Monday, November 23, 2015

Who Wins?

Rashmi said to Ravi in anger, "I will not accept to whatever nonsense you tell me.I will speak up my opinions too, and do whatever I want to do; I don't care what others think!"

Having been raised as pampered kids in the family, and having almost no chores to do around the house, both of them had developed the habit of sticking to their bare minimum work. Not that they were indolent, they both had good jobs in their hands and were making enough money for an affordable tension free life. Alas, they were two souls but one.

"What should I do? Should I let go? Why should I let go? Why can't he let go?" These random thoughts had been crossing Rashmi's mind a lot these days. Feminism had taken a toll on her personality. She was part of the era where women, their position in society, their roles and responsibilities were changing fast. She found it fascinating to be independent, and a part of this change, which society and media had chosen to be their favourite hyped topic. Feminism has been as spicy as terrorism. Both have victims & culprits, and who is who... you never know the complete picture!

Rashmi decided to take off from work and this disturbing life for a few days and stay at her Mom's place. She wanted to stay away from Ravi, for both of them to take some time to think where were they going wrong.

Ravi was equally disturbed. He never intentionally posted his opinions on Rashmi, but he had accepted that they both wanted the same thing, but sadly in different ways. Even after this last argument, he tried stopping her from leaving, but she was adamant.

"Hey there, my princess." said Rashmi's father who had come to pick her up at the airport.As soon as she heard his voice, she immediately forgot Ravi and all her worries.

Rashmi shouted from the entrance, "What's cooking, mom?"
"It's your favourite Daal-Baati, as always" said Rashmi's mother as soon as she entered the corridor. Her mother hugged her tightly and kissed her on her forehead.

Slowly she took her inside the kitchen and whispered, "Is everything alright between you and Ravi? Why this sudden visit?" She looked tensed.

Rashmi, gasping as much air as she could in one go, taking a deep breath, said "What Ma, now don't act like a spy. Everything is fine. Ravi wanted to come, but due to some urgent meeting, he had to cancel the plan."
"Okay, if your are saying, I will agree." - said her mother smiling.

Rashmi felt relieved.

"By the way, this is such a coincidence that you are here today. We have finalized a very nice match for our Priya and tomorrow itself we are planning to have their engagement. Now, even you will get to meet her. She was dying to see you."

"Oh my god Ma... that's such an icing on the cake! Priya did tell me some stuff about this whole chapter but oh, she dint tell me she said 'yes' to someone!" with frowned eyes Rashmi said.

"Beta, you know her na. She doesn't do anything without her parent's concern. May be Mama had told her to keep mum with this news, until everything was decided."

"Offo... why is she so fiercely obedient. Doesn't she have any say in anything?"

"Rashmi, you need to understand: she isn't a spoiled child like you are. It's all your father's fault, I wish you were more like her. Now this time, help me in serving the meal. You are no more a girl; you have to behave like a woman."

"Maa, don't talk to me like that again. Otherwise, I will never come home." Rashmi said getting annoyed and started to walk towards the dining area.

Right then, Rashmi's father entered from the corner of the kitchen and said, "Ohho! You both ladies have started again. Garima (Rashmi's mother), there is no one like my daughter. She isn't meant to work in the kitchen. She is an independent girl and I am her proud father. Now, let's have garma-garam Daal-Baati. I am really very hungry. HaHaHa"

It brought smile on Rashmi's face and she hugged her father for favouring her, cherishing this pampering she had been long missing.

*Engagement Day*                                               

Because of the short notice, only the close relatives staying in town were invited. Ravi's absence was also taken as an obvious matter.

"I am soooo happy for you Priya! Oh my god you are looking so pretty!" Rashmi said this, hugging Priya tightly. Priya smiled gently.

"What's with that fake smile? Are you not happy, or what?" - Rashmi immediately caught Priya, her hands still on Priya's shoulders.

"No, it's nothing like that. But I am feeling numb. I do not know the guy completely, the family or anything more than their names and address. They seem nice people, they are very nice to Baba as well, but still..."

"What are you saying? Haven't you guys talked before?" Rashmi took her hands off Priya's shoulders in surprise.

"We have, like for some odd 10-15 minutes. Our horoscopes were matched and that's all about it." said Priya timidly.

"Really Priya! I always worried that you would make such a mistake. Why do you always have to blindly listen to everyone? Tell me honestly, do you like someone else? If you want, I can talk to Mama..."

"No, no, no..." interrupted Priya. "There is nothing like that."

She took a deep breath and continued "I think I need to calm down. I am sure everything is going to be okay. And moreover, this is what Baba wants. He has never denied me anything I have ever asked for. Now, this is my turn to respect his decision."

"What happens to your job? Have you talked about it?" asked Rashmi.

"Yes, don't worry about that. I will continue to work but may be not as rigorously as I currently do" said Priya managing her saree's pallu with her left hand.

"See, you are not happy!" said Rashmi.

"No, this is what I myself have chosen and no one is forcing me. And if we both felt I should, I would. But I should keep the possibilities in mind. It will be a new place with new people."

"Priya, you are talking like a typical old lady. We are living in 21st century. What about your own happiness?" Rashmi asked, trying to keep her anger in check.

