For years now, especially since the advent of social media, we have been fed with one sided sob narratives, largely from the women because somewhere our society and it’s conscience is easily shaken only by the miseries of woman-folk.
Unfortunately, in the bargain, we completely ignore that there can be an equally painful story from the ‘other side’ which no one wants to share, publish or project.
One such post by Humans of Bombay shared on their Facebook page dated June 4 went viral. The post had an image of the young wife narrating her ordeal and was liked and shared several times. But hold on…….this was just ‘Her Side’ ‘Her Story’.
Mangesh Kadu, brother of her deceased husband has now taken to Facebook from his personal account and narrated every bit of what he and his parents have gone through in the bargain.
Background: Recently married couple had an unforeseen event where the husband met with an accident and went into coma indefinitely. After being with him for two months, when the wife learnt how he will never recover, she left him and returned to building her personal life again.
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The husband’s brother has clearly stated how he and his family couldn’t question her choice of ending the relationship with his brother in coma, but slammed her for gaining online sympathy after the man has already passed away.
Kadu says she had all the right to leave and her bond with his brother ended the day she left. What is the point of faking pain now and tarnishing the image of his family? He asks her politely to move on…
As Narrated By Wife To ‘Humans of Bombay’
I didn’t believe in love at first sight until I met Utkarsh. After our first date itself, we said we’d get married once we turned 26. I was in Bangalore and he was in Hyderabad but within a few weeks, he asked his company for a transfer and moved to be with me.
We decided to get married right away– we didn’t want to wait until we were 26! But 1.5 months into the marriage, he had a bike accident and injured his head. I rushed to the hospital– the doctors told me that he’d slipped into an irreversible coma. I was shattered. But I had hope that he’d wake up. So I spent 3 months in the ICU talking to him for hours everyday, but he didn’t even blink.
It got worse when my in-laws wanted me to give up eating my favourite foods, chant a mantra 108 times everyday and go back to the spot of the accident to do a puja. Most of all, they wanted me to give up my job and move permanently to take care of him.
After speaking to the doctors, I realised he wasn’t going to wake up. That’s when I knew I had to move back to my hometown, continue my career, and try moving on with my life. I was 26 at the time.
My in-laws were furious– they blamed me for his condition. They said, ‘You could have taken better care of him’, ‘You aren’t fasting or praying enough’, ‘You don’t love him.’ It wasn’t just my in-laws. After I moved back, society looked down upon me. Relatives said, ‘This is the problem with this generation, there’s no commitment.’ My in-laws also started spreading rumours about me– they said that I was ‘sleeping around’ and that I just wanted a ‘new husband’.
Finally they called and said that he’d woken up and was asking for me. I don’t know if they were imagining it or lying to me, but I packed my bags immediately and went to see him–he was the same. A few months later, he passed away.
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It’s been 3 months now– losing him has been the most heartbreaking thing I’ve had to go through. He was the love of my life– we’d planned so many things but we didn’t even get a chance at our life together.
I tell myself that I have to carry on, as hard as it is. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m giving it my all at work and I’m writing and dancing to cope.
I still get flashes of him everyday which make my heart ache and lead to sleepless nights. But I’m trying to get to a place where I can look back on our time together, and smile. No matter what they say, I loved him, and just because I chose ‘me’ doesn’t mean I didn’t choose him– I still love him.
Interestingly, the woman names her husband but chooses to keep her identity undisclosed.
Brother’s Version Calling Out Woman’s One Sided Story (June 5)
An Open letter by a brother.
This is in response to the claims made in the Humans of Bombay post; the link which is in a comment below. Read it first, followed by this post.
When it was told to me for the first time that Utkarsh will never be the same again and you are considering leaving him, it was too much for me to grasp at once and it took me several weeks to unravel the whole thing. While my brother was lying in the hospital, everyone had an opinion on whether you are doing the right thing. It was an impossibly tough spot to be in and it is gut-wrenching, even for the sake of an argument, to put myself, my sister or someone else in that spot and think “What would I have done if I was in her place”. And yet, you were there.
The opinions ranged from “How can she even think of leaving?” to your own opinion of leaving him after 2 months of the accident. We never judged you for leaving. Because as I said, we just could not. After several discussions with family and friends, we thought, at the end of the day, if you strip away the traditional values versus new generation, the expectations from society, and other external factors, what matters is your commitment to your self and what do YOU mean when you say you still “love” Utkarsh. What did you mean when you married him and committed to him for a lifetime of ups and downs. How much of your Life – and that includes your career, lifestyle, your time, and effort- are you willing to give up for a person when you, with your own independent mind commit to that person?
