I am free, that’s what they think. But the thing is I’m pretty good at acting that way. I am from a strict educated conservative household. My parents maintain a facade of normalcy with absolute precision.
Though I’m surrounded by people, none of them really know me. To the outside world, I may seem free. In reality, I am shackled by chains that are not visible to the naked eye. I am a prisoner in my own home. I deal with it by putting on a mask. Everyone thinks I am a cold hearted bitch and I don’t care.
If my mask ever slips, my inner demons will devour everything it touches. I suffer inwardly and laugh outwardly. I am a hypocrite.
My mom looks at me and says, “Study well. Only then can I find a good groom for you.”
She isn’t concerned about my education; in fact it’s the least of her concerns. Like all other typical Indian families, she wants me married. For her, that is the ultimate destination for any girl.
Yes, I have been wearing a mask, and that makes me a hypocrite, agreed. But then, so is she.
There are days when the restraints on my hands are strung so tight, that I’m paralysed. I am unable to help myself. Moments like these make me want to give up on life, make me want to close my eyes and give in. It’s the easy way out; the selfish way too.
I keep telling myself, “Tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning.“
I carefully loosen the binds and breathe. I repair the cracks in my mask. I keep my emotions in check. No one knows about the demons gnawing inside me. To the world, I’m still “Little Ms.Perfect”.
Today I step into my new apartment after another pleasing day at my new job. I slid into my couch and feel my shoulders relax for the first time in years. The knots in my body loosen and disappear into oblivion.
I gaze into the darkness. Finally, I feel my mask slowly but surely peeling away into nothingness. I can see myself now; the real me. I am a hypocrite no longer.
The chains that shackled me fall and wither away. I stretch my hands and marvel at the gesture. I’ve been bound for so long, I realize how I had almost forgotten how it feels to be free. If only I had known that it wasn’t hard to break free. If only I tried earlier.
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