I sat in front of the mirror. My fingers found the stray strand of hair that always seemed to escape the neatly tied bun. The once black strand now had both grey and black in it.

“So much has changed!” my reflection smiled at me.


“You have lost the count of grey hair now, haven’t you?” my reflection knew my answer…

“I don’t regret it. Every grey has an experience tangled in it. Some I can share some are mine to me” I smiled as my daughter stood there in her bridal attire.

I remembered the first time I wore something similar… It was red too… but by the end of the night I had realized that the red was not a happy red, but a bloody red that would smear my life from then on.

I was just 21 then… full of dreams of being the perfect wife to a perfect husband. I believed that mine was as textbook marriage as any. I had not objected to the first unwanted touch and hence invited many more. I had not raised a voice against the first time I was dragged by my hair and locked up in a room only to wake up the next morning feeling every tear dried. That morning I knew how dried blood tasted… soon I was used to the taste. The only kind of kiss I knew was the one that reeked of alcohol and tasted of salty tears. I convinced myself that someday the monster will die. But the monster only grew with every assault feeding his ego.

18 years later, the day dawned when I could take it no more. My daughter returned from school, eyes red, sobs emitting from a sore and numb body. What she narrated to me was enough for me to put my foot down! Her father had decided that the girl was of age at 16 and has shamelessly traded her off to a rich merchant of 43 in what he called an alliance. The merchant had barged into the school and dragged her out saying she is his property. My girl had somehow escaped what was to come next and found herself slapped and kicked by her very own father. We Left! I couldn’t go back to where my people and my childhood once lived… A woman was not allowed to leave her husband, no matter what! We lived in a Shelter for Women, working odd jobs and surviving while my daughter studied and found a life for herself.

“I think I did well” I said to my reflection.

Sometimes there is no happy choice, Maya, only one less grievous than the others. You chose a life without a monster to hold you back. You chose your daughter’s betterment. And in spite of all odds, you made it.” My reflection assured.

“Indeed it was not a happy choice. But that one choice, the less grievous one, has shown me the happiest day today!” I admitted unapologetically.


The above story is an entry into #TheChoice a Five00 entry.
Check out event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/five00-6/

Check out Mirah’s space here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/author/mirah-shirodkar-mansuri/



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Mirah Shirodkar Mansuri
Mirah Shirodkar Mansuri is a chef by education, corporate trainer by profession and writer at heart. After spending 30 years of life seeking her calling, she has finally begun her journey as a writer. Having published a few articles, poems and a book - White lilies and the kiss on the forehead as an amateur writer, she continues indulges in blogs and self published work.
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