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Maa, Please Hear Me Once…

For once, my mother saw through my eyes and felt a tug at her heart... A heart-warming mother-daughter story.

“Blushing? Eh… Eh.?” giggles and cackles were flowing in the air. Hounded by my boisterous brood of relatives, I was searching for an iota of air to breathe.

My mind was elsewhere. A fortnight ago I was in a family marriage, pleasantly dressed to the occasion, almost impossible for every other eye to miss catching sight of me. Touted as the most prospective bride, I had become the cynosure of all eyes in the circle of family and friends.

I had all the checks in the typical checklist of a conventional Indian bride. Fair, good-looking, decent educational qualification and sound family background. No wonder I had become the most sought after candidate that would make an ideal marriage material.

Marriage had been the last thing on my mind, having set my eyes on my career from early on and working towards it, devoutly. Moreover, I was happy and content being with my parents and serving them. With the passing of my twenty-sixth birthday, my age seemingly became the alarming factor for my parents, however much I tried to minimise it to them.

But the society, community, relatives circle, world at large and their own age wouldn’t see it. The far and immediate influences, pressures, customs and beliefs running through the veins were hard to combat.

I had to quietly give in…

The ticks of my biological clock were pounding hard on the ears. I had to quietly give in to the ‘phenomenon’ called marriage. The stage was set, it was a family wedding where I was made to face a prospective groom. The chaos and peering eyes at the event made it very uncomfortable. Forget an exchange, even eye contact seemed awkward.

Sensing this, some of our relatives and parents concluded that we must be conduced with a calm and comfortable atmosphere where we could talk. So the meeting was arranged in a café and we both met at the agreed time. Being in a place by ourselves free of chaos felt better. As I saw him from a close distance, looks-wise, he was okay for me. “Let’s give it a chance,” I thought. A little hesitation, some trepidation and lack of words filled the air for a while. I chose to break the ice and initiated a conversation.

We spoke about ourselves, likes, dislikes, hobbies, work and future plans. He reciprocated normally, yet there was something amiss. I could not feel a connection with him.

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I got home and felt the pressure rising in the surrounding minds, clogging my thoughts.

“How did it go?” asked my mother. “It must’ve gone well,” said another. “Yes, yes, can’t you see it from her face?” came another and an opinion was formed.

“So can we take it as a yes?” asked my mother. I remained silent. “Mounam sammati lakshanam, can’t you make out of it?” said my aunt (implying that silence means consent).

“But…” my mother was about to say something.

“Now, what if’s and buts. The boy is from a good family, good-looking, well-educated, well-placed, earning well, warm and friendly. What more do you want?” my uncle opined.

Mom and dad exchanged looks, giving their accord to the idea. Both the parties communicated with each other, expressing their assent for the next step, which was engagement.

But I was screaming from deep inside…

A simple engagement ceremony was held in the presence of nears and dears. With that our courtship period of two months ahead of our marriage was flagged off. In those two months, there was not a single moment where I could associate or feel close with him.

The priest was summoned, the date was fixed, the venue was chosen, and the preparations began in full swing.

But I was screaming from deep inside.

“Beta, is this saree ok? Did you like the color?”

“Maa, I never felt a connection with him.” 

“Hey, this necklace is looking so good on you.”

“Maa, we never acknowledged each other.”

“This floral design for the stage looks so good, doesn’t it?”

“Maa, I have never felt happy in his company.”

“We’re going with jalebi and rabri, what do you think?”

“Maa there has never been a chemistry between us.”

The D-day arrived.

“Aayiye, padhariye, woohoo,” catcalls and teases followed.

“Hamari dulhan ki nazar utaro to zara,” said someone (cast the evil eye from the bride).

“You’re looking like a million bucks. Sure, he will be total fida. Eh, Eh,” someone nudged me and gave a peck on my cheek.

Surreal, confusing and myriad was the floor’s design at which my eyes were fixed. The feeling in my gut was strong.

“Chalo, hato,” a voice so familiar, I looked up, it was my mother.

“Chalo beta,” she held my hand and started ushering me to the mandap.

“Maa, I don’t know if you will see me alive down the line after this marriage. Where this will head to, neither are you nor am I aware of. Before giving me away, just hear me once, Maa.”

My mother released my hand and turned to me. She looked into my eyes and felt the helpless stream of tears flowing down my cheeks. The vibe I felt running down my spine as she held my hand comforted me. For once, she saw through my eyes and felt a tug at her heart.

“This marriage will not happen,” she announced. I looked at her with disbelief.

“Yes, everyone heard it right. This marriage will not take place.”

There was a moment of silence, then there was a commotion. My father rushed from another end of the venue.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Our daughter’s not happy and we shall not proceed with this wedding,” said my mother.

“But why now? So many preparations have gone in? What will we tell the groom’s side? I want to know what’s happening, please explain,” he demanded.

“It is us. We got ourselves blinded by influences, assumptions and conclusions. We never once tried to understand our daughter’s feelings. Never gave it a proper thought. We never heard her,” she said.

My father came towards me, held my shoulders and looked into my eyes.

“Beta, look into my eyes and tell me. Don’t be afraid. I am more than willing to hear you,” his words sounded like a shower of rain quenching the thirst of parched land.

I poured my heart out. My parents took a strong stance and called off the wedding. I was in a better space, I was finally heard.

Author’s Note: Friends, thanks for taking your time and reading this piece of fiction. We are often influenced by peer pressure and many external factors while taking major life decisions like marriage. Marriage is not all about clothes, jewelry, venues, lavish feasts, friends and relatives. It is solely about two individuals charting their journey into the sanctum sanctorum of their own. Many a time, taking wrong decisions and entering into wrong relationships take a toll on their lives. If you are a parent, friend, well-wisher or a relative, please give this due regard before thrusting your opinions. 

Image source: An image from Pexels

First published here.

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About the Author

Savitha Lakshmi

Digital marketer with many hits and misses to my credit. Certified Graphic designer. An evolved creative writer whose tentacles have spread across fiction and technical genres. I am a total work in progress carrying a read more...

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