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Everyone has their breaking point at which they say – “Enough. I can’t do this anymore.” And yours came when it came. No one can exactly comment on that when they haven’t gone through that experience. But it did come. And you left when you left. But when you left, you broke that commitment with Utkarsh. You were no longer his partner. And you posted “Amidst the pressing questions of why I’m not the grieving wife, I’ve realised that it’s more important to rebuild my life”. You did not want to be the grieving wife when he was fighting. But you are doing that now, when he is gone. When you left, I thought it meant that you took Utkarsh out of your life and “moved on” as you so wanted to do. But now, you seem to be crafting bit by bit this entire narrative of your life with Utkarsh, the accident, and how much you suffered. How much only you suffered, not his parents, not his sister, and not us.
While you were rebuilding and having sleepless nights and moving on and loving him from 800 km away without so much as a single phone call to check his condition (I am sure you got updates from your Dad), his parents were nursing him day and night. They literally had to get up several times a night to check if everything is fine with him in spite of the nurse whom they had hired. They urged you from their hearts to if not stay, at least visit Utkarsh. Mavshi actually said that she felt you would show up for his birthday as a surprise. But you did not. And we did not feel you were wrong there. Mavshi to this day believes that he would have improved if you were with them in Nagpur. But that is again a question of belief. To each, his own.
We do appreciate your love and concern in the first two months after the accident. Before we knew that he is probably never going to be the same. But his parents nursed him for 5 months after you left. They did not have the luxury to rebuild and move on. They had to see him bleed. And see his pain when he was incapable of even screaming in his pain.
His parents wanted to try absolutely everything ranging from doctors to temples to prayers to save their boy as would every parent. You might have different beliefs regarding prayers and fasting and that is fine. Yeah I guess. Asking you to fast and to chant was encroaching on your personal liberties. Which you had ample of even when Utkarsh was in the hospital. And believe me, wherever that “new husband” rumour came from, it was not from his parents. They were maxed out physically and mentally. Did not have the time, energy, or the inclination to start a targeted rumour. Whatever they might have said came from the anguish of seeing their daughter-in-law leave their son. Of not being able to give that much more of a comfort and chance to him.
And when they did call you saying that he woke up, that was because, after months of assisted breathing, he was able to breathe without a machine. Was opening eyes and we like to believe, recognising people. Of course, when I visited, he wanted to speak. He would lock his eyes on me and try to speak. It was visible that even that effort of trying to speak hurt him immensely because of the breathing tube that was attached to his throat. When I bid him goodbye, I said “Next time I will not visit you. You will visit me.”. He stared at me, tears welling up in his eyes. So when you say he did not feel anything, it is not true. I am sure he sensed you were not around, but alas could not even speak up. Just shed tears, which his parents would wipe.
His friends came and tried to get more of a reaction from him by talking to him on video calls, visiting, playing live music to him. All in hopes of making him better. We could not give up. Not when there was even the tiniest bit of evidence of improvement. His parents called you for him. Not to interrupt your rebuilding journey. You who had committed willingly to marry their son.
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Coming to why I am saying all this – we let you go. We are still grieving. His parents are still grieving and will continue to do so for a lifetime. But your posts keep coming back to us and them through friends and relatives. And each time, depending on their own opinions on the subject, it is like poking a wound that is still open. I know this post will get buried while you painstakingly and with expertise “express” your narrative to the world. Because you have always been a social person, why should you change now? Why should the pain that your words cause us stop you from expressing yourself? And I cannot give my opinion for everything on your Facebook or IG or your Medium blog.
But as see it, you lost your right on Utkarsh when you left him. You stopped being his partner. And I do not fault you for leaving him. You have every right to be happy. But just to spare us the additional pain, I urge you to consider actually moving on and filling your life with things where Utkarsh is not involved. Believe me, I am not going in search of what you post. It comes back to me, my cousins, his parents and his sister through concerned friends and family. So maybe consider giving up a bit of your personal freedom and not talk about Utkarsh. Because you did willingly give up that freedom when you left him. You decided to “go on with a life without him” – your words. So please, please do that. We don’t want or expect anything more from you. Please move on.
PS: You have made me question all the Humans of ABC posts I used to see. You have made me realize that in today’s world, the narrative is everything and truth is subjective and muddy.
Every coin has two sides. One can always be right from their own perspective and without having any guilt. But when you decide to slam the other side on social media because you have given a clean chit to yourself, it is important for portals like us to play our part and publish the alternate version.
Humans of Bombay could have been more Human by publishing both sides of the story, especially when the husband in this case is no longer here to defend his family.