The Perfect Daughter
Vanitha sat distraught on a bench in the Bangalore station waiting for the next train.
Shashi was on the phone very happily talking ” Yes, yes, the automatic washing machine, yeah I got her one oh, believe me, I’m so happy that my little one is happily married and settled now,
Yeah, it’s been a month now, in Bangalore yeah, I got her all she’ll need to set up the home myself, my son-in-law he’s a gem so what if he’s ten years her senior he’s well settled my Vanitha will be happy. Oh, excuse me I guess there’s someone at the door, yeah I’ll get back to you later bye, ” A happy Sashi set her hair up in a bun and rushed happily towards the door
On opening it she was shocked to see Vanitha silent tired and lost she hurriedly took her in ” Vanitha what a surprise! So suddenly, is Mohan downstairs shall I send dad to receive him, ” Vanitha walked silently to her room sat on the bed ignoring her mother’s beseeching words after 20 minutes of uproar Shashank Rao opened the door of Vanitha’s room walked in and silently sat next to her ” Dear child, your mother is very anxious to know where Mohan is, and whether everything is fine? ” Vanitha turned to her father and said with a heavy voice” I have come alone, I’ve left Mohan and that life behind, and come to stay with you tell mom that I’m not going anywhere,
“a loud thump was heard outside the door both Vanitha and Shashank rushed to find Shashi has fallen quickly a doctor was sent for A few hours later Shashank Rao on the phone” yes Rajeev mom’s fine now she was upset because of Vanithas coming home alone, yeah now her blood pressure is under control, no son Vani doesn’t want to go back she’s quite adamant, you try to talk to her, yes I know you left only a few months back, no son no need to come now I’ll handle it, yeah I’ll call Alike, it’s fine, bye”
A concerned Shashi slowly closed her eyes she went into a reverie she recollected the day Vanitha was born she remembered her brother Sunil and his wife Madhuri carrying the baby girl into the ward six year old Rajeev was on his uncles shoulders and his aunt held the little Vanitha” Shashi I must tell you your daughter is an epitome of your beauty, you are indeed fortunate lovely children you are blessed with this naughty energetic boy and beautiful girl now believe me if my Adi was a girl I would get him married off to Rajeev and made him my ghar jamai
No Madhuri Rajeev is going to be a doctor and will go abroad soon he is going to be a perfect doctor and this little girl she will be a perfect wife to a happy man and going to mould her to be a perfect Indian Woman, ” A smiling Madhuri said ” yes look at those lovely big eyes you should make her a classical dancer too, ” True to her dreams Shashi saw to it that Vanitha learnt dance, and gave performances many praised her for her Grace and dimpled smile she saw to it that her daughter was traditional and graceful everything ladylike but was Vanitha happy,
a question which always troubled Shashank Rao’s mind Vanitha always appeared protected and tied to her mother she was like a suppressed spring. He worried about her tried often to make her read and develop knowledge but Shashi didn’t feel the need for an education for her girl soon Rajeev got married and left abroad to fulfil his mother’s dream of becoming a good doctor now what was left Vanitha ‘s marriage Shashank Rao argued ” Isn’t she very young she’s just 19 do you think she’ll understand the complex relation of marriage ” Shashi shrugged her shoulders ” oh dear, don’t be silly I got married to you when I was 14, have you forgotten? “Apprehensive he agreed Shashi scanned marriage bureaus, relatives, friends till she found a suitable boy for her little girl, the marriage was held with great pomp and festivity, Shashi joy reached its crux, excitement, joy and celebration reached the zenith.
