Not tired of contests yet? I promised a link to the newest one at Fresh Fiction, of which Happiness Key is a part. You can find it and me right here.
And to end the week, the last part of Janya’s story.
To the delight of my parents and to my own great joy, Darshan asked me to marry him. I accepted, of course, and our families met and made the engagement official under our Hindu traditions. Plans were begun for an elaborate wedding, although Darshan’s family asked that no official dowry be given, but the wedding itself must be an occasion to be remembered by the many, many people who would be invited.
If my father was frightened by the debt he must undergo-despite saving and investing for years-to make such a wedding happen, he never told me so. He knew that once Darshan and I were wed, Mr. Tambe would make certain my father’s accounting firm was never overlooked when state contracts were awarded. My wedding was not only a duty but an investment.
So many arrangements had been made, so much money had been paid, so many people had been informed. I was thrilled beyond measure. Darshan wanted to stay in Mumbai and practice in the firm where he had been apprenticed during his education. With his family’s connections and his father’s position it would only be a short time before he began to make a name for himself.
Now I hesitate to think of that time in my life, a time when every wish had come true and every hope for my future seemed in my grasp. All ended abruptly on a day just three months before our wedding, a day I can not bear to speak of.
In the end, I did not marry Darshan Tambe. Instead I married a stranger, Rishi Kapur, an orphan raised in America by relatives, with few cultural ties to my beloved India. From the moment I met him, I could only compare him to my lost love. Rishi had a boisterous laugh and an awkward, graceless body that managed to knock over my mother’s most beloved possessions when he visited. While we were told he was a computer genius,his prospects were not stellar. Instead of taking a job in one of the country’s great software or internet firms, Rishi had chosen to strike out on his own after university.
Rishi is a good man, but I can not love him, because I have already given my heart away. I know that Rishi’s life has not been easy, and I feel sympathy, knowing that from the day his parents died he was an outcast among those who should have loved and honored him. But knowing this does not make love appear. One can not sow seeds on barren ground and expect a garden to flourish.
I have lost everything. My home, my family, the man I loved, the cousin who was as close as a sister, a culture I understood and of which I was part, and the daily companionship of friends and loved ones. Rishi often works late. There are days when the only human face I see is in my mirror.
I ask myself what I did to deserve this fate? As yet, I have found no answer.
Next week: Wanda’s story