And I stood there, unaccompanied, alone, devastated, groom-less in that creepy looking bus stop, under that lowly lit yellow bulb, drenched in sweat, carrying a duffel bag full of clothes. I stood there, staring at the black tarmac road as if I am looking for the long lost thing – what the hell am I doing here and what am I gonna do. It’s 3.09 in the morning and right after 8 hours, between the auspicious muhurtham of 11.15 am – 12.10 am, my marital status will change from Miss to Mrs. But the very me, the gonna be bride, at this moment is standing in that creepy looking bus stand waiting for someone probably planning to get eloped. Yes me, the bride, is carrying out the plan of mission Kuwari Kudi. In plain words I am running away from home just because I am forcefully being married to one Mr. Moron and I do not want to get married to him. I am running away from that hideous groom of mine. I do not want to get married to him, not only him; I do not wanna get married to any dumbo. Hello!!! Wait, wait.. do not you dare think like that about me; I am straight. Ok. It’s just that I do not want to get married now. Now I am waiting for Sam, my best man, my best buddy for a ride to airport. I just hope he will not get asleep as he brushes his teeth.
I am getting married to a doctor (a very boring and arrogant man), as my horoscope says that I have to get married before I turn 23 and my parents wants me to get married this year itself otherwise I would remain single for my rest of life (as if it’s a big deal). I am a happy-go-lucky, fresh out of MBA graduation who lived in my own terms. Yes I am crank, crazy, real crazy, but I lived my life, every second as it’s the last one occurring in that place, in that time span, something which won’t be happening again. And the best part is I really love my life, I really do love the way I live every moment, it’s a celebration. It’s an art. Those who can’t appreciate that art calls me crazy, tom boy, one piece which have to be put in London museum etc. etc. I love to get dressed up in my jeans and kurtis. Usually I do not care much about my looks. I dress up according to my mood and I am not at all interested in being a girly-girly. I behaved like a boy. Did pranks, got suspension from principle, got fined by police for over speed, have sneaked from home for late night drives with my best buddy. I am like this. I call a guy bro, the next second I befriends him. I am like this, that’s the way I am. And I did my best to sack that doctor, Mr Perfect, but he found me cute and adorable. WTF. I told him wicked stories which me and Samey had made with a lot of hardship, but he said “do you know that you are unique and there is something, yes, your innocence, the way you make faces while you talk, the way you talk, it attracts me to you and I know you are telling me lies”. That day I realized that he is the Maha Moron world has ever saw..me and innocence..bloody crap.
It all started with that onam celebration in college, for which I wore saree. God! This saree is another Pandora’s box mystery which I couldn’t grasp and master even after trying it for the fourth time. That evening my granny’s brother and sister-in-law came home for a visit after their temple darshan. My granny found immense happy and pride in showcasing her lovely granddaughters as a show piece. Usually my sister was the scapegoat but that day my beloved granny offered her sister in law to watch her granddaughter in saree, which is selfies and group photos of Onam celebration, over those friendly cosy talks. Me the poor little lamb did not recognize the threat in showing the photos and went to kitchen to have a snack. Let’s call this sister in law lady as aunty for the moment. This aunty marched to kitchen and clasped me with such a thrust that I nearly mouthed the F word. She started narrating those times when I used to be a baby, so small, now wearing a saree and grown up, time’s play and blah blah. As the story began, I sensed the scope of an inevitable lecture from her. So I took my laptop and started working on it, pretending to be busy. Aunty swiftly came to my side and said “after saree, do you know what’s the next stage? It’s is marriage!!!”. She then pounced back to my mother’s direction and enquired whether she had thought of giving my details to any matrimonial site. All these words were so F word shocking that I spitted all of the gulped coke to my laptop key board. The aunty made me stand up, not at all giving me time to clean my laptop, untied my hair in swift hand movements and began to check it. “It’s almost waist length, that will be enough for marriage”. Saying this she quickly went to my granny’s bedroom followed my mother and granny, leaving me thunder struck, in that hallway. My brain brushed aside this incident as mere eccentricities of an old woman and went back to tend my laptop.
