Ruchi felt at times that life had lost all meaning for her. Even the thought of her three year old daughter could not bring her out of the morass of depression she found herself sinking into. Her husband was abusive, a fact she had discovered only after marriage.
She had been a divorcee with a small daughter when Rajat, her current husband, had met her. They met at the same office where they worked, in Hyderabad. When she had met him, Rajat had come across as a gentle, shy person and Ruchi had taken instantly to him. Her first marriage had broken due to her aggressive in-laws and a lot of interference from them in her married life. The family had been disinterested in having anything to do with a girl child so the divorce and custody issue had gone off smoothly. Rajat’s gentleness had been a refreshing contrast to the aggression she had faced the first time round.
Ruchi and Rajat were working on the same floor in the office when they became friends. One day, Rajat asked her to marry him. Despite warnings from his family who met Ruchi and cautioned her about Rajat’s real nature, Ruchi decided to accept the proposal. She presumed Rajat’s family was opposed to the marriage because she was a burden—after all, she was a divorcee with a child.
On a cold, wintry morning, Rajat and Ruchi signed the register before the Magistrate and had a court marriage, with little Anya in tow. For Anya, it was one big celebratory party. A reception was held in the evening for all their colleagues.
The first slap came on the wedding night. Ruchi had smilingly asked Rajat an innocuous question about the guests at the reception. She was stunned when Rajat raised his hand. Suddenly, the words of his family flashed into her mind.
Gradually the violence assumed a pattern. Any little thing could trigger it off. Ruchi started living on edge. A word here, a smile there, and a slap would follow. The stress started taking its toll. Rajat would control what she wore, what she ate, whom she spoke to, whether she smiled when she opened the door to him, every little gesture and action would be scrutinised and viewed with suspicion.
Ruchi often thought of committing suicide. She could not visualise spending the rest of her life like this.
One day a colleague in office suggested that she meet Mr Raghu Ram, who was known to be a spiritually evolved person, and much respected. It was Ruchi’s birthday. Along with Rajat, she set off to meet him in the evening. They searched for the address and found themselves outside a place that looked rather like a jungle. Amidst the clearing, they saw a small brick structure. Hesitantly, they walked towards it. A man with a white, flowing beard and wearing a dhoti was sitting in an armchair on the porch. He looked up with twinkling eyes and addressed Rajat.
“Young man,” he said, “why do you hit her?”
Rajat and Ruchi were astounded. How did he know? Rajat left sheepishly to pick up the birthday dinner and Ruchi sat with Mr Raghu Ram.
“Your husband has a history of violence and insanity in his family. He hid it from you. If you delve into his past, you will find that his grandfather died of insanity,” said Mr Raghu Ram, “but don’t despair. Why are thoughts of suicide coming into your mind?”
Taking Ruchi by the hand he led her into his puja room. “Start worshipping Shirdi Sai Baba,” he said, and showed Ruchi the photo. This was the first time Ruchi saw Sai Baba. She felt as if an invisible hand had passed over her head. She was mesmerised by the photo.
“Go to the Shirdi temple here. The answers will come to you,” he advised her.
The next day Ruchi, with Anya, visited Sai Baba’s temple for the first time.
The moment she entered, she saw a sign saying,
‘Whatever is, is His will
We have to obey.’
Meeting Mr Raghu Ram was the turning point in Ruchi’s life. Her faith in this messiah sent by Sai Baba began to grow. She began to see a light at the end of the tunnel and developed the faith that Baba would extricate her from this pit of grief and endless violence.
As advised by Mr Raghu Ram, she started reading the Sai Satcharitra and the Sai Gita daily. Her visits to Mr Raghu Ram increased. He encouraged her faith in Baba, reiterating that Baba would rescue her from this situation.
Ruchi kept her faith alive.
She applied for a transfer to Delhi where her family was based, hoping to quietly leave without Rajat knowing, until it was too late. Unfortunately, because they were in the same office, Rajat got to know about her application and put in a transfer for himself too. The result was that within a few months, Ruchi found herself in a new city with Rajat in tow. The nightmare seemed never-ending. But Ruchi refused to give up. She discovered that there was a huge Sai Baba mandir on her way to office. Ruchi started stopping at the mandir daily. She would spend 10 minutes sitting there and beseeching Baba to help her out.
For a while it seemed that her prayers were going unanswered. The violence escalated. Rajat was not deterred even by the presence of Ruchi’s family in the same city. Things seemed worse than ever. Ruchi continued with her prayers and visits to the mandir. She believed with all her heart that Baba had a plan in mind.
One day, her boss called her. He had heard rumours about the abuse Ruchi was facing and he wanted to verify it. Ruchi poured out her heart to him. Her boss was shocked. A man of compassion, he decided to address the situation. Within a couple of weeks Rajat received his transfer orders to Kolkata. Along with a promotion, which was conditional upon him giving a divorce. Things were put into motion and within a few weeks Ruchi and Anya saw the last of the man who had made their life hell for one full decade.
Those were not the times when divorces or separation was common. Ruchi needed courage and faith, and once her mind was fully made up, she received guidance from the Divine Power itself. Baba, indeed, responded to her faith in Him, and planned things beautifully.
Today, Ruchi is a happy grandmother, much at peace and in command of her life.
Jai Sai Ram