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Life changes the day you are married and walk out of your parents place. No matter where you go, things are never the same and you will miss the place you grew up.
As I was flipping through my marriage album a few days back, I inadvertently got drawn into the memories of those contagious beautiful smiles all around, the bright colors of the decor almost being a metaphor for what was to ensue in the years to come, and the looks of my would-be hubby almost an assurance for the love and care that he will bestow upon me, once we take the vows and walk the altar, figuratively speaking. Must say, hands down to the photographer who clicked them – he did do an awesome job of making it a picture-perfect wedding.
At the end of the day, this is how it is all supposed to be. Isn’t it?
Ironically, however it also reminded me of the reminiscence of those days that are gone and a sense of loss gripped me – the time with my parents and siblings, the endless banter with my bosom friends, and just about all the fun of those carefree days that I had left behind.
As strange as it may sound, when a girl takes that leap of faith and begins her new life after marriage, the contradition of emotions that she goes through early on, can be quite overbearing.
As strange as it may sound, when a girl takes that leap of faith and begins her new life after marriage, the contradictions of emotions that she goes through early on, can be quite overbearing. And even though my marriage did not happen overnight, I cannot but help admit that I never got myself to a point, till the day, when I could claim without hesitation – “Yes, I am ready to take the plunge”. I actually do not think any girl can ever be fully prepared mentally for the day when she just has to leave everything behind – her belongings, her room, her home, her people with whom she has spent most of her life and has so many sweet memories with. It is definitely not as simple as it may arguably look, it never was for me atleast!
Mine was an arranged marriage. I belong to a traditional Brahman family. When I was hardly into my bubbly twenties, my parents decided that it was time for me to get married. And so, as fate would have it, I am introduced to this boy (now my husband) in a formal setting. Soon after, our parents (who are also family friends) reach a consensus that this is a good alliance. We are ‘told’ so, get engaged shortly after, and also get our license for courtship before our ‘big day. ‘HA! How uncanny does it sound in the present day and age, that the elders in our families had an absolute authority to decide what is deemed best for us.
Just a few days before marriage however, while packing my stuff, the realization finally sunk in that everything was soon going to change forever. Tears rolled down my cheeks. It dawned on me that my mum will no longer caressingly wake me up every morning, it will not be the same bed on which I had slept for years, it will not be the same wall-hanging that I had lovingly knit a teddy bear when I was 8 years old. Determined, I started packing them as well so that I could feel ‘at home’ in my new house. But then, I visualized how traumatic it will be for my parents to see my room everyday after I was gone – without me, and without my ‘things’. I had to keep the facade on. I had to be present, even after I was gone!
I vividly remember even today, the craziness in the run-up to my marriage.
I vividly remember even today, the craziness in the run-up to my marriage. All that shopping frenzy and finalizing the marriage arrangements. Those endless days – when one moment, I was writing invitation cards, and running down to parlor in another. Our discussions almost always seemed to centre around the logistics for making it a perfect wedding. So much so, that even my otherwise approachable father looked so distant to me. He was just so caught up in all the proceedings that he didn’t have the time to steal a moment to relax, leave aside having a hearty conversation with me. Even my mother was so busy giving me advice on how to behave, what to do and not, that I never got the time (or courage) to ask her how she was going to cope with the emptiness after her only daughter was gone!
While everyone appeared happy, I was happy and sad.
The house was full of friends and relatives, and yet I had never felt more lonely. It was ‘my’ wedding that was being planned and I was expected to feel elated, despite the contradictory emotions that I was having. There was this lingering feeling of vacuum, of fear, of not knowing what was going to happen next. What made it worse was that I couldn’t even tell my parents that I was very petrified.
On the day of our wedding, the gathering comprised of our friends and relatives from both sides, with each one trying to get clicked with the couple. I was literally overwhelmed by all the new faces that I had to exchange sweet nothings with on that fateful day, almost forgetting them the next moment. After one point, I almost panicked for being so insensitive, till my sister-in-law sweetly whispered in my ears to just smile and not bother about the relatives, at least not then. Even as I went through the motions that day, my eyes were continuously searching for my parents, praying that they would turn around and smile back at me and soothe my reckless nerves. They never really did however, as they were too busy attending the guests and ensuring that the show went on!
I felt helpless for my parents and for myself too.
And yet, amidst all the skepticism, the fear, the anticipation and the tension, I took my vows – to be a loving wife, a doting daughter-in-law, a devoted sister-in-law and much more.
Then, everything sort of happened in a flurry. Before I could even come to terms with the ‘saat vachan‘ (7 vows) that I had taken, it was time to say adieu. In India, we call it ‘bidai‘. It was heart wrenching – to see my brothers silently weeping in the corner, while my mother constantly reminded me in her shaky voice not to cry lest I spoil my make-up. My father hugged me in a hurry while still looking at the last minute arrangements. My eyes blurred. I couldn’t breathe. My life was going to change, the moment I stepped out of the safe environs of my parents’ house. And into a life that demanded me to be more responsible, answerable, decisive and careful. And that sounded so unnatural of me or the life that I was otherwise used to!
At my husband’s place however, my new family welcomed me with open arms, and that was somewhat comforting.
At my husband’s place however, my new family welcomed me with open arms, and that was somewhat comforting. The house was full of new faces, but all gleaming with joy and warmth. Each and every member of the family was trying to put me at ease in my new ‘home’. My mother-in-law was all smiles, and my man’s presence reassuring that all will be fine. Everything looked so perfect!
But, something was missing. My parents were missing. I was missing them!
I imagined the scene at my parents’ place. All the relatives must have gone… leaving behind my tired and lonely parents! I wept, and wept hard and for long. The daughter in me kept on thinking about what she had left behind. No doubt, I knew I had to live upto my new responsibilities and expectations that I had signed up for. But how could that ever be an excuse to not feel nostaligc for the time I spent growing up at my parents’ home?
Ten years have past ever since. I am a happily married woman, with two adorable daughters. Time swooshed its magic wand. Life is beautiful and I am having a gala time.
But still, the feeling of home-sickness, of those carefree times, of endless fights with my brothers, my mother’s hand-cooked food, my father’s kisses and cajoling – still keep coming back to me from time to time. I may not be able to talk to my mum every other day now, but my childhood memories of her long black hair caressing my face while I slept in her lap, still numb my eyes. I know she is there. I know I can still rely on my parents. I will always be their twinkling star, no matter how old I get, no matter if I am a wife or a mother myself. I will always be their daughter, all my life.
No one can take those cherished memories away from me – not even time!
Cover image via Shutterstock
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