I was passing through a kids wear showroom that day, my eyes were struck by a pretty white frock. The top layer of the frock had fluffy tulles with rose petals and leaves wrapped in it. The elegant bodice was made of ivory poly satin. The dark red colored sash at the waistline and tie bow at the back made the dress more elegant. “Ahh, why wasn’t I that lucky enough to wear that pretty frock?”, I gasped with regret. Just when I turned around, my eyes were filled with lust looking at an immensely vibrant bridal lehenga. Pretty pink roses were embroidered all over with zardozi in resham and cutdana to enhance its delicacy. The crepe choli had a rounded neckline and embroidered sleeves. The floral touch to the flowing crepe lehenga made it royal. I so wanted to wear that gorgeous lehenga.
But then just a random thought came to me. “Which of the two pretty dresses do I really desire to wear?
The elegant frock reminded me of the ‘bole chudiya’ dress. Papa, your choice it was. It had the same pink, shimmery texture. The light pink flared bottoms and net fabric dupatta gave it a delicate and classy look. How much I loved myself in that dress, just like Kareena loves herself in the movie. That adorable smile on my face made you the happiest parents.
Diwali would be the most awaited festival for me, more than that I would be eager for one more gorgeous dress, obviously you knew that. I now realize how hectic it was for you to satisfy my demands and my choices about dressing. By hook or by crook you would manage to satisfy them. No wonder I’m so demanding, Papa..!!
Diwali flooded a load of memories. Especially, the sweet delicacies, chiwda, shankarpale, mouth-watering they are..!! I remember the twinkle in your eyes, Mamma, when my small hands would make a perfect laddu. I remember the pride look you used to give me, when aunties would praise,”Beautiful rangoli tai, your daughter has creative hands.”
This reminds me, Papa, once when you were there at the school to collect my report card. Coincidently we ran into my friend’s father. He looked at me and then turned towards you saying, “Do you know she is the one who has topped in the class, I keep telling my child to befriend her.” and how smugly you said, “Yes, I know. My daughter, she is.” That pride in your eyes conceited me.
I was your obedient child. I burst out with laughter as I recalled your voice scolding dabbu, “I am sure you must have broken it, your sister would never do it, learn to be like her.” I enjoyed his infuriated stares at me. A middle aged lady passing by me looked at me weirdly. I then realized, me laughing alone made her think that I am a crazy person. Mamma, that lady resembled Gokhale kaku, your so called friend. She would mock you, ‘Bai ga, your daughter will surely be a doctor, will you afford so much dowry to get a doctor for her?’. You would boastfully reply to her, “Why not? I will make her a doctor. And she will definitely get an intelligent doctor.” Her humiliated face to this always made me happy.
I wished I could relive those moments. Wiping my wet eyes, I turned towards the lehenga showroom. The inner desire of wearing the most beautiful attire was taking control of me. I was engrossed taking a dive into my own fairytale. A fairy tale of a prince charming, who would take your daughter into the merry land. Yes, Mamma, Papa, just like you, I am also eagerly waiting for him. As I envisaged about my mysterious man, a lovely smile appeared on my face. When I was gawking into the glass of the showroom, fantasizing about my bright future, I saw sad eyes staring at me. Those eyes looked really frightened. Those eyes looked familiar. Those eyes were your daughter’s Mamma, Papa.
Yes, I am scared. I am scared to wear the most desired apparel of my life..!!
Mamma, at times, the shape of chapati is not a perfect circle you criticize me that, “At home such chapati is fine, but there…this won’t work. Your mother-in-law will fire you.” You’re those encouraging words has now changed into taunts. The thought that you motivating for cooking was for a reason, has scared me.
Now when dabbu taunts me because I could not distinguish between the daals, you no more show the same belief, Pappa. The belief in your eyes has now taken over by expectations. Your expectations have scared me.
“Get up, it’s late already”, you would say mom and father would coddle saying, “Let her sleep longer, it’s only Sunday”. But with changing times your words have now morphed into, “Let her enjoy sleep, these are her last few days with us”. The thought that you don’t get bothered that your daughter’s sleep might get perturbed in the future has scared me.
Yesterday, when I was angry on dabbu for fidgeting with my cupboard. You both consoled me saying ,”Few days beta, you will get a whole new cupboard of your choice”. The thought that one day, the cupboard embellished with my favorite barbie stickers will no more be mine has scared me.
When I ask for your consent for the night out, office parties or college trips and you say, “Enough of enjoyment now. Do such things once you get married.” The thought of losing my freedom has scared me.
After long phone calls with friends, you keep frowning, “Try keeping a distance from your friends…How many times should I warn you?”. The thought of losing people I know and trust for an unknown person, who might not trust me has scared me.
“Gokhale bhau, I know that property is at the best price. I also thought of purchasing it. But you can see, any moment her marriage might get fixed. I need money in my bank account for that.” I overheard you, Papa. The thought that you are investing so much on me…has scared me.
When I reach home all exhausted and hungry from work, Mamma, your cooked food relieves all the stress. But when you tease me, “Beta, you must also cook such stress relieving food for your husband.” The thought of getting deprived of your love and care has scared me.
“Don’t call me that, don’t make fun of my name”, “Arre, chill, you will get new name now..haha..!!”, jokes of my friends never bothered me earlier. But now the thought of…the thought of…losing my identity has scared me.My eyes were filled, but this time with tears of grief.
My eyes were filled, but this time with tears of grief.
“Which of the two pretty dresses do I really desire to wear?” It will definitely be the elegant frock. Because I want to be your little princess.
I know Mamma, Papa, you have spent your life in building my life. You have dreamt of a pleasant life for your princess in the same merry land. And now, you are making me strong. Strong enough,
so that I can rescue myself from the hurdles in the merry land,
so that nobody can criticize me,
so that no one can question my behavior,
so that I neither fear from compromising nor fighting for what’s right,
so that I am prepared for everything,
so that I become independent…!!
But the thought of not being dependent on you has scared me.
It is not that I don’t understand you, Mamma, Papa…
it is just that…
I am scared…!!!!