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‘Nothing can make anyone love you! Nothing…’ Ma’s pet refrain rings in my ears. It is my constant companion. At her words my eyes flash. I hate you! I wish you were dead!
She is beautiful.
I love her… as much as the sun loves the dawn, with certainty and a calm assurance.
My love for her is all consuming. It is passionate but it is almost reverential. I gaze at her, admiring the softness of her delicate face cradled by an unkempt mass of tumbling curls. They are always wind-swept and at war with her bobby pins. Her face is clear and unblemished unlike that of so many girls her age. There is a tinge of rosiness to her cheeks that lends her a perpetual blush. Oh, that is so alluring. Her beauty is reflective of everything ethereal and aureate. For me, she is within reach and yet she is untouchable.
Does she notice me?
No, she does not. But, I do not mind because I notice her and that is enough for me. It satiates my love. When I look at her, I see not the imperfections heaped on her by society or the blemishes that rabid gossip has left. I only see the beauty bestowed by God. That is my aphrodisiac. I tack that vision to the fabric of my love and stitch it up tightly in my heart.
She is my secret just like my love for her is.
‘Take the trash out!’
Ma’s rancorous voice, sharp like a whiplash, startles me out of my reverie. I tear my eyes away from my reflection in the mirror, drop the comb and scuttle to do her bidding.
‘Good-for-nothing slacker,’ Ma rants; the sting in her angry words lances me deep, as always. Why can she not be kind to me? ‘Nothing can turn ugly into good looking. Twenty years old and not an ounce of brain in that head! Nothing can make anyone love you…nothing.’
Some mothers get short-changed for maternal love, don’t they? So what if on my plump frame, my pock-marked cheeks flanked by scars and topped by hooded, mismatched eyes with a visible squint in one, lend me an ugly visage? Beauty isn’t just skin deep, is it?
The words gag in my throat. Ma knows my secret. She knows who I obsessively desire. Didn’t she catch me preening in front of the mirror?
Now, she mocks me. She projects her loathing of me, of my physical attributes, outwards. Her words, like serrated barbs, cut deep, unsettling my confidence especially at times when she decries – ‘Oh God, why punish me so? Why saddle me with such a child?’
But, I manage to overlook her grievous quibbles. She is my mother after all. I am old enough to survive independent of her. As such, love is not our bond but our bane to share.
Our gaze locks and I see it in her eyes. She loves me too, my heart sings.
I blush at the realization. A crimson flush creeps up her cheeks. A hesitant smile parts my lips. She smiles back. Nervously, I pat back a lock of my unruly hair. She secures hers too. A little emboldened, I extend a hand towards her. Her fingers meet mine mid-way. A delicious tingle courses through my body…our bodies.
Finally, our consummated hearts beat as one as the mirror reflects my ugliness as her beauty.
I know that I will never love anyone but her for in her, in my reflection, I see not the external ugliness that society brands me with but the beauty that I know resides inside of me.
Published here first.
Image source: YouTube
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Sonal is a multiple award winning blogger and writer and the founder of a women-centric manpower search firm - www.rianplacements.com.
Her first book, a volume of poetry - Islands in the stream - is slated read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).