I realized I would be forced to run away from home if someone tried to arrange a marriage for me. I didn't want to think about it.
That single moment's intensity hasn't been matched in my life before or since. A woman I didn't know had chosen to accept me, in body and mind. Perhaps it is this instant that forms the basis of traditional marriage—a complete stranger is suddenly mine. And then, I am hers, too; I must offer her my all. I want her to wield her power over me as an acknowledgment of my love. The rush of those feelings all at once is too much to describe. Language communicates in terms of what is already known; it chokes up when asked to deal with the entirely unprecedented.
I do not care about power and wealth, father. I want to marry for love.”“You want to marry for love?” The elder Valentino scoffed. “Que mierda. Marrying for love is like adding extra picante to your meal. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but your stomach will curse you for it with ulcers in the end.
Nafsha is so concerned with my virginity. I am beginning to think she would wed me herself. Alas, the only tool she might use to make me a woman is her tongue -- and it is far too sharp for me to allow it beneath my skirts.
Look, my son, she is so beautiful, she has fair skin and green eyes and brown hair.''She's English?' I asked cheekily, holding the cheap photo print with trepidation. Which unfortunate victim had they found for me to marry in what backwater, unbeknownst that my heart was not for trading? Honour would quote Shakespeare to make a point; for me, it was always Rumi.'La hawla wala kuwwat... May God protect us from such misfortune... you think I have lost my senses that I would marry you to a white girl?' My mum used the word gori as an insult and yet when she talked about Billo she said 'Look how gori she is.'Oh, Mum, the irony.'Well, you seem pretty obsessed with green eyes and skin colour,' I mumbled.'She is gorgeous.' Mum went on ignoring me. 'Think how beautiful your children, my grandchildren, will be? They will have cats' eyes, just like Billo.'Honour has fair skin and green eyes too, and just think how beautiful your grandchildren will be if they're mixed race, I thought.I didn't say that to my mum, obviously.
I once asked her if she was happy. “That depends on what I am able to get done today,” she said, laughing. She told me that the completion of her daily tasks was the only thing she felt she had control over. They were a form of meditation, of salve. Kept busy, she had no time to ruminate and no time for opinions, certainly not feminist ones. I pressed her: “I mean, are you happy with your life, Rajima?” “I don’t know,” she said uncomfortably, as if she’d never really considered such a question. “When there is little you can do, you do what you can.” Happiness for my grandmother seemed to be a verb rather than a noun. She had so little control over her own life. Yet she took control, out of thin air for herself, when she could.
Her voice was erudite, interesting; the voice of someone who straddled two cultures with a surety and style that I wished my boyfriend could find. She was smart, funny, and, above all, completely capable of controlling her life and what happened to it.
What happened tonight won't change a thing.You're mistaken, Lila. Everything started changing the moment we met.
I'm not going to toy with you tonight. A kiss was more than I bargained for, but, little wife, that f*cking kiss is just the beginning. Tomorrow is a brand new day.
Thanks to arranged marriages: There are countless women who have never been their husband's girlfriend.