A couple of days back, I happened to meet one of my hostel juniors at a barbeque place. She was accompanied by her family. It was a chance coincidence that the moment I entered the place my eyes went in the direction of all the glitter. And there she was! Newlywed! You don’t have to ask, you just know! (If you know what I mean.) She was wearing a heavy saree (heavier than her own weight), shiny gold jewellery (the only piece of jewellery I remember her wearing was a gold chain which was surprisingly missing), red lipstick and all that jazz. Only a newlywed can adorn such a look, Bappi da aside, on regular days. The moment she looked at me and smiled I could not stop but wonder the reason behind her stiff smile. Isn’t she supposed to be happy? Maybe the lipstick isn’t letting her lips curl properly.
I had always seen this little girl jumping around and chuckling in the hostel corridors with her ever radiant smile. I could not stop myself from asking her: what happened? She gave a sad smile. “Marriage. Marriage happened di,” she said.
I was quite taken aback by her answer. It felt like she had aged by 20 years.
Being an outspoken and change-the-society, naari-shakti (women power) kind of girl, I instantly turned to her oh-so-modern-family. I call them that because I noticed an aunty wearing a skirt or some sort of a dress. Well, they should have a logical explanation for this girl.
“Namastey. Sorry for asking, but may I please know why she is wearing such a heavy saree on a Saturday night at a place where people come to chill?” Looking at the same aunty I further added, “we don’t need to look anywhere else.”
The family was obviously flabbergasted. Naturally, because of a stranger was intruding in what seemed like a warm family dinner and without a doubt, the question wasn’t what they would have ever expected.
Not even trying to hide their wonderment, her aunt (in-law) answered, with a look of dismissal: “because she is a newlywed.”
Ok! Fair enough I thought. But does that answer it all? I could not keep my tongue shut despite knowing that I am about to make a mess. “Who do you have to show this to? Don’t you people already know she is a newlywed?”
They were stunned. “What?”
I knew from their ‘what’ that I should have gone about minding my own business. But that’s not what life has taught us, right?
“Oh I am sorry,” I laughed at my own silliness, as soon as I realized what I had just said. “Of course, you know she is a newlywed. You just told me that. Oh, so you want to show it to the relatives? Neighbors? But didn’t they already come to the big fat wedding you had organised to bless the couple? I mean aren’t these people the reason behind throwing such lavish weddings?”
“Oh, by the way, I saw the pictures on Facebook. Amazing decoration. Just like a fairy tale wedding. Loved it totally,” I said turning towards my junior who stood there, definitely enjoying the conversation even a little sceptical about showing it on her face.
This was almost infuriating for them. “Excuse me?” said some aunty. (They always have to be right and when they see someone pointing their faults at them, they do not like it. And her words delivered the same message.) But do you think that stopped me from blabbering my ultra modern, not in-sync with the society, and not-so-sanskaari vichaars?
Ha! You wish!
“Oh, forgive me, you are trying to remind her that she is married now. Now I get it. I am so foolish. Forgive me, aunty,” I continued and that didn’t lighten the mood. I “understood” their feelings now. I was “with them totally”. A girl needs to be reminded every moment that she is married, otherwise, she might go around screwing random college junkies. I was about to say my goodbye when my eyes settled on my junior’s husband, who I recognized from her FB posts.
“Oh but wait a second,” I said, “doesn’t he need to be reminded that he is recently married? I mean isn’t he supposed to wear a sherwani or saafa or something other than jeans and a casual t-shirt, knowing full well that even he is also a newlywed?”
“Are you totally insane? A newly wed girl is supposed to wear all this. This is a sign of happy marriage and also a good shagun,” I was informed.
Wow! That solves it all, I said, thanking them for such an amazingly simple solution.
“Thank you, Aunty. You have given me a great solution. A friend of mine is facing problems in her marriage and might file for divorce. But she doesn’t have to anymore. All because of you. I will ask her to dress properly in a red saree and wear heavy gold jewellery. After all, it is a good shagun. I am sure her husband will be more understanding then. I am so sorry, I never knew that a couple’s compatibility lies in the attire and presentation of the girl. This is such an eye opener. Thank you so very much. I will always be grateful.”
This probably was their threshold because next, my friends pulled me to my table and ordered a dessert for me. I love desserts. They make you feel good. They tell you how heavenly delicious the world is!