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“This is the question which had haunted me, kept me awake, made me question my decision, but the day I realised that I was not scared about it, in fact the thought excited me, I knew I had to take the plunge.”
Our Muse of the Month series this year focus on stories that pass the Bechdel test, and are written on inspiration from a new prompt every month. This month, the prompt was “I’m not weird. Just a limited edition”, and the story should pass the Bechdel Test, that is, it should have at least two well crafted, named women characters (we differ here slightly from the classic Bechdel test, in that we require these characters to be named),
The fifth winner of our July 2018 Muse of the Month contest is Shreya Das.
Shikha opened the door to her best friend Sanjana who was saddled with shopping bags.
“Hi, how are you doing?” asked a harried Sanjana, as she hurried inside to place the bags, and heaved a sigh of relief as she put down a particularly heavy bag on the sofa.
Shikha looked wistfully at her friend’s slim figure covered with a short top and snug jeans, She herself wore a huge floaty gown to cover her body which seems to be growing exponentially in all directions, but she was happy.
She shook her head and smiled, “Did you buy out the entire stores?”
“Only the best for my friend”, said Sanjana as she enveloped her in a hug.
Shikha laughed, “Relax those feet, I will get you a cup of soothing tea.”
“No no, you sit. I will make tea.”
Shikha shook her head. “Sanjana I am pregnant not ill; I can easily make tea. Come in and keep me company in the kitchen.”
Sanjana was not convinced, so followed her into kitchen to ensure that her five month pregnant friend would not exert herself.
They put water in a pan. Shikha measured out tea into a pot as Sanjana took out cups and cookies.
“Did your mother call you yesterday?” Sanjana asked.
“Yes, she did. I am so glad she has finally accepted my decision; it was very difficult for me to do what I wanted to, without her and dad’s support,” Shikha said as she placed a protective hand on the life growing inside her stomach.
“You knew they would come around. They love you!” Sanjana said, as she placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Yes, I did. But I also knew that it would take time. However, once they knew I will not change my mind, they agreed,” Shikha said, remembering the long discussions over months that would always end in a fight. Her father would lose his temper and start screaming, and her mother would weep. But she had stuck with her decision.
They poured the tea and carried it to their living room. Sanjana started opening the shopping bags to show Shikha all that she had bought for her. There were books for expectant and new mothers, maternity clothes for six months onwards, fruits, and Feng Shui symbols to ward off evil eye.
Shikha laughed at her friend’s excitement and let her fuss around her.
Finally Sanjana settled down and said, “Do you worry about what will happen in the future? If you will be able to handle it alone? You know we will all be there, but in the end it will be you 24X7 with a new life that depends on you.”
Shikha smiled and said, “This is the question which had haunted me, kept me awake, made me question my decision, but the day I realised that I was not scared about it, in fact the thought excited me, I knew I had to take the plunge.”
There was a companiable silence for a while.
“You know there will be difficult questions later; for you as well as your kid. You will have to be ready to face them.”
Shikha sighed, “Yes, I know. I hope to bring up my child to be a strong and courageous individual who had no qualms in saying that they are a product of artificial insemination, with only a mother who wanted to have a child but not a marriage or a husband. Who decided to defy the world and do what made her happy and not what the world said she should do.”
Sanjana smiled, “You will do a great job. I am sure your kid will be a matured well balanced person who will never let what the society says dictate their life.”
Shikha’s eyes filled up, “Do you think they will hate me because I will not be able to give them a traditional family set up?”
Sanjana laughed and hugged her, “Nope! But I think the kid may wonder if their mother is a little weird.”
“Well! They will soon learn that I am not weird, just a limited edition.”
Shreya Das wins a Rs 250 Amazon voucher, as well as a chance to be picked one among the top winners at the end of 2018. Congratulations!
Image source: shutterstock
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