“Eclectic, interesting…will fill you with hope and resolve!” – Pick up our new short story collection, Women.Mutiny
From her childhood, Archana, who was popular as Archie among friends, used to get compliments for her beautiful hands. At that time, she and other girls were not allowed to wear nail paints. But once she passed her senior secondary, she was free to do so. And then onwards no one saw her nails sans paints. Those vibrant colours on her nails and toes made her feel lively and it became a weekend ritual. Nandita and Farheen, her best friends and bosom buddies, adored her hands and feet. They often advised her to participate in beauty pageants, which were regarded as the ultimate destiny of all extraordinarily beautiful women. They found her exquisitely beautiful. Farheen even told her once that she had the most striking features and a wonderfully sculpted figure.
Archie, on the other hand, never took these compliments seriously and always wanted to teach English in a college. But she too adored her hands and feet and most religiously and ritualistically, she enhanced the beauty of them with vibrant nail paints. This entire ritual made her felt like holding the rainbow in her hands.
Archie was bright and she secured First Class in M.A. English. She also cleared NET in one go, completed a PhD within 3 years. Her own university recruited her as a lecturer. It seemed like there was no looking back for her and no one could stop her winning spree. Her nails became brighter and brighter. She started experimenting with different nail dos now. Her bosom buddies Farheen and Nandita never stopped complimenting her for her nails even though they were friends for more than two decades. Life could not be better than that.
Two years passed in a blink of an eye, and one day Archie met Dipankar. He had recently joined Archie’s university. It wasn’t love at first sight but initial attraction turned into passionate love. Dipankar was also a big fan of Archie’s hands. He started complimenting her every time they met. This inspired Archie to experiment more with different nail arts in those super-luxurious nail studios.
After one year of courtship, finally, they decided to get married. Their parents were more than happy to see them tie the knot. Archie was obsessed with the idea to have their honeymoon in Paris. Right after their marriage, they flew for their dream destination. Archie felt like she was amongst the star, it was a honeymoon every woman dreams of.
When they came back, they got busy with their university life. But started spending a lot of time together. Dipankar used to adore her. Everything she did touched his heart. Archie loved to cook Italian and Dipankar loved to eat. Every Sunday she tried new recipes and they had blasts of weekends with good food, wine and parties with friends. Shanta, their domestic help was awestruck by Archies smartness.
She used to say, “Didi, how do you manage everything. Bhaiyya loves you because you are perfect. Look at me… I get beaten every night. Because I am not educated and smart like you.”
Archie was shocked to hear about Shanta’s plight. The next time Shanta’s husband Raghu beat her, she took her to a police station and lodged a complaint against him. He got arrested the very next day and stopped beating her after he got released from Jail.
Dipankar was not at all impressed by Archie’s act. In fact, he was least bothered about Shanta. What shocked Archie the most was his views on women. He sounded completely different from the person whom she knew for the past one and half year. The Dipankar who was an avid supporter of women empowerment and gender equality suddenly changed his tone in the issue. He was a completely different person now. He said that the husband might hit his wife sometimes, there was nothing serious or criminal about it. According to him, she had blown the issue out of proportion.
Four months after their wedding she saw a totally different side of Dipankar’s personality. It was a diabolical one. One night when she was watching her favourite late-night show Dipankar entered the room and switched off the TV. When Archie asked him the reason for being so rude, he was about to slap her for disturbing his sleep. A few days after that night they had an argument on a trivial matter and Dipankar hit her for the first time.
The next time she visited her parents place her mother noticed the change in her. Between conversation, her mother asked, “Is there anything you want to share, Archie? You look so pale today.” Archie tactfully avoided answering the question and started talking about something else. Her usually manicured nails were in bad shape. She was no more interested in painting her nails or going to those nail studios for relaxation. Farheen and Nandita also noticed the change in her. When they met after 2 months, they expressed their concerns, Archie laughed it out and said that they were being dramatic. But both knew that their friend was hiding something from them.
When Dipankar used to meet Archie’s family and friends, he was a different person completely, it was like a dual personality. To the world he was a jolly, fun-loving husband who took good care of her, no one could ever imagine the different side of his character. To them, he was a perfect husband every girl dreams of. Archie was supposed to accompany her students for an excursion, but Dipankar did not let her. They argued, she wanted a break from her mundane and torturous life but Dipankar was dead against it. The argument went to an extent where he slapped her. It became an everyday affair now, every time they had an argument it would end, his beating her. Archie could not take it anymore.
She decided to tell everything to her buddies. They planned a meeting after office hours, it was like bolt from the blue for them. Though they could understand that something was wrong in their bestie’s paradise, they never imagined it was Dipankar. Archie told them that she was planning to divorce him. Farheen said, “It will be completely your decision, but remember we are always there for you.”
Archie consulted the best divorce lawyer in her city. She packed her stuff and told Dipankar that she was leaving. Like all egoistic men, he could not imagine a woman leaving him like this. He was about to strike her, but this time she held his hand and without realising shouted “Noooo…”. There was a total transformation in the atmosphere of the room. The lion which was roaring a few minutes back was now like a tamed dog. He started begging her not to leave him but Archie was determined. She didn’t look back twice.
One month passed since she left Dipankar. Archie’s parents completely supported her decision to leave Dipankar. As a financially independent female, she had nothing to worry about. Now Archie was glowing again. Her nails manicured and polished in red shined in the daylight. No baggage in mind, no heaviness in the soul. She felt as light as the cloud. The trio of friends sat in their favourite hangout café and talked their heart out every day like before. The dark cloud vanished and there was only sunshine and hope.
Image via Pixabay
A free-spirited bohemian whose world revolves around books and blogging.
Can I Meet The Woman Under The Makeup?
What The Childhood Game Of ‘Marriage Of Dolls’ Told Me Of Indian Marriages!
Time Flies; But The Memories Of Abuse Last For Ever
Daughter Dolling Up Dilemmas
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!