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SWATI – PROTAGONIST, 18 YEAR OLD GIRL.
SUCHI- SWATI’S YOUNGER SISTER. IN 5TH GRADE
RAJ- SWATI’S DAD. AROUND 35 YEARS OLD.
SWATI’S GRANDMA-IN HER 60’S
AUNT SURI- SWATI’S MATERNAL AUNT. SHE IS 30.
ALIA- SWATI’S CLOSEST FRIEND, 18 YEARS.
ADITYA- SWATI’S COLLEGE FELLOW. 18 YEARS.
JIA- AUNT SURI’S FRIEND WHO IS A BACHELORETTE PARTY. SHE IS 26 YEARS OLD.
STORY:- It was not a normal day. The petrifying winter air coming from the door slits touched my feet, telling me its time. It was already 7.00 in the morning and my stomach was aching badly. The chaotic noises of my dad listening to radio, my younger sister watching Timon and Pumbaa, her favorite cartoon and granny praying to god with her bells tinkling incessantly, it was all driving me crazy. But all the torturous sounds fainted when I shouted arrogantly.
Me: Why didn’t you wake me up, dad? I’ll get late.
Dad: Don’t worry child, everything’s ready. You buck up fast.
He answered me nonchalantly. How he can be so relaxed every time, I wondered. Trust me it’s a herculean task to get out of bed in winters. But I collected all my strength and got ready just in time. I got in the hall for breakfast and asked my sister arrogantly to switch off the television. She didn’t obviously. It’s the sibling rivalry, you see.
Granny: SWATI, come here honey, pray to god for your wellbeing and light this AGARBATTI as well.
Me: Well yes, if not a cigarette I can smoke an AGARBATTI for sure.
I giggled to myself.
Me: I am sorry granny I am in a hurry right now. Tell god to be on hold.
Granny gave me a stern expression and went muttering angrily. I will never be able to please her. We are very different. The morning was not pleasant at all, I was grumbling about everything and throwing tantrums on everyone. Weird.
Dad: That time of the month, right?
Me: Right dad, it’s awful. Why? Don’t you think it’s unfair? Why we women have to deal with it?
Dad: Because women are elegant warriors. They manage everything with so much ease and grace.
All of a sudden SUCHI came pounding towards dad inquisitively.
Suchi: Dad, what does Hakuna Matata mean? I just heard it in TIMON AND PUMBAA.
Dad: No worries.
The apt answer that my dad gave couldn’t really satisfy my sister’s curious eyes.
Dad: it means, whenever you are in crisis, you have to keep calm and chant Hakuna Matata.
He picked her up and tickled her. The loud crackles of laughter made me smile somehow.
Granny: Aren’t you getting late for college now?
She taunted me. We can never be on the same page. I let out a loud burp as it irks her a lot and went out.
Granny: Tell them how to behave like ladies, Raj. You are spoiling them.
She said scornfully to my dad. But neither I nor my dad pay attention to what she says. For me she’s just an old woman blabbering in her 60’s. During the 15 minute journey between my home and college I thought about my family. My dad is a widower with two daughters planted on him like bombs, that’s what my granny thinks. She always pities him. Because let’s face it we are girls and he is doomed.
I can never be on good terms with the misogyny existing in our society. Suddenly I am intervened by a voice .That’s my friend ALIA.
Alia: Hey Swati, what’s up? Where are you lost?
She grinned softly as she understood. She is my best friend. We both are very similar. Thorough feminists. And to top it all she takes Krav Maga classes. So nobody dares to bother us. We have this very nasty mantra to deal with bad guys “hit where it hurts the most.” And voila guys we know that point. We both giggle and gossip and share almost everything.
Alia: Swati, what would you do if you turned into a man?
Me: I’ll walk around topless, probably. HAKUNA MATATA
We both laughed hysterically and entered our class. Soon a cacophonic throaty voice interrupted us. It was Aditya. I always hated that guy. He is a jerk and a pervert. He came to me asked me kinkily,
Aditya: What’s the thing that all women have, it starts with V and they can use it to get anything?
