Her hands had the sweet fragrance of freshly applied Mehndi, her lips seemed to exude calculated smile but her eyes were certainly nervous!!
While mostly she kept looking down (as the bride to be is expected to do) randomly she greeted all and was trying to enjoy the Mehndi and Sangeet celebration kept in honor of her wedding. In India, wedding is not just a day affair, it has prologue, the ceremony, the finale and after effects too. The celebration, traditions and the nitty – gritty vary depending on the community one belongs to and also the part of country one stays in. So, this one was scheduled to happen in Agra, UP. Uttar Pradesh is a state in northern India. However, let me get back to the story.
I approached her and wished hearty congratulations; after all her big day was approaching!! Wedding is a life changing event!! Everything dons a new attire – your status, responsibilities and relationships to name a few. But most importantly the feeling of uniting with your love for the rest of your life is what makes the occasion eternal.
I couldn’t refrain but ask how does the guy look? Does she like him? What was their first meeting like? Is he amiable and will support her in all the decisions? Will he let her pursue her career post marriage? But considering the settings and number people we were surrounded with I just limited to one very ordinary question – Is he the Prince Charming she dreamt of?
She took a really deep breath and there was awkward silence, she couldn’t express her emotions as all her relatives were there plus the photographer but I could sense something was wrong and she was trying to conceal her anxiousness.
The very next moment she informed her mother that she is tired and heading to her room for a break. She asked me to accompany her.
As soon as we reached the room, she made sure it’s locked and the she couldn’t hold back any further, tears rolled down her rosy cheeks smudging the Kohl. She said – ‘She has not seen her groom-to-be not even his picture!! She has no idea what he looks like, how he talks or his likes or anything about his nature; Nothing, Nothing, Nothing!!!’
As a friend the least I could do was listen to her at that moment, she continued; since childhood girls always have to follow defined rules decided for her by elders and society in the family including clothes to wear, when to give her opinion, what kind of friends to go with, which places to go, what not to do, what to do etc. etc. Till this point in life she was asked to stay away from boys and suddenly today she is asked to sleep with a stranger and spend rest of her life with him!!
That was rude but sadly true. I just wished if someone would have at least asked her outlook on the thing, let her meet the guy and then decide. Is it too much to ask?
I just hugged her. I did not know what to say, I was terribly shocked and could imagine her situation. She just wanted to run away from everything but family pressure, society and blah blah. She was extremely upset as nobody in her family could understand her dilemma.
I was thinking in my mind, this must be rarest of the cases in so called ‘Arrange Marriages’!!
If she has not met him even the guy hasn’t met her!! Wow, I could not believe it. I’m sure this is not one of the cases. Such accidents keep happening around us and we just accept it under the name of tradition.
I’m not against ‘Arrange Marriages’ but I totally believe the Bride and the Groom ought to have full say in the decision. It should be them and not just families who conclude what’s best for their kids.