Blessings… her point!
Posted July 2, 2009on:
Aakriti felt so agitated that Aakaash was going to be at the conference. It had been 15 years since she had seen him. 15 years since they had spoken. Since she had told him that her life was to be tied to another. It was her parents’ decision, steeped in tradition. She had hoped that Aakaash would protest – that he would fight for her. But her had just sat there with his mouth hanging open. She had waited for him to call. Hoped. And then the hope faded away. Perhaps her mother had been right – perhaps Aakaash had jut seen her as some minor amusement to pass the time – but not to marry.
But she had accepted her fate as graciously as she could. Until she discovered that her husband did not want her at all. His parents had arranged the marriage and even waived any dowry requirements, to keep a cover on their respectabilility and the fact that their son preferred men. He was gay and saw this arranged marriage as yet another rejection by his parents. He resented Aakriti, not because he had a problem with her specifically, but because of what she represented in his life. Her parents had been so thrilled that they did not have to worry about the dowry. It was something that had weighed on them for so many years, since the birth of their daughter.
So Aakriti threw herself into her work. It was her only solace. Her only outlet and escape from the realities of her personal life. And at first it worked. Her colleagues treated her with the respect due a woman, ostensibly successful in her professional and personal life. But as the years passed, and she continued to live the lie to protect her parents from the truth, to keep the facade of respectibility, it became hareder to cope with the questions of when she was going to have a baby – something she wanted so much – of her in-laws’ taunts about her barren womb, even though they knew the truth about their son. Aakriti hardened herself. If she was gruff with people at the outset, then they would not ask questions that she didn’t want to face, let alone answer.
So now, all these years later, she dressed carefully as she prepared to meet Aakaash, her one true love again. And yet as she applied her lipstick so carefully, she saw the harsh lines on her face. In place of laugh lines, there were frown lines. In place of smooth skin across high cheek bones, there was blotchy, loose skin that gathered in folds across her jowls and neck. Her face showed the ravages of so many years of trying not to care. It could not be turned back now.
And then she saw Aakaash at the conference. She felt herself light up as she observed him. She hoped to make at least the connection of friendship, after all these years. And she felt her internal light dim as his eyes moved towards her and then passed over her in complete lack of recognition. When his eyes returned to her, she saw him trying to place her and then the shock as he recognised that it was her, Aakriti. She was about to go up to him when he hurriedly excused himself and fled from the room. And she realised that he didn’t really want to see her at all.
The realisation was like a rock on her heart. And yet, she composed herself once again and found strength in her work as she had so often before. When she had her work, she didn’t need anybody and they could not hurt her in any way. She ignored Aakaash for the rest of the conference because to talk to him would be too painful. Not just for the love she had lost 15 years ago, but also for his rejection now. And she knew that her mother had been right all those years ago – Aakaash had never thought of Aakriti seriously – she had just been his play thing for a little while. And now she was finally free of all the romantic illusion that she had created for herself – and she could throw herself completely into her work.
This work is by a dear reader. She wrote this as a comment but I thought it deserved to be a full post. Thanks sioneve! 🙂