Dreaming.

She walked down the aisle in the loving embrace of her father, dressed in a milky white gown, complimenting her skin tone and bedecked in jewels. She looked mesmerising. Her smile was contagious, her lips formed the perfect curve and her eyes, they appeared to twinkle like stars. It looked as if she was radiating happiness all around, with each step she was taking towards the man of her dreams.
Finally, her day has arrived and she was going to get married to the guy she loves. She felt she was the happiest woman to have ever set foot on the Earth.

But when Father asked her if she takes him, as her lawfully wedded husband, a harsh realisation came rushing towards her. “I can’t be this happy”, she thought to herself.
Yes, it has been long since she was this happy.

She remembered how she had spent last few years trying to reason with everyone, trying to explain that she understands the importance of her decision,that she wasn’t ready for that big a responsibility, that she needs to find her centre before being the centre of someone’s else life and that she wants to know the guy, have feelings for him before she is married to him. But she assumed that was too much to ask for, as no one appreciated her ‘boldness’ rather labelled her as a clear case of parenting gone wrong.

Her relatives, who until now, didn’t care if she was living or dead, had suddenly started showing a great deal of her interest in her life. She was in her twenties, and so it was their prime responsibility to see that she gets married as soon as possible. According to them, she was old enough to get married but not enough old to decide with whom.
No, no they weren’t forcing her or imposing their decision on her just convincing her to make the ‘right decision’. She had never taken any decision for herself, just meekly followed what others said but this time she had decided she was not going to let anyone intervene. A spineless creature stood up and that did hurt.

But she didn’t succumb to their wills. It was her life and hence her decision. When she wants to marry and to whom is going to affect her whole life and she is not going to let anyone ruin that for her. She tolerated everything and everyone until she came across him. And after that everything fell into place.

Standing in the middle of the church, pinching herself, with everyone glaring in her direction, eagerly waiting for her to say ‘I do’ did make her look stupid, but she didn’t care anymore.
She was not sleeping. But it was indeed a dream.

Why?

 

[Chai…chai (nariyal le lo nariyal)chai…chai….cha(samaajik gyan..saal 2014)ai…cha(ki sabse badi khabro ke sath )ai..ch(akhbaar)ai..chai..]

[Chai…chai (coconut, buy coconut)chai…chai….cha(General Knowledge..year 2014)ai…cha(biggest news)ai..ch(newspaper)ai..chai..]

There were people all around. Some heavily dressed, stuffing their mouths with everything they came across and some other moderately dressed with their berths overloaded with luggage, occasionally eating gujiya’s from their lunch bag.

Few couple daring their kids not to move an inch and few other elite people listening to music, playing Subway Surf lying on their brand new bed sheets as “Ew railway’s bed sheets are so tacky” while ordering lunch from pantry.

Amidst these people there she was, on the upper berth lost in thoughts refusing to eat anything. Why was the usual “playing antakshri in train is so much fun” girl so upset.

There were people all around. Men with coffee cups standing at a distance, crying women surrounding the bride and gossiping women discussing bride’s saree. Few kids were standing there with “why are they crying ” faces while few others with  “can we go home now” faces. The halwais’ are in dilemma. They can’t decide whether they should start eating or wait for the bride to go.

The drivers are ready to kill the one who decided to come early as they have been waiting since evening.And amidst all these people there she is, no tears in her eyes. Looking at everyone she tried to cry and even succeeded. But why was the usual “emotional” girl not crying on her sister’s bidai (valediction).

[Sindoor daan ke liye kanya ko bolaeye] (call the bride for rituals)

There were people all around. Men with 2-3 plates of snacks in hand. Women with 2-3 layers of make-up on face and 20kgs of gold on body.  There were few men with “I don’t want more paneer pakore” and women with “Who wears so much gold these days” regretting their decision. Kids were walking behind the cameraman to appear in as many pictures as possible.

The place was so crowded that even ants will suffocate to death. But still people were laughing and welcoming others whole-heartedly. And amidst all these happy people there was sad she standing in a corner. She was so much excited about the marriage then why was she not happy?

***********************************************************************

“Mom I am home”
Mom: I have been waiting for you. Look what you have done. (Shows her the cell phone)
“What? You only told me to book tickets”
Mom: Yeah but you booked four.
“So?” (Puzzled)
Mom: Your sister will go with her husband.
“oh”

That was the first time she realised marriage is not just about sarees , jewellery , gifts..there was so much more to it. Being younger she grew up on her sister’s thing. Her old uniform, her shoes , her bags, her pencil box , her hair bands, her clothes, her books, her notes, her projects, her crafts …everything.  But she never thought that one day she had to grow up on her as well

They were nothing like the conventional sisters. They didn’t have the same taste or similar opinions. Neither had they accepted each other’s differences. They used to fight on every possible disagreement, there were cold wars every second day. Their relationship faced repeated events of “Mummy’s rule” and went past the heat of “Papa’s Punishments” many times, but they always stood together. They were always together.

And now all that seems meaningless. Now she won’t share their bed, she won’t be there to play antakshri, she won’t accompany her on shopping trips,  she won’t even be able to see her for days. Somebody from the outside has claimed his rights on her. Now he will make her laugh, he will make her angry, he will fight with her, he’ll asks her “why is she mad” and he’ll be on her priority list.

Since she is married to him, she is not hers anymore.Nobody said that but now she knows not only betiya, behene bhi paraya dhan hoti hai (not only daughters, but sisters too are someone else’s treasure!)

Born to be Married

He was in front of her. He had travelled all those kilometres just to meet her, to have a couple of words with her.

But she hesitated. She stood there, surrounded by all her relatives.
She didn’t raise her eyelids to look at him. Her lips moved but she lost the sense to frame sentences.
She stood there frozen and numb.

It was their first and only meeting before marriage. But there was no excitement on her face. Just calm, serene, sadist calm. Or in the words of her friends “Yaar, isse to apni shaadi ka craze hi nahi hai” (she isn’t even excited for her own marriage)

She sat there in the centre of the hall, head low, cheek red, pupils marching left to right, lips trembling. She was quaking in her boots. She just wanted all that to end soon.

After dinner, they went. Everything went well. Her parents were happy.But she had that sick feeling at the bottom of her stomach. She couldn’t make out “Why”. Was that because she was getting married or the person she was getting married to.

He was below average guy, no sharp features, dark complexion but a good job.
He was 7 years elder to her, and his specs made him look even older but he was from  a good family
She couldn’t say much about his nature in a single meeting but he had a good background.

It wasn’t like she couldn’t say NO to him. Even that guy sensed that she wasn’t happy with the marriage thing/he doesn’t deserve her and hence had asked her multiple times whether she likes him or not, whether she is happy about the marriage..whether she is being
pressurized..whether.. whether..
She didn’t utter a word.

‘Cause she remembered what happened the last time when she said no to a proposal, thinking its her life, thinking its her decision,
thinking she had the right, thinking it will hardly matter.
She remembered how she was forced to quit her job and stay  home as according to her relatives she has fallen in bad company.
She remembered how her parents have fought over this issue millions of time.
She remembered how her mother was taunted on every occasion for not being able to find a groom for her.
She remembered how her mother begged every distant relative to find a groom for her.

She remembered how her father cursed himself for being a father of a girl.

She remembered how her mother has not slept peacefully since then.

She remembered how every family member was worried.
And she realised she was born to married.