Rupa,a young woman of 32 yrs,came to Sahyog for a problem raging in her joint family consisting of her F.I.L,M.I.L,her husband Prakash,she herself,their two children,two younger brothers of her husband and the middle brother Rajesh's wife Sita.Though not very educated,Rupa was highly competent & self assured--one who will take charge of any situation.
The problem concerned Rajesh and Sita, who had been married for three years.Both of them were Hr.Sec.Rupa told me that Sita was a very good girl and things went smoothly for 2 yrs,interspersed with minor disagreements which are common to all couples.They had one child and another was on the way.One fine day Sita came to Rupa and told her that she was going back to her paternal home and she went away without taking anything with her.They tried to get her back but she refused point blank.Her parents supported her fully.Rupa and her family were mystified about this behavior of hers.They could not guess why she had done this and what she wanted.
Sita came from a poor family-all of them used to make paper bags at home to make ends meet.She had four sisters,two of whom were married but living with the parents only.Now Sita too,had joined them, but her parents took no steps to resolve the conflict.They had given Rs 20,000 to the boy's family at the time of marriage.Rupa and co. offered to return this sum in order to ease their situation but they declined the offer.Contrary to the general trend,they did not initiate any legal case against Rajesh or his family for torture or dowry demands.
I was perplexed by the whole scene.Firstly it was very unusual for a D.IL to approach a counselor for a rift between her B.IL and his wife when he himself,his elder brother and his parents-all were available.Looking at their family background and the prevalent culture,this was very off-beat.
Secondly,without any demand from Sita's side,they offered to return the dowry amount .Why?
Sita's behavior,as that of her parents,was no less enigmatic--no violent accusations or attempts at rapprochement.
However i put aside all my doubts and decided to proceed further.Perhaps all answers lay in the womb of the next sessions.The next logical thing was to talk to Rajesh.I asked Rupa to send him over the next day.
To be continued