WHO “REJECTED” ME
Fiction Short Story
“I don’t want to marry you…” she said.
“Why…? Is there someone else…?” I asked her.
“Then – why did you call me over to your
house to “see” you…?”
“My parents arranged it…”
“Oh. You haven’t told your parents that you
are already in love with someone…?”
“No. I haven’t told my parents about my love
“They are very conservative – they won’t
“Oh…” I said, “Hope everything works out for
the best for you – thanks for being so frank…”
I drank the remains of my coffee – and – I
got up from my chair.
“Please sit down…” she said, “I want to talk
“You want to tell me something more…?” I
“Your parents have already conveyed their
“yes” for our marriage…” she said.
“I know. I was there when my father called up
“Yes. They told me that you have liked me…”
“That’s true – I like you – and I want to
“I also told my parents that I liked you…”
“What…? If you don’t want to marry me – why
did you tell your parents that you like me…?” I said to her.
“There is no reason for me not to like you…”
“You like me – but you don’t want to get
married to me because you love someone else…”
“So – tell your parents the truth…”
“I told you – I can’t tell them about my love
affair – they won’t approve…”
“But you will have to tell them eventually…”
“I know. But now – I have to buy time. The
urgent thing to do right now is to stop our marriage proposal before it is too
“Okay. So – you tell your parents that you
have changed your mind – tell them that you don’t want to get married to me…” I
said to her.
“No. You “reject” me. You tell your parents
that you don’t want to get married to me…” she said to me.
“What are you saying…? Why should I “reject”
you…? I am quite okay getting married to you. It is you who doesn’t want to get
married to me. It is you who is “rejecting” me…” I said.
“Try to understand. You are in the Navy – so
you don’t know much about the society out here. If a boy “rejects” a girl – it
is okay. But – if a girl “rejects” a boy – the boy becomes a “laughing stock” –
and people start talking all sorts of things. I don’t want you or your parents
to suffer embarrassment…” she said.
I thought about what she had said.
I had seen this happen to a neighbour of
A girl had “rejected” him – and people were speculating
about what was “wrong” with him.
Yes – we lived in a close-knit “peth” – everyone knew about such
marriage proposals – and the news that a girl had “rejected” me would spread
I would go away to sea – but my parents would
have to suffer unspoken taunts and unseen jeers – for them it would be
The girl looked at me and said: “I like you.
You are a good person. I don’t want to cause any embarrassment to you or to
your parents. That is why I want you to “reject” me. You can give any reason
you like – tell them that you don’t like my nature – you can say that you don’t
like my looks – that I am not smart enough to be a Naval Officer’s wife – you
say anything – I won’t mind…”
And so – I went back home – and I “rejected”
I told my parents that I didn’t want to marry
her as I felt she wouldn’t be a suitable wife for me.
My parents were surprised – they were disappointed
– but I was firm – I did not want to marry this “girl”.
So – my father talked to the girl’s father.
I don’t know what reason he gave – but – the
marriage proposal was off.
I cut short my leave and joined my ship in
(Dear Reader – I forgot to
tell you in the beginning – the girl who “rejected” me – or rather – the girl
who made me “reject” her – the girl’s name was “Nisha”…)
20 Years Later
I saw her at once – the moment she entered
She was the same girl who had “rejected” me –
Nisha looked around the pub – as if searching
Her eyes swept across the room – and – in due
course – she looked in my direction.
She gave me a look of pleasant surprise.
Nisha had recognized me too.
She smiled and started walking towards me.
“So nice to see you here…” Nisha said.
“Can I join you…?” she said.
She looked at my glass – and said: “You’re
having Pale Ale…?”
“I’ll get some…” she said – and quickly walked
towards the bar counter.
She returned with two glasses of Pale Ale.
“Cheers…” she said, “now you tell me what are
you doing here in Auckland…?”
“My ship has come here – we are berthed
alongside Captain Cook Wharf…” I said.
“Oh – a ship which carries cars…?”
“Yes – a “RoRo” Ship – I am the Master – the
Captain of that ship…”
“Oh – so you are in the Merchant Navy now…?”
“Yes. I quit the Navy 15 years ago and joined
the Merchant Navy…”
“That’s great…” she said, “are you married…?”
“No…” I said, “And you…?”
“Congratulations – I am so happy it worked
out for you…” I said.
Nisha said, “Excuse me…” and she took the
come…? I am already here – sitting inside – can you see me – yes – I am sitting
with a man – come, come…” Nisha said into the
I saw a woman walking towards us.
“My partner has come…” Nisha said.
“Yes – my partner – my “Lady Love” – well – we
are married now – so you can even call us “husband and wife”…” Nisha said.
The girl – Nisha’s “partner” – she had
reached our table.
Nisha and her “partner” – they kissed each
other – it was the first time I had seen two women kiss each other on the lips.
Nisha introduced her “partner” to me – her
name was Asha.
“Asha and Nisha – even your names rhyme…” I
“Yes…” Nisha said, kissing Asha once more,
“we are in perfect harmony with each other…”
“I’ll go and get a beer…” Asha said – and she
walked towards the counter.
“I didn’t know you were a lesbian…” I said to
“And I didn’t know you were gay…” she said to
“What…? I am not gay…!” I said to her.
“Then what are you doing sitting here in a
gay bar…?” she said.
“Gay Bar…? What are you saying…? There are so
many women here. Even you came here…” I said.
