The universe needs me to be a bad daughter on a few days

Bad Daughter by Shriti Chowdhary

My relationship with my father is not what you’d call strained. It’s probably a Kesari chai mishap that soiled a small portion of our sparkling white tablecloth. Any guest visiting our house wouldn’t even glance twice, but I know better than forgiving an artist for an imperfect stroke in his painting. I create art for the man who has an eye for these things.

There’s an earthen piggybank under my bed my grandma gifted me as a kid. She’d always tell me stories of women who knew how to save. Every summer break, her pallu secretly passed on the will to rarest of coins her daily sabbatical to the grocery market found. I wish she taught me that sacrificing the small pleasures wasn’t the tough part, spending your dream on someone else’s want was.

I once traveled on public transport with my physically challenged brother and not a soul gave up their privilege of possessing legs to accommodate God’s biases. That night I locked myself in a room and cried until I promised myself that no matter how far my feet take me, I’ll step on it with spiky shoes if it dares to outrun kindness.

I say I’m a good daughter. But I can never forget the time I pushed my mom because she called me a slut. That’s the day I realized that the universe needs me to be a bad daughter on a few days so that my mom can be the same to the womb that sold her for a few meals.

I have been told that we struggle with self-love because we haven’t seen our faces enough times. We aren’t familiar with our bodies like we know that 5 steps to the right and two lefts will land us in our favorite spot in the house, on the hard mattress below the ceiling fan. Because we didn’t spend summers blindfolding our eyes to train our other senses for the impending doom. So here I am, naked in my bed, trying to hit the rewind button. Maybe starting where it all went wrong would make it better. Maybe, I need to be applauded for crying more often.