CREATIVE FICTION : Closet woes by Sandhya Selvam

My left eye is swollen shut and blood drips onto my saree from a slash on my jaw. My whole body is aching from all the blows my father and brothers mercilessly hurled at me. But, my heart soars high as I pedal faster and faster to reach the train station as soon as possible.

Determination and pain are a rare concoction of emotions and I am overwhelmed by the adrenaline and trying hard not to cry. My family was enraged when they found out about Carl. It was totally expected of them; after all, I am a simple village girl who was confined and honed to follow the social proscriptions charted by some man, any man.

Carl was a Canadian photographer who was visiting our place and we bonded over food – Graham crackers and Garam masala. All hell broke loose when an anti-social element dutifully told everyone about the kiss we shared under the Pungai tree early on a winter evening.

‘What kind of a woman are you?’

‘I surely didn’t give birth to one like this. Let’s take her to the temple priest to cure her of this madness.’

‘I will definitely kill you if you have any ideas to continue this shitty love affair of yours,’ were some of the responses layered with cuss words that erupted from my family.

I tried to elope that night and was caught red handed; more like red footed much like a scene from a 90’s Tamil movie. I was beaten and kicked so much that my usually bossy self began pleading them to leave me alone. And when my brother aimed a hard blow on my leg, I bent down and picked up an iron pan to give him a sharp blow and though I was not aiming anywhere it landed strongly on his ears.

‘This is who I am, Pa. You can try as many times you can to confine me but I will try harder and harder to escape – both from you and from the shackles of the societal conformity that is being posed on women. I will continue to feel the feel, love the love and live my life’

My father let me go with just one sentence – ‘I still think this is a blasphemous act but I am also glad that you are adamantly strong in what you want.’

I reach the train station and there she is – My Carlie.

About the writer:
Sandhya Selvam lives in Mumbai with her husband and their baby girl. Apart from trying to figure out the whole parenting thing, she is an avid reader and an occasional writer. She believes that the evolution of a person begins from within.


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