Back home in Kapurthala (where Aman’s parents live) we have a part time maid. Her story is no different from any of the hundreds of other maids. She is from Bihar and when poverty got the better of them, she along with her husband came to Punjab. While she works in multiple houses through the day, he squanders his time by gambling and drinking and then beating wife and children.
Among other children she has a daughter Simpy. When Aman and I got married, Simpy was a little girl of around 10 years. I remember her distinctly because of her energy and her smile. She didn’t know how old she was, just estimation. Simpy use to come home with her mom. She was pretty excited by the idea of a new bride coming into the house.
I have seen her grow a little older at each of my annual visit to Kapurthala. Last year, when I went to kapurthala my MIL told me that Simpy's marriage had been fixed. I was a little shocked considering she wouldn’t be more than 14 years. We tried talking to Simpy’s mother but to no avail. She was very happy because the groom was from their community, had a fruit stall and was well settled. She was convinced that he was a good match for her daughter. She did ensure us that this marriage was just to ensure that the children don’t wander and get lured. The idea was that even after marriage Simpy would still stay with her parents. She would only move to her in-laws house after 3-4 years when she was older and matured. (Reference here is to the practice of Gauna where the marriage is consummated after several years of the actual ceremony)
Well, when I went to Kapurthala this February I was beyond my wits when I saw Simpy. She hadn’t been coming home with her mother and with all the wedding preparations even I had completely forgotten about her. Finally when I saw her I was stunned. She was pregnant, in less than a year of her marriage. At 15 odd years, she was an expectant mother. Just looking at her broke my heart in thousand pieces. This girl-woman suddenly looked all coy and embarrassed. She will have her baby anytime now.
We spoke a lot about CSA all of last month. What do we call something like this? When will this stop? Is anyone doing anything about it?