“Stop it Maa! Already twelve times I had been rejected. I no more want to present myself in front of some unknown persons, who would ask many silly questions from me.” Pia angrily and contemptuously apprised her mother.
“My Pia is so beautiful. These people will definitely like her. They are not like others. They will definitely search out the inner beauty hidden in my daughter”. Kanta replied with stammering tongue.
Pia went inside her room, locked it and took out a diary from her locker, which she kept all through the years, with great care. Ah! This dairy was the last reminiscence of her father, who left her alone 3 years back. Pia viewed her father as the most understandable person on this earth. She used to share all her things, from very silly issues to very serious problems, with him.
“Papa! Papa! Today I had a fight with Ritu.”
“Oh come on sweetheart! She is your best friend dear.”
“But she made fun of me in front of other class – mates.”
“Forgive her dear. She is so good for you. You told me na that she shares all her favourite things with you.”
“But, Papa! She has annoyed me a lot. She told that I look like a dark brown elephant.”
“Oh baby! You do. Elephants are so sweet, cute and intelligent animals. You should like them. I will take you to the zoo to make you see their intelligence.”
“Really Papa! Then am I intelligent?”
“My angel is most intelligent and beautiful girl on this earth.”
“Thank you Papa. Tomorrow, I will tell Ritu that elephants are the most intelligent creatures of nature.”
Pia was not more than 10 years old then, but the way her father placated her, convinced her, was adorable.
“Pia! Come for supper.”
Maa’s loud voice woke her up from the dreams of past, which she used to recollect while alone.
“Hurry up Pia. Come for food.”
“Maa, am not feeling like hungry.”
“Take at least one chapatti.”
“Nah Maa. I don’t want.”
With a glass full of milk, Kanta knocked the door. Pia hesitantly opened it.
“OK. Then have milk.”
Kanta went away, murmuring to herself “Why you left me all alone with so much of responsibilities? See, I am not able to cajole our daughter. How could I allay her fears of rejection? I am helpless. Please, help me out. Please God, help me out.”
Putting glass on the table, Pia again began to look at the dairy.
“Papa, I want to confess one thing to you.”
“Tell me dear.”
“No papa, first promise me that you will not discuss with maa and also you will not scold me.”
“OK Pia. You have grown so obstinate.” Patting on my cheek, my father said.
“Papa, I was in love with a guy from second year. Today, I came to know that he had cheated me. He was involved with me just because I am the college’s topper. He used to make me do all the projects and assignments for him. He is….”
Interrupting in between, he told, “Pia, how do you know that he cheated you? Helping in projects and assignments do not mean that he was befooling you.”
“Papa, yesterday, I saw him with one of my friends and on asking, he introduced that girl as his girl friend. Today, in college, I asked him about the truth. He wrathfully told me that how a good – looking guy like him could love a gal like me. He further added that I look worst.” Pia started sobbing, contemplating in mind about her slightly over-weight texture, chubby figure, uncontrollable curly hair and distinct black color. And yes, the worst part was a big burn mark on left cheek of her face. She was bearing all alone all the mockeries since childhood, but this time her patience answered her. It was the matter of love.
Pia’s father patiently listened to the whole incident and then calmly replied, “Pia, you are a great gal. You are so beautiful from inside. You always do well to others and think for others. This is very rare, darling. I request you not to waste time on such idiots, who can never understand your worth. Remember that it is worthless to cry for those, who do not value you because the one, who is worth, won’t make others cry. This guy was definitely not right for my angel. Forget and forgive him. You have to achieve miles before stopping. Promise me that you will never get involve with the guys, who just look for the outside beauty.”
“Pia, did you finish milk?” Maa cried from outside the room.
“Drink it soon. It might have cooled down.”
“Good night darling.”
“Good night maa.”
“Papa, please help me out. Already twelve times, I have been rejected. I don’t want to marry. I have lost all faith in the institution of marriage. No guy is like you, dad. But, maa want me again to get ready for another encounter with the persons, coming to reject me.” She silently whispered in wind, thinking that wind might carry her words to her father.
Pia turned off the light and again lied on the bed, silently looking at the stars through the plain window panes and trying worthlessly to search her father in those sparkling stars.
“I have been a throughout topper, always performed good in all exams, did my engineering from one of the best colleges of India and am working currently in a reputed company, which might be dreams of many. Yet, no one understood me. I had always been treated like a bad omen. I burnt face in an accident at just three. Was it my mistake? I do not have the best of looks, but am I to blame for this thing?” Contemplating and doing many emotional mind – calculations, she was even unaware when she felt asleep.
“Pia, you came so late from office. Get ready soon. They may be coming within minutes.” Kanta hurriedly informed a tired Pia, busy in cooking something and without even looking at her.
“Oh maa, just stop it. They are not going to accept me.”
“Pia, please for your father’s sake, go and get beautifully dressed.” Kanta almost cried, trembling in fear and anger.
“For father’s sake? Papa would have never asked me to do all these rubbish things and lose all my confidence.” She whispered to herself.
She went inside and got dressed in a beautiful mysore silk saree. She did all the essential make – ups to please her mother. But, within inside she was smouldering. Smouldering with anger due to biasness and male – dominance society, where a girl is judged by her outer looks and not by her inner beauties. She wanted to break the mirror, break everything around her, tear the saree and all her mark sheets and break apart all the awards won by her, lying on the corner of the chocolate colored dressing table.
“Pia, are you ready? Come outside dear. They are already sitting in the hall.”
Coming out of her room, beautifully wrapped herself in green, she just wanted to ask her father how she was looking. Silently, with great etiquettes and mannerisms, she flaunted herself in the hall and quietly sat on a single chair. Then, started the question – answer round, which she hated, but somehow kept her coolness.
First round of questions were directly about her education and other expertise and credentials. This question round was even more silly and tough than other job related interviews, which she faced with lots of confidence. But, this time, she was losing her confidence and patience.
Next round of questions came, where she was asked all those silly questions, which she had no answers.
“Don’t you apply anything on face? Your skin color has become so dark. Why you don’t go for hair straightening? Your left cheek has a burn mark. Why and how? You are over weight. How could an unmarried girl put up on so much weight?”
Pia did not utter even a single word in this session of question – answer round. She was all quiet. Her mother tried to ease and allay the situation. But, certainly, some contempt for these silly questions was visible in Pia’s eyes.
“Her color is somewhat dark.”
“She used to work in sunshine throughout the day on various sites.” Kanta instantly replied.
“That is fine, but then how could her foot become so dark. Foot can not become dark in sun.”
Kanta kept her silence and tried to change the topic by offering some sweets, but Pia was burning from inside.
After two days, Kanta called them up and the reply came as expected, as a big no.
“All this is dedicated to you Papa. I could have accepted the rejections and lost all my hopes, if you could not have whispered in my ears and rebuked me for facing rejections after rejections and dying with each of those. You were right I have to go miles and achieve several milestones before stopping.” Holding the International trophy for youngest best social worker at just 33, Pia was thinking all this and yes, her mother was on cloud nine and was continuously patting and soothing her daughter with much of attitude and pride.
And she is still unmarried. She dedicated her life to the society and humankind. Whole humanity is her life partner and all the ignorant kids are her children. She really succeeded by rejections!