How does it feel to stay at a place where you are constantly made to feel unwanted? How does it feel to keep the pretense game on? When does this end? Will she ever get out? Will she ever break the emotional clutches and fly free?
A thousand thoughts were racing through Kritika’s mind, when she heard a knock at the door. The knock was loud enough to bring her back to senses. She reluctantly got up and opened the door. There stood Kshitij with two bags in hand, eyes shining and with the broadest of smiles.
Kshitij and Kritika met at a party three years back and immediately clicked. Since then, they have been the closest friends who have stood by each other through thick and thin. Kritika wasn’t expecting him at home today and was surprised.
Kritika: What are you doing here Kshitij?
Kshitij: What could I do? I called you like 7 times, but you didn’t pick. I had to come see you.
Kritika: Shit! Sorry, I was occupied and didn’t get a chance to pick the call.
Kshitij: Kriti, have you really started to think you can lie to me?
He pulled her into a bear hug and handed over the two bags he was carrying with him. He firmly said- “Now sit and eat !”
Kritika works night shifts and sometimes there are days that she doesn’t have the stamina to go fetch something for herself. She of course stays with her family and it isn’t like they starve her. But there is a difference between feeding someone with love and just doing it for you have to do it. And that is the case with her family. While her family would cook for her, but that comes wrapped with a series of taunts and yells. However the situation is different when it comes to the male of the household. Typical gender biases!
It is always said that there cannot be anything better than cooking and serving food with love. The series of taunts and yells eventually reduces her urge to touch the food even. And then again, if she leaves food, that again would be chaos. Quite suffocating, isn’t it?
While Kriti was fiddling with the packets, lost in her thoughts, Kshitij gave her a squeeze on the hand. Damn! Woman, open and see what I got for you !
He bought her favorite Pasta and chocolate fudge. Her eyes sparkled with happiness seeing it.
Kshitij: Now that looks like my Kriti. Dig in, what are you waiting for?
They chatted and rejoiced with the bowl of pasta and chocolate fudge together. Kritika seemed relieved during the entire time and that wide smile never left her face.
Kshitij: Kriti, how long are you going to take all this? Why don’t you say anything?
Kritika: Kritika took a deep breath. Kshitij, I have so much to say and yet none. I have tried to explain them zillion times now, but it all boils down to one thing – our parents have nurtured us this way and we don’t need to learn what is good and bad from you now. And if not this, they would start shedding tears. And you know it, tears aren’t my thing at all.
This isn’t a problem with just me or some other girl. Sometimes it feels as though every second household has this issue. The generations have been raised faulty and now with changing ideologies, the old culture has been engraved so deep in their roots that they would do everything but change. And for people like us, we either walk away or fall silent eventually and pretend all is well just to not have to live lifelong with the constant fingers pointing towards us of breaking the family and maligning their image.
Kshitij, I feel unwanted and wronged every time, but, I let go reassuring myself that I am overthinking. For instance, the food, if it wasn’t me but my brother, the world would have been placed at his feet by now. But when it comes to me, it doesn’t even matter. Our society has been wired this way and my friend, nothing would change ever till the change is embraced at home. There are endless biases and there will always be.
Kshitij had a meeting and had to leave early. He stood up, pulled her into a hug and whispered in her ears- “You are my strong Kriti, just don’t give up!’
All Kriti managed to say in a choking voice was ‘Thanks for being there, Thanks!’
As Kshitij sat in his car, he received a text from Kritika-
I am at par or probably above, only if this world considered!
It only left him wondering what every other Kritika in the household endures all their life.