North Stars ft. Flavia Agnes

The first time he said, “I'll beat you”, I thought he was joking.

The second time, he used a wooden spoon, there was disbelief, this couldn’t be happening to me.

The third time, the buckle of his belt broke my nose, and I was numb with despair.

No one had warned me that marriage included this.  I felt cheated.

A young bride at 21, raised by a loving aunt, Flavia had been rushed into marriage in panic. Her father had recently passed, only two out of five sisters were married, and the suitor had asked her mother for no dowry.

Beautiful but very naïve, Flavia had not been allowed to pursue education after her SSC. She followed the path set out for her, slightly comforted by the fact that the man she was to marry was well educated, handsome, with a secure job in a well-known company in Bombay.  To a small-town girl that seemed good enough to begin her life with hopes of a loving future.  So yes, the first time he said, “I’ll beat you”, she thought he was joking.

Flavia at her wedding. 1967

The story progressed predictably.  A man who had two personalities.  Warm, caring and affectionate in company.  Cooking for guests, charming his neighbours.  Curtains down and the nightmare began.

He kept telling her she was stupid, good for nothing, an idiot. There were days when Flavia would be unsure, shaken by the repeated messages.  Was he right? Was she the problem?  How come everyone else seemed to be managing their marriages better?

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naghma mulla

Owner of the loudest laugh in the room and a development sector professional by day, Naghma is a by-mistake CA, who writes what she feels and feels what she writes.