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“I know, Aarav will be my source of love, solace, inspiration too. Can I too be the same to him? I want to be an equal.”
Ananya stood gazing at her family picture on the wall. She missed them terribly. Ananya had just moved in to a four-bed sharing paying guest accommodation located at a walking distance from her office. Having been born and raised in a joint family, the presence of so much love and laughter all around her was commonplace. Ananya was not alone. She suddenly felt lonely.
Had she hastily wronged her parents? Did she let them down? Someday, everything would culminate perfectly. Ananya hoped so.
“Anu, you must give this a thought. You wanted to work and live abroad. You have always dreamed of leading a free life. I did a lot of search and zeroed in on a wonderful family and an amazing partner for you. Now, you want to evade all of this to do something on your own? But, why, beta (child)?” Ananya’s father expressed his love, concern, anguish – everything blended together.
“Anu, your dad and I have celebrated you ever since you entered our lives. You are the best blessing that happened to us. Small and the big things that you owned, tried, wished for-we ensured to give the best resources and a safe set up just so you have it easy and stress-free. Now, you want to give all this up?” Ananya’s decision was excruciatingly painful for her mother.
“Anu, trust me, you are feeling inadequate for no real reason. You have been so successful in everything you do. You work hard, you reap benefits. Well, of course, you are the fortunate one too. But that does not qualify you to suspect your credentials and sacrifice what you truly deserve. By the way, Aarav is a great guy. I am sure he will help you live your dreams.” Ananya’s brother tried hard to convince his sister to let go of her fears and doubts.
All the relatives and cousins bombarded Ananya with questions. They coaxed her to not say No to the marriage proposal to a green card holder in the USA; they shed light on the fact that she could be married and also live a life she yearned for. Why should it even be mutually exclusive, they opined?
Ananya knew they all had a valid point to make. Ananya loved her parents and her brother very much. They meant the world to her. Ananya only wanted to see them happy and proud. Ananya could not thank her relatives enough for their suggestions and well wishes. They were all worried she would miss something priceless if they did not interfere. Ananya chose not to think so.
Right from her childhood up until University followed by two years into her work, Ananya had been exceptional in her academics, profession and the even the hobbies she pursued. She may have been born with a golden spoon; however, Ananya never took anything for granted. She worked day in day out to accomplish her goals-she did not forget to set herself tough challenges time to time.
Deep down though, Ananya confessed to herself that she had been “too used” to succeed. Ananya was blessed with the right people and a right environment that aided the process of tasting success, all too often.
What about failures? Ananya regretted not making enough mistakes! Any threats and risks were well managed, given the sort of preparedness Ananya was exposed to. Ananya had constantly endeavored to not “err”. Initially, she was unaware. Slowly, it became a habit. Now, at 25, it was an obsession. Dangerous one at that.
Ananya vividly remembered that she had to telephone her friend for accompanying her if she had to visit a particular museum to learn about “xyz” history; she fathomed very well exactly whom to call and where to search if she had to extract some details. Ananya took meticulous steps to see things fall in place. She hardly messed up things. This was fantastic. Was it the be-all and end-all?
How about uncertainties? Could she handle them with confidence? Only Ananya could unfold it all.
Ananya’s family never comprehended the reasons and the purpose behind “saying No” to a dream marriage proposal. She did not argue that Aarav was not the right guy. He had come across as friendly, progressive and nice. Ananya was not so naïve so as to expect “a perfect marriage” even before the journey began. In fact, Ananya’s inhibitions were never about “Who and What Aarav was made of”. It was about “herself.”
Ananya was working in a good position at a leading firm. She had recently enrolled herself for a volunteering activity to help the destitute. She had indeed been building her hopes and dreams to get an international exposure to come back to do things better back home. So, if she found a guy who would enable her entry into the USA, would it serve the purpose?Ananya was wise enough to not imagine so.
If she dreamed of living/studying/working abroad, she wanted to earn it. Entrance exams, admissions, grades, on-campus work, internships, interviews, all the struggles of students in everyday life – Ananya wanted to experience them first hand. Project work, deadlines, no comfort zone, lack of sleep – she had to compete and win the opportunity to represent her organization for an onsite opportunity. She had been independent all along, yes, but with “protection”. Ananya knew that she had to let go of that “protection.” She had to learn to deal with difficulties with not much access to support; Ananya wanted to see how she would respond and emote amidst chaos. After all, Ananya believed life did not promise order and discipline at all times. Sometimes, for no fault of yours, you suffer. One had to face it.
Ananya’s family was her strength and her weakness.
“I know, Aarav will be my source of love, solace, inspiration too. Can I too be the same to him? I want to be an equal. What if something happened to him, someday- God forbid. What if something unexpected threw our own family in trouble? God forbid. Shouldn’t your little one take over? I want to grow up to be that.”
Ananya was in for a rude shock that her family disowned her for disrespecting their decisions and belittling their caution. She was accused for complicating matters. But she had it in her to explore a world of possibilities – persistence, patience, determination had to be her only company. What she did not ever expect was being shown the door because she did not comply. She knew she would come back stronger and a better person having chased her dreams.
Her separation from family was painful but a good start for her journey. There were going to be thorns, trials, distractions, setbacks et all-she had to look at all of them as hidden opportunities. Ananya had to trust her choice.
Editor’s note: This story had been shortlisted for the Muse of the Month June 2019, but was not one of the final winners.
Image source: pixabay
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