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This is a short story which I’m writing about someone in India. I’m not racist and mean no disrespect to anyone who reads this or is offended. It is quiet a sensitive subject that I’m writing about which I recently came across on the internet. I would really appreciate any feedback as I have to write it in class on Tuesday morning. I was without a care in the world until I opened the envelope. Opening that envelope had been my downfall, however I am quiet sure it would have perhaps been inevitable. It was just not something one would expect, you hear stories of it happening to other, you brush it aside thinking they change the facts, it‘s not true, that could never happen to anyone in real life, until then it happens to you. I suppose you would like me to start from the beginning. Yes? I thought so. I live in India you see, I love my heritage and the surroundings in India that I grew up with. I had a very sheltered life, I suppose that too may have contributed to where I am today. I was always very enchanted by the vibrant colours that surrounded me in India, the traditional and cultural history that seemed to have been brought threw the ages. To watch the sunset as I did as a little girl while my mother sang me to sleep was like nothing you could see anywhere else in the world. The rich colours in the sky, swirling together to create an art so fine Picasso would be put to shame. I could still hear the whispers of my mothers voice floating through me, “Mur ja kuryee”, over and over in her harmonic voice. My mother died when I was still quiet young, and my farther would never tell me what had happened to her. There was neither a police investigation or suspicion about her death. I have my own theories, however I don’t feel quiet ready to talk about them yet. Back to the letter; I was just cleaning up around the house when I found the letter in my husbands study, usually the room was locked however for some reason it was left open just enough for my curiosity to peek and I had to go in. It was on his desk, just sitting there like a flame calling to a moth. I couldn’t resist, and when I got to the table it was addressed to both my husband and I, so I justified my actions by simply reasoning with myself that if out marriage was out of love, I would not be punished for intruding into his study when the letter was clearly addressed to me as well. I could not quiet at first understand what I was reading. It took me several moments to grasp the concept of the lies I had been told. This letter explained everything, it explained almost too much. I knew that it was traditional to give a dowry when getting married, especially if you came from a middle class background like myself. However, my husband and I had decided to marry out of love; or so I had thought. My farther was late with the payments of my dowry according to this letter, it was dated several weeks ago and as I searched into my husbands business I found many more, becoming more impending as the date grew closer. The price was extortionate no wonder my farther was falling behind, I did not
understand why they would do this behind my back though. I would have followed the tradition if that was what they wanted, but I had heard of the consequences for not paying a dowry, and started to get a feeling of dread as my mind worked overtime, thinking of the possible outcome. I started to regret this intrusion of my husbands privacy, instead deciding it would be best if I left and never spoke of this again, I rushed in my panic to put everything away. Yet, I was stopped cold as I heard my name being called. “Saira?”, I tried to interpret his tone of voice, however it was void of emotion. I turned my head towards the door finally acknowledging my husbands presence as he reached the study door. He knew what I was reading as I saw his eyes flicker to the desk, where the letter was open. I simply focused my attention on his face, his eyes more specifically; looking for some form of remorse, some reason for why I was reading this. I expected to see love, regret, remorse, just something that would help me understand his actions and make me feel secure in my belief that our marriage was based on love, not just for the money. I was sorely disappointed in my findings. I saw a calm in his eyes, the clam before a storm; it was something I had never witnessed on his face before. “Love?”, there was a quiver to my voice, I was unsure whether I should be giving this endearment, I was questioning my husbands next move, I had crossed a line and we both knew it. I wanted an explanation yet at this moment I feared my husband. It was something that had never happened before, I had only seen that expression, once before, it was on my fathers face the day my mother was found dead. I didn’t like it, not one bit. It was quiet for several moments, before either of us did anything. Then like a panther he stalked towards me like I was his prey and I was frozen in shock, yet where I was expecting a blow from some form of impact, I stood frozen as my husband embraced me, kissed my forehead and told me, “I do love you, never forget that.” He paused for a moment, pulled back and looked into my eyes and I could see it, the love that I wanted to see in his eyes. I smiled a small smile knowing we had more time to talk later, “and I you.”, was my simply reply. “Go prepare dinner, my family are coming over tonight.” It was not a request it was a demand, however that was normal I knew not to argue so simply nodded my head and went out to the kitchen. I knew this would not be the end, I knew I would be punished for my intrusion into his office. I was unsure what it would be this time. I had only been in the kitchen for about an hour, when I heard my husband greeting his family, I was surprised to hear only his father had come while I had made enough to feed an army, quite literally. It would not go to waste though, I suppose he would be taking it home for everyone else tonight. I continued cooking, waiting until I heard their footsteps heading towards the kitchen, I turned around getting ready to greet them when I felt something firmly grasp my arms together and forcefully holding some cloth to my
mouth. I was confused and as I was spun around; disorientated. It wasn’t until I saw my father in law heading towards me with cooking kerosene did the panic start to set in, I finally registered that my husband was the one holding me, his words registered in my head, “I’m so sorry. I do love you but it’s my duty. I have to marry again for my family, your father, this is his fault if he could have just kept up with the payments. I tried to find the money I really did but my father threatened to do much worse. This was the only way. I hope you understand.” I could hear each word he said with clarity, however they held no meaning. I tried to thrash out in panic, I tried to scream, I tried to break free, I tried to do anything I could as the dread from earlier crept up. The letter. It was there, I should have known I shouldn’t have ignored my earlier instinct. My husband, I loved him with all my heart but at that moment I felt nothing but shear terror, and I could feel the cold liquid drench my clothing, as they were careful not to get it on themselves. I kicked out and screamed even louder, yet I was over-powered and my screams were to be heard by no one. I could feel myself weaken in my efforts as I started to loose oxygen and my breath was coming in short breaths. I could feel the heat started to spread from my feet as the match was lit, I could feel it licking against my skin, piercing it, crackling, melting, burning on my flesh as it slowly spread up my legs, the pain was unbearable. I could feel my eyes pricking with tears as I fell to the ground in agony. Long since I had been released and I looked up the flames burning in my eyes as it burnt in my heart, to the eyes of my once lover and whom I had thought of as a father. I had not seem this coming, like I said before you never expect it to happen to you, and then when it does, there is nothing you can do to stop it. I was burning to death. Forced to cut my life short as my husband had taken away my life. He had dominated me. Broke me, until I was this. Nothing more than this. As I felt my mind start to loose function, a single tear slipped from my eye as I reflected on these events in my life and the meaning of my mothers song, “Die little baby girl”. Well that’s it. I’m not sure what you’ll think. But please, please if you have anything to say whether a word or some criticism please comment and let me know. Thankyou.
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