at her.”
When he was 6, his father moved to Dubai, and his mother took Gokul to her maternal home. She got herself a job, and things seemed fine for a while. However, in 2004 his father returned asking for a reconciliation. He insisted that Mini leaves her job. She felt that if that’s what it takes to save her unstable marriage, so be it. Recalling his father, Gokul says, “My father was a very strict man, I wasn’t allowed to have friends or socialise. When he was angry with my mother, I would try to stop him, but he would push me away. Twice or thrice I have seen him thrash her. I was scared of him, I couldn’t stop him from hitting her.”
In 2009, they again separated. By 2013, both realized that their differences cannot be reconciled, hence filed for a divorce. As a settlement, Gokul’s father provided for his education and a house of him and his Amma. She started working as a librarian to fend for herself and Gokul.
“The day I left the house holding my mother’s hand, I promised myself that I would make this (remarriage) happen. She sacrificed her youth for me, but there’s so much more to life, and I am happy that she can now explore it. I did not want this to be a secret, so I shared,” his post reads.
Re-marriage is still considered a taboo, at least in most rural areas. However, that did not deter Gokul from either looking for a groom for his mother or sharing her story with the world. “I was always worried that after I get a job somewhere else, she would be alone,” he sighed. This worry took him to his mother’s colleague who suggested the match with K Venu, a widower and a retired army colonel with two grown-up children settled out of Kerela. When he suggested his mother about it, it’s no surprise that she flatly refused. “Like anybody, this was also hard for her. But with the help of other family members, we were eventually able to convince her,” he exclaims.
Over-joyed, he made arrangements for a low-key wedding for his mother. Imagine, a son getting his mother married! While he was sceptical about initially sharing this story because of the burns his mother might have to face, he did so nonetheless to inspire many more people to break the shackles of an unhappy marriage and choose happiness. To his surprise, as soon as he shared the post, it became viral. He did not get even a single negative comment on his story. If anything, people were showering praises over his maturity, love, and courage at a young age of just 23!
“I never thought that this would garner so much attention and appreciation. There have been several people who shared their experiences and dreams of getting their single parents married as well,” he says.
Most of the time we hear about parents turning into warriors for their children’s happiness. Here we have a story of a child turning the knight in shining armour for his mother. It indeed speaks a lot on how we, as a society are moving in the right direction.