Me: It’s the voice, you pervo. Our voice that you are intimidated of. Now shut your filthy mouth before you get to know what my cramps are capable of. Stop objectifying women. Do you understand?
I roared out loud like a lioness on prey. The crowd inside was mumbling and giving me incoherent stares.
Alia: Come on girl, don’t spoil your mood. Everyone knows he’s sick. Keep calm.
She cheered me. After the college was over I went home and to my great surprise, my lovely Aunt Suri was there. She visits us regularly to perk up our moods and to ensure that we are not depressed due to some jerks in our society. A sturdy and chubby woman, boycotted by granny due to her drinking and smoking habits, considered to be a headstrong lady by the society as she is a self-reliant spinster enjoying her 30’s,if you know what I mean. That’s my Aunt, Aunt Suri. There she was munching and chomping popcorns, wildly. I mocked her
Me: Watch out, aunt, your arms register as my legs. The fat clinging to your arms is not gonna help you find a good husband.
Because let’s face it a girls gotta look good for a handsome husband earning handsome money.
Aunt: I don’t think I need one. I’ll get myself a compassionate and caring wife.
We both laughed and ate popcorns.
Me: What brought you here aunt?
Aunt: My friend’s getting married. It’s her bachelorette party. I want you to accompany me. It’ll be fun.
I could see my grandmother fuming with anger giving growling stares enough to tell me that she doesn’t approve of me going with my aunt whom she never liked. But little did I care.
Suchi: I’ll go with you as well. Please.
Me: That’s not a place for kids, honey. We can’t take you.
But you see Suchi has this power of getting her things done by crying which drives me crazy. We dressed up I wore my lilac dress with a cardigan. In no time we reached our destination, the world of goddesses. These ladies smelled heavenly, it was chilling in the evening but the ladies wore halter necks, fancy dresses, because let’s face it a girl doesn’t feel cold, she’s hot. They spoke in really soft voices like the angel is sleeping on their tongues which kind of annoyed me and they walked swiftly like air. I didn’t expect the party to be like so soft and elegant. It had to be a bit naughty after all it’s the bachelorette party. But it was a total downfall, utterly boring, romantic jazz playing on and a child crying endlessly, ladies talking in a hush-hush manner, my sister pointing fingers at ladies with fancy dresses, literally total torture. But then there was a silver lining FREE BOOZE, yes there was a mini bar counter having all sorts of mock tails and drinks.
Aunt: Control Swati. Excess will be bad.
Me: I am not a drunkard but who cares if it’s free.
We both chuckled and then Aunt Suri went to greet her friend and I made myself comfortable with the drinks. I already had two Cosmopolitans and was up for Royal Tennessee when I saw a lady carrying a little monster who was of course crying. Babies are monsters for sure. I felt sorry for her.
Aunt: What on the earth are you doing?
Seeing that woman I said
Me: Being a woman is tough. I mean the lady could have gone for PLAN B when she got THE NEWS. Why carry a monster like that and be tormented for the whole life?
Aunt: Being a woman is pride. We are fighters, we don’t worry about the problems,we just solve them with beauty and never think of PLAN B’s. Remember Swati we are warriors.
Suddenly the baby stopped crying and I realized something very important. My mind was working really slowly, it was all calm then. Jia who was the host of party, the eligible bachelorette went to the stage and announced that we are going to play a game.
Me: What a suicide pact? I’ll go first. Your party is damn boring.
I joked. To which she replied softly
Jia: Don’t worry, it won’t be now. The game is: Each one of us is going to admit something on stage. It has to be something naughty and funny for sure.
Now the crowd was gaining heat. Everyone was excited.
Jia: I’ll go first. Once I farted in front of my in laws to be. It was embarrassing.
