Monday, May 16, 2011

The Bride-to-be

She sat on the bed. The phone clutched in her hand. Twice she had dialed the number, then disconnected it before it rang. Her hands trembled and her heart fluttered. Was she right? Should she? She closed her eyes.

She was getting married in two months. And yet there was no trace of happiness on her face. No blushing bride coy smiles. It was not because she had to go to work. No. She stayed home. Idle. Whiling away time. Hoping that she would be able to spend time with her family before she would finally go off to her husband’s house. Her husband who was her Boyfriend of six years.

She had left her job because he had asked her to. He stayed in Paris and he had wanted her to come stay with him. She did. Without thinking of anything but the joy of being with him, she complied. Went to Paris. Stayed with him for three months.

What did she remember of her stay in Paris?
That from dawn to dusk he would pound away on his laptop following the Cricket World Cup, as well as watching the same on TV? That the day was punctuated with ‘Make breakfast’, ‘Make lunch’, ‘Make tea’, ‘U r growing fat’, ‘U have become shapeless’, ‘Why don’t u go for a walk?’? Or that the nights she spent with him started and ended with his needs? That there never was a ‘You are beautiful’ phrase escaping his mouth even while he was inside her, grating and grinding against her bruised womanhood?

What did she remember of her stay in Paris?
That whatever she wore was ‘Ugly’? That whatever she cooked was ‘not like what Mum makes’? That the man she had fallen in love with was an insecure, pathetic negative person? That while he had promised to send her back in 3 weeks, he kept her with him for 3 months? That every day she was with him, she loathed him most of the time?

But what did she remember most of her stay in Paris?
That she cried copiously every time he hurt her with his indifference? That she delighted in the admiring glances other men gave her, while she was sulking because he had passed some more snide comments on her appearance, and she had believed him? That every time he remembered her existence and claimed her body, she deceived herself with the comforting that he would be marrying her? That the only time they actually sat down across each other and talked was when he had disagreed with her religious convictions.

She thought of the first time they had met. 

At a party.  He had been intoxicated by her vivaciousness and vitality. He had stalked her for six months until finally she had said yes. Gleefully they had rushed straight into love. When her parents forced her to marry someone they had chosen, he had cried and cried, but not faced her father. That should have warned her. That he would never stand up for her. That he did not have the guts to fight against the world for the woman he loved. And yet she let him smother her in his embraces.
Slowly there were things that he made her change. His possessiveness meant she had to stop going out with her friends unless she had told him of her plans in advance. Gradually they started spending more and more time with each other. She welcomed the change but felt stifled at times. Yet her love for him blinded her to the sacrifices she was being made to give. Her opinion began to be ignored. Every decision was his now. Even when he decided to tell her of his plans to do his MBA from abroad, she had not known until one week before his departure. He had not thought it important to discuss with her! That should have been the second warning sign. Yet, she, the fool, ignored it. Silenced the alarm bells ringing within her mind.

Now six years later, he had told his parents about her. Their dowry demands were huge. But her parents could not afford so much. He should have understood. She had already told him of her family’s condition before they had talked about marriage. So she saw no reason for them to demand so much dowry. She expected him to stand up and fight. But like earlier, he did not. He hounded her asking why her family could not afford such a ‘meagre’ sum. Never once did he ask her about her family’s health or her fears before marriage. Never about whether she would be comfortable in being attired in saris all the time, a contrast to her undying love of western clothes. Even at her own house, she had not worn anything other than jeans or skirts. She hadn’t complained. Just taken it in her stride. The fact that she would be sitting idle even after having done Post-Graduation. She had silently agreed to be a part of a family that would not understand her love for painting or writing. She had agreed, to follow his footsteps. Wherever they would lead her. As long as he was with her, she would put up with anything.

What a Fool she was.

It didn’t work like that. These past 3 months after the parents had talked, discussed, negotiated and finally agreed to marry for whatever her parents were ready to give her, had gone by in a continuous haze of daily fights and crying sessions. How could someone who promised to take care of her like ‘a flower in my palms’ become so insensitive to her feelings? He was revolted by her. She could hear the disgust in his voice every time they talked.  Why?
Now she had had enough. Yesterday he had gone so far to say that he would have to rethink. Rethink what? The marriage decision? So all those nights and days that she had given herself upto him had not mattered! All those six years of erasing a part of her life, her desires, her independence, her vital spirit, inch by inch, had not mattered! If only she had put a stop earlier. Before she had got emotionally attached. She couldn't even look at another man, forget forging a new relationship in her life. And all the grief she had given her parents, with her stubborn insistence on marrying him. With what face could she go back and explain to them?

She had had enough. It would have to end.

Now she sat on the bed. Crying silent tears of Shame, Anger, Frustration. She picked up the phone ‘Rohan, I want to end this relationship. It is not working out. I cannot marry you like this. I call off this marriage.’
At the other end, Rohan exclaimed ’Not another of your nautankis, now. I’m not in the mood. Stop irritating me with all your bullshit…………’

She didn’t hear anymore. She couldn’t. 
She was busy.
Hanging from the ceiling fan. Blue, Grey and Mottled.


Leo said...

Oof.. I saw that end coming, but I was praying it wouldn't come. Well narrated!

Shilpa Nair said...

Oh No, Leo....I'm getting predictable :) Haha......

Anu...:) said...

Nicely written...:)

But could there have been another ending?

HA!fA said...

I was urging not U have such an end...coz was bored with such ones...! U cud have given sum boldness to her !!! :)

the critics said...

i didn't see that end coming......why she has to die :((((....proved to be a fool till the very end

Shilpa Nair said...

Thanks Anu.

And TC - This is a real life story. I wanted to ask her the same thing.

Shilpa Nair said...

Hi Haifa - maybe, but then I would be like one of those Bollywood Directors who puts in an Item Song just because the Indian audience demands it..... :) I think it would kill me to change my creative flow :)

Shilpa Nair said...

@Anu - This happened to a gal I knew. I still wish she had chosen another ending too :(

Andy said...

Desperation can lead many to such lengths.
You penned this very well.
Thank you for sharing.

You might be interested in our ever-growing community of writers. Please feel free to visit/join here:

Shilpa Nair said...

Hey there Andy. Thank You for your feedback! I am just about to browse the website you have mentioned.

the critics said...


Enchanta said...

Shilpa, I need to talk to you.
I really do.

Especially, after this.

Shilpa Nair said...

Lol - now I am intrigued. Don't tell me u have something like this in ur post. Let me check ur old posts....Haha, n I'm almost wary of adding un in FB - the two of us would go about chopping everyone's heads of with our status updates....If u read mine, u will either commit suicide or murder me....hahaha....i will send us a FB request in a while. ;)