Illustration by Sorit
The Secret Diary of Balika Vadhu
Anandi Singh
Neither Hema Malini in Seeta aur Geeta nor Sridevi in Chaalbaaz did half of what I did in fighting the system.
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Finally it’s over, I mean, nearly over. I am married now, the ceremony went on for nearly 15 days and now the ‘bidai’ ceremony is on, during which, so far, I have shed seven litres of tears. I don’t know how the ‘bidai’ will end and whether I’ll safely reach my husband’s home. Going by my eventful life, some gadbad is bound to happen. Already, my ex-husband Jagya (repentant and now in jail) has tried to frame my present husband, Collectorsaab (as I call him), and send him to jail. I have an obnoxious sister-in-law who’s likely to remain a pain in my neck for quite some time. When everything seems settled, unexpected tragedies happen to me. Who knows, during the ‘bidai’ a chandelier may fall on my head, I will be rushed to hospital, where with the help of the jealous doctor who’s my ex-husband’s wife, the evil sister-in-law will have me declared wrongly dead. That will call for the shedding of another 150 litres of tears. How will I survive this ordeal? Only my guardian ‘sponsors’ can say.

Life is so confusing. No one remembers the original theme of child brides, my life has taken so many turns—“child marriage, dadi’s harassment, Jagya’s tantrums, parents’ sufferings—no wonder my life story Balika Vadhu has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the record quantities of tears shed—88,000 litres so far. The Guinness people were so nice, they presented me with a gold-plated bucket to collect my future tears. I had to make so many adjustments, take on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde avatars. At home, I am the long-suffering bahu, meekly accepting all sorts of injustice. Dadima was really an old bitch but I had to massage her legs and prepare her masala chai though I really wanted to strangle her when she stopped me from going to school and asked me to burn my schoolbooks. As the obedient bahu I had to do it, though I was boiling inside. Mind you, I have another avatar where, outside the home, I fought kidnappers, challenged corrupt MLAs, exposed superstition, stopped child marriages. Heck, neither Hema Malini in Seeta aur Geeta nor Sridevi in Chaalbaaz did half of what I did in fighting the system.

But I have paid the price. My shoulders and back ache constantly because of the weight of my heavy ghagra choli outfits. I have become slightly bent over with all the jewellery I am forced to wear. My brain is dulled teaching the village idiots. How long can I go on calling my husband ‘Collectorsaab’? O, how I would love to prance around in a bikini and watch the reactions of Collectorsaab and Dadima. Still, let me focus on my achievements. The Rajasthan government is erecting my statue and the Union ministry of panchayati raj is to institute an Anandi Singh trophy for the country’s best sarpanch. And I will be around for the next 25 years though life will be easier without that Dadima.


The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com

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