“थाहा छ नानी, अनिसाको त बिहे भयो रे नि।”
अनिसा, मेरो बाल्यकालको साथी, भेट जहिले त हुदैनथ्यो तर भेटेका बेला मा सङै माटाका भाडाकुटी बनाएर खेलिन्थ्यो।

She got married about three months ago, at the age of 20. I asked her about her life after marriage. She smiled and said, “खै के भन्ने।”

“You see, I’m wearing a t-shirt and trousers but you know I can’t even wear a Kurti at home, I’m just expected to wear a sari. Who said there’s no Ghumto Pratha? I have to cover my head with the ‘aachal’ of the sari all the time. I can’t talk, sit next to or even look at my fathers-in-law and brother-in-laws. I’m not even allowed to have a job despite my capability. And all that I do at home is cook and waste my time while I could have been contributing to the family’s economy. All the freedom that I had as an unmarried girl, as a daughter has been ruthlessly snatched away.”

Sanisha, her younger sister, says, “Men have started asking for my hand in marriage and when they come to see me, I can’t even look at them, the only way I can glance at the candidates’ (possible grooms’) face is when I serve them tea, else I won’t even have a chance at that. My eyes are supposed to stoop down all the time.”

“हाम्रो चौधरी समाजमा त यस्तै नै हुन्छ, अब के गर्ने त?”

“The guys demand for educated, fair-skinned and thin girls while they themselves are uneducated, very dark-skinned and fat. Despite their incompetencies, they want women as prizes that they can adorn their houses with. This is so unfair.”

“Do you remember that girl, the shopkeeper’s daughter? She was studying her 12th when she got married. Her in-laws had said that they would allow her to continue her studies, but she never was. Unfortunately, she’s now a mother of a child.”

“Anisha’s in-laws have already started pressurizing her to have kids.”

“Despite being educated, the Chaudharys won’t let their women work. They won’t grant us the freedom. Education is just another asset you possess, you’ll use your certificate to sell yourself, and become someone’s possession. They’re so narrow-minded. I don’t want to marry anytime soon, but there is a high possibility that my parents will send me off soon.”

“The saddest part is, my brothers themselves say that they’d let their girlfriends wear shorts, t-shirts, pants anything, but once their married, she would have to succumb to wearing saris. One might say that that’s just a change in clothing, no, that’s not it. It’s an entire change in lifestyle. There’s so much that I want from life, but this community will never let me achieve my dreams. If I speak up, they’ll say I’m retarded. My voices, my opinions are ramblings to them. My life goes on until I’m married and after that, I don’t think I’ll have a life.”

I don’t hope for much, I just hope that I will be able to help make their lives better, be it in the slightest way possible.