Monday, March 15, 2010

Questionable Success

26 year old Guddi is married to Rauf for the past thirteen years. Both hate each other’s guts. Rauf has victimized his wife through physical and emotional trauma. Guddi suspects her husband of having physical relations with his sister. Guddi is suicidal and desperate for change. It’s a big, hot mess, and we were a part of it.

Taraji was invited to a seminar at the National Law University in Jodhpur. We accompanied her along with Bhatnagarji and Rajkumarji, two advocates that have been working with Taraji pro bono. They event went well but ran a bit late. Hence, it was decided that we would drop by the town of Byavar to visit Guddi.

On the night of March 13 I listened to a heated discussion on Guddi's frustration; I chose to stay silent, believing I held no right to interfere in her personal business. We slept at 2 am and woke up six hours later, only to continue the arguments on what was best for Guddi. At 3 pm we headed to Guddi's home. There, we held a meeting with all parties involved, including Rauf. Voices roared and placated, accused and defended, deviated and re-convened. Three excruciating hours, after which Taraji got up and walked out. The result? Guddi was still trapped in a vicious marriage. Rauf still claimed he couldn't live without his sister. Was this the solution? I felt we should've taken Guddi with us back to Bhilwara, away from the hell she was living in. My mind was bubbling with thoughts and questions; remnants of earlier discussion echoed in my mind as we drove back to Bhilwara:

She needs to learn how to respect her husband.

He hasn't been home for a month now.

She locks me out of the house where am I supposed to go at night?

I only locked the door on nights he beat me with a cricket bat. I was afraid he would hit me again.

Initially, I deemed it all unsuccessful, this chaotic back-and-forth. After a few hours of deliberation I figured Taraji's decision was satisfactory. Rauf's father was recently diagnosed with prostrate cancer. Guddu's leaving the family during this juncture would be a point of no return for her. Furthermore, the three hours of counselling put significant pressure on Rauf to swallow his male chauvinistic ego and provide emotional support to his wife and their two sons. Also, the children's examinations were underway. Going to Bhilwara would waste a year of education. Lastly, through discussions with Guddi her mental state was now stable. She would not commit suicide. So far, all of my experiences with Taraji's work were labelled with tags of justice and better lives. This experience was not one of them. I learned not all successes are black and white.


  1. is this the end of the story or there is more to it?

  2. i like this post a lot. a lot a lot. especially your concluding last line... makes the world of a difference in analyzing reality and measuring success.