The Voice of Choice

The Voice of Choice

“May I?” He looks straight into my eyes.

The June wind wooshes, making the Ashoka trees sway. It might rain tonight.

***

At ten years of age, I was convinced something was wrong with my brain. Otherwise, why would I feel hurt when my mother enrolled me in Indian classical dance classes? Why would I feel offended that no one asked me if I wanted to learn karate instead? 

It was a collective decision of my family, that I would study commerce. A decision made after consulting everyone, including my grandfather, and his twelve sisters. At least all of his sisters who were alive then. Why did I have a lump in my throat? Why could I not be like my elder sister, wanting exactly what everyone chose for me?

I was not like my neighbour either. That girl had the guts to fight the world. I was stuck between my docile nature and my questioning mind. Rebellion, I conceded, was not gifted to all by birth. 

Our parents had nurtured us lovingly with the belief that daughters are like rivers. They move all their lives with the sole purpose of meeting the sea. I had no reason to disagree. Why then, did my mind want to cascade like a waterfall instead?

I had just turned twenty-one. The tea-serving ritual had gone better than expected. My family declared they had found my soulmate. From deciding the number of guests to the date of the wedding, from the colour of my trousseau to the three shades lighter foundation that was deemed fit for my dusky complexion; my silly mind kept note of the times I was not consulted.

To add to my woes, the would-be groom started playing games with my already messed up mind. He began insisting on knowing my opinions on the choice of jewellery and the choice of mutual funds I would like to invest in. My opinions were as befuddled as I was. They had never seen daylight before.

And then, on my first day in my new home, he inflicted irreversible damage to my sanity. He declared at the breakfast table, I was free to eat as I pleased, without bothering about social niceties with all the guests around. And then, when alone, he told me to learn to defend myself and my choices. 

He had reprimanded me, yet that doltish mind of mine insisted I was going weak in the knees.

***

“May I?” He looks straight into my eyes.

It has been a month since we stepped into this arranged marriage. We are standing on the balcony of the first floor. The full moon peeps at us coyly through turgid clouds. 

I smile as my eyes meet his. 

The June wind wooshes and the Ashoka trees sway in consent. And all my self-doubts melt away. I now know that muddled brain of mine is just fine.

As I slide my hand tentatively into his, I know – my consent matters.
________________________________
Connect with Penmancy:


________________________________

 

Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!

Latest posts by Khushboo Shah (see all)

Let us know what you think about this story.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© Penmancy 2018 All rights reserved.
%d bloggers like this: