The Clenched Fists 

​She was escorted in the living room with her mom and aunts. Dressed delicately in a scarlet saree which swept the ground, face hidden under the traditional veil, the deep black henna patterned till her elbows, hidden underneath a dozen or two bangles. Yet all he could see was her tightly clenched fists.

She sat beside her father. He ranted about how she could cook well, take care of the entire clan, handle the household chores single handedly and bear children who would carry on the clan name. All in all, be a good wife, daughter in law and a future mom. ‘How smoothly he could trade her’, she thought. All this was just to ease the dowry amount. She knew he couldn’t afford the same amount he had spent over her two elder sisters. And she knew the boy’s side wouldn’t budge. ‘So what if he’s a doctor. Degrees never change their mentalities’, she knew.

Hardly paying attention to the talks going around her, she dreaded for the topic to come up. Like before, she would have to see her beg and push his self esteem to the nadir… 

The plates were emptied and the talks done. They said they would inform their decision on the phone and then talk over other ‘formalities’.

At the door, the boy turned around and addressed her father, “Sir, there’s no need to worry about the dowry. Because there won’t be any…” 

And he saw her fists relax for the first time since the morning. 


Author: Shilwant Kirti

Engineer by profession, writer by heart.

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