She found his sister-in-law walking down the street opposite to her house. It had been 8 years since she had seen any of his family members. Debating whether to avoid or not, she found her approaching. In her heart, she missed the friendship she had shared with his sister. It was an easy-going friendship, one that was without judgement. She called her ‘didi’, and not ‘bhabhi’. She did not want to bring the ‘weight’ of a bhabhi-wala relation into the simple sisterly friendship.
As didi approached, she hugged her, reminiscing the days gone by. Didi took her to her house, where there were a lot of people buzzing around, maybe for a wedding that was planned in the house. She felt amiss. Didi took her to a room and asked her to wait. On the other side of the room, she felt a presence. Ma. She jumped in surprise, went ahead and hugged ma too. Touched feet. Ma was distanced and detached. She handed me a letter. A handwritten letter.
She just took and just gave it a listless glance. No expression. When she went to her room, she found him there. She had forgiven him and had no weight in her heart. So, she greeted him politely. Apparently, they all wanted him and her to get back together. She thought in her heart, that it was a foolish wishful want. She debated whether to cut this conversation short or see what he had to say. Curiosity took over and she took a seat 5 feet away from him. They spoke about inconsequential things. Then his intention was to move on to personal chat, but she sensed it and cut him short. She wanted to leave, but he got angry. All she said was, “You are still the same. Lower your temper.”
And she went to her parents to tell them to go and ask that family to move on. What did she achieve from that conversation? Not sure, maybe she had the satisfaction of knowing that it was the right thing to do, to walk out. Rather, to accept that he walked out. That a piece of paper with two signatures mean nothing when someone does not want to nurture a relationship. And of course, vice versa.
She thought of the man she now had in her life. Dynamic, mature and extremely loving. She thanked her stars. A small smile escaped her lips.
In her words:
The wedding atmosphere suddenly turned into tension filled melee. She was puzzled. Then people came running and shouting that the groom has halted the wedding celebrations because he wanted 10 lakhs immediately. The bride’s parents tried to ask our parents to arrange for the money. And fools that they are, they way they chose that man for me, they scrambled around, arranging for it.
I asked them to stop the madness. Just. Stop. It.
How dare that girl not stop this by taking a stand?? This for God’s sake is the 21st century. Educated people do NOT blackmail the bride’s family for money on the altar of marriage. What stops her from walking out? Is it okay to see her parents begging others for money? Is it okay to see the elderly couple scrambling around, and losing their wits on something as inconsequential as “buying a groom for their daughter”????
She wakes up with a jolt, angry and upset. Why after so many years, did she see this dream? Perhaps somewhere in her psyche, she expected him to come and apologize to her. And perhaps, somewhere in her psyche, she wants all those girls to stand up for their parents, who feel they are a victim of the society’s demands for sending a daughter with loads of materialistic things, with or without demand.
She thought of her parents who had the strength that ONLY true love could give, to support and in fact, help her in the brave decision she took so many years ago. She smiled as she saw the way her father’s head held high, when she told him of the salary hike she recently got. He is one proud father – he has seen her move from being a meek domestic girl to a confident corporate lady.
She immediately picked up her phone, and dialled Papa.