EXPRESS YOURSELF CONTEST 32 – SHORT STORY Relationships (Fiction)

And she was left, only with shattered dreams…

“Chandni!!! Chandni!!! Where are you?”
“Ma, Coming!”
She was destiny’s child. Blessed with quintessential looks, fair skin, ethereal beauty and talents that scared the wits out of normal girls, Chandni was one in a million. And she was a dreamer.
Twelve years old when she made her first tea, she thought of how she’d make tea for her husband… the person who would be chosen to be her life partner by her parents. She saw what marriage did to people; her parents’ love and respect towards each other placed an unconditional faith in her heart upon the institution of marriage.
And she dreamt of having the same kind of life… one that everyone would envy. A marriage that would bring a good name for her parents. The crazy teens went by faster than the eye blinked, and she grew up to be a lovely lass. She had silent admirers in college, and her friends swore by her soft nature.
Her best friend told her, “I’d have swept you away & married you, had I been a boy. So much of a good person you are, that I wish… if I ever had a daughter, she should be like you. You are special, the way you speak, the way you even do little things, tells me how soft a person you are. I tell everyone that you are different. There can be no one like you.”
Chandni never looked out for friends throughout her life. Her nature attracted many friends. A classmate told her once, “Chandni, I like you. I want to be your friend. No conditions, no strings attached. I am not looking for a friendship from you in return. Just let me be your friend.” And this girl went on to be Chandni’s friend for a long long time to come.
Chandni’s family was strict about the no friends policy. And she never betrayed them. She’d always make sure that family came first in all respects. Whenever she had to choose between the two, it’d always be family. Her friends (all girls, invariably) never minded that, for they knew that this is how it was going to be… afterall, Chandni was different. She worked from home, because her parents wanted her to comply with the conservative community standards. She moulded herself to every whim of her family. What she earned went on her younger brother’s medical expenses. (He needed assistance because he had a mediacal problem in which the mind grew slower than the rest of his body.. like a child’s mind entrapped in an adult’s body.)

And a dreamer that she was, Chandni would always weave loving dreams of having a ‘happy’ family. She wanted to have a partner who’d be a son for her parents too… as much as she’d be a daughter to his parents. After all the perfect examples that she had seen around her, she wished in her heart that such a person existed and that God would give her just that. She did not desire anything else.

Today…
Chandni wipes out the sweat from her forehead and thinks back to that day when the cool summer breeze blowing on the beach caressed her tresses and she had held her brother’s hand with a dream that she would never forget her family… that she would always take care of him and mom n dad and that his medical problem would always be her responsibility.
She knew that even after she married, she had to take care of him.
The pressure cooker’s shrill whistle snaps her out of her reverie. Today… she is but a home maker. She found a lot of happiness in her new home. Everyone cared for her and loved her a lot. But in all senses, she was made to give up work, and with that, all her hopes of supporting her family went down the drain. Her father managed to do well, and tried to pacify her, saying that she had to give herself completely to her new family. That.. life was like that. That.. she had to accept that. That.. he would make sure not to leave any stone unturned for his son’s medical bills.
As for her, that was not the only problem she faced. She was facing regression. Where, as a bright child, she always excelled her own genius, now she was reduced to doing endless household chores. She loved doing them, of course but the routine was getting at her… making her dull and lifeless. She craved for somechange, a little progress… something that’d make her feel better about herself. She used to paint when she was young, she’d write poetry, she’d crochet, she was an established writer. Her fiddling fingers could never ever stay free… she always had to do something that would create art. Where had all that gone?
She picked up a paper & a pen, and started writing…


© Punam J R., all rights reserved.

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