Previous- Wedding Planner
Hemant and his mom- dad had comeover to talk to Ruby’s family, a few weeks before the D-day. They had so wanted to speak with my “elders” to arrange my Wedding. His mother had worn a sulking look for the entire 2 hours that they had come. At Rohini, all of us were nervous enough- to have fallen upon the slightest poke. The lady had refused to touch her snack plate since; all of us didn’t have one in our hands. Upon insistence, she had thudded the plate back on the table. As if animatedly we had raised ourselves over and picked up a couple of savories that were served to “the Groom’s family”. Hemant’s brother had not joined in then too.
The conversation was only like a few pleasantries exchanged. I had not wanted them to spend even a dime on my marriage; why should they have? They were 5 sisters and still two more to be married with only single income. No talks on Finances were exchanged. I had then comeback with them sitting in a DTC bus that had took 2-1/2 hours to reach Saket. What a waste..!! No, they didn’t travel in autos- maybe were not accustomed (of what); neither had wanted to change with times. I was cheesed off but had remained silent. We had come back; he had insisted that I dine at his place. I felt as if his mother didn’t appreciate that. Nevertheless, I had hurriedly eaten and came back. Quite surprisingly, all they ate in dinner was Dal and roti. For last over 3 years, I had not eaten anything else besides that whenever I got to eat with them i.e.,
I had thought that I would be able to cook a few things once I became a part of his family. The lady must get too tired to cook anything else besides that, after the entire day’s house- work. They didn’t have a Domestic for their help. A few times that I had tried asking about it, I was silent-ed by Hemant. I was to enter the same set of definitions; why wasn’t I thinking straight? What was I thinking of? Was I thinking at all..??
Nagina and Smita were the only office colleagues from Hutch who had attended my Wedding. They were more of “close friends” than just team- mates. I did not invite the whole office over since it’s the Groom’s family who were to spend. Moreover, I wasn’t confident about the occasion myself. If only I had taken all of that restlessness a little more seriously, and quit.
I didn’t. After running around in all the Community Center halls in Delhi, we had finally liked the Lodhi Road Conventional Hall. It didn’t have that washroom like tiles and had somewhat resembled my LIS gymnasium. I had felt comfortable seeing the premises. Hemant had conveyed “our suggestion” and that was finalized without any objections.
I had decked myself up in my Mauve Lehanga. I had bought white heavy “Gajras” to be sitting long on both of my shoulders. Amethyst in silver with platinum coating had sat on my neck and pierced my ears. I had carefully applied the nail color- with details of both glittered and frosted shade of lavender. Had also rented some artificial gold jewellery (as was the custom), for that “to be married now” look. Hemant had worn a Kurta Pyajama that had a look of Sherwani and a brown jacket (I guess- don’t remember right). That dupatta was bought from Dilli Haat for tying that knot (Mangal- Gaanth or whatever). I was uploaded from head to tow; I had tried keeping it as minimalistic as possible LOL. I mean, the jewellery, the oufit or even the make- up was done elegantly; instead of that “made- up” look. I was the professional help for my make- up for the evening. My short and cropped hair was made to swell up in a bun with an artificial addition and some help of Chhabi’s friend. In all, I didn’t look like someone who didn’t have either of her parents attending her marriage.
I had felt nauseated while traveling to the venue. Sanjay, Ruby, Pintoo and I were in sat Sanjay’s car. Pintoo could not understand my feeling so depressed; Ruby had explained that every girl goes through this period of apprehension; since, those were her last few seconds of her being single. She would then soon be put to a new place with new people and no one around to pull her back. Infact, pulling back never happens and in my case, there wasn’t anyone to do so.
I was fasting on my Wedding Day. Everyone had dissuaded me saying that in Punjabi Weddings, the ceremony would be till late night. Nevermind- I had said. After the Jaimala, we were sat on the podium when the photographer made us do all those silly shots. Excepting one, I had relented to all silly gestures. We had improvised upon our own ideas and they were all clicked very beautifully. I don’t have those snap- shots with me anymore; else, you all would have echoed the same thoughts. We looked as though “Made for Each Other”; only that, we weren’t.