Sensing her sister's concern towards her, Priya replied,"I know you love me and you are worried about me. But you have to trust me in this. I am a modern girl but my definition of happiness has been very simple, and with this big responsibility I don't want to take any chances.I want to complete my life-partner and not compete with him. One of us has to have work as the priority and the other one should have the home as the priority. Doesn't matter who prefers to pick what but I think that would give us the right balance and a happier life.What do you think? Don't you agree?"

"mmm..." nodded Rashmi, listening carefully.

Priya continued,"I know we hear all these things about gender equality nowadays. But, to me, it never struck that strong. If we are allowed to either be a housewife or a working-woman, why are men not given this option? Why is a man questioned when there is some monetary emergency? Rather, equality is a men-issue too. A man has to make equal compromises as a woman after marriage. Just that one of us has to let go and slowly time and love of the other person fills up the compromises. At least, that's what I feel when I see our parents living amicably."

Rashmi was quiet.

"Offo, see I started boring you with this 'butterflies in the stomach' thoughts. Of course, you know much better than me; you are already married to the love of your life. By the way, how is my loving Jiju doing, and Why is he not here?. Oh Rashmi, you're very lucky. I wish my better-half is just like Jiju."

Rashmi was stunned by Priya's clear thoughts. Why had they never struck her mind, like that before? She started missing Ravi immediately. It struck her today what Ma always meant when she asked her to be more like Priya.Her mother was not anti-feminine but she was an experienced wife, a mother and the lady behind their happy family.

All this while she thought Ravi had taken her for granted. But perhaps, it could have been the other way round. Ravi had, at least, kept trying to make things work. May be, he did not pamper Rashmi like her father did, but he fit perfectly in the definition of a loving and understanding husband. "There are some things which men and women cannot share. If a woman cannot share the social responsibilities and pressure of being a husband, how can a man share hers?" her feminine side questioned her.

"Hey, what happened? Did I say too much? I am sorry, I think I am still nervous." Priya shook Rashmi, who was staring at zero.

Rashmi quickly tried to divert her mind saying, "Oh dear god, you seem to have grown up so much. If I were a boy, I would surely marry you. Hahaha."

"And if I were a boy, I would never marry you. Hahaha!" Priya winked and continued,
"You are such a stubborn sister of mine. For a second, I feared if you are going to run outside and say something stupid about this engagement." It was meant to be a pun but it pricked Rashmi like a needle.

As soon as the rituals of the engagement ceremony commenced, Priya's face started to glittered more and she looked calmer sitting by her fiance.

Priya was an average girl, every one's favorite in the family. She did not much excel in studies but the value system taught by her mother had always been on top of her mind. She used to help her father running his business, when ever he asked. She used to help her mother in routine household chores: everything that could have been handled if she wasn't willing to do, but she always insisted to. Rashmi always had felt this difference between them, but neither could she convince Priya to focus on studies more, nor could she convince herself to be homelier like her.

This time, somehow, they both were to experience similar phases of life. Soon Priya would be married too, and would continue her job just like Rashmi. Priya too always had opinions, but she preferred to win 'people' over 'arguments', unlike Rashmi. Certainly, their foundations were different.

Scattered Rashmi asked her inner self,
"Who wins? I or She?
With whom would anyone want to spend his entire life? Me or Her? .."

The ceremony was about to get over. Rashmi stepped on to the stage to pose for a photograph with the newly engaged couple. While she stood by Priya's side, Priya unexpectedly shouted out of nowhere,
"Ravi Jiju..!!!"
She amusingly turned to Rashmi and said, "You wanted to surprise me dint you..? I am so excited right now.."
Rashmi was stunned, unable to move..

Rashmi took notice of Ravi's smiling face. He was walking towards the stage, towards her. Her eyes were locked with his eyes and her heart started to beat faster with joy. She was fumbling through her thoughts about what to speak to him...He stood next to her, keeping his hand on her shoulders. He pulled her a bit closer and whispered in her ear,

"I am sorry.."

Who Won??

12 comments:

  1. Wow. Good one. U picked up the most complicated topic for ur first story.. by the way, who won?

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    Replies
    1. You got to tell me..it is an open ended question..:)

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  2. nice one dishi.
    highlights:
    Feminism has been as spicy as Terrorism.
    equality is a men-issue too
    "Ravi Jiju.." She turned to Rashmi and said, you wanted to surprise me dint you..?
    "I am sorry.." - at the end

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot Uday! Hope you are doing well! I miss the volunteering activities.

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  3. Loved the story...its certainly a food for thought..Fighting for our rights in this male dominated society we somehow tend to misinterpret feminism and it take to a whole new level. U really picked a wonderful topic to write :)

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  4. Wow i can't tell u how thankful i am to u...bcz at present i am d rashmi widout tied in marriage knot but soon i will....many times this question comes like what about me....n d feminist inside me....but ur wonderful article had really shown me a clear picture of what feminism means to us...

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  5. Thanks for your comment Yamimi. For a writer there is no better feeling than creating a positive impact on someone and being read as written. If you realized who won, you actually are on the right track and I am sure you would be able to win hearts at every phase of your life. Thanks for reading.

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  6. Very well said about feminism. Lovely and thoughtful story... keep writing Dishi

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