Why did I feel like running away to some corner of the world and hide myself to be undiscovered forever? Why did I feel that way when I had been running a count down for months together for that day and for that moment? It was my wedding within a week and I had been eagerly awaiting it. I knew my groom better than I knew anyone else in the world. I knew how things were going to be and was prepared and happy for it. Still, there I was feeling so scared and nervous, totally unlike me. So many pre-marital rituals and ceremonies were happening around and I couldn’t really participate whole-heartedly. My plastic smile was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain when marriage-o-phobia started creeping into my heart. Has someone thrust a huge bar of beam onto my shoulders to bear for always or has someone clipped off my wings? Is this the way every bride-to-become feels or am I the odd woman out? I did not know and I did not want to know. All I wanted was to be free!!!
The jitterier I became, the quicker time drifted by leaving me on the porch of Feb 1st, 2009, evening, my reception evening. I was all dressed up and ready to be driven to the wedding hall but the sweat beads wouldn’t stop coming, messing up whatever effort the beautician had put in making up my face. I was pacing up and down within my house like a husband outside his wife’s delivery room, waiting for the car. That was the most difficult of all the waits that I had to endure. The car horned after an hour sending the butterflies in my stomach for a jolly ride. “Archu…come on, its okie, you can do it, you can do it…”, with all self motivation, I set my face again to an expression which I assumed was a decent smile and with pretended confidence, opened the car door to sit beside my groom.
Vijay, my groom, whom I knew for years together, suddenly seemed to me like a stranger in suit that I had to blink twice and pinch once to remind myself I wasn’t dreaming. He wore a bright smile and I half believed that he was sporting it for everyone’s benefit just like me. The car took off and chucked us out to the mercy of the photographers. I couldn’t differentiate between sisters, aunties and grannies when the ladies in silk started to take turns at us with ‘aarathi’ plates (that’s another custom there). The fact that my cousin Aarthi was among the ‘Aarathi’ queue didn’t amuse me then and I even forgot the fact that she was among my friends’ hot crush list. Suddenly I wanted to swap places with her. I wanted to be the carefree girl enjoying the reception of her sis with no fears or worries except to bask herself in the young men’s gloating. “Idiot!”, I scolded myself once again as I proceeded inside the hall along with Vijay wearing the same setup smile that I swore to wear on for the whole evening.
That was all the memory I had of that evening. No sooner did we step up the dais than friends and families poured in from both sides with wishes and gifts. It was all happening too fast that we had to shake hands with one and pose for a snap with another. We couldn’t really turn to one another to introduce our guests among ourselves. But I was secretly glad for it. The frenzied environment gave no time for any fears other than to stay focused on whatever was happening. Amidst all the activity, there was that good feel which kept us on ground. Meeting friends and families from far and near, from long ago to just awhile under a single roof was really rewarding and the rewards didn’t subside until after dinner time.
It was an effort to keep my eyes from drooping and dozing when Vijay and I were again subjected to the photographers’ so called romantic poses. Who would feel romantic with a flash light on their face at 10 o’clock in the night and cousins passing swift comments? Vijay was lucky for he was excused for the day after the photo session but the poor me was again asked to change costume for another round of ‘Nalungu’. If it not had been for the rose water that the women folks were sprinkling on me one after the other, I would have fallen asleep right then.
Though I was totally tired, sleep evaded me. Reception was just a rehearsal, wedding was the D-Day and it was our wedding the next day. I was tempted to SMS Vijay and talk to him just the way I always do when I was feeling different. Of all the days, it was then that I wanted to hear his voice and feel the support in it. But know what? They say, bride and groom conversing before the wedding was bad omen and it wasn’t the omen but that belief that made me feel bad. We both were in adjacent rooms, not seeing or talking or sharing our feelings, turning and trying to sleep fruitlessly.
Feb 2nd, 2009 dawned early and thankfully my restlessness had gone to sleep when I woke up. Fresh oil bath and the scent of morning flowers lifted my spirits that I smiled without forced effort. I was again dressed and made to adorn traditional attire and I didn’t crib about it this time. Daylight and a proper breakfast indeed had magic-ked my mood from mourn to merriment. Vijay and I didn’t have to stand or pose as much as we had to the day before for the priest kept us engaged. The analytical me mocked at me myself for doing and chanting things that I never understood but the coyness of a bride (believe me, I did feel a little shy and coy) made me succumb.
Neither Vijay nor I realized it was time when the priest gave his ‘Getti Meylam’ signal. With all the pee pee pee dum dum dum, Vijay tied the nuptial knot around my neck making me his life partner. I felt a lovely feel within, a feel that Vijay and I have been bonded forever, to belong to each other fully and rightfully with no inhibitions or reservations. No more ‘just friends’, no more ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’, no more fiancé, we were now proudly husband and wife. Thanks to the marriage registrar who had come to the wedding hall and had us sign our marriage agreement that we officially became Mr. & Mrs. Vijay.
Whatever confusion I underwent over the week before the wedding seemed too insignificant then for my heart re-iterated it loud and bold “This is what you wanted Archu and that is exactly what you have”. I was genuinely happy, as happy can be. More rituals and customs followed but nothing bothered me anymore. Let the ceremonies run on for hours. Let the celebrations go on for days. Let them take all the time they need to settle down. I have a lifetime with Vijay and that is what that really matters, isn’t it?