I looked at her, brushing my eyes and again, I couldn’t believe my eyes. For once I thought, my eyes had cataract. Blurred vision, ugly face, lifeless. I knew I had to check with an ophthalmologist for sure or for a second I thought, may be she looked that way. Thin hair braided resembling an old broom and face filled with pimple marks of years, some chicken pox scars scattered here and there on a plum structure with a tiny paunch, but what struck me most is her veiled face. It seemed as if life, years of joy, fun were masked by something strange and unknown. May be fear or responsibility or so called maturity. 
               I could not stop staring at her, for a very long time. I looked till I could sense what was wrong. I looked till I felt her pain. I looked till eyes gave away the secrets. It said, she was happy, content and had everything in life she ever desired for. I was not satisfied though. I needed to know more, to understand what went wrong amid the right. Her life looked independent yet stifling. For once, I could not breathe. This was not her. She was lean, with an athletic fit and perfect body. Her eyes gleamed with joy and spoke endlessly out of happiness. Thick dark open hair, had often reminded me of Kajol. Clean face and sweet smile; a girl of naughtiness and intelligence. Late night parties were fun, bunking was cool and outing with friends were best. Though she was fenced by her parents, she felt free. And now, the same girl has grown in to this lady, I can’t even identify. Nobody to hold her tight, yet she doesn’t let herself go. She has self created boundaries to believe living within is the best for her life. Late night outing makes her go weepy on the skipped sleep and dark circles. No more friends, married with kids. She is also married, wondering if being slim is of any use anymore. Trips are nauseating where as the fun quotient has decreased considerably. 
                    I pity her, but she is happy. I pray I don’t want to be her but am I already her? I have no idea. Am I still that fun loving, partying person? Do I still care about my looks? Do I still feel happy when a handsome man turns his gaze towards me? Do I lecture my niece and nephew about life, its complications, boundaries, society etc? Deep down I know, I do. Why life is not loose like before? Why there are so many responsibilities which I take up on my own? I skip lunch with friends to wash clothes. I miss a good movie to sleep. I ignore the recent fashion trends to society. I forget myself to maturity. Yes, that is what I call. When I ask my husband, why outing is not fun like before, we conclude it calling ourselves mature. May be we are trying to convince ourselves. 
                We work, we eat, we sleep, we talk, we cry, we shop. But we don’t scream, or jump or bunk work or skip sleep for a late night party or go to a pub or ride at maximum speed or accessorize with modern fashion statements or eat unhealthy junk food or wake up late or dance on a loud Tamil song in the utmost weird way. Who is actually going to stop me from doing all this now? Not my parents or husband. It is only me. If this is being mature and responsible, then yes, am soon going to be her. You may agree or disagree, say am right or totally wrong, justify why its right to go through this change and being responsible is the good thing but still when I look at her, I don’t feel joy. I only see fences, all around and it is making me suffocate and I feel may be someday I will make my younger generation feel the same way about me, only to hear “mom, take a chill pill”.

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