Friday, February 6, 2015

To My First Roommate, on her Wedding

Hey S,

I still remember meeting you for the first time. Mom was feeling the fear deep inside her bones, for it was the first time her beloved daughter was going to stay on her own, and I was counting the number of minutes left, before she would leave. A plethora of thoughts were ransacking my mind, most of which were revolving around the camaraderie I will share with you. You looked confident in your black shorts and pink see through top, which my sister-in-law didn't approve of. I could hear her muttering to mom, about how perilous it would be to live with you. I think everyone at home had got used to seeing me in clothes that couldn't be touted as vulgar or bold. 
Infact my bhabhi, had many times after that sent messages through my mom to shift with that malayali girl next door who wears kurtis and wouldn't pose a threat to my humble habits.
I did try my best to make friends with the other women in the place, but at the end of the day I decided that it is best to befriend the person who lives with me, no matter how shady she may seem. 
Infact you maybe amused to know that mom never raised a finger on your character unlike my sister-in-law. She always used to tell me that she found you polite and cheerful, and my roommate will be my friend in need, and not my neighbours. I know she may have turned the pages on her past while having said that, and she was doing all that talking based on her own experiences.

Slowly, we started speaking and I remember the times when we bared our pasts in front of each other. I had no inhibitions, neither did you have and I was pleasantly taken aback to have found a rabid feminist in my own roommate. A feminist who was my own mirror image. I was left open-mouthed when I heard your ambitious plans for a rewarding career.
Right from day one, I could get an inkling about the excitement you felt about a February marriage that was waiting for you. I can empathize with that wonderful feeling, although many of the times the sheen of your smile was scalded by a doubtful and irritated grimness you felt, when you were expected to give up on something you wanted to do. The exuberant happiness while catching up on the latest Bollywood movies with your fiance or dining at a fine eatery was hijacked by a feeling of misery when you couldn't take up a dream job in Bangalore, only because your fiance was shrewd and selfish to not have let you live in another city for a few months. 
You know S much like you, I have always wondered why do we always have to be the scapegoats in a marriage? Why can't men relocate to the place we want to be in? Why do we always have to give up on our choices for a man and his family? Why are they praised for being the bread winners and our ability to earn and move up the career ladder accepted with an applause?
I understand that in your part of the planet, women get married in their early twenties and it's only because of your educated parents that you could put off marriage by a few more years. Even then I hope you will always remember what I had shared with you in all the heart-to-heart rendezvous we had while having dinner or watching Big Boss.
I know that the guy your parents chose for you, loves and respects you. And you have testified his love for you and proved me wrong, everytime I raised a doubt about his ingenuity. Despite his honesty, you must understand that it is important to have you own bank account and not share your banking passwords and passwords of the other kind with him. It was a rude shock to know that you fiance used to handle your gmail and facebook accounts, until I gave you a piece of my mind and you decided to take the reigns in your hands. I think that you got carried away by the ebullience of romance and will not repeat that mistake ever again. Passwords are personal belongings, which do not deserve to be shared with anyone under the sky.
S, you must understand that it is very important to love ourselves first, before trying to love someone else. I know that your fiance is a very humble and gentle guy, but at the end of the day he is a man. And many times, he may not understand you in a way that you expect him to. During all those times, you must hold yourself together and talk to the women in your life. Women like your mother, sister-in-laws and friends like me. 
Lastly, I believe that you will be able to convince your father to not fill your fiance's coffers with dowry and not stage a pompous drama on the day of your wedding. I am hoping that you are doing your best to let him know of the ramifications it may have in the future. 
Also, I would like to thank you for helping me to get over a negative body image. It is because of you that I started  wearing short dresses and skirts again. I remember the fears and doubts I felt for the first time when I had worn a dress without tights, and it was you who winked at me and assured me that I wasn't looking like a bulging round blob and will carry that dress with great confidence and grace. I know that had you not been there, I would have always lived with a negative body image and self-pity till the day I wouldn't have slipped into my coffin.   
Girl, I wish you the very best in life. And I apologize for not meeting you for the last time before you leave. 
May you be blessed with the best in life. And may you always stand up for yourself as you have till this day.

Love and regards,


Anonymous said...

Liked the way you have tackled inequality issues and put forth valid feminist views through the medium of a letter.

paulOaries said...

I love that you celebrate the femininity in us. Wish your friend a happy married life. But what I loved most was how you beautifully wrote about your fears and doubts. I guess we all need a friend whom we care and learn from.