“It’s an LGBT Hangout – but you don’t worry – out
here – people are very permissive and friendly – everyone mixes and mingles
freely here – lesbians, gays – we LGBT don’t segregate – everyone is welcome –
even “straight” people – so just relax…”
The moment I came to know that this was “Gay
Bar” – I started imagining things – and – I felt uncomfortable.
Nisha must have seen the look of unease on my
face – so she said: “If you are so homophobic – why did you come here…? Didn’t
you know that this entire street is famous for LGBT “nightlife”…?”
“No. No. I didn’t know. It’s my first visit
to Auckland. I decided to have a long evening walk – I walked on Quay Street, past Britomart, then I walked on Queen Street, all the up the CBD, and then, I turned on this road – I felt thirsty – I saw this pub – so
– I decided to have a beer here…” I said.
Meanwhile – Asha – Nisha’s “Partner” – she
came and joined us.
Asha looked at me and said: “Nisha told me
about you – but – she didn’t tell me that you were…”
“No. No. I am not gay…” I protested, “I have already
told Nisha that I came here by mistake – I didn’t know this is a Gay Bar. Tell
me – do I look “gay”…?”
“Do I look like a “lesbian”…?” Nisha said,
“Tell me – when you first saw me – did you think I was a lesbian…?”
“I am sorry…” I said, “I think I will go
“If you are feeling uncomfortable over here –
let’s go home…” Nisha said.
“Yes – let’s go to our home – we have a
lovely house…” Asha said.
Seeing the discomfort on my face – Nisha said
to me: “Don’t worry. We won’t do anything “kinky” with you. I know your
imagination must be running wild – but we are just a normal couple running a
regular household and leading a routine life like conventional “husband and
“We are married too…” Asha said, “come – it will
be just like visiting your married friends…”
“Asha will cook a lovely dinner for you – and
we can sit and talk – don’t you want you hear our story…?” Nisha said.
“Please come…” Asha said, “I’d love to cook
dinner for you. And – our house is in Parnell – it’s near the Port – we’ll have
dinner – and then we’ll drop you on Quay Street outside the Port Gate…”
It was a genuine invitation – and – I could
We finished our beers – and we walked outside
to their car.
Half an hour later – we – Nisha and I – we sat
on the lawn of their lovely home in Parnell – a beautiful house in a posh suburb of Auckland.
“You were the first marriage proposal after I
finished my B.Com. degree…” Nisha said to me, “I was barely 21 – but my parents
wanted to marry me off…”
“So – they made you see many boys…?”
“No. After you “rejected” me – I avoided
seeing boys on some pretext or the other. I had made up my mind that I wanted
to be with Asha…” Nisha said.
“Asha and Me – we were classmates in school.
We had “feelings” for each other even then. Then – we were classmates in
college – we were totally in love with each other…”
“Your parents didn’t suspect…?”
“No. Parents don’t bother about their
daughter’s girlfriends – they are only concerned about their daughter’s
“Yes – that’s true…” I said.
“We – Asha and Me – we had a good time – we could
spend time together in privacy – on the pretext of studies – we even used to
sleep over at each other’s place – ostensibly doing “joint studies”…”
Yes. Had you said “Yes” – I would be in a big
fix – but you were very kind – and “rejected” me…”
“And then – what happened…?”
“There was pressure on Asha too – to see boys
“What we wanted was impossible in India –
especially in our place – so – we did some research – and felt this was a good
country for us – with its permissive culture – so – we came here for higher
studies as students – and we stayed on here ever since – in a few years we got our
residency – and now – we are citizens – we have done well for ourselves – as you can see…”
“And your parents – when did they find out…?”
“Here – we lived together as flat-mates – it was
quite normal – two girls living together as flat-mates – no one at home had a
clue that we were lesbians – our parents were only worried about marrying us
“You didn’t visit home after you came here…?”
“Only once – in 1998 – but our parents
visited us here twice in the 1990’s – they even stayed with us in our flat – but we made sure
that they didn’t suspect anything…”
“You kept your relationship secret…?”
“Yes – we tried our best to keep it a secret –
some friends out here may have suspected – but then – out here – these things
really don’t matter...”
“And – when did you come “out of the closet” –
so to speak…?”
“In 2005 – when Civil Union was legalized
– even for same-sex couples – we – Asha and Me – we had a “civil-union” and we made
our relationship legal – and then – in 2013 – when same-sex marriage became
legal – we got legally married – and from “partners” – we became “husband and
wife”…” Nisha said, and smiled and me.
“Well – they kept on finding “suitable boys”
for us – some – even here in Auckland – we kept dilly-dallying – we refused to
meet these “prospective grooms” on some pretext or the other – but finally – we
got fed up and told our parents that we didn’t want to get married…”
“They must have got some inkling…?”
“Maybe – but – the first time I told them myself
was after our “Civil Union” in 2005…”
“They were very angry. They disowned us – ostracized
us – even till today – they have not accepted our relationship – our marriage…”
Nisha said, her eyes moist.
Then – Nisha looked at me and said: “Now –
let’s talk about you – you tell me about your life…”
So – I told Nisha all about my life.
Asha announced that dinner was ready – so -
we went inside and enjoyed the delicious dinner.
After dinner – they dropped me on Quay Street
– outside the port gates near Captain Cook Wharf.
Nisha and Asha – they both hugged me and
kissed me on the cheeks – and we said our goodbyes.
Next morning – I sailed out from the port of
Auckland on my way to Osaka.
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This story is fiction. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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