"Yes, you heard me right. I'm a lesbian,"
stressed Misha looking straight into the eyes of Mr.Upright-stiff-collared-CEO, sitting across the desk interviewing her. His face conveyed myriad expressions in the seconds that followed. Confusion, led by shock which further got masked with a lot of effort and with little success into nonchalance. He had shifted his gaze uneasily to his Mac book pretending to have got busy suddenly."Okay Ms. Sharma, we'll get back to you."
He cut short the interview, signing her off with this one statement. She flashed him her brightest smile before nodding and wishing him a good day ahead, as she stepped out of the glass cabin.
She fished out her cell phone from the non-fussy looking formal handbag that she usually saved for interviews. Turning off the silent-mode option, she checked it for messages from Anika, if at all she had sent some. Yes, she had left a few.
"How did it go...baby?"
Hope you crack this one. Something tells me you will.
Lemme know when you're done with it...mwah!"
Misha sighed in frustration as she called her. "I did it again."
she said quietly.“Oh no, not again Mish! But why? Didn't I ask you to be calm?"
Anika showered her with the usual questions. "The same thing, Ani, he just went on digging into personal details, till I lost my cool and slapped him with the truth."
said Misha. Anika let out a long sigh of despair from the other end."How did yours go? Did you get lucky with the contract?"
questioned Misha. "Nope. Looks like my reputation followed me there too. They did not tell me on my face. But I could read between the lines, that the lady who heads the brand, is not keen on working with me."
replied Anika. This was the nth time both of them had got disappointed in their quest to find work for themselves after being shown the door by the previous company they worked with.
Misha and Anika we colleagues once upon a time. Working closely with each other over a period of time they ended up becoming great friends. In the days that followed they were inseparable. They started referring to each other as soul-mates. It was only when the respective set of parents started questioning them on their plans for getting married to a suitable man, that it struck to them that they couldn't imagine life without each other. One thing led to another, and they discovered that they did not need a man to keep them happy. They were just content in each other’s company. The love bug had bit them surreptitiously while they were busy having fun in each other’s company. But as with the case of most affairs of the heart, this matter also did not stay under covers for long. People at their workplace, started observing way too much coziness between the two of them. So much so, that it made people around them uncomfortable. A few untoward incidents later the spiciest of rumors churned out by the forever vigilant gossip-mongers at their workplace were confirmed true by the HR department. And soon, both of them were laid off their jobs one after another within a short span of time. The reason cited was poor performance at work. This was a joke. Since even the peons in their office knew how dedicated and resourceful these two employees were.
You see, in India these kinds of relationships are never accepted and are often dealt with under a mask of political correctness and diplomatic protocol. We quote the line 'Freedom of Choice' quite liberally, in a bid to exhibit our pseudo acceptance but never really get around to respecting a person's freedom of choice wholeheartedly.
The word got around. Both sets of parents got a whiff of things. And soon, they were being forced into getting married to unknown men. Both the girls took a strong stand and walked out of their respective homes and started living together. It wasn't too difficult to find a rented house. They pretended to be friends and it worked. But only for a short while. Soon their daily help started noticing their intimacy. Her big mouth ensured that her shocking discovery reached the ears of the neighbors and the landlord. Soon enough, they were asked to vacant the house. Once again, the reason cited was that the landlord wanted to sell off the house they lived in. This, of course was not the truth.
But my dear readers, Indian women are not the kinds who give up so easily. They can be quite resilient in the toughest of the circumstances without giving up on the life of their choice, if they have once firmly decided on what they want to do with their lives. Misha and Anika soon found another rented place to live in. Their savings had helped them see through this phase. They found a tiny little cottage. This is where they live and work now. After a lot of brainstorming, they decided what they wanted to do. They did not want to work for any of those shallow people with double standards. Through an NGO they connected with more women who were struggling with the same kind of lifestyle choices. They got to rope in some of these women who were ready to work with them. They are now, proud owners of small company that has a website and a 24 hour helpline service dedicated for counseling and helping women facing similar problems. They did face hiccups initially. And they still face a lot of challenges. But today, they stand with their heads held high in pride for not having crumbled under social pressures to dare and live the life the life of their dreams.
Note to my readers: For people who have been regularly reading my stories - if you're still trying to figure out the twist at the end of this story like my other stories, the twist today is that there is NO twist at the end of this story! Misha and Anika already have had so many twists in their life. I could not have troubled them with more!
*Of course this too is a fictional story, with no reference to any person or event in particular.
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