2. Who am I marrying?
My best friend, Shanaya, entered my room and a huge grin formed on her lips when she saw me.
“Damn girl! You look fire. He stands no chance”, she commented as her gaze, quite pervertedly, took a tour of my body.
I was standing in a baby pink lingerie (the customary colour for ‘phera’ -the marriage) that I had to admit looked great on me. It made my curves stand out while hiding the ‘not-so-good’ parts of my body. The lacy fabric covered my firm, tear-drop shaped breasts in a delicate and sensual hold, making them look so attractively soft that I had to force my hands away from them every five minutes. The strap of the panty landed on my hip dip and made my already smooth curve, smoother.
I looked good. Sexy and dangerous actually, but this was all a waste. No one was going to see me in this.
“He’s not going to see me in this”
“What? So you’ll greet him naked tonight?“, she sassed as she raised her brow.
“No, there will be no greeting because there will be no wedding night!“, I smiled sweetly as my eyes glared at her.
“You say that, but what about him? He’ll expect a wedding night, a real wedding night with his wife”
This is what she hated about Shanaya. She was smart, brave and beautiful but she had very patriarchal views for a girl in a relationship. She believed the men had the power over the woman, always, and the girl can’t do anything about that - especially if they are married. It’s not that she believed men and women are not equal, because if that was the case, she wouldn’t be my friend, let alone my best friend. The problem was she believed that men and women are equal but the society has yet to accept and come to terms with that, and instead of fighting for equality in a relation, she chose not to have one at all.
This pissed me a lot, especially because even after a hundred tries I was still unable to change her views on this subject.
“His expectations will die”, I remarked.
“You never know”, she winked. She winked. She actually bloody winked. Didn’t she know I had a boyfriend I loved more than anything in this world just three days ago?
I glared at her, not up to argue with her this early in the morning. My day was already rolling downhill, I didn’t need to add any more reasons to be sad this early.
“Where are the others?“, I asked instead, querying about my other friends. I had invited them, asking them to arrive early because I needed my group for moral support and dabbing at my tears.
“They are waiting outside. Since I’m the only one allowed to see you naked or you know, in revealing clothes, they asked me to check if you were decent. And thank god they did. Wear some clothes, they want in”, she suggested and pulled a long night shirt from a drawer beside her and threw it at me.
I pulled the dress over my body as I waited for the rest of my party to arrive. Liam, Manoj and Krish entered inside the room with a sad expression on their face, yet their lips curved upwards when they saw me.
“Hey!“, they said at once, and after a pause of silence, laughed together.
“Thank you for coming!“, I said as a warm smile spread on my face. I loved them, and I was going to miss them.
“Like we’d ever miss this”, said Manoj as he rolled his eyes.
“We’d come even if you didn’t invite us”, said Krish at the same time.
Liam didn’t speak, he just rushed towards me, and with watery eyes wrapped his arms around me tightly. I smiled in his embrace because this said more than words ever could. He - just like the other three - was sad for me, sad because I was getting forced in a marriage I didn’t want, sad because I was losing Dev, my love, and sad because I was going far away from here.
I loved him, I really did but I wanted out of this hug. You see, Liam was a buffy and big guy and you have to understand that when a huge guy -6.2 ft (I asked) and twice the size of me- crushes a thin little girl like me, they are going to suffocate. So I struggled in his hold and stammered out a “Too tight” in between breaths.
He chuckled as he loosened his grip a little and kissing the top of my head, said, “I’ll miss you”
Before I could reply, three more arms wrapped around me and screamed, “We will miss you”
“I will miss y’all”, I shouted back, from somewhere under the mass of the huge bodies.
They held me tightly, and I smiled in their embrace, this was probably the last time I’d see them like me - Riya Pathan - because very soon, my name will change into Riya... Riya? Riya what?
Bleeding hell! I don’t even know what my new surname is going to be.
Wait for a second! I don’t even know my “to-be husband's” name. For some reason, no one found this information important enough for me to know!
Classy, Riya! Very classy! You pester your parents for the reason you have to marry, but you don’t ask them the name of the man you are going to marry? His job? His qualifications? His age? What if he’s fifty?
Shit! shit! Shit! Gotta find out soon! I can’t marry an old man. Use your brain, Riya! Your mom wouldn’t ship you off with an old man.
Shaking my head vigorously, I pulled away from the hug and I asked the silliest question a bride could ask on her wedding day, “Who am I marrying?”
“You don’t know?“, screeched all four of them, loudly.
“Um no? You guys know that I found out about him just 3 days ago, and I didn’t really ask! And I can’t believe no one bothered to tell me! And honestly, I didn’t even want to find out - whoever he might be, I have to marry him either way, what’s the use?“, I sighed. How quick time changed - from being happy and content every day to being restless, sad, confused and heartbroken.
A rub on my shoulder brought my attention to Manoj, the sweet, skinny and the tallest guy of our group at 6′3, “Rexy, his name is Aarav, Aarav Singhaniya. I saw the name written when I entered the wedding hall”
“Does anybody know anything else about him?“, I asked as I stared into each one of their eyes.
“No, not really”, said Liam, and Shanaya added with a shrug, “Why don’t you ask your mom?, or dad?”
“No! I’m not talking to them, not unless they tell me why!”
So what if I was marrying a guy on my parents order, I still had the right to stay angry at them. And I will. I will stay angry until they tell me why, until they explain to me why it was so important to ruin my life, I will hold a grudge until I find their reasons and decide if they were valid.
“Riya!“, groaned Shanaya. She - like the sweet soul she was - didn’t believe in holding grudges or staying angry, especially against our parents. They only wanted the best for me, she would say and I failed every time I tried arguing this point. So this time, I didn’t argue.
I ignored her groan but Krish, bless him, argued on my behalf, “Shanaya, she has the right to stay angry!”
“But..“, Shanaya started but I cut her off with a sad sigh, “Please, I don’t want to argue. I just want to enjoy for the few moments I can before I am doomed to a life with a stranger”
“Yeah! yeah! Ofcourse”, Shanaya said guiltily.
“Riya, listen! I know this is too much and we would never truly understand what it feels like, but know that we are here whenever you want to rant, talk or scream or cry!“, said Liam.
Manoj walked closer to me and placing a warm hand on my shoulder, said, “We don’t want to dampen your mood so we won’t push it. If you want to talk, let’s talk! But if you want to forget about everything and just enjoy, we are up for that too”
I looked in his eyes and then scanned the other three. Genuine concern and love shined from each one of them and I knew, however downhill my life was going to be from now, I would always have one thing to be grateful for. I will always have my friends. The best of friends the world had to offer.
“It’s your choice”, said Krish and in that moment I decided - I won’t think about it. I won’t think about anything at all. I will enjoy my time with them and let the worries of the future remain there, in the future.
“Let’s have a wild morning”, I cheered and we set off.