Saavni pouted her lips, and smeared a generous layer of lip gloss, touched up her blush and kohl-lined her doe eyes. Staring at her reflection in the mirror she smiled encouragingly.
“Not bad! I think you look passably good.” She patted herself.
“Saaaavniiiiii!” Her mother’s umpteenth call made her scurry. “Be quick! They’ll be here any minute.” She quickly donned the heavily embroidered and sequined salwar kameez kept aside by her mom. Wear this, it will deflect the attention, she had said rather bluntly.
She rushed to the kitchen waiting for her cue. Merry laughter and greetings could be heard from the living room. The teacups clinked nervously, as she approached the gathering. The prospective groom, his parents and a few assorted relatives claimed all available sitting surfaces leaving her parents standing awkwardly.
“This is our Saavni.” Mom beamed and ushered her forward.
“She has done her M.A in Lit….”
She looks different than her photo.
-rather short and round
Acne-marks! A tad darker..
“…won many medals and prizes for her writings.” Her mother completed the sales pitch in one breath. But unfortunately, it drowned in the whispered remarks passed on her. Saavni rolled her eyes in exasperation. Being used to the blatant stares, narrowed eyes and hasty judgements, she mentally crossed out groom number nine.
That night she sat in front of her mirror wiping the traces of makeup. Her dull, downcast eyes drew her attention.
You seem different!
Who are you? A pitiful girl hiding behind layers of makeup to attract a marital alliance or the bold, confident girl with million dreams in her eyes. We do not recognize you anymore. They seemed to scoff at her.
She took a steadying breath, held her gaze and made a promise to herself.
The next weekend, as her parents anxiously greeted groom number ten and his parents, Saavni applied the final touch to her new look. The polite humdrum of chatter ceased as she made a grand entry. Every eyeball was riveted on her. A collective intake of breath was the only sound to be heard.
Dressed in her coziest sweatshirt, her hair tied up in a messy bun, a face sans makeup and with her thick-rimmed glasses perched on her nose, she smiled widely. A genuine smile that lit up her entire face.
“Hi, I am Saavni. I have done my M.A in Literature. I speak seven languages and can cook to save my life. I am 5 feet petit and round in shape. My skin is acne prone and dusky. I snore and burp aloud. I am a blogger and a volunteer at a pet shelter. I am healthy, happy, and humane. This is me, the real me. Unfiltered, unadorned and unabashedly imperfect.” She announced with a flourish.
Her mother swooned, but groom number ten barked out a laugh punctuating the silence.
“You are refreshingly different! Hi, I am Samar and I’m pleased to meet the real you.”
Saavni’s eyes twinkled with joy.
Salwar kameez – An Indian ethnic attire
M.A – Master of Arts
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