Anamika2 mins 248 2 mins 248
Anamika barely registered the various pieces of jewellery that her aunt and mother adorned her with. Her Aunt put Kohl on her eyes that were slightly red. Her mother went about tidying the room that was littered with various blouses and cosmetic items.
Both the ladies left the room to attend matters around the rest of the house leaving Anamika alone with her thoughts. Just a year and a half ago, marriage was the last thing in her parents’ mind. They were fairly well off but the pandemic brought trade restrictions which led to a drop in demand for crops. Marrying her off would mean that there would be one less stomach to fill in the household.
She glanced up and saw Anand walk past the open door. He was her neighbour and her role model until last year when due to the cursed pandemic he couldn’t clear any of the required exams. His hopes of a bright academic future came crashing down. He started a catering business which was doing quite well due to the sudden increase in weddings in the neighbourhood. Ankit, her brother, stood at the door with tears in his eyes. He opened his mouth to say something but quickly decided against it and walked away.
Her Aunt walked in and started combing her hair as she gave Anamika some advice for the future but Anamika wasn’t listening. She was thinking about her brother. He was struggling to perform well in offline school due to him being a slow learner and online schooling made it a lot worse for him. He was also burdened with the guilt that he was having access to the only phone in the house while Anamika had to give up her studies to help her mother around the house and farm.
Her aunt finally left after she dolled her up. Anamika looked aimlessly around the room. She saw her headmistress and her dear friend Rani come in. For a glorious moment she thought that they had come to take her away from this nightmare. Various thoughts raced across her mind –“Perhaps Rani had really meant it when she had said that she wouldn’t let this happen. Maybe the headmistress would chastise her parents and rescue her.”
But then she saw her mother come in behind them with a grave expression and said, her voice barely above a whisper, “ Come child, it is time to go.”