Theirs was an arranged marriage. Whenever she saw the advertisements for Platinum Jewellery, that showed a svelte silver couple finding ‘their’ day of love, she most often gagged. No matter how glorified the Indian Tradition was, and no matter what statistics they had to offer on the success rates, she still questioned it. Which was why she sat there soberly, thinking of how she was a living epitome of irony.
It was a classic manoeuvre, with a text book quality about it. Emotional blackmail, mildly conveyed. She admired the deft way it had been administered. And feeling like the proverbial fly in a spider’s web, had allowed it to happen. Ten years later, as she sat and pondered on that moment, she wondered how she could have been so naive, so gutless. However, having been tutored in the ways of being an ‘accepting’ young lady, she made her peace, and made friends with her ‘would-be’. She laughed then, thinking back on how she hoped against hope that she’d find someone mildly interesting.
Their first meeting, arranged, of course, at the ‘look-at-the-girl’ was a quiet and personal disaster for her, who loved to talk and meet new people. That bloody man was so taciturn you could simply feel the ice of his silence. She did manage to goad him into saying something though. This was role reversal of the most absurd order.
But later, the fates smiled. They began to write to each other, for that was the way she could best express herself, and that was how, she found to her delight, how he did too! The very first letter was sent, as he wrote, via ‘air-male’, along with her father who flew down to his city, on some official work. That clinched it. She knew this would work. Humour like that spoke of possibilities!
She built her castles in the air, donned rose-tinted spectacles and waited to get married. Surprising how easily she slipped into ‘tradition’. Insidiously she justified each thing she did, that otherwise went against the grain, in honeyed hackneyed clichés. And so, they grew into each other. Taciturn and talkathon – neat pair. The one area they were matched was in the letters they wrote.
One meeting, several scores of long letters, and a few telephone calls later they did get married. And stayed so, despite the way that all was not as it seemed. They could hardly write letters to each other in the same house. They seemed to communicate best when they had distance between them. She despaired and removed those rose tinted glasses, and quietly blew away those castles, and came back to Mother Earth, who would not swallow her up. Still, the steel of tradition, dammit, refused to let her quit. Marriages needed to be worked upon did they not?
Why was she such an intense person, she berated herself! Why could she not simply go along, and play along with the role that seemed to be already in place? What happened to all those laughs she thought she’d be fed on?
But slowly, surely, inevitably, life happened. The days merged into each other. She wanted to study further. He supported that, and got her into a college for her Masters’. She wanted to work, and he had no objection. She wanted to drive, and he made it easy by getting her a second hand scooty for starters. Life, and living each day with someone like that could not but wear her down, those walls she had decided to put up.
And of course, they shared the same bed. Which, surprisingly, on some nights did fulfill promises she had made to herself. She ought to be happy. Indeed she thought she could be. She made herself. For there was much in the space he gave her to grow into whatever she wanted to be. Contrarily, she wished that he wasn’t so; that he show her another side to him that would make her rebel against him. Of course, that wasn’t to be.
Ten years was what it took. Ten years to know how her comprise had compromised her. She could not help it. There was no other way, as she saw it.
She fell in love. Finally.
30 April, through to 1 May, 2013, Online
In honour of niggling words that have been hounding me all day 🙂 Raw, and unhesitantly absurd, for sure 😀