How to Fall in Love

by Sarita Sidhu


Say “yes” to an arranged marriage because you like the quiet confidence in his voice, because he looks at you with big, kind eyes the color of cinnamon, because he makes you feel safe. Say “yes” because you believe the lie you were told ad infinitum by your parents, that you could do as you pleased after marriage: socialize with friends; wear clothing that reveals arms and legs; go where you choose. Say “yes,” even when his mum tells you she has a special relationship with him―her youngest son―whom she will keep with her forever.
Say “no” to the life you willingly entered five years prior because you didn’t know any better, and ask him for a home of your own, to share with your daughter. Say “yes” to having only two children, even though they are both girls, because you know their worth better than those around you. Say “yes” to immigrating to a new country―seven years later, 3,000 miles away―because it will be an adventure for a party of only four. Maybe you’ll have less to fight over.
Enjoy the absence of the omnipresent audience armed with peanuts and score cards.
Bask like a chameleon that’s been waiting, for thirty-five years, to discover all its colors in the sunshine of liberation.
Say “yes” to giving your daughters the life you had wanted for yourself. That your parents were unable to give you. Know that you will still have failed them, albeit in different ways, because having parents of a different generation is unavoidable.
Say “yes” to the love that has fought its way through the weeds, and allow it to expand into the now empty spaces. But keep some space just for yourself. And allow some just for him. Marvel at the fact that you’re compatible, after all, Chinese horoscopes notwithstanding. Understand that the reason he loads the dishwasher incorrectly differently is because he isn’t you.
Into the echoes of negation, love yourself enough to say “yes” to going back to school, even though it seems impractical, the returns are intangible. Because like fabric under the sun’s glare, this opportunity will fade. And it might be exactly what you need, to experience love in its myriad forms.



Sarita Sidhu is a writer and activist, living in Irvine, California, and a recent graduate from the Antioch University Los Angeles MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing program. She was born in India, grew up in England, and moved to the US in 1999. Her work has appeared in 100 Word Story, Riverside Art Museum’s online exhibit, and elsewhere.


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