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A Modern Bidaai

by Ashima


I sit in front of my dressing table mirror, nervous. I gaze at my reflection and immediately regret the minimal-yet-
sophisticated makeup look that Mama and I spent hours perfecting. I attempt to style my hair again for the tenth time; no matter what I do, it doesn’t seem to look right. Today is the day. A milestone. The biggest day of a girl’s life.

I check my watch–it’s 8.40am. The announcement isn’t until 10am. Another hour until I leave home with my family. I stand up, and start pacing around my room, and playing with my churiyas. Am I ready? By making this commitment, I will be irreversibly tying a knot into the fabric of my life. I think of Mama and Papa sitting me down a year ago to tell me about their decision. How quickly I had to meet everyone and make a good impression, plastering a smile on my face as I tried to
process all the new information.

“Breathe, dude,” I whisper to myself as I pace incessantly. I walk up to my desk to check if I forgot to pack anything. The desktop is barren, but the walls are overflowing with my history. I look at the various marks and drawings that have accrued over the years–badly drawn hearts, sports teams stickers, and a faded photograph of Hrithik Roshan from when I was 15, next to a crisp one of Vishal Kaushik from a week ago. I run my fingers along my high school, undergraduate, and master’s degree diplomas. So many years of education, and yet I still yearn for more learning, more experiences. I can’t help but wonder, will my new family like me? I am answered by a knock.

Beta, it’s time.” Mama peers in, eyes swollen, but smile bright. I gather my bag and stop to look into the mirror one last time. This is the best I’ll look for now, I think resignedly. I follow my mother down the stairs and take a seat at the table, opposite Papa. We both anxiously drink our chai and eat our own single piece of buttered toast.

“Are you nervous, beta?” he asks me.

“A little.” I let out a laugh. I can barely look him in the eye.

“It will be amazing, beta. Trust Babaji. These will be the best years of your life,” Papa tells me. I begin tearing up. I want to tell him how I feel unprepared, and how I’m scared I will screw it up. I try to muster up the courage, but before I can, he pushes a dark blue, leather box in front of me. I look at it in confusion.

“Open it, beta,” Papa instructs me. I do as I’m told. I open up the box and see a beautiful silver pen with my name engraved in gold, followed by my new title: CEO.

“Papa, it’s beautiful,” I exclaim. I finally look at him, and his eyes hold no doubt.

“My father gave me a pen when I took over the company. And now it’s my turn to give you one. To give you away,”
Papa tells me. “Make me proud, beta.”

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