My Mother Taught Me That Life Is Not Fair, But We Must Carry The Weight

The Establishment
The Establishment
Published in
7 min readNov 17, 2016

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By Madhvi Ramani

Madhvi with her mother during her childhood in London

My mother left my father when I was 6 months old. He was an abusive alcoholic. We don’t talk about it.

However, I know certain things. Knowledge filtered down in dribs and drabs. She was 25 years old and had just moved from India to England. A new country, where she barely spoke the language. My father regularly came home drunk and beat her. She tried calling the police, but in 1980s England, domestic abuse was not considered a police matter. Once, she called my grandfather: “Come and see what your son is doing.” He came. My father hit him. That’s when she knew. One day, he would hurt me too.

To build a wall between my father and me, my mother became the first woman in our samaj, an Indian community of over 300 people, to divorce. People talked. The Punjabi woman who lived opposite us no longer acknowledged her on the street. My mother’s lawyer, a friend of my uncle, advised her to buy my father out of their flat — the flat she had paid the deposit for in the first place. My mother lost her temper. What kind of lawyer was he? My father should be paying her. And what about maintenance? Child support? The lawyer explained this was the best strategy to cut off all contact. She might have thrown something in his office. It may have broken. She took his advice.

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The Establishment
The Establishment

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