|| Arranged Love I ||
For one thing, Megha had never thought she would get married someday.
Now, that’s absurd, because every girl out there dreams of marrying a prince charming and Megha should not be any different. Surely she was not. She too, had dreamed of getting married to the man she could love, could have children with, could achieve her happily-ever-after. But not before her elder sister, Sneha tied the knot. They had planned everything damn it, and nothing was happening the way they imagined. God was putting a screeching halt on everything she had conjured for her marital future.
Well, her future husband was tall, like well over-six-feet tall, with broad shoulders, strong and muscular enough to carry her, muscled arms and equally muscled thighs with a litheness, predatory flexibility to him. He had a rugged, sharp feature with crew-cut hair close to his skull, broad and angular jawline, clean-shaven and watchful eyes, owing to his profession. He worked in Defense, a high-ranking military officer, who was, while not a navy SEAL, but quite equivalent to it in the Indian army. Basically, he was everything she had read and fantasized about in those yummy, steamy romance books. He was a living example of it. And he asked for her hand in marriage. Voluntarily, without any coercion from his parents or from losing a stupid bet or whatever. Her, a diminutive, clumsy, naive, short-tempered, simple-minded, passably pretty at her very best, girl from an equally ordinary Indian family with no indication of a fat purse for organizing a grand wedding party.
She didn’t know what to make of that. God had definitely pulled the cruelest joke on her forever. Oh yes, they were rich, her future in-laws. Not like the Ambanis or the Tatas but like having acres and acres of agricultural lands and at the same time tons of side-businesses, also that lucrative army job type of rich. And her father was just a retired serviceman, her sister working as a telecaller agent, her mother a housewife and she, worked as a kindergarten teacher. Damn!
Was this some type of sick joke that damned man was pulling on her? Some sort of rich praying on the poor thing? If so, he was going to be very, very sorry.
Before that, let us start from the very beginning.
One Sunday noontime, at the beginning of a particular summer, Megha was fretting over what finary she should wear for the luncheon party she had been invited to that day. The girl in their neighboring flat was getting married come fall and today was the confirmation event held by the bride’s family. Today would be the last time the groom’s family would officially meet the bride as a prospective mate for their son and then a proper date and time would be fixed for their wedding. After today, the bride would be considered as the official choice for a daughter-in-law of the groom’s family as she would be blessed with jewels, clothes, money and other such gifts by her in-laws for a proper acceptance. The groom too, in turn, would be received as such, by the bride’s family and he would be declared as the official selection for a son-in-law.
A luncheon party had been declared on this auspicious occasion for close friends and neighbors. Megha and her family had been invited too, being the next-door neighbor and having such a close-knit connection with the bride’s family.
But of course, only Megha and her sister Sneha would be able to attend that ceremony since their father refused to go anywhere even within a walking distance because of his arthritis and their mother refused to go anywhere without their father. Although she had to show her face at least once for the sake of the courtesy to the wedding party that morning, she could not leave their father alone too much, fearing that the joint pain would get to the best of him.
Therefore, only Megha and Sneha would have to go.
“I will wear the green Kota saree with the golden border. I have told you so a long time ago,” Sneha practically yelled when she realized that Megha was going to pick the saree for the event. Megha paused in her movement to remove the saree from her wardrobe, her brows turning down for a fierce scowl. “Why, that’s my saree!”
“Please behena, I love it. The color suits me.” Sneha pleaded with a cute puppy dog face.
Megha was already pretty much convinced but still, put up the front. After all, sisters do nothing if not sharing the clothes. Besides, she knew her sister would give something even grander to wear in return. “Fine then. Let me wear something from your wardrobe.”
Sneha was cleansing her face thoroughly before applying some makeup, she shook her hands dismissively. Smiling, Megha pulled out a pink churidar-kameez with a gossamer dupatta. She had already cleaned her face and neck and now would start on her makeup.
When they were almost done getting ready, they heard their mother shouting for them to hurry up and be gone before it became too late.
Giggling like fools and teasing each other, they got out of their room and wore matching sandals according to their clothes and hurriedly rushed out of the flat and right across the floor to the opposite flat where the event was taking place. There were at least a hundred pairs of shoes in front of the door and they could already hear people talking, laughing, joking and children giggling and running around to play with each other. Megha stumbled through the entrance, in her haste to enter after her sister as well as avoiding collision with a rambunctious kid. But she could not quite get her footing back.
This could be the most embarrassing thing that had ever happened to her, she thought at that moment, stumbling and falling right in the middle of a ceremony, in front of who knew whom. And she didn’t even make her appearance yet, at least not properly.
But her body didn’t touch the floor, in fact, it didn’t sway to make the fall. Megha had closed her eyes and her body was curled up automatically to avoid injury. But when she didn’t fall as she had expected, she opened those and met with a masculine chest, clad in a white kurta. Not only that, her entire body was enveloped by the body where the chest happened to belong.
Her brain started to function, slowly but surely. She looked up and saw a man, a very handsome man looking down at her with a dashing smile, his arms encircled her body quite happily. He looked just like those heroes she read about in those romance novels and she noticed she had to throw her head back to look up at his face. “Uh...” her throat was clogged, she couldn’t form a legible word.
He smiled again, that killer smile of his, exposing a pair of equally dashing dimples, before saying, “I’ve gotten you, sweetheart!”