Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Tough Cookie

500 words + title
Must contain the following plot:
1 protagonist, 3 doors, 3 choices, and the process by which the protagonist makes 1 choice.
You can write in any voice (1st, 2nd or 3rd person).
Tagging Mathangi KrishGouri DangeParomita Vohra
A Tough Cookie
My parents had seriously started looking for suitable matches for me even before I had got my BA final results. It was the done thing, at the time. Much correspondence and many discussions were happening at our home. That evening the bell rang, the front door opened, and in trooped the parents of the boy suggested by my aunt. Apparently our horoscopes matched. He liked my photograph. He would meet me only if his parents approved. I had come in with the tea tray, and had served tea to the guests, surprising myself by not being at all nervous. Both sets of parents seemed pretty pleased. I went into the kitchen, having suitably displayed myself, and stood near the door, absent-mindedly listening to the conversation. I was, I remember, a bindaas, merry soul. Nothing seemed to faze me. But what I overheard certainly did. The ‘boy’s’ family was asking for a huge sum as dowry, besides the customary ‘decent’ wedding and jewellery and gifts and trousseau etc.
I waited until they had left, and then went and told my parents that there was no way I would ever marry anyone who was stupid enough to either demand or accept a dowry. They told me that it was customary in our community, and they had saved up enough for both my dowry and that of my younger sister, and that I was being needlessly rebellious. I asked them if they had stopped reading the newspapers, where every second day a dowry death or two would be reported. My mother laughed, and said, Oh, these people are not like that. Your Bua knows them well.
I said, All those girls who have been burnt to death, their families I’m sure also knew them well.
Papa said, Meet the boy at least, see if you like him.
Not in a million years, I said, stomping off to the room I shared with my sister.
My sister came into the room and shut the door, quietly sliding the bolt home.
Why are you locking the door?
Shhhhh. Vinay gave me a letter for you.
Vinay was the boy-next-door. We had played together, grown up together, until he had left for the engineering college hostel. He wrote that he had secured a good job, and would love to spend the rest of his llfe with me. If I was at all interested, he would ask his parents to approach mine. Even though we belonged to different communities, he was sure both sets of parents would agree.
I opened the bedroom door and handed Vinay’s letter to my dad.
I think it’s quite possible for me to get married without a dowry, Papa.
Do you like the boy?
Well, we have been friends for a long time. But right now, Mum and Dad, I don’t want to get into any kind of relationship. I want to enroll for my Master’s degree as soon as I get my BA results. I want to study, and I will want to work, too. Only way to end this dowry nonsense.

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