"I Would Like to Marry Him"

I was born as a young woman named AMMA. I lived with my family in a poor village deep in the jungle. We were Hindu worshippers of Lord Krishna. My job was to draw water from the well and help the other women cook our food. My mother told me that it would soon be time for me to marry.

Amma at the well

Two men in our village, BEHTA and GAMM, were attracted to me. Gamm acted like he owned me and boasted about the water buffalo he would give my father when we married. Behta was quieter and used to watch me from the door of him home whenever I returned from the well.

He finally found enough courage to ask me if I would marry him and have his children. I smiled and said, “I will have to ask my father.”

When Gamm heard about this, he pushed Behta up against a wall. “You can’t have her!” he cried. “She’s mine!”

“But she likes me,” Behta said quietly.

I was proud of Behta. You see, I was more than a little frightened of Gamm. “You must both ask my father,” I said.

“No, we’ll settle it right here,” yelled Gamm, grabbing a heavy stick.

Gamm beating Behta, Amma watching

A crowd was gathering. Someone tossed Behta another stick, and the two started to fight, Behta blocking Gamm’s blows, and Gamm trying to throw Behta off balance. Sweat was running down both their faces when my father DAH  returned from the fields, alerted by one of our neighbors.

“What is this?” he said sharply.

“I am going to marry Amma,” Gamm declared. “I can provide you with a larger dowry than Behta can.”

“Will your dowry also include violence like this?” Dah asked. You see, I knew that he shared my view of Gamm. “Let us ask my daughter which of you she prefers, or if she will marry anyone at all.”

All eyes were on me. “Father, I love Behta. I would like to marry him,” I said shyly.

“Then that settles it. “ Father said.

Having lost face, Gamm slunk off to nurse his wounds. He left the village shortly after that and we never heard from him again.

Behta and I were married that spring. We loved and took care of each other for many years until we both died within weeks of each other.

Again I was floating above my body. This time when I looked at my life, I was glad to see all the good times Behta and I shared. I was so glad that we were able to be together again. I enjoyed serving him. I felt changed somehow...

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