On a Friday night, when British Airways lands in Trivandrum and I get down, they doll me up (my short hair elongated by fake plaits, my face powdered a little too much, my eyes smudged with heavy kajal, I smell like dead flowers).
They show me pictures of Mr Fair, Fat and Rich. I am supposed to be-
I am supposed to fall in love-
I say, see, I don’t like his photos, but since you insist, let him come over for tea (but I would prefer coffee, not that you would care).
Amma says, I should get married when I’m twenty. Or at least twenty-five (because, my God, what will her five sisters and ten aunts, her mother and father, and their ancestors, who may or may not be dead by now, say?) An unmarried girl? Few years from now, if you stay this way, they will assume that you-
1) Are a lesbian (Hush, don’t say that word out loud).
2) Are in love with a horrible, horrible boy they didn’t choose (What? How is that possible? We raised her right!)
Or maybe she’s pregnant.
Dum-dum-dum. Worst thing that can happen to a girl.
Proceed if the above is not true (thank you):
Reach out to all your matrimonial sites. Click my photo (the one in which I look like a traditional Indian ladki with white flowers in my long hair, not an angrezi whore with ripped jeans and crop tops).
Check me out, you’d never have thought in your wildest dreams you’d get hooked up with-
Nevermind. There’s work to be done.
Oh really? Let’s open up accounts on ebay too.
Sell me away. I’m junk on family property.
I swear I haven’t started my rant. Not even a little.
Proceed if you haven’t been offended (well, if you have, I’m not sorry anyway):
I feel like a mannequin. Sell me away on ebay, it’ll be cheaper there. We want the best for our daughters, don’t we? We want so much for them that we don’t even allow them to speak for themselves-
Well, if I could, let me talk-
When I was one, and in my diapers, I thought the whole house was my empire;
When I was five, and wearing plastic tiaras, I thought I was going to be a superstar;
When I turned fifteen, I traveled the world with my friends, and I thought time would freeze, that I’d keep sailing and flying;
Flying into the twenties, a job, a life, so much to explore, to learn, to undo mistakes, to make new memories, to fall in love (with people, places, food and life), to be so-
Sell me away. I’m junk on family property, all of a sudden, because I’m no longer a little girl, but a woman.
This property, though, can’t be sold. I’m sorry, you cannot put a price on me; I am priceless.
No trespassers allowed. Didn’t I tell you? I am private property. I am the maker of all my right and wrong choices, the goddess of my chaos and stardom; I will fall, I will rise, I will mark my own path with my own map; I will live my life the way I want it-
This does not mean I am harami, lesbian, or a girl whose parents never raised her properly. It means:
1) There is nothing wrong in wanting things in life (and it’s okay “even if you’re a girl”).
2) I am allowed to do what I want because it is my life (underline MY life).
3) I will not sacrifice my happiness to please others.
Chalo, maybe that makes me a selfish bitch. But it also makes me a happy one.
-My Family Should Sell Me On Ebay.
Megha Rao is a third year UG student doing her B.A. English course in Madras Christian College, Chennai. She lived in Singapore for ten years, and moved to Kerala when she was in her sixth grade. She published her first novel, Alice: The Netherworld in 2012 and its sequel, Alice: The Inferno Conspiracy in 2014.
She started writing when she was six. She used to make comic books and create characters. She loves sketching and painting, and is an avid fan of Josephine Wall. She currently blogs at www.meao95.blogspot.com