by all accounts, devika prasad should have been happy for herself at twenty five years old.
on paper, it appeared to be a cinderella story. she had come from chennai, india to the united states at nine years old with her parents. she grew up in london, england, surrounded by other desis. her parents appeared to be completely fine, and she graduated from college early, double majoring in religious studies and computer science. her husband was only three years older than her, and he was in charge of Pathak jewels.
except what's on paper doesn't always match with reality.
for starters, her childhood in chennai was never all that bad at first. she had been a surprise; her mother, an abassdor to the uk, had been told earlier in life that she could never have children, and devika was evidence otherwise. as such, she was treated reverently by her mother and her circle of aunts. or maybe the word spoiled came to mind --- the little girl had very few wants in life, even starting to pursue bharatanatyam as soon as she was able. unfortunately, however, her father was disappointed at the birth of a daughter. it wasn't long before he dipped out of their lives, and once he did, her mother decided that chennai wasn't enough. she and devika immigrated to the uk.
the two ended up taking residence in Wembley, London. There was a thriving desi community, and her mother, Heer, happily raised Devi as well as she could. That included making sure that DEvi never forgot her own culture, and eventually, starting Devi on a path of success. Success meant several things: setting Devi up for college, making sure that Devi picked the right path to college, and that she was able to be an honest, married indian woman.
There was just one tiny problem: Devi didn't really align well with her mother's dreams for her. She was bisexual and not interested in an arranged marriage; she didn't want to be a doctor or an engineer, but wanted to be an a dancer; and staying in the UK or going back to India weren't things she really intended to do. while the trips back and forth kept her connection alive, devika wanted to fit in. when classmates teased her in the uk, she longed to fit in, to not stand out.
the only part of her identity that mattered most to her, was dancing. the one thing that she refused to let her classmates bully her over was her need to dance. sometimes, sure, it was popular dances of the day. devika was always skilled, a quick learner with the best of them. the rest of her, however, wanted to dance like the women she and her mother saw in movies and recitals. devi pushed and pushed for it, despite her mother's misgivings. warily, her mother sought out a guru and a school. she allowed Devi to pursue her dream of dance -- on the condition that she still agreed to both an arranged marriage and to keep going back to india with her mother -- and of course, to persuie something "proper" in order to keep herself afloat. devika was fifteen -- so of course she agreed. she still had a say in her own marriage -- and she figured she could put it off.
for years, devi devoted herself to the art of dance. the guru her mother found for her wasn't the kindest or easiest to get along with. she did everything in her power to satisfy him, to push herself, and slowly made herself known. she was winning competitions, rediscovering herself, and devoting every bit of herself to dancing. eventually, she was approached by a bollywood actress who was intent on proving herself as a dancer. she wanted devi to teach her how to dance.
In 2005, hesitantly, devi agreed. she taught the actress, and the movie's item number went on to be a hit. that dnat gave her a new career: a choreographer. despite her guru's disapproval, devi was propelled exclusively into a career as a choreographer and eventually, made a name for herself in bollywood item numbers.
her mother didn't enjoy it. neither did her guru. despite the frcition there, in 2005 she ended up meeting Krishna Ramachandran. He was a native of Toronto, an heir to a jewellery company. And unlike a lot of men she'd encountered, he was interesting. He didn't seem as patriarchal as many men she had met; their bedroom life, he introduced bondage and kink; and he seemed supportive of her career. Arranging a marriage seemed to be the way to go, to get married as soon as she graduated. At twenty two, they found themselves at the altar.
And yet as preparations started, something felt off. Devi felt as if she were walking a familiar path. The more they talked about marriage, the more Krishna seemed reluctant to her blooming ideas, the more he seemed to dislike the idea of Devi continuing her career as it had started to go beyond bollywood's reach. He withdrew in the bedroom, and as the weeks continued to fill out, Devi started to realize something about herself. Started to feel that what she had with Krishna wasn't as deep or real as she thought. the More she thought about it, the more she wondered if being tethered to him was what she wanted. And yet, she went through the marriage anyway.
It was a miserable three years of marriage for them both. krishna immediately wanted children; he wanted her to restrict her time out of the house; and the fights escalated. and then a hand was raised against her. and that was that.
The divorce was easier than she'd thought it'd be; her mother's reaction to it, was not. she had wanted devika to stay married, to try and work it out. devi was stunned at this, and it drove a wedge between them. despite this, devika was happy as the divorce granted her a good egg of money, and her own freedom, outside of krishna. she found that she was able to expand, socially, and to do more with her work. the more she looked back on it, the more she had realized that her time with krishna had slowly started to isolate her from family, from friends, from interests. he had wanted her world restricted down to him; and now it was not.
in 2016, devi decided to strike out. she purchased a home in san francisco, and decided to switch gears by opening Bhumika, a dance studio dedicated to teaching classical indian dance. She keeps her attentions divided between San Francisco and her ancestral home, happy to continue to dance, completely unaware that she is an avatar of Diana Prince.