Sakhi's Laghukatha

Yes

Posted on: February 21, 2011

“Why are you not ready yet?” shouted Meenu’s mother with irritation. Meenu’s eyes welled up yet again. She was going to be subjected to the torture once again. She went into her room and stood in front of the mirror to assess herself, which she did a lot more often these days.

What she saw was not comforting, especially just minutes before the prospective groom’s arrival. She heaved a deep sigh and started getting ready for the circus. She took out a mustard coloured kurti with crimpson patyala salwaar and crimson dupatta with golden border. It was a beautiful dress and accentuated her pleasingly plump frame. She put a small red bindi between her well shaped eyebrows, applied a little lipstick and let her beautiful, dark, long tresses loose. She appraised her reflection in the mirror again and smiled a bit. “Not bad”, she thought.

As soon as her mother saw her, annoyance showed on her face again.

“How many times have I told you not to wear such bright clothes! Look at your colour…” she scoffed her off.

Meenu tried not to be perturbed, and in any case, this was not the first time that she was ridiculed by her mother. She always sought her mother’s approval and the quest continued in adulthood, though in vain. She stood there with downcast eyes which made her mother even more irritated.

“Now just don’t stand on my head and hope that this man likes you else…” her voice trailed off as she rushed to open the door. Her mother’s voice modulated to a sweet melody as she received the guests.

Meenu knew the routine by now. She had to wait till she was called for and go with downcast eyes and not to speak much. She sighed again and looked up as if asking God, why he had chosen her for such torture. She shook her head in resignation.

She used to be such a happy child. Her mother was always like this but her father loved her a lot. He used to make up for all the hurt her mother bestowed upon her. He never compared her with anyone. He loved her as she was and she basked under his love. She was an intelligent child too, did well in school and went on to become an engineer. Her father was ecstatic when she won gold medals in university examinations. Her mother was hard to please though. She could never come to love her. She chided her father for his affection for their ugly duckling.

“All these medals and certificate will not help in marrying her off!” Meenu had heard this line so many times that it lost its edge, so to speak. Her father would kindly smile or wink or make faces after her mother to make her smile. It was also his way of telling her that don’t take her seriously, you are doing fine. And her heart would swell with love for her father. He would hug her and they would go on to discuss something about current affairs or politics or something silly as which boy was after which girl in the college or how stupid boys were! They would laugh together and her mother’s venomous words would be drowned in their love.

Meenu was awakened from her reverie by her mother’s harsh voice.

“What are you doing standing like a wooden doll?” Meenu smirked at the word “doll” and followed her mother to the lounge.

Even though she was told to keep her eyes downcast, she stole a look at the prospective groom and she froze in her track. Was this a joke? Had he not seen her picture before coming over (she no longer looked at the pictures since she thought it was a futile exercise)? What was the problem with him?

Her heart started beating faster. He looked like a Greek God to her. He was fair and handsome, polite and soft spoken. She cursed herself for not looking at his biodata. She hoped he was not just good looking. As she was floating in the air, her eyes fell on her mother and her jeering look brought her down on earth. She looked at the man in front of her and compared herself with him mentally.

“What is point of coming here and mocking me? One look at me and he will be out of this house. Why insult a girl like that?”

But by the look of it, he was still having polite conversation with her father and stealing looks too. He did not seem like he is going to run away. Their eyes met and he smiled softly at her. Meenu’s pulse quickened and she blushed. His smile broadened at her discomfort.

“Did he make out that I am blushing? Oh come on, Meenu, whom are you kidding? With your colour? Keep your feet firmly on the ground.” she reprimanded herself mentally.

She was startled when she heard her name. He was standing and she knew the meeting was over. As usual she was rejected because she did not fall in the conventional category of being beautiful. No one noticed her delicate features, beautiful coal lined eyes or long, flowing dark hair. No one was interested in her intelligence. It did not matter that she was witty and could make a guy laugh till tears ran down his cheeks. It did not matter how beautiful she was from inside. All that mattered was that she was chubby and dark. She had all the qualities to make a good wife, she had it in herself to turn a house into home, but no one was bothered about it. Her eyes welled up again and she sat there with her head bowed.

She was startled again at her mother’s sweet voice calling her and she looked up to see that he was still standing and looking at her with a quizzical look on his face.

“Shall we?” he asked. She was bewildered as to what was going on. She looked at her father and he smiled at her with his usual soft smile. “Go, talk to him” he nudged her towards him.

More that surprised, she was shocked at the turn of events. “He really wants to talk to me? ME?” she could not believe it but here she was, following him in their garden to find a suitable place to talk.

What followed was unbelievable to her. She could not believe her luck. They talked as if they knew each other always. They seem to share common tastes in music, books and even food. It seemed like a fairytale to her, too good to be true!

“I think I am fine with this match. What do you think?” he asked her. She could not believe her ears. When she did not reply, he went on.

“I can understand if you do not want to answer right away. You do need to sort out by yourself if you would want to spend your entire life with a stranger. A stranger who has a three year old paraplegic daughter!”

In the last two minutes, this was the second time that she could not believe her ears. What did he just say? A three year old paraplegic daughter?

He was saying something and stopped in mid sentence when he saw her shocked face.

“You knew about my daughter, didn’t you? I had told your parents at the off-set.”

She was no longer with him.

She wanted to look into her father’s eyes just once before saying yes.