Soon after the dinner, Ruby’s father had sat for the Kanyadaan ritual. I had changed to that crimson suit that Hemant’s family had bought for me. Hemant’s mother had looked a little satisfied. She had wanted me to give away my Wedding Dress to Shelly; her sister’s daughter after the Wedding. She had so badly wanted me to wear something very simple so that- giving away could have been easy. Oh my God, was that my Wedding or the 1st haircut ritual that I had to give away..??
Shelly had saved me saying that she wasn’t my- the sister-in-law; so this ritual was not to be followed. More- over, she was elder to me and was married and hence, not required. Auntie had further added that in that case, I was supposed to wear some thing that was theirs. Maybe, that had pleased her. I was escorted to the mandap when all had realized that the actual “pandit” was missing. A young chap was instead trying to fiddle with his book and reading out the verses. If you would believe this, I am technically not married to Hemant. I was made to solemnize the seven vows. We were made to whirl only 4 times, I had led. It was upon the audiences’ (his relatives), insistence that Hemant had completed and led the next 3 of the whirls. All had sat amused at this “tailored to suit” Wedding. So maybe, even the “marriage ritual” didn’t want to happen to me; not with Hemant. Since I had been married only 20 days back to My Ganshu Darling, I knew that this purohit had missed out the entire ritual.
I had constantly watched over Ruby, she was in her 9th month and had sat and attended the Wedding more like my relative. Instead of the baby inside her womb; she had sat mothering me, inspecting the event like she would do to her daughter’s. She had kept nodding to me for the complete period of time- to make me feel comfortable.
Ruby, I don’t know where to begin from to talk about you. I won’t even try; no words can express whatever you have done for me. One needs loads of Dedication and commitment to be doing what all you have been doing till date. You are the most beautiful of the 5 sisters and I too feel so. You had 4 siblings to yourself and yet had made me feel like another one of your siblings. You had made me feel so important at your place that I had almost forgotten that I was an outsider. The amount of Love and care that you had filled in my niche that you had carved at your home is something that only a mother could do to her daughter. I wonder that if my elder sister would have been so giving. It’s pointless to even mention that she isn’t. You were as if my shadow. Your not being here in India pinches me anytime that I think of you. I sit and cry for you often. I miss those long chats, late night Prashant Vihar strolls, the school- bunks and your driving out the younger siblings to make me at peace when they had sat teasing me. I guess it’s this “special relationship that we have shared and YOU have built with me” that has kept my faith up in Friends. Otherwise, the blood relations or even the acquired relations had all lost their significance; long- time back. Everyone seems so hollow and fake.
I hope that we meet soon enough. Your daughter had slept still on my Wedding Night without disturbing you much- I owe her too. No wonder she was born exactly after a month on 20th February, 2003.
I had cried my heart out while sitting in the vehicle to go to Hemant’s place. I probably had foreseen my immediate future; but, it was too late then. A sudden un-comfortability had encased me in an invisible realm of distaste-ness. It was pitch dark due to fog. We drove at a speed of 10 km/hr; 5- 6 cars had followed each other to keep up the trail. Absolutely nothing was visible; as if the roads too not wanting me to reach my new home. It was cold; wonder how Ruby would have driven back home.
A couple of rituals later, both of us were sent upstairs at the 3rd floor for our “1st night”. A small room of 10’ x 12’ was cluttered with their furniture. There was no space to set foot or even look around. Their sofa set, a huge trunk alongwith my fridge and Diwan were sat on the floor. Huge piles of quilts were sat on the Diwan and there was no geyser for me to wash and change. Ratan’s (Hemant’s younger brother), friend was asked to arrange for a bucket of warm water. Hemant had sat still and looked a little scared. I somehow managed to wash off that make- up. I had pulled out those hair- pins as if some trellies were embedded in my head. I wore my long white T with black polka dots and sulked inside the top quilt and tried to doze off.
