Gayatri spent all her life in Hassan, a small town on the foothills of western ghats in Karnataka. She was married at the tender age of 16 to Mahesh. Her mother threw a lavish wedding along with paying handsome dowry to Mahesh’s family.

Now in her 30’s, Gayatri finds herself more mature. The early days of marriage were daunting for her. While her in-laws were cooperative, caring, and treated like their own daughter, Mahesh was not into her. During their first night, Mahesh mentioned their arrangements.

It’s been over a decade since their wedding and, Gayatri is without babies, uncommon in our country. Their parents and in-laws visited a dozen temples, tied threads, and paid a donation to various gods for the wish to see their grandchildren.

Last week Mahesh left for Mumbai for some event. Only Gayatri knew about it. It was TV9 news, where he was seen in different attire hugging his childhood buddy and walking fearlessly. It was pride month march and, Mahesh was participating in it. It was a rude shock for his family and, everyone was crying and angry both.

Mahesh was too scared to confess his sexual preferences with the family or go against societal norms. He would have been either killed or ostracized.

I attended Gayatris’s second wedding last week, arranged by her in-laws. It was no less than their own daughter’s wedding. Her mother-in-law was furious at his son and sad about the sufferings of Gayatri. The bride looked like a goddess in her dress and ornaments all over her. She was married to one of her old friends Bhanu.

I asked her politely about this secret vow she kept between herself and Mahesh. She cursed her poverty and illiteracy for this. She wants to give her future kids a good education. They don’t have to go through something like her.