Storm raged in our kitchen.
I was yelling “How dare you?”
I had slapped her.
She had called me an incompetent coward and pushed me.
Just.. One.. Tight.. Slap..
Her eyes widened and filled up in a flash.
Tears refused to cross the borders that were her eyelids.
Those eyes simply asked
“How could you?”
Those waiting tears melted me.
“I did not mean to. I love you.”
I held her face in my hands.
The tears sparkled..
In both pairs of eyes.
Hers still hesitant to cross borders.
Months rolled crawled by.
The slap had multiplied – unfettered as an amoeba.
The tears had dried up.
She had started to keep distance..
I had begun to wonder..
If silence is here, where are the koo-chi-koos?
I had learned to secretly check her phone and Gmail.
She had learned to wipe them clean.
“Where is he right now?”
I asked, post-coitus.
“Behind those closed eye-lids?” I searched.
The said eye-lids opened in a hurry.
As if to quickly unveil an image – my image.
But the eyes showed nothing.. said nothing.
Not even a “How dare you?”!!!
“I knew it”
Never again did we eat under one roof.
Talk we did..
At the family court.
Deep inside, I knew I had no justification for my violence..
Both physical and emotional.
“I have always been a nice, sensitive guy.”
“Heck, that is why she fell for me.”
“How could this smart woman not have recognized a psycho if I had always been one, huh?”
“She turned me into one – Obviously!”
“With her head-strong feminism and selfish greed for her so called freedom!”
“Is this the prize I get for loving her so blindly?”
She left me.
The court let her go.
Without explaining anything.
No one explained anything.
“Arrrrgh… This world, the law, these feminist bitches.. “
“Everything is anti-male, anti-marriage. Dooms day isn’t far off.”
I hear many voices now.
I see many visuals.
I recognize domestic violence now.
It is never ‘just a slap’..
It is ‘One Slap’..
And much more.
Bollywood was mistaken.
‘One Slap’ can never ‘correct’ a ‘misguided woman’.
‘One Slap’ can only hurt a woman.
It burns the skin, punctures the ego, stings the self-esteem.
Exactly the way it does to a man!
My parents had blundered..
By never demonstrating how to end fights..
Without a “..to be continued. Exciting episode tomorrow. Don’t miss it.”.
I had been naive.
Ignorant enough to believe..
That to love is to possess – complete ownership.
That domestic violence does not happen in ‘normal households’.
That I knew very well to control my temper and express anger in a civil way.
That the articles highlighting women’s issues were clichéd!
That I need not learn about such issues.
That it won’t happen to me!
Should she have been patient?
Explained it to me?
Waited for me to see reason?
Nah.. That would be expecting too much.
She isn’t obligated, is she?
To educate a grown-man who refuses to even attend class?
At the expense of her own peace of mind?
Sigh.. It was just too late.
A raging mind can not be reasoned to.
She deserved better.
I needed to be educated.
This education had happened earlier..
Say, ten years back?
Then, that would not have happened..
That One Slap.