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31 Responses to "Yes"

Once again, a tour de force piece Sakhi.
I loved the way you unravel the feminine mind, her emotions…the beauty within.

This one is one of the best… :) It was worth the wait!

Thank you so very much swaps :)

:( Sigh! Very very well written Sakhi!

Thanks swaram. Isn’t it a shame that girls still face these problems in society!! :(

Wow! I agree with swaps.
Think this is the best of all your stories!
Amazing work!

thank you Priya :) Words like this make me write more :)

I hope u mean it.. :)

you are indeed excellent writer !!!

Really liked, the way you put her emotions, thoughts and at the same time, mind-set of today’s youth.
worth waiting till end..

It is more about the mindset of the earlier generation… i.e. her parents. She just did what her parents, especially her father wanted! :(

Not marrying, even if she is fully capable of sustaining herself, is not a choice at all (or not considered!)

Why subject girls to such humiliation is beyond me… but then, that’s life!

And life is a bitch!! Sigh!

Sorry bud life is not a bitch we people make it a bitch. Sometimes we are subject and sometimes we are the cause … I have visited your blog after very long time and really glad to see all new additions… keep it up I will make you a business offer when your blog hits 100000 clicks in a year ;)

How sweet JB… i will wait for that offer :P :D

Welcome back to my blog world :)

Very well written ..loved the last line

why didn’t her parents tell her if they knew that he already had a daughter? it makes me feel like.. they didn’t feel she was good enough so they set her up with him.

It’s another thing that they actually did end up liking each other. But I wonder what was in the parents’ mind.

Jo likhne ke liye niche scroll kiya tha wohi likhna bhul gayi.. :D

Very very well written :) :) :)

Thank you so very much :)

Best one so far…. :)
It took me some time to understand what exactly she felt in the end. And I am still not sure if I got it right.

As usual, I forwarded your story to my friends who do not have internet in office and got their replies. Posting comment here on her behalf: “I like this one better than anything else she wrote before which I read… conceptually…”

Also I had a long discussion with one of my friends about the way girl was treated and what she must have felt about it. I need some clarification from your side: Why her parents did not tell her in first place? Why trick her into it?
My guess is that the girl’s dad thought this ‘rishta’ is good for her and he didn’t want to cloud her thoughts with prejudices or something like that. So he simply let his daughter like the guy herself and then see the downside of that relationship. Is this right? One of my friends kept blaming girl’s parents for cheap trickery. What was your meaning when you wrote it?

Thank you so much Suda for passing my stories to your friends too :)

Will answer to their queries along with Anubha’s in the following comment. I must say that not everyone might agree to what I am going to say but those are my thoughts. So let me if there is further discussion too :)

Anubha, Suda and Suda’s friends,

Here the girl’s mother is not sympathetic to her since her childhood and she has a very narrow thinking about a girl child’s life. Child’s achievements in other fields does not matter to her since she is not good looking as per the normal standards (or her own standards!) I know that it is unfathomable that how a mother can not like her own child, but there are all sorts of people in this world. This lady is just one of those weird people… Her only motive is to get her own child off her back.

Now, coming to her father… he is like any other father who loves his child with all her short comings. But he is finally torn between his wife and child. Also he feels that if she has to get married this is a better choice, since the prospective groom has enough money to take care of his disabled child. But meenu’s father is not so progressive in thinking that marriage is not THE only goal of life. His daughter is capable enough to live her life with all the talent that she has.

Why they did not tell her about the groom’s details?

Well, her mother did not think she was worth anything and her father was ashamed of his own thoughts. He did not have guts to tell his daughter…

Why the last line?

Meenu feels betrayed by her own father… she wants to see the shame and probably remorse in her father’s eyes before she seals her fate.

Why she did not refuse the alliance?

Not coz she had fallen head over heels with this guy, but just so that she doesnt have to go through such torture again. Also she could not take her father’s stand n her stride.

I might have missed a few points here, but this is what I had in mind when I wrote this…

Love,

Sakhi

Read a story from u after such a long time!

Loved it :)

Hey smita, its nice to see you here after so long. Glad you like it.

Keep on reading your blog on google reader. As usual love it, though due to time constraint! :(

Love to ur kid :)

Sakhi I love all your stories but this one is really touching-ALL her feelings are so well captured, so is our societies’ obsession with getting the daughters married off. Even her broad minded, supportive, loving father could not climb out of that one rut. Very well written

Hope things change for better for daughters of our country!!

And I WAS wondering where you were all this while :)

Woho…. kodos to this story!! i loved it!!

Good one Sakhi!

P.S – i <3 all ur stories :P

LoL… thanks shruthi :) I am glad u like ALL my stories… u made my day.. no, night! i will sleep happy … hee..he… :)

very well written piece

wow!! would have never guessed the ending. loved the story.

Really loved this story:

Just a thought… how our upbringing or social set-up frames our thinking and makes it so rigid that you are compelled to do things that a loving and caring father would never want do to his daughter… Anyhow speaking of rigidity makes me say that if my son/daughter turns out to be gay and they want their partner to stay in my house it would be quite difficult and I might ask them to leave :) – do whatever you want to do but not in my house :p

yea, it understand what you want to say, though you are not rigid enough to tell them NOT to be with each other at all, just not at your home ;) cool!! :P :P

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Sakhi's Laghukatha by Sakhi (aka Dr. Dhara Shah) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at sakhi.laghukatha@gmail.com.

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