The crowd went hysterical. Everyone was laughing hard. Then my sister went on and said piously
Suchi: Once I peed in a pool.
ME: OH sweety, it’s a big pool of water your contribution won’t be acknowledged.
I shouted. We all were in tears, we laughed really badly. The crowd was howling and screaming. Everything was merry. Then I went with another shot down, a cocktail in my hand and my tottered walk attracted everyone’s attention. I stood on the stage to make my confession. The crowd was cheering me.
Me: Hello, beautiful ladies. First of all Jia, thanks for being so brave. I mean farting in public is a big deal.
I took a deep sigh and carried on
Me: I really want to admit that we ladies are warriors. We paint our faces like warriors with tons of makeup, lips painted blood red, the war dress that drapes around, and our looks enough to leave anyone dismantled and to top it all we walk around with these 5 inch heels on. Only a warrior could manage all that. Despite all this we don’t worry, we don’t complain but just shimmy our way through adversities. Cheers, to all the strong women who don’t worry. Cheers, to all the elegant warriors.
Next I remember being pulled off the stage, my mind was blank but my body was still in a Rock On mood. This happens when you are really drunk. I woke up the next day and there were hammers thumping in my head. Hangover, probably. My dad sitting next to me. I could hear granny mumbling her prayers right through walls. The faint sound of the theme song of Timon and Pumbaa was playing. ***Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase…It means no worries for the rest of your days …..Hakuna Matata….. **. It was a normal day.
Me: I am sorry dad. We commit terrible mistakes when we are really drunk. I am sorry. I got really drunk.
Dad: No sometimes we do commit sweet mistakes. We got you when I and your mother were really drunk. But she said don’t worry, HAKUNA MATATA.
We both smiled.
SWATI-She is an 18 year old girl pursuing her graduation. Coming to her persona she is a liberal minded girl who tries to find reason for everything. As a sibling she is really arrogant towards her younger sister but then she calls it sibling rivalry. She believes herself to be feminist. Complains a lot about the life and the hardships faced by a woman. She is on the face and quite blatant which adds to her humor sense. Very strong and courageous, fierce and rebellious. She does not appreciate her grandmother much and is sometimes rude to her. She has a very cynical view of the image of women in society. She considers that being a women is tough but in the end she embraces her womanhood.
RAJ (SWATI’S DAD) – He is a doting father and an obedient son. His wife died soon after the birth of their second daughter. He is the most understanding father a girl could ever get. He is very open to his daughters, pampers them and teaches them to be grateful and content. He does not really act as per his mother but listens to her patiently. He loves his daughters unconditionally and gives them full freedom to choose what they want to be. Being a widower, he manages his family, his two daughters and their upbringing single handedly. He surely is his daughters’ SUPERMAN.
AUNT SURI– She is Swati’s maternal aunt, that’s why she has that motherly affection towards Suchi and Swati. It was mentioned that she is a bit healthy but loves to eat, which shows that she doesn’t really care about her figure. She eats what she wants and enjoys life in a carefree manner. She is self-reliant and independent woman living on her own. Being in her 30’s she is still not married. The society calls her headstrong which does not really deter her from leading the life that she wants. She drinks, she smokes and does what she wants while turning a deaf ear to those who say ill of her. She is not really on good terms with Swati’s granny but that doesn’t mar her from visiting their house. She is the inspiration of Swati who is deeply impressed by her way of living.
GRANDMA-She is an old lady in her 60’s who is seemingly very religious. She considers Swati’s thinking to be fatal as it is not the part of our culture. She believes that women are the homemakers and they need to behave in a graceful manner. As a caring she feels that her son’s life is ruined as he is a widower with two girls. But being a mother she prays for the wellbeing of her family and their happiness. She really thinks that his son should control his daughters before it’s late. Having that traditional and conventional thinking she considers smoking and drinking as taboo. This orthodox behavior of hers is not really appreciated by Swati that’s why they are never on the same page.