My Worst Fears

Artwork by Aditi

It was a hot day when Sita, a six-year-old had been asked what kind of husband she wanted. Her innocence was evident in her answer when said,

“Husband?  Do I have to have one?”

Her family members chuckled at her answer and left her to play with her brown wooden toys on the nursery floor. Sita did not forget that question. It was Holi then. She had recently been recognised as a child prodigy of an IQ of 190, but still, she was asked about the type of male spouse she would prefer. She felt like she was being mocked at by her own kin.

As Sita grew up, she learned new things about mitochondria and Wilde and atoms and what not. She even learned where her name came from, but the one thing that always troubled her most was the mystery of why she was asked about her future partner. Then, it finally struck her. She shared her name with the wife of the Hindu God Ram; the ultimate upholder of rules or Maryada Purushottam. Funnily enough, she did not agree with the god’s decision to abandon his expecting wife and disliked his terrifying lack of emotional intelligence. She then allowed her mind to wander into the jungle of thoughts of women who were just like her. These women empowered her.

Now a ten-year-old Sita was sitting in a tenth-grade classroom. It was the first day of school and she was excited to jibber jabber with new people. She had always been talkative, but whenever she spoke, words dripped out of her mouth like honey and awed those around her. The teacher had finally arrived and asked everyone to introduce themselves. Sita stood up with confidence and told everyone who she was. Well, the response was unflattering and underwhelming. It seemed like; she was a tiny creature to be picked on, through the smirks and smug glances of the boys in the room. Sita had now developed a fear to speak her own mind, but at least she could impart her intellectual opinions, right? Not true. The minute she tried to answer a question, her question was drowned in the sea of newfound, deep, masculine voices.

The story doesn’t end with Sita succumbing to cowardice. It continues when she learns to growl like a tiger in her work. Sita channels all her hatred and rage of being treated like a mere child; a girl who is in touch with her feminity is useless. She now swims above her demons.

We women have been treated like second-class citizens for far too long. We have had to prove ourselves to others, but not anymore. Sita has made me realise that no woman should be enslaved by patriarchy as speculative fiction says. We need our Sita and Margaret Atwood’s and Madam Curies because, without them, the world would be a terrible place. To lose them is what I fear. 

“What are you writing?  We will be late for the keynote on Fermat’s Last Theorem!” Sita said to me and oh! Yes, I forgot to mention, Sita is my dear wife. And losing her and our adopted sons Luv and Kush is my biggest fear. I write down a few more words in my red handmade book and leave a chaste kiss upon my wife’s lips. 

Hey! Would you look at that? Sita really ended up without a husband.

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