The shop was full of voluminous lehengas, colorful dupattas, heavy hanging jewelry and ornamented sandals! I found myself lost in each thread, each bead, each pearl.
“Hope you will find something of your choice here,” said Samantha handing over some design albums to me. “Look at these and decide on a combination. It will narrow down the things you can try on.” She added and moved on towards the sales girl who happened to be her distant cousin.
As I sat flipping through the albums, my eyes suddenly fell on the mirror wall standing opposite me. It showed my reflection. Shoulder length hair tied in a high ponytail, no eye makeup, nude lipstick, black loose top, tight blue jeans, blue flip-flops and a serious face. At 38, I could not look younger than this. Even if I would have tried dark shades, colourful sleeveless top and pink high heels! I am comfortable looking my age.
“Did you like any?” Samantha’s voice interrupted my thoughts.
“I will go for a light shade. May be peach!” I suggested.
“Peach! Ok. Sounds good.” She appeared relieved. She was worried if I might again move out postponing the shopping to some other day.
I was getting married at the age of 37, to Rajat Shah, for the second time!
Why? Well, this requires a proper explanation.
Rajat and I had an arranged marriage. The one where the bride and bridegroom dresses selected and purchased by Bhaiyas and Bhabhis, the marriage & reception hall chosen by Dads and jewelry suggested by Moms. Very much predicted and very much accepted! Soon after our marriage, Rajat’s Bank transferred him to a new city and there we started our nuclear family. Initially, we both were very reserved and found it difficult to get along. Rajat being a Banker was very definite in his approach while I had a young mind’s flowery dreams. I wanted to go on a long honeymoon, spend time shopping with my husband’s choice, get surprise gifts and have all his attention. What Rajat wanted, I could never figure out! And gradually we became comfortable with the settlement. I never spoke about my wish-list to him and he never spoke his mind. We lived like room-mates, sharing same TV, same kitchen, same sofa and same bed. It was all so normal, yet quite formal.
We had our moments of laughter, love, emotions, fun…everything! But somewhere we were not open about our expectations with each other. And one evening, I decided to lift the veil- after seven years of our marriage.
“Rajat, I need to talk to you.” I started at dinner.
“Rini, if it is about the child again, you know my decision. Doctor has said it is not safe for you to bear a child and I cannot take any risk. So, no more discussions on this!” He said.
“No, it is not about the child. It is about us. I know you care for me and do everything to make me happy. But I want to know Rajat, what is it that makes you happy. You have never shared your dreams, your expectations with me. I feel we still have a gap between us. Whenever I find you thinking something and ask about it, you change the topic. When you are angry on me, you do not talk to me for days but never tell me which of my actions pissed you off. I want you to share, open up.” I said in one breath.
“Rini, I have all that I want. It is just that I feel I could not give you everything that you desired for.” He replied.
“And how do you know what I desire for. We never shared our wishes with each other,” I said.
“Yes! You never shared. But I just came across them. It was an year after our marriage when one evening I opened your cupboard to search for the marriage album. That is when I found your diary, the one which had everything on our one year of marriage! I read about the dreams you had. You wanted a lavish marriage, the one where you go and choose every flower, every linen, every menu and every detail of your choice. The one where your prince charming comes to own you and take you to a fairy land! Your desire of a honeymoon in hills, several candle light dinners, several walks on the beaches, several counting of stars in nights and so on.” He said and continued.
“I could not give you any Rini. I have never been like that. For me marriage is a ritual where two different people come together to make one loving family- share their special days and nights through the common routine of life. And I realized that I was living my dream as this is what I wanted. But you were not. You had killed your desires. I fell in guilt. Yes, if you would have shared your dreams with me on the day we were engaged, I would have done all this for you. I would have seen that all your wishes are fulfilled. I was going to marry you and your happiness was my responsibility. And most importantly, your wishes were simple; they were not out of my reach. I was upset that you did not share them with me. If I could bring those days back, may be then I would feel I could complete all my duties towards you.” Rajat opened up for the first time in seven years of courtship.
So, Rajat and I are marrying again- in my style! Many could not understand why, many made fun of us, many thought we had lost it completely. But I knew what I had found. I had found my husband and his ultimate desire to see me happy.
This wedding is special for both of us as this time we will take the marriage vows after living them already.
By: Neha Mishra
Editor/ Writer/ Poet/ Freelancer