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"They still expect the wifey to kick her career, pack up and move along chirpily! Merely a done deal. No questions asked or opinions sought," said Sita.
International Women’s Day, the IT/LIT Day, loomed ahead.
Sita aka Vaidehi sat staring at her fb account.
The colourful dailies were strewn around with all ads screaming about NaariShakti, Awakening-Dormant-Woman-Power torn and crumpled.
The deluge had just started.
The surfeit of PressureCooker deals, Boutique Saree Sales, Makeover Mantras, Glow & Shine Schemes and Diamond Discounts was nauseating her.
“Now everyone will status update their TLs with all those lovey-dovey pics flaunting their W-Day Soirees and awards! IWD! Uff! sounds more like Weapon of Mass Destruction in the making. This hoopla is beginning to get to me. Need to head out. ASAP.”
She then immediately created a WhatsApp group “USlayGurrl” (Irony Max! but hey, who’s cribbing!) and started adding members-
Draupadi, Yashodhara, Rukhmini, and as an afterthought Radha too.
Over multiple messages spread across hours, they finally decided to head for a coffee at a happening cafe, at the soonest.
But first Mani-Pedi sessions with trendy haircuts had to be taken. They would be Instagramming later all about their intellectual date. So the gals had to look dishy with their perfect pouts in place.
After all the mandatory dressy issues were sorted, they settled into a no-holds-barred soul-cleansing Chatathon over cups of scalding latte.
Sita went first. “This Love-Yourself-First, Woman! Too much pressure to like thyself with all the attendant foibles. About this W-Day, I say…”
Draupadi chipped in, cutting Sita’s flow midway. “I have this woman-ahead-of-her-times persona to live up to and the compulsion to constantly feed the ever-hungry narrative. Gotta attend so many Womanista meetings. Plus the agony of choosing my ‘Plus-One’. I haven’t decided whom to go with. It’s actually the turn of twins this year but my heart is stuck on the Brave Archer. The Brawny one is all into flexing muscles and dazzling skin show and the Wise One is always pontificating. Gets too much especially when it is I who has to deliver and they steal the thunder!”
Yashodhara (rolling her eyes): “At least you have options. Mine has gone in search of spiritual salvation, a cure-the-world solution, leaving me all high and dry. And somehow that is my fault that I couldn’t chain him to my charms and let him go. Though they tell me now there are gadgets that ‘fill in’ for the man. You know what I mean.”
Rukmini took over “Look, whenever there is any event, I am never the GoTo, even as the Plus-One of the Gita Dispenser! I have seven more wives to contend with. I am totally fed up with this roll of dice thingy. Somehow Satya gets it in her favour! Always! Me thinks, she borrows the loaded dice from Shaks Mama. They call her feisty and say I emanate matronly vibes! So yesterday! Can you imagine the damage to the psyche?”
Radha butted in. “Gurrls, stop whining already, can ya? You are all legally wedded wives. Can you believe the chattering I attract? As the other one? Even though it’s only the mating of minds and sharing of souls? When will these peeps live and let live without scrutinizing minutely everyone else’s lives?”
Sita: “What about my story huh? First of all, as soon as we were married, he decided to be noble and all, gave up the Gaddi and sauntered off to the jungle. I thought it would be nice to have him all to myself and I followed him. Did I get any brownie points for that? They still expect the wifey to kick her career, pack up and move along chirpily! Merely a done deal. No questions asked or opinions sought. Never had a moment’s peace in my life, forever trying to live up to the infinite expectations around. My daily Agni Pareeksha, this!”
Kunti and Gandhari were nearby, catching up on good old times. As is the practice, they couldn’t help but overhear. They quickly dragged themselves and joined the party quite uninvited and started dishing out time-tested Gyaan. Old habits die hard you see.
Kunti: “You got it easy ladies! Don’t whine! I could mesmerize anyone I liked, which I did too with dignity. At the height of my youth, moved into Vaanaprasthana mode, and brought up my Souten’s kids along with mine when a moment of insane amour killed Hubby dearest. Can anyone of you show similar self-control or fortitude? My shoes are too big to fill in, for you young lot!”
Gandhari:” Well! Comparisons are odious and to each her own! I shut the world for him! Life long! Then sired 101 children!! Just Imagine! Who can top that?”
As they sat moping, with their chins dropping to the table, it hit them collectively.
Each of them was different and super stupendous.
Their happiness lay in their hands.
It is they who scripted what in life transpired next and how!
By living their lives, Queen Size, holding heads high!
Therein lay a beautiful story waiting to be rewritten.
Image source: Still from Star Plus’ Mahabharat
Anupama Jain is the author of:
* ’Kings Saviours & Scoundrels -Timeless Tales from Katha Sarita Sagara’, listed as one of the best books of 2022 by @Wordsopedia. Rooted in the traditional storytelling of Indian legends, warriors, read more...
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