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. 


henna hands from peakdefinition.jpgTo 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

 

5 Comments

  1. Vicki Hancock on July 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Great story, thanks. Have a great 4th of July!!!

  2. Shirley Quaskey on July 5, 2009 at 7:25 am

    People seek happiness in many ways, but I find
    that happiness comes when I have done the right
    thing, done the best that I can in a difficult situation or have acted to make life better for someone else. Happiness is the result of being
    the best person that you can be and accepting that we cannot fix everything that is wrong. Learning to accept the unchangeable brings the kind of peace and contentment that I equate with happiness.

  3. Linda Fix on July 5, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Emilie,
    Such happiness came to me when I found out that you had a new book. I can’t wait until I start reading it.

  4. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I have met many foreign wives (I was in the Peace Corps and a military wife). It is had for most to realize how very alone many are. Most come from countries where family is the center of their lives. They move away to a place and culture that is foreign to them and are often not accepted by the community or their mate’s family. It is a difficult, lonely existence.

  5. Patricia Barraclough on September 6, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    When I was in the Peace Corps, I missed being with my family for special occasions. But I was still happy. There were so many new experiences to explore. Unlike Janya, I knew I was going home and would have family, friends, and what was familiar once again.

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