Now she slowly opened her eyes from her reverie she walked straight to her husband and said ” what does she say why did she leave her home and come to my threshold to break my heart? “A demur Vanitha walked in” Amma, I didn’t mean to break your heart it’s just that I can’t stay without you are my everything I still feel clung to your protective care, I just felt so lost there,
I felt helpless, like a stranger is encroaching on my freedom, I felt an aversion of him I don’t understand who is he to keep me away from you I don’t know why I am there, what to do, nothing seems good MA, he’s not like Dad ” a worried Shashank Rap held his child” Has he hurt you, my child, did he ill-treat you? ” ” no dad he is nice but a stranger who I can’t share my life with I’m not able to relate to him, I miss you and feel mom need more” Sashi rushed to slap her, but Shashank stopped her” it’s all our fault I told you she wasn’t mature enough for marriage, leave her for some time I’ll talk to her “
Every evening Shashi would pour out her heart out to her son Rajeev on the phone he tried to speak to his sister but off no avail she was taken to a marriage counsellor but even he couldn’t convince her. Shashi pent up her anger and one day approached Vanitha” see, Vanitha every girl has to get married she can’t live alone like this she needs a life support system which is called a life partner,
you say Mohan is a stranger so you could not marry him, so I’ve decided that you marry Alok, he’s my brothers’ son and even Rajeev has accepted this marriage, Alok is waiting in the hall go and talk to him” Vanitha and Alok were together Vanitha looked helplessly at Alok, ” Come Alok, I didn’t expect this, why this sacrifice? You know me from childhood is this all you have understood, mom is unreasonable but you?,
” The silent and strong Alok said decisively “
it no sacrifice you know how much I respect aunty and Rajeev is more of a mentor to me than a cousin why don’t you think I’ll be good I’ll try my best to be of your liking ” Vanitha held her head” Oh, my it’s not about the man, it’s about the concept of marriage it’s my thoughts why should a girl not be able to look after her parents why does she have to married why can’t she be independent and live like a man, why can’t she support her parents like a boy why should only sons enjoy the privilege of being with their parents, Alok, throughout my life I have done whatever.
I’m wanted me to do, because she was with me in them but marriage is taking me away from her which I can’t tolerate I want my parents Alok that’s it and nothing else I want to look after them” A concerned Alok said,” Vanitha, be practical that’s not the way it is a girl has to be married she can’t stay with her parents, OK as long as your parents are there it’s OK after that how will you live alone, ” ‘ she smiled and said ” with their memories ” a large uproar rose in the house Sashi found her dreams shattering she let out her frustration by tantrums but Shashank Rao held his wife in his arms and consoled her with his sympathetic care if all men were so maybe marriage would mean complete bliss.
He understood his little girl’s struggle and showed her that knowledge was her release from the pain she continued her education did her post-graduation in accounts and later pursued her master’s in management. Vanitha saw her happiness soaring as she got a job in a multinational company earned even more than her brother bought two houses sat in the CEO chair of her own company but allotted many hours with her mom and dad that made her day complete years passed Sashi slowly comprised to the situation and accepted her daughter as another son.
One night her dad called her to his side patted her head and said ” my dear we never understood your childhood or your silence, maybe it was our folly like many other parents to take a daughter for granted that we don’t even ask them what they want, my child your mother is an extraordinary woman, a very intelligent woman but these qualities are clouded by the norms and practices of society so she is blind to them but I as her husband have seen her as a complete woman you my child carry the same qualities but your sky is clear that’s why you are what you are today, my child your mother has always had my support and will always need support to promise me that the day my support ceases, you will place your hand on her shoulder “Vanitha held her dad’s hand and said,” Dad that is the meaning of my existence, I’m indeed blessed to be your child”.
The next morning Shashank Rao’s support ended A Distraught and lost Shashi Sat by his side glaring at the injustice he had done by leaving her Rajeev carried his father’s remains painfully in his hands and his mother’s widowed image in his heart. That evening as Shashi moaned to Mohini” Alok’s newly wedded wife he has left me with no support all alone “in the dark a light shone from behind A hand was placed on her shoulder, Mohini wiped her tears ” aunt all of us try to mould our daughters into perfect wives, or perfect mothers but forget to make them perfect daughters the one which you have whose hand is now and will always be on your shoulder till your last breath. ” Shashi got up and clung to her daughter like a little girl hugs her dad.