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You May Have Offered Me The World, But I Prefer My Freedom To Choose

‘What is it? What is it that compels you to take this decision?’ She knew she had to be honest with him. She took a deep breath. ‘I can’t give up meat.’ Her face was resolute, her tone decisive. ‘I just can’t.’

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‘What is it? What is it that compels you to take this decision?’ She knew she had to be honest with him. She took a deep breath. ‘I can’t give up meat.’ Her face was resolute, her tone decisive. ‘I just can’t.’

He stared at her, shocked. After everything they’d been through, how could she do this? How could she even consider it? She must be joking, she had to be joking.

‘Are you kidding me?’ he asked her then, certain that she’d burst into peals of laughter and say that indeed she was. But she just shook her head sadly and sighed.

‘I wish I was.’

‘What are you talking about? I don’t understand.’

The truth was that he wasn’t the only one who wouldn’t understand. Even as she looked at him now, she knew people would wonder, ask questions, raise eyebrows. Even her own family would question her decision. He was handsome, successful and he loved her. He was a prize catch. Any fool could see that. But she wasn’t a fool. She knew what it meant. Where it would inevitably lead.

‘I’m sorry, I can’t.’

‘You can’t what?’ He continued to stare at her incredulously. ‘Can’t live in a 3 story, sea-facing bungalow on Marine Drive? Can’t spend the rest of your life being pampered and loved by a man who truly adores you? Here I am, offering you the world and you’re telling me you can’t!’

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Yes, of course he was offering her the world but from her point-of-view, it was a very, very limited world.

‘What is it? What is it that compels you to take this decision?’

She knew she had to be honest with him. She took a deep breath. ‘I can’t give up meat.’ Her face was resolute, her tone decisive. ‘I just can’t.’

Now he looked genuinely puzzled. ‘You can’t give up meat? You can give up the one you love instead?’

‘The one I love won’t accept me the way I am. He won’t let me choose for myself.’

‘I do accept you the way you are. This is just something you eat.’

‘It isn’t just what I eat. It’s a part of who I am.’

‘It’s just meat!’ He spread his hands out. ‘Plenty of people give it up.’

‘Yeah they do but that’s their choice. This isn’t my choice.’ She knew he wasn’t sensitive enough to notice the emphasis on the word “my”.

‘Do you realize that I can give you what very few men can?’

Admittedly, at least he was honest. ‘Yes I do realize,’ she said then in answer to his question. ‘I do realize that you will give me a comfortable life, buy me the best clothes and jewels, take me to the fanciest restaurants in the most expensive hotels in the world. Yet, when I wear all those clothes and jewels and we go to those restaurants, I won’t be happy because I won’t be able to eat what I want.’

‘Is food that important to you?’ He couldn’t believe that this was really happening. That she was choosing meat over him.

She smiled. ‘It’s about the freedom of being able to choose for myself.’

He changed tack. ‘But don’t you love me?’ The expected emotional angle. She smiled again.

‘You know I love you. It’s just that I happen to also love the delicious lamb burgers and butter chicken and mutton kebabs that I’ve grown up eating. I don’t see why I should have to give all that up.’

‘But love is about sacrificing.’ Now his face had taken on a rather petulant expression, almost like that of a spoilt child who wasn’t getting what he wanted.

‘Love is also about letting the other be free.’ She shrugged. ‘Besides, today is our 75th Independence Day after all. I thought it’d be a good day to let you know that as a free woman of a free country, I have no intention of giving up my freedom to decide and choose for myself.’

And with that, she picked up her bag and walked away from him. Even as he watched her go, he waited for her to change her mind, turn around and come back to him. It was just meat for God’s sake! It was only when he saw her stride purposefully into the Chunky Chicken Chops restaurant at the end of the street that he knew that she most certainly wasn’t coming back.

Image source: a still from the short film Ouch

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About the Author

Rrashima Swaarup Verma

Rrashima is a senior corporate analyst with over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector. She is also a prolific writer and poet and her articles, stories and poems are regularly published in leading read more...

11 Posts | 17,293 Views

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