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Swati Agrawal


Her face was streaked with tears of triumph and joy. She had never in her life felt so happy. Much to her surprise and delight, Aayat had won a writing contest and was the proud owner of a hefty cash prize worth Rs.10,000. Her short story had been selected out of thousands of entries across India. It was a pivotal moment in her life. She could barely contain her happiness, but then, she did shed a few tears of joy. “Women are not allowed to show emotion because it makes them unladylike; learn to stifle your feelings no matter how happy or sad you feel,” Aayat’s mother reprimanded her every time she slipped out of control. Laughing was particularly forbidden; however, giggling was acceptable on those rare occasions when father was in a fairly good mood. In fact, even he would join in the banter, but those times were few…