I had kept wide awake and had thought about where was I “put” in just a day’s time. I realized that that was 4 years of my desire and efforts to get married to Hemant. I had kept wondering if that was an illusion and the morning would again wake me up at my Malviya Nagar residence. I had so wanted a decorated room for my 1st night of marriage too. C’mon, for crying out loud, it was my marriage and the only one. Was I expecting too much?
The following morning was sunny; the fog had disappeared. I had dozed off in the morning feeling snug. I had removed my Churas at night. I had not agreed to wear those showy plastics at the first place. His mother had just kept on nagging like a spoilt child that I had decided to give in to wear them. I had never appreciated declaring marriage in complete public’s view. Don’t we all know the actual purpose of getting married that we have to further display its signs too?? I anyways can’t sleep with accessories piercing me at places. I don’t wear any metal or plastic while sleeping. That’s become my habit now to take off every chunk of “jewellery” before I doze off. I have been this way ever since I can recall of my habits.
Shelly had come to call us when I had requested her for a bucket of warm water. P auntie (Hemant’s mother- from now) had come upstairs to tell me to not come down till she would tell me to..!! I had showed off the saree I was to wear. A White Pochampalli with big Red and Green motifs with Gold Zari details. I had bought it specially to be worn the 1st morning at my marital home.
After all the relatives were disposed off, I was called downstairs. Arpana Mami had sat ready to drive all of us to Chattarpur Temple. I had found that so awkward to cover my head with Saree pallu and walk on road like a village- woman. I did. I was made to wear the death cord (Mangal- sutra) in the temple; since that was so skipped the previous day! Was that my wedding; or the signals trying to hint- not to wed?
The same evening we were packed off to Shelly’s place so I could see Shelly’s mother who was ailing and was on last days of her life. I had on purpose dressed up the same way as I had on my wedding night in that Crimson suit. I had wanted to go seek her blessings as if straight out of Mandap. She had not attended the ceremony. P auntie had later told me that she was very happy meeting me; more than what she had been on seeing her brother’s daughter-in-law. She had passed away only after a fortnight. May she RIP.
Shelly had often compared my dressing and cooking habits with those of her mom; I take that as an honor. She was barely able to speak when I had met her. She was completely bed- ridden and had struggled tough to bring her 3 kids up single- handedly. Shelly was pretty pleased when she saw me dressed up like I had during my “pheras” (whirl around the Holy- fire usually associated with Hindu weddings). Shelly had come to meet me in November- 2009. She stayed in Shahadara and had wanted to see her cousin brother’s “choice”. Both of her brothers were married and lived a “small” life in Shahadara. They had been financially pressed hard and had resorted to a Loser’s life. She had approved of me. She had liked me; that’s what was conveyed to me. Her younger daughter had taken huge fancy in her mami. The 1st morning after the wedding, she had complimented me on how I had draped my saree.
The maid, who was hired for a couple of days to cook for all the stationed relatives, was relieved before we had left for our Temple visit. Hemant’s mother had fallen sick soon after we had come home. And within hours, I was transformed into a Gharelu Grihani- Homely house- keeper.
I had gone upstairs to change into something comfortable other than those sequined suits. I had worn my trousers and pullover and had comedown thinking not to spoil those expensive suits in house- chores. Little did I know that I would never get the opportunity to wear and flaunt those again! My palms still were brown with Mehandi- Heena and I had wanted to feel “that special one”, atleast for a few days before having thrown into the kitchen fire. I had become the elder daughter-in-law of Sharma family who was only to sacrifice her desires and compromise upon her respect. Nobody is to blame. I had earned all of that on my own.
My words may have been a little mellowed than the other related posts; but only till now. The contents would become murkier and stickier from here. Things those are known to me alone would now be typed across this Blog. I had kept quiet about the whole affair (not as in Love- affair, but my life after marriage) for a very long time now. Since Silence is submission; I have decided to speak up.
“My being mute is not my inability to speak..
I may have been quiet, But I do roar..
I am not the Divine to be expected as ever understanding..
I too am selfish and want my own state of Bliss..”
Filed under Olivia’s Mindly Matters