Chloe :) <3

Australia

Hi! I'm Chloe :))
Gemini
High school Student
Loves poetry & Spoken Word
Hopeless Romantic (sometimes )
Trying new stuff and styles
With a mission to change the world somehow !
Joined April 2020

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Message to Readers

I don't write short stories by choice, it is not my preferred style and I don't know much about writing them however my school assessment coming up is short story writing which is slightly worrying for me. This is about gender expectations in quite an extreme way. Before you comment on me appropriating or mocking even another culture, both of my parents are from India and I visit there often. This is not the reality there for everyone, and mine is very far from it, but for the few it is my heart aches. It is just a story that I wrote about an idea I find confronting. This is an edited version of it and I hope you like it! Thank you!

A life without two things. Love and Freedom!

May 31, 2020

FREE WRITING

2
Girls like pink. Shhh, don’t ask questions. Don’t laugh that loud. Don’t sit like that, put your legs together. What are you wearing? You are a girl, go put a dress on. Don’t eat so much. Make yourself look presentable. You can’t cook? There are many unspoken rules of being a girl or lady or woman.  Once broken there is no coming back from your mistakes.

I was the only daughter of two strict, old-fashioned, Indian parents. My mother had no say in my family and ‘no’ was a word that was never allowed to enter my mouth let alone leave it. My life was simple, very controlled, disciplined at best but only lacking one thing. Freedom. My father was my master, sir and the sole dictator of almost every aspect of her life. Almost. All of this changed though in two days. 

* * *

My name was Ananya and like anyone I was a girl with two sides, like the place I found myself trapped in. The cityscape was a jumble of shapes, like a child had cast blocks down randomly and then swept them close enough together they touched, almost. Between the chaotic buildings, ran paths and roads of all sorts, complete with their own cracks, only wide enough for two motorbikes to pass side by side. People scurried through them like ants, busy and chasing opportunities.  I never knew this life, just watched as it happened from the window where I sat, a window into the world beyond the four walls of the house I was caged inside. There is no middle class in this place, the lower and upper class so distinct that people stay within their means. There is never any room for my thoughts, or a fantasy romance in any place besides my head.

The day before I turned 18 however, I found myself wandering through the streets alive with sights and sounds. My father was out of town on some kind of official business so I was free to roam even if merely for an hour or so. It was the only time I ever got to myself, away from the ladylike duties that I was bound to; cooking, cleaning, embroidery and other crafts that would one day make me suitable for marriage. I felt lost in the thoughts I could only keep to myself. 

Walking through the street there were many sights to behold, some intriguing. One happened to catch my eye, off a girl wrapped in the arms of a man, rather attractive and handsome as far as anyone I have ever seen. His face was framed by his tousled dark brown hair thick and lustrous with eyes mesmerising deep blue oceans, speckled with flecks of silvery light performing a ballet. I imagined it, what it might be like to fall in love, to stare into someone's eyes and get lost within. His face looked strong, defined with features moulded as if from granite. I kept walking, not aware of my surroundings. I imagined his strong embrace and hands slightly rough, his deep voice slightly serious. I wanted to stay trapped in this fantasy forever - but I am afraid fantasy is all it would ever be.  

I couldn’t help but notice the time, my father would be home soon and expect a feast, elaborate report of where I had been. I was not even allowed to be out - I had not asked for his permission. The panic rushed through my face, turning to a stone-like grey. 

Emotions so vast rushed through me, feeling scared and afraid. What would he do to me? 

Thankfully I was safely tucked away, hidden beneath layers and layers of soft cotton sheets by the time he got home.  Amongst his supercilious, prideful intellectual nature, his temperament was enough to make my mother hide in a corner of her chestnut-coloured oak closet for hours on the worst of days. Today seemed like one of those days, although instead of the loud screams I had expected to hear, instead I simply heard the faint whispers of a conversation impossible to make out. 

I must have managed to get some sleep because I woke up to the sun's warm rays covering the larger part of my face, seeping through the crevices within the curtains. Under the door there was a note neatly folded. I opened it only to read,

Dear अनन्या (Ananya),
I hope to say this quickly, as I fear that I may never get a chance to if not now. I am sorry, sorry that I could never be the mother I wanted to be for you, and let you experience the many joys life would have to offer. I am sorry that your future is written in stone, like mine was and every other woman in our families has been. You are one of the strongest and smartest women I will ever meet and I’m sorry your childhood has been cut so short.
Happy 18th Birthday my darling, though I don’t feel particularly like celebrating.
Also your father is waiting and is rather impatient so please get dressed and in his words make sure it is ‘nice and fancy, classy, something that will make her look presentable or even loveable.’
I love you, my baby 
मम्मी (mum)

I was left only to imagine what might have been his next few words. Any form of communication with my mother was always scarce. She never said much, to me or anyone, just simply nodded in agreement at any of my fathers orders or requests. She was more scared of him than anyone, including me and I could not blame her. My father restricted all interaction between us, so I will always be left to wonder what could have been. 

After brushing my hair back, I got dressed out of my nightgown and into a lengha, red and embellished in gold. I went outside to be greeted by the rather cheerful face of my father, anxious as birthday presents usually came in boxes wrapped in shiny paper tied with ribbons. 

My hands were shaking uncontrollably, hidden behind my back before my eyes wandered to see two men standing in suits and immaculately dressed. One of the men was around my father's age however, more concerning was the other who could have only been a few years older than myself. I saw the look on my mum’s face, defenceless and realised what she had meant in her letter, soon enough my life would become a copy of hers. 

I dragged my feet, heavy with the burden of what would unfold in seconds, down the staircase almost falling with each step. They came, inspected me, touched me but I remained silent. I did exactly what my father wanted, and only that, like a puppet with him controlling my strings. The only time I spoke was when they asked my name, mocking how my parents had wrongfully named me. Ananya means unique but I was far from. It felt like weeks before they finally decided to leave but before they did they nodded in agreement.

Adiish, the younger of the two men, if any insight into his character means king or master began to walk towards me. He didn’t say a single word but I imagined him say,
“Your skin fair as snow,
Character equally innocent,
Obedient and opinionless,
Your perfect, each of these words meant.
Your father's business a guarantee
For a life of comfort ahead,
You are not poor however,
Not of upper class bred.
It is my duty to marry,
Honour my family name,
And so with this ring I ensure,
Your devotion I may claim.”

He walked closer, however I remained frozen. Picking up, almost snatching my hand from the side of my weak body he slipped the ring unto my finger. Continuing to place his hands around my waist, almost squeezing so tightly I was unable to breath, he placed a kiss on my cheek. Brushing his hair, hard from excess use of gel against my ear he whispered “You’ll learn to love me,” and then both of them left.
* * *

I haven’t seen him or his father since that day. I dread the moment tomorrow when I will, when the week of ceremonies begin and I am bound to be his forever. Every girl has the unspoken book of rules they must follow of which breaking has its own set of consequences. This was mine, to get a glimpse of what love is and never have it. If I had not I might have at least been able to grow to be happy, but now never could I be. Without love and freedom, what is life?
Please read my message to the reader!

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1 Comment
  • Samina

    This is better. I love the way you have expressed your feelings.
    I would live to review this if I have time.

    One more request. I would request you to delete the message on my piece because that is a serious writer. If you want anything else you can message me any time in the comment section of any non-serious work. I hope you don't mind. :-)


    8 months ago