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Her parents had borne all the humiliation for her, on their choice of gifts, on their income, all so that she could marry the boy she chose.
She thought she would be happy, yet now when the evening was coming close, she was afraid. She was anxious and couldn’t get over the panic she felt in her heart. She wanted to run away from these ceremonies. She just wanted someone to hug her and tell her that it would be okay.
Twice, she walked out to talk to her parents, but whenever she came out, relatives surrounded her. She retired back to her room, tried to shut her eyes and relax, but today peace eluded her. Her hormones were in a frenzy and nothing seemed to soothe her anxious nerves.
What if the family she was getting married into didn’t accept her? What if the boy whom she had trusted so long was just like all other husbands, who stop loving their wife sooner or later. How many times she had sat listening to her mother, that all men are same, and they just eye lust?
Now it was too late. The Baraat would come in another 4-5 hours. All the family was here to celebrate this occasion, the wedding which she had always dreamed of.
For the last 2 years, She and Aryan had been trying to convince their respective families to get them married. While it had been easy for her, Aryan’s mom had rejected her in the first meeting.
“She’s fat and look at her height! Doesn’t even reach upto your shoulder.” She had said.
“My son has got 10 offers, with a dowry of 20 lakh, I do not know what he saw in you.” She had whined.
Aryan had been very patient all through, and acting as a bridge between the two families, they had finally managed to get them agree.
She never got cold feet then, even when her mother had threatened her that she would commit suicide. Aryan’s parents would keep delaying marriage citing one reason or the other. Her mom was sure that Aryan was just playing with her and would leave her one day.
“No one will marry you. He will take your virginity and then you won’t even be pure to get married. I promise that if that happens, you will see your mother dead,” she would tell Radha every time she called them up.
Frustrated, she had stopped going home even on festivals. She would volunteer for emergency duty and stay in her hostel instead.
Finally, Aryan had filed an application for a court marriage. His parents had finally bent and agreed to get him married to the girl he loved.
They didn’t realise that this was the easiest part. The extended Indian Marriages do not believe in dowry, but do believe in a gifts syndrome too treacherous for both of them to handle. Yet, they had stood firm.
However, today she felt lost. She knew this was a point of no return. She couldn’t go back to anyone ever in life. Her parents had borne all the humiliation for her, on their choice of gifts, on their income, all so that she could marry the boy she chose. If ever anything went wrong, she was the one who would have to bear it all alone.
“Radha, go and take a bath, my child. In half an hour, you will have to go to the parlor to get ready,” Her mother called her.
She rose up from the bed reluctantly and dragged herself to shower. A few hours more and she would not even be Dr Radha Mehta, the name proudly inscribed on her certificates.
She would become Dr Radha Arora, adopting her husband’s surname.
When the hour of Vidai came, no tears came from her eyes. She hugged each one of her cousins, her brother, her sisters, her friends and finally her parents. It’s only when she sat in the car and she saw herself surrounded by people she didn’t know that tears started rolling down her cheeks.
She couldn’t stop her eyes from watering and all the pent up emotions burst like flood of tears when she reached her new home – Her Husband’s home.
The home which she grew up in, where she learnt to walk, where she learnt to speak, where she played with her dolls, the place where she had her first crush, where she blossomed from a little girl to the woman she was now, was left behind. Now, she would visit it as a stranger. Every time she would have to go there, she would have to seek permission from her new owners. She suddenly felt so alone, among faces which she did not know.
Someone came and escorted her to be introduced to all the family members. She was supposed to touch feet of all elders and seek their blessings. She also would have to memorize all the names and match them with the faces next next time they meet. Her mind was still afar, trying to figure what her life would be from now on.
After a few more ceremonies, they finally took her to her room. As in Hindi movies, she had expected a decorated room for her first night. What she found was a disheveled room.
Someone came and changed the bed-sheet and told her to rest. Her eyes were searching for Aryan. He probably was busy somewhere. Feeling all alone, she dozed off to sleep.