Ignorance ruled my head for another two more weeks and then all of a sudden, gran and mom announced their new project, ‘The Wedding’, overloading their already busy tv schedules. They took these two weeks for planning the strategy – consulting the astrologers, creating my profile in a matrimony site, preparing a database of eligible boys etc while coming up with a perfect reason from which I can’t back out. Gran with her usual emotional black mailing, tears, coaxing, imploring and melodrama succeeded in making me say the YES, after three hour long speech on Marriage – the necessary, backed up by the ultimate parental desire to see her little girl getting married and settled.
It did not take any detective work for me to find what really happened than understanding the obvious. In india, how much you deny it, a woman is always considered incomplete without marriage. How successful and happy a woman may be, if she is not married, there’s something wrong with her. Infact the very reason why India is facing the economic slowdown is nothing but you are unmarried and single. In this case, if you observe closely, relatives belonging to senior citizen category are more anxious about a girl’s marriage than the girl herself and her family. Is it because they have got retired, married off their kids and do not have any other quality thing to do, these old people have special knack to usurp and put your marital status in jeopardy. The same thing happened with me and succumbing to the concerns of evil relatives – granny’s brother and his wife; my mom and gran started to search a groom for me. They even accepted their offer in passing down information on any suitable guys if they happen to know.
As simple as that, for the next two month I saw myself wearing sarees, holding the same tray of tea and biscuits, meeting prospective groom and his family, with faces changing every time. All I can do (only thing which I am allowed to do) is to choose the guy from the photo database, with no escape from getting married. But I did not lose hope, I tried to explain, request, even tried begging my gran and mom that I do not want to get married now. The villain aunty retorted my protests telling my mom and gran that “she is a little child, do not know about how things have to be done, she will say no, but we have to decide and do all these for her good life”. Thus my family proactively went forward with the project. November and December passed with all those tea drinking rituals. January passed with matching of horoscopes and zeroing down one candidate from the shortlist, February with engagement and March with never ending address writing on the invitation envelopes and cooking classes.
So it’s been fixed that wedding will be on April 20, between 11.15 am and 12.10 am. My mom and gran got appreciation from everyone in making me say yes since I happen to be the most adamant and spoilt kid my family has ever seen. They talked on and on about how they accomplished the task and I listened to it, without uttering a single word, chuckling how they are going to manage a wedding without the bride. Me and Sam are friend since standard 9. He is currently looking after his family business of fertilizers and machineries. It was easy for him to come up with a plan when I told him my decision to not get married, being the No 1 prankster our school has managed to produce. He is the one who chalked out Kuwari Kudi, made all the necessary preparation, job transfer to Delhi and a fully furnished studio flat for accommodation.
April 19 evening passed slowly, ever so slowly. It was 2.30 am when everyone had gone to sleep. I rose noiselessly from my bed, bolted the door and gave Sam a call asking him to come to the bus stop. Then I packed my bag with clothes, certificates and other necessary documents. After a swift scanning of room, I slowly crept out of home through the balcony door and slipped through the coconut tree, by hugging it tight, a past time game which I used to play with my cousins. As I climbed down, I made mental reminder on not to grow any tree or climbers next to balcony when I build a house, one should learn from others mistakes right? I crossed the compound wall and walked through the deserted street road aiming the bus stop. I did stop for a moment and looked back to see my home hoping that mom and gran could reason with me and accept me the way I am. Lets do not discuss much about peer pressure now, I have got a 6.15 flight to catch.
That’s how I ended up in that bus stop. I checked my watch and phoned Sam again. He cut the call, signalling that he is almost near the bus stop. If you think about my elopment, its different from the traditional elopements. I am running away with no one but myself, with my persona to live the life I dreamed of. But, like everything else in my life, I am really enjoying this elopement since you can’t elope every day. It’s once in lifetime kind of thing, unless situation lures you into doing it again and again.