Arpita Rastogi, a young IT professional stands conflicted in her decision as she finds herself torn between her heart that sways her into finding her bliss and luring with a bait of love, while her pragmatic and analytical head hounds her into doing what’s morally right and honoring family mores and values by keeping up with a word of commitment.
Conflicted, is one of the four stories in my debut fiction novel Transcending Parallels; a story of young girl who finds herself at the crossroads of life, where one road leads her into the warm and comforting embrace of love. While the other, brings her a greater sense of contentment of having tread the path of righteousness and doing what was morally right.
Isn’t it true? True love is a rarity in our times and one would be lucky to have found it, if ever it chose to grace them with its blissful gaze.
But when it does, is it just as simple to throw your arms out and grab it with your clammy fist?
Well, for most it is. But then, there are also those who have spent every living moment yearning for love and when it happens, they find themselves in a situation where they are caught between a rock and a hard place! Aripita is just one of those fateful few who was unbeknownst to her own feelings until her love chose to confront her and held a mirror to her heart. Too little, too late!
The above excerpt throws a little glimpse of the dilemma plaguing the soul of this conflicted girl. One of the character’s in the story says it to the other during the course of their riveting and heart wrenching conversation.
We all come with our own past and our own emotional baggage. Some still reeling under the devastation left by a tumultuous past while some sitting with gaping wounds and those with gnarly scars and scabs left by every lashing and strike on their soul.
And then there are those who didn’t have a very turbulent past. Instead, it was a pretty smooth sailing ride until the boat hit the rock. It’s the present that seems to be weighing heavily down on them and posing them with conflicting choices. But whatever it maybe, you’d be lucky to find someone who would be willing to accept you with all your baggage!
In this excerpt from the story, one of the characters seems to be convincing the naive girl to follow her heart, imparting their sage advice. It sure seems sage and coming from a person who has seen quite a few seasons of life and lived their fair share of experiences. After all, you are just as wise as what you choose to do with the opportunities that come knocking in your door. And if it’s love knocking at your heart, then better brace up and be prepared to take the right decision as you’ll have to live with consequences of the choices you make.
I haven’t left much room for suspense in this excerpt. It’s pretty much a give away in terms of who could possibly be saying these lines to who. So I won’t ask you to guess.
Seema, Gaurang’s mother seems to be saying these lines to Arpita in one of her persuasive monologue. But you will have to read the story to find out what brings them to a point where a prospective mother in-law talks her future daughter in-law out of marrying her own son.
Mother in-laws and daughter in-laws seem to be sharing quite a unique and scratchy equation and their portrayal in our films and television, especially in an Indian context seems to be mired in friction and unrest. This caricaturish representation often shows one as the victim and the other as the evil, conniving bitch.
The adjectives normally associated with a mother in-law are cruel, dominating, possessive, manipulative and so on. Taking a swing in the other extreme, the daughter in-law is often portrayed as the evil, stone-cold ice princess, with her slimy paws all over her husband as she tries to separate a mother from her son by driving a wedge between the two.
This over indulgence in hyperbole and exaggeration is often done with the intent to espouse a sense of drama by creating friction between two characters and pitting them against each other. Showing one as the victim and other as the oppressor makes it easier for the audiences or the readers to take sides and form allegiances. Or so is believed!
But while sketching such trite and shallow characters, one fails to fathom the stage isn’t always for a hero and a villain, a victim and the oppressor, good and evil. As I keep saying, life isn’t as simple as white and black, as there can be fifty shades of grey in between…and perhaps more!
It’s not easy for a girl to leave her home and the world she knew, she grew up in and form ties and bonds with a new world, a new family that may be accustomed to a different lifestyle, traditions and value systems.
Having said that, it can be equally unsettling for a mother to let go of her hold on her son and accept the presence of another woman in her son’s life. Especially for the over protective and possessive kinds.
It’s human and natural to have differences and a little friction between to people with a different individuality and different opinions and views on the same thing. Especially when it come to two women having to share a man between them. While one is trying to establish her hold over the new man in her life, the other is reluctant to let go of hers over a man she gave birth to and raised as her son. It takes time to settle in to the new situation and understand the dynamics of this new equation.
But with a little understanding and adjustment and willingness to look past one’s flaws and accept each other with open arms and more so, with an open mind makes this a smooth transition for both. From a mother to a mother in-law and a daughter to a daughter in-law.
The above excerpt exemplifies the wisdom and the magnanimity of a woman, a mother, a prospective mother in-law who puts this young girl before herself and is willing to sacrifice her own happiness and that of her son’s for the happiness of the girl who is willing to leave behind her world and her happiness to illuminate theirs.
Read more to find out the choices that dogged the conflicted mind and split heart of this young girl and the situations that bring these different characters at a common crossroads where they’re left confronting each other, in Conflicted first of the four stories from the fiction novel Transcending Parallels available internationally on amazon and on sites like flipkart, book adda and infibeam in india in paperback, e-book and kindle versions or you can follow one of the links below.