Radha woke up and realized that she was still alone in her room. She wondered where Aryan was. The sun was already peeping through her window.
She could hear a frenzy of activity outside. Many relatives would be leaving today. She didn’t understand what to do. Should she go outside and sit with them or should she stay inside the room and keep waiting for Aryan?
“Where was he? Why didn’t he leave a message for her?” She tried to call on his mobile. But the number was switched off.
Just then she heard a knock at the door. She checked her hair in the mirror, covered herself with a dupatta and opened the door. “Hey there, still sleeping!” Aman smiled and said. Aman was Aryan childhood friend and he was the first person she had met after they had started dating. “I was just leaving. I have a flight in afternoon.”
Radha smiled back. She was a bit nervous. She bit her lower lip and asked slowly. “Do you know where Aryan is?”
Aman looked at her puzzled.
“Ever since they brought me to room, I didn’t see him. I dozed off. And woke a few minutes before and realized he’s not been here whole night.” She talked slowly, didn’t want people outside to turn their full attention to her.
Aman took out his mobile from the pocket and dialed his number. It was switched off. He tried to put a big grin and finally said, “Let me find for you.”
“My girlfriend, Rashi! You remember meeting her na.” He said. Yes, she nodded. “She has sent a small gift for you. ,I can’t bring her you know that. And I didn’t want aunty to see, so take this and open later when inside, and let me find for you, your culprit.” Aman left looking for Aryan mom.
“Namaste Aunty Ji, I am leaving. Where is Aryan? He is not in the room.”
“Oh, what time are you leaving. Aryan should be back anytime now. His Mama Ji had to catch flight at 6, and all others were tired. So, he went to drop them.” She replied back.
“Oh, you should have told me aunty. He should have been with Radha. It’s a new place for her.” Aman blurted out.
“Oh Beta, why are you getting angry? All others had to join back work today so needed few hours of sleep. Aryan is only going 2 days later and anyways he and Radha will be together only after this. So can’t that Madam Ji sit for few hours?” She asked a little loudly, so that Radha could overhear the displeasure in her voice. “You have breakfast before you go,” she said dismissing Aman.
Radha lost all the mood to go outside and sit with others. She started to get ready for the day.
Just a few minutes later, she heard Aryan voice.
“Radha was worried about you. Why didn’t you tell her and go?” Aman was asking Aryan.
“Mom didn’t tell her?!” There was irritation in his voice. “You know with mama Ji, she’s always so sentimental. I had told her that the driver would go and drop him, and she started lecturing me about my duties. Didn’t want to create a scene in front of Radha on day 1, so left and told her to tell her, as they were already late for flight. Only I know how fast I drove.” Aryan said.
“Also, my phone got stolen last night. During that ceremony, I handed it to someone, and after that I don’t know.” He continued.
“Okay buddy, take care of Radha. I have a flight to catch, will leave now.” Aman hugged him and left.
Aryan saw Radha looking at him through window and gave her a smile.
Before he could go and meet Radha, his mom caught him in the living room. “Ask your madam couldn’t she come and ask directly about you. What was the need to complain to Aman? Couldn’t she have come and asked? Madam Ji will get dirty talking to us or what?!”
Aryan did not reply and went to his room.
Radha had tears in her eyes and was sobbing. Aryan hugged her and wiped away her tears. “I heard everything,” she said. “I didn’t know how to ask her, was a bit scared of talking to her.” She continued in sobs.
Aryan made her sit on his lap and continued to hold her. He hadn’t wanted her to cry on the 1st day of her married life and here he was sitting wondering about the days ahead.
Author’s note: A change from a maiden to a married status may seem to trivial, but it sums up the entire life of a woman. The wedding day is a stressful period for every woman, be she highly educated or non educated, be it a love marriage or an arranged one. This is the time when she needs support from her husband and his family. However, in our society, due to ego of the parties involved it takes a toll on the couple.
Image source: By Rais67 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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