Mumbai: Woman abandoned by husband, in-laws for giving birth to a child with autism, Down syndrome
Woman files for divorce after husband, in-laws abandon her on discovering that the boy suffers from Down syndrome and autism
It was a textbook Bollywood romance — boy meets girl in college, pursues her, gives her a shoulder to cry on during difficulties at home, girl finally succumbs to boy's charms, and soon, the two marry. Just that there's no happily ever after in our story. A 31-year-old MBA graduate from the western suburbs has filed for divorce from her husband after 11 years of marriage after he and his family dumped her for giving birth to a special child.
Saying that she has been managing their child's therapy, special school and other expenses on her own, she wants "justice from court".
A fairytale start
"In 2001, I lost my father. The whole family was in trauma. It was something I couldn't get over. I met my husband in 2003, when we started pursuing our MBA. He gave me emotional support and showered me with love and affection. Soon, we started seeing each other," said the woman.
The two got married in January 2007 in the presence of his family and relatives, as the woman was afraid to tell her family about the union with the two of them belonging to different castes. Her mother came to know about the marriage after eight months, and the family accepted the couple. A small function was then arranged in October 2007.
"But soon after marriage, my husband and in-laws started harassing me, demanding gold, money and other valuables. Whenever my family would give a few items, they would stay quiet for a few days and then renew their demands," she added.
Things changed in 2010 after she gave birth to a boy — both the husband and in-laws started fawning over her. But when they found out that the baby was suffering from Down syndrome and autism, all hell broke loose. "They would call my kid 'panavti' and 'faulty piece'," she said. "My husband supported me financially only once, and emotionally never. As a mother, I tried my best to give my son therapy; all I got from my husband was affairs with other women. I had no option but to go for separation."
The former bank employee and lecturer for management courses added, "My boy is eight now. He gets disturbed if I am not around. So, I quit my job to look after him, managing expenses somehow. I hope I get justice in court."
Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and mild to moderate intellectual disability. Autism, on the other hand, is a developmental disorder characterised by troubles with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviour.
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