Small Talk and Simple Things: Real Life Stories that will inspire you to take a chill pill towards “Arranged Marriage” by Meryl Mathew is a curation of twelve short and sweet real-life stories with the central theme of arranged marriage. One of the short stories, The Unaware Mistress revolves around Rahul and Maya. After just a couple of dates, they clicked. While Maya dreamed of a beautiful future together, Rahul kept disappearing every now and then. Since he was not on any of the social media platforms, the normal convenience of locating anyone with a couple of clicks was not available to her. Finally, when she got a hold of him, she insisted that he talk to his parents about her and that they get married. Her parents had already begun their search for a suitable partner for their daughter by creating her profile on a matrimonial website.
The mind is the most important and, at the same time, the most dangerous muscle in our body. The two novellas, Every Last Thought, and Psycho Girl, in Every Last Psycho by Zarina Macha prove just that. In Every Last Thought, sixteen-years-old Tess struggles with schizophrenia. With the voices in her head destroying her self-worth every day, she found solace in Ed’s company.
Jack did not know that his life would change in a blink. An ordinary day transformed into a mysterious one when a man in “..a Panama hat and light flannels” handed him an envelope and told him to hand it over to a tall man “…wearing a blue pin-stripe suit with a red carnation.” His innate attraction towards mystery got the better of him.
Right now, while talking to her husband, Sahil, Zoya wasn’t sure if her life had started or reached a standstill after marriage. On the whole, he was a hard-working and generous man who didn’t have a wandering eye — a rare combination, if you ask me. Who am I? Well, you’ll know soon enough. For now, consider me a mind-reading fly on the wall.
Soulmate! There is a nice ring to the word. Right? Words have more power than we give them credit for. With just one right string of words, we can change the course of events — important events. Once upon a time, around seventeen years ago from now, a person introduced me to the word soulmate. I didn’t know at the time, but my life changed dramatically after that. For one, the idea of somebody, whom my soul knew even before I was born, lit up my whole world. No longer did I feel alone. With a soulmate by your side, you could be invincible. If you already have found your soulmate, you are nodding with me. Nonetheless, if you haven’t, you’re laughing at my naivety. Regardless of your reaction, I found my soulmate, and I love my life for it.
Have you ever been to a funeral? Excuse my frank, albeit at times rather insensitive, remarks about the occasion. In my recent experience, I had come to the conclusion that more than 90% of those tear-stricken faces are portraying a facade. Undoubtedly, the close family mourns the loss deeply. However, a major portion of relatives, who come to “show respect” to the departed, do everything but mourn. Or perhaps, my family falls under this category. If you haven’t hated me with my forward comments, you would soon begin to hate me. Whatever! I never bothered about your opinion, why should I start doing it now? Particularly on the day, when I received two mind-blowing superpowers from God.
When I saw the movie Twilight or maybe it was New Moon, I thought the idea of a werewolf imprinting1 on a woman was a load of bullsh*t. It just didn’t seem realistic. Do you see the irony? I was trying to find “realistic” reasoning in a movie based on vampires and werewolves. Yet, the day I saw Avani for the first time, all my logic went out the window. I must be a werewolf at heart, because, at that time, I believed that I had imprinted on Avani. My world revolved around her, and she didn’t even know about it. Who knew that the road that I had taken to learn the magnificent French language would actually lead me toward a girl, whom I would never forget.
When I was only two months old, a speeding car crushed my mom and three siblings. I never had a father, to begin with. Obviously, there must have been a male that helped my mom conceive. His participation, however, ended just there. Just like that, I had no family. Those two months that I had spent in the warm embrace of my family were no less than a paradise. We did not have a house. So, my mom used to search for shelter every day. There were good days and bad days. Our definition of a good day was finding leftover food under the protection of a tree or tin-shade or a bridge somewhere. A day spent under the burning hot sun with no shade and no rejected food was marked as a bad day.
Before you start wondering how do I know Avani so well, let me introduce myself. This may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t have a name. Now, for the bit that would either make you smirk or smile, depending upon how open you are to the idea of a Guardian Angel. Regardless of your opinion on the idea, I am just that. A Guardian Angel. We don’t have names. Generally, we address one another, which is very rare, by the way, by our respective child’s name.
“Maa, I don’t think I can take this job any longer,” Avani said in almost a whisper.
“Why do you think that is?” Anamika, her mother, used the well-rehearsed question that she had learned from watching too many series/movies involving therapy.
“Mom, cut it out! I am very serious here.”
“And honey, I have never been more serious in my whole life. You think everybody else is ecstatic in their lives. A job is just that: a job. You are lucky you have a job. Do you know how many people would kill for your life?”