The mirror is my best friend because when I cry it never laughs.
Shalini waltzed into the tiny abode, the door banging after her. I rattled in my rickety frame, my senile cracked body ready to give away soon. The sliver of early morning sunrays streamed in through a crack in the fragile plaster-peeling wall, sending the listless dust into a frenzy.
Premalatha, clad in a simple cotton saree hanging loosely on her bony contours emerged from the partitioned kitchen and looked at me, nervously knotting her ‘pallu’ around her index finger.
Don’t worry Prema…
Her face crinkled up a hesitant smile; she had aged beyond her 45 summers given the curveballs life threw her way. I have been a mute witness to her turmoil reflecting everything in utmost sadness. Probably that’s why I still have a place in this house.
“Shalu, I am worried” Prema again looked at me and I hoped every single shard in me could capture her anguish without casting it back.
“Amma. Suresh has explained everything to his parents. They are educated people. They don’t even want dowry.” Shalini’s excitement was palpable. I hoped her dreams wouldn’t be shattered.
I had seen a lot of the world around in all honesty.
Real and virtual.
In the next few hours, the single-room house was engulfed with myriad mouth-watering aromas. My smithereens glittered as the early evening sunlight fell on me brightening up the imperceptible room. I couldn’t wait to meet the guy.
Suresh and his parents soon made their entry with the curious neighbours in the chawl crowding in for a glimpse.
Premalatha welcomed them and they occupied the lone cot in the room. Suresh’s parents left the savouries untouched while they glanced around wrinkling their noses as their eyes caught mine.
Did I reflect their dark souls?
Premalatha had worn her ‘special-occasions’ purple nylon saree while Shalini looked like an angel in her pink salwar-kameez. Suresh was a lucky man…
“Premalathaji, we are of a modern outlook and don’t believe in dowry….” The father spoke tersely after sometime. “…but… your past… We like Shalini. She is educated and has a promising career ahead. But… she must break all ties with you…”
Rage swamped me and I thought I would splinter all over the place watching Premalatha swamped in misery.
What will happen to Prema after I am gone?
“No uncle, I am what I am because of my mother. She may have been a commercial sex worker in the past, but she worked hard to give me a life away from that dark hole. I am proud to be her daughter and I will only marry a person man enough to accept my mother.” Shalini declared unflinching.
The trio left soon after.
“I ruined it Shalu. You should sever ties with me…” Premalatha wailed later that evening.
“Stop that, Amma. You are my world. I love you.”
I now don’t mind being given away. My Prema is in safe hands.
(500-word flash fiction entry for Artoons Inn. Topic: Inanimate object’s POV. I see you)