A year ago, we were strangers.
A year later, we still are.
In between, you gave me a lifetime of memories.
The touch of your skin,
The blaze in my heart,
The bumps on my skin,
Victory in your heart.
The glow in your eyes,
The warmth on my face,
Welled tears to my eyes,
That smile on your face.
I danced into your arms,
Cradled for life,
Throwing around you my arms,
For the last time, before I became his wife.
He checked the box for the bracelet the umpteenth time. Another twelve hours and she would be back, by what his mother knew. Some urgent work had cropped up and they had gone over to her mother’s hometown. Again what his mother knew.
As he cleared his bed, to retire for the night, he coaxed himself aloud for not having apologised to her earlier. It had been a week since they had last spoken. He knew she wanted him to take the first step. After all he was the one who insulted her, disappointed her. He hadn’t meant to do it, obviously, but nevertheless he did do it.
“Ego. That is what your problem is, Hiten. You knew you were wrong. Yet, you couldn’t be bothered enough to say a simple sorry! You took it all out on her instead. Moron! Of course, she wouldn’t talk to you,” he chided himself, rolling up his clothes in a ball and dumping them on the chair. Removing his laptop and its charger tangled with the endless earphones, “Make sure you don’t hurt her again. It’s her birthday the day after. Make it her best. You know you love her. She needs to know it too. Enough with your… Ahh! Finally!” he exhaled jubilantly on untangling the wiry mess.
He fell off to sleep thinking about her.
Having snoozed his alarm twice, Hiten woke up only when his mother came to remind him he would be late for office. He told her he was taking the Saturday off. Only when he finally got out of bed, did he realize he had only an hour left before Deepti’s train arrived.
Barely had he awoken, when his mother came in blabbering excitedly, “I just spoke to Gauri bhabhi (referring to Deepti’s mother and their neighbour)
“That is a beautiful wedding dress you’re wearing! Do you need any help?” Sweta came in, asking cheerfully.
“No, you’ve done so much already. Thank you so much! Your entire hotel staff has been very helpful,” gushed the bride, Payal.
“That’s the job, you know,” pat came the reply, knowing fully well that she always gave in more than required for wedding events.
“Oh and thank you for complimenting the saree. I designed it,” Payal said modestly. Softly, she added, looking into the mirror, “Probably one of my last.”
“Why?” Sweta asked, shocked! “It really is none of my business. I am sorry!” she added hastily.
“No, it’s nothing that personal. His parents aren’t really comfortable with my degree in fashion designing, being orthodox and all. So I am not pursuing professionally anymore. But it’s okay. I think I have made peace with it.”
“Payal, I don’t have any right to say this to you. And certainly not on your wedding day, but had I not spoken up during my wedding, I wouldn’t actually be here managing your wedding. I was to get married last year but my would be in-laws weren’t comfortable with a working daughter-in-law. I had nearly agreed to their demand too, but as the wedding came closer I was more and more unsure of the whole compromise. I spoke to my fiance, but unfortunately he didn’t have enough spine to stand up for me. So I took my own stand and here I am. And I can tell you I am not repenting the decision! In fact, my life’s happier today.”
“What do you mean, Sweta? What are you suggesting?!” the bride asked, aghast.
“Simply that you talk to your guy once and if he really loves you and deserves you, he’ll be there to stand by you. Otherwise, you seem to have already made peace with it. Almost. Have you spoken to him about it?”
“Actually, not that seriously, though I have thought about it a lot,” she confessed.
“I think you should talk to him. But only if you want to.”
She immediately picked up the phone and texted her fiance to come over to the bridal room.
“I have called him over. He’s coming in 2 minutes! Can you please stay?” Payal requested.
“Are you sure you want me to?” Sweta asked, going and holding the bride’s hand, and sitting beside her.
The bride simply nodded in return, breathing deeply.
“Everything alright, Payal? Oh hi, Sweta! Your decorations are turning out to be fantastic! I love what your team is doing.” Gaurav smiled, looking at both the ladies.
“I need to talk to you, Gaurav. And Sweta will stay.”
“Okay. Should I be afraid? What is it, Ma’am that seems to be making you so nervous?” Gaurav asked, perplexed.
“Gaurav, I love you. A lot. And you love me too. I know that. But there is something I want from you before our wedding. I know I am being really silly picking this up now, but it’s important. I have been thinking about it for the past few days.”
“You’re scaring me, baby.”
“Let me complete,” she said cutting him off. “I am passionate about designing. I know I haven’t been successful enough to shut people up yet, but you know if I take those last few steps I can make it through. Your parents do not want me to work, but frankly I cannot see myself sitting at home waiting for you to come back from work everyday. I do not want to disrespect your parents at all or make them feel I am turning their son against them, but this is what defines me, Gaurav. My art. That is why you fell in love with me! Remember? All I am saying is I don’t think I am ready to give up on my career yet. You know, Sweta, wouldn’t have been fulfilling my dream wedding here if she had gone ahead with her own wedding! I admire her. She’s an amazing person. And she’s so happy because she dared to keep up with her passion. I don’t want to give up on my passion, Gaurav. I want to be happy with you and I am afraid if I give up my work I might end up blaming myself for not having had the courage to talk to you about it. That’s it.”
“That’s it? Payal, I never supported my parents’ decision regarding you giving up your work. And I would have to spoken to them if you had told me earlier! You seemed so okay with it that discussing this never crossed my mind. I would never want you to give up what you love. Come here,” he said, walking up to her to give her a quick hug.
“Thank you so much, Gaurav. Thank you!” she said, feeling so relieved in his arms!
“Umm, can we not ruin the bride’s make-up please?” Sweta said gently, easing her way out of the room.
“Sweta, wait!” Payal said, walking over to her quickly to give her a tight hug. “I cannot thank you enough for what you just did. Now, I can get married carefree! I owe this to you.”
“You don’t owe me anything, Payal. Just promise me you’re going to design my wedding saree!”
“I wouldn’t let you get it designed by anyone else!” Payal mocked shockingly, while the other two laughed heartily.And today, Sweta, felt like she’d arranged more than just a wedding. She’d supported another woman the same way her mother had supported her. She knew her mother would be the happiest today, had she been around. And, truly, the Heavens did smile down at her. Graciously Yours!
P.S. : I am back! And yes, that’s sketched by me.
Her petite frame stood by the window, the hands outstretched to feel the torrential rains pour down on her palms.
He went and held her by the waist, nestling her back into his arms.
They stood like that for ages it seemed. The chill in the air, peace in her breaths, the sound of the claps followed by her slightest shudders, brought him still closer to her.
He couldn’t hold himself back anymore, and took her hand and slipped on the ring.
“Marry me, will you?”
He felt the sharp intake of breath, goosebumps run all over her while the skies lit up in full approval!
With quivering lips, a heart thudding out of her chest, she turned to bury her face in his torso.
The tears welled in her eyes. They flowed down to his heart, as the nurse came in and said, “The patient needs to rest. She has her last chemo tomorrow.”
He loves me.
He loves me not.
Do that ever?
“There will be happy times. Sad times too. Times when she’ll be angry. Times when she’ll be fun. Times when you’ll know, she’s the one!
She may not hear you always, but she loves listening to you. She sometimes doesn’t stop talking, and at times she has nothing to say to you.
Every time you see her smile, promise yourself you’ll never let it fade. No matter how bad matters get, if you are with her, goodbye she’ll never bade.
She can very well carry on her life without you, but she still chooses to keep you in hers. Shower her with love and care, a word of affection here and there, and you’ll see her be forever yours.”
To those who’ve found the one, don’t let her go!