After a tiring photoshoot that extended for more than fourteen hours, Geet flopped into the chair not minding the chaos around her. It was no more beyond her reach. She finally succeeded in creating an identity for herself.
Geet was the face of many brands in the market. Be it the designer garments or cooking appliances, she posed like a pro while the cameras clicked aiming for the perfect shot.
“We’ll be late! Hurry up.”
The shrill voice jolted her back to the location. Fumbling with her Gucci handbag, Geet checked her phone to find two missed calls and a message. Scarlet painted lips curving into a smile, she called her husband knowing he’d be home taking care of their nine-year-old son and six-year-old daughter.
Wiping away the layers of makeup, Geet caught a quick nap as the driver steered through the winding traffic. All the years of her struggle, insecurity, confusion, frustration finally bore fruit.
“Mumma!” Chirpy voices greeted running into her open arms. Breathing in the scent unique to children, Geet shared a secret smile with her husband.
Who would have thought a man from a traditional family would help make her dreams come true? It was a love match but when they were different as chalk and cheese life wasn’t exactly smooth. Her love for romance clashed with his firmly rooted practicality. Still, they managed to find a balance, at last.
“How was your day?” She asked him as they sat for dinner. On nights when Geet worked, they ordered food from outside. The rest of the time, she enjoyed cooking for her family just as she loved posing for the camera and teaching the underprivileged children some basic English. A woman from Gujarati medium taught English to others. Strange were the ways of life.
“Full of meetings and discussions. Think I can become a model too?” He teased her. Geet laughed knowing he’d never like glamor world. It just wasn’t his thing.
The children drifted off to sleep as Geet hummed a lullaby. She heard her mobile phone ring in the other room and wondered if it was another ad shoot. Not having a manager had its own advantages and disadvantages. She maintained her schedule meticulously. No important personal events would be missed when she was busy elsewhere. Though being financially independent was her target from childhood, Geet earned enough to say no to some of the offers. She hardly cared what people thought about her pickiness. It was one of the lessons she learned in her life.
“Geet!” Her husband whispered from the door not wanting to wake the children.
Curious, she rushed and took the mobile phone he handed to her. With her heart thudding in her ears, Geet wasn’t sure she heard it right. “Yes, yes. I’ll be honored to. Thank you.” She murmured.
If modeling was one aspect of her, caring for children was another. Using her well-known face, Geet began a campaign for children’s rights. She wanted courts set up for swift justice for abused children. She wanted the monsters to be taught a lesson so that nobody would dare to even think of harming a child.
Her petition has reached several people. The M. P. assured her that work would be taken up accordingly. The call she received was from the organization that provided a platform to run the campaign.
“They want me to be a guest lecturer at their meeting,” Geet told her husband in awe. Most people saw her as a pretty face. Not many knew the fighter in her.
He smiled, his eyes filled with tender love for a woman whom he almost failed to understand for a long time. Hugging her close, he whispered. “You deserve this and more. I’m proud of you, Geet.”
Much later that night, Geet realized she couldn’t sleep. She was ecstatic yet her eyes brimmed with unshed tears. The memories of her past flashed on the pale blue walls of their bedroom.
As a young girl who lost her mother at a tender age, living with a stepmother and her son, Geet’s childhood offered her little smiles and many tears. She hoped against hope to have a stepmother who would give her some affection. Life wasn’t kind.
Geet managed to survive; to fight, to cry, to fall down and stand up again and again in the city of Ahmedabad. So what if she received thorns, she could still smell the roses.
It was then that she decided to create an identity for herself. Geet wanted to be a journalist, fighting for the truth to be told. She wanted to be a person of her own; not ordered by a stepmother, not leered at by a stepbrother, and not ignored by her busy father. But blooming into a young woman brought along another set of dangers. She continued to fight.
It was one chance remark by her friends that changed her idea of a career.”You should become a model, Geet. You have the looks and the body for it.”
The words struck something deep within, probably the desire to be acknowledged and loved which was never fulfilled. Slowly, her thoughts took a turn. Geet would try different dresses in front of the mirror; posing, pouting, trying to act like the ramp walking models she saw on the telly.
Looking back, she wondered if she turned a narcissist at that point of time. It didn’t last long enough though. Her attempts to contact a modeling agency were discovered by her family. She had no option to cower to their threats. Modeling was definitely not a profession for a girl from a respectable family. What would people think of them? Would anybody even marry her?
Turning to look at her sleeping husband, Geet traced the lines of strain around his eyes. He was working his schedule around hers. The thought made her happy and sad. Their love for each other was back again.
Wasn’t there a time she felt choked, unloved, misunderstood in the relationship? Her desperation for love and affection failed to reach him at one stage. Geet felt helpless, not knowing what to do. That was long before she was a model; long before he understood her need for love, compassion, and identity.
The fights turned into silences as she drifted apart when Geet decided to study again. She joined the ECCEd* course. She all but let go of her dream to become a model by then. And, as a married woman with a child, she knew it was next to impossible to get into that field.
The course gave her something to do. To become someone of importance. When she got a chance to travel to the USA alone, Geet grabbed it with both hands. Her previous trips have been with the family. This journey opened her senses to a new world. She gradually came out of the self-imposed shell.
The change, of course, was not lost on her husband. He realized that her wounds from childhood were still raw. After all, they ran deep into her soul. As he made an effort to bring back the lost love in their relationship, Geet felt a part of her come alive. She saw a glimmer of hope again.
“I’m so glad we didn’t give up,” She murmured planting a soft kiss on his lips.
The memory of their awkward discussion about modeling still made Geet smile. It was he who brought forth the topic one day.
“I was thinking, modeling isn’t really that bad. I mean, the industry is nasty. But if one is disciplined, there’s no harm in giving it a try.”
Geet was so shocked she stopped rocking her then one-year-old daughter to sleep. The girl let out a whimper. Holding her close, Geet whispered. “Are you serious? I’m a mother of two children.”
He nodded looking sheepish. “You care about your fitness. I found out you can still try. I’ve been… You know… Asking around.”
Tears spilled freely down her face as no words came out. It didn’t matter if she wasn’t selected. The fact that the man she loved had understood her was more than enough to keep her smiling. True, she loved to be fit. The walking and exercises were one way of trying to clam her turbulent mind.
“I think this dress will look for the portfolio shoot.” He gifted her a silk wrap gown in deep red, Geet’s favorite color. The proof of her happiness shone in the pictures that proudly adorned the walls of her house.
As the saying goes, luck favored the brave. After a few initial rejections, Geet was signed by a company that did ad shoots for traditional Indian wear and casuals. The days passed into months; she managed to grab a contract or two while strengthening her bond with her husband and children.
Now years later, she wasn’t only a wife, mother, model or a part-time activist. She was Geet.
*ECCEd- Early Childhood and Care Education
Author’s Note: The author thanks her muse from the bottom of her heart for trusting her enough to share the personal details of her life.
The author and her muse (Geeta Jena) have decided that the facts and fiction would be fused and combined to the maximum possible extent while staying true to the prompt.
Thank you for reading.
Aspirations Muse: Artoon Geeta Jena
The above story is an entry into #Aspirations an Artale Greenhorns-2, Feathers Club Exclusive writing event entry.
Check out event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/artale-greenhorns-2/
Check out Srivalli’s space here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/author/srivalli-rekha/