The Bride Game

12 Nov

The girl bends down to touch the feet of the elders around her, peering shyly through slowly rising eyelids. She smiles apprehensively, adjusting the dupatta over her head with fumbling hands. She moves to the next person in the family of her in laws, smiling as she thanks the chaachi for the compliment on her saree, sheepishly tucking the loose lock of hair behind her ear as the daadi complains about not being able to see her face properly. Her eyes wander off, searching for the man soon to be her fiance, and the unbound love in his eyes sets her nervous fluttering heart to a rest. She takes a moment to soak in the adoration being bestowed upon her by the new family, the soft kiss of the dupatta on her head, the clinking of the bangles on her wrists, and the furtive glances by her man. The thrill, joy and nervousness soumersaulted in her heart, making her feel as giddy as a six year old.

The six year old freezes in the middle of the room as she senses her mother standing quietly at the door, observing her with stifled giggles. Clad in a bedsheet, with a pallu of the same draped over her head, mismatched cheap metal bangles bought at the local fair on her wrists, the little girl stands rooted to the spot, mid conversation with her make believe sister in law, one hand clutching the end of the bedsheet over her head. She slips to the corner of the room, murmuring to herself, hastily taking off the bindi she had taken from her mother’s dressing table, striving for a desperate attempt to make her ridiculous situation look a little normal.

Having grown up as a single child, the little girl spent most of her play time with her best friend, her imagination. Sometimes she acted out scenes from a song or movie, twirling with unsteady feet, one hand outstretched for the lover to run and grab. The other times she haggled with the vegetable vendors, stuffing imaginary tomatoes in her imaginary wicker basket. But one of her favourites was pretending to be a newly wed or a prospective bride. There was something about the idea of marriage that mystified her.

She knew nothing about romantic relationships or weddings, about husbands or mother in laws, about duties and responsibilities. Nor did she have any faces assigned to all the people she spoke to, walking around the room, blushing and smiling at walls and cupboards. However, she did understand the anxiety a girl experiences concerning the approval from one’s in laws, the reassurance she seeks in the doting eyes of a lover, and how she feels beautiful, with dupattas and bangles adorning her.

For when she imagined this make believe game at six, she wasn’t the skinny, dark girl with short hair and a bedsheet wrapped around her, walking with penguin steps. She was a pretty girl with dark, long, wavy hair and big, kohl lined eyes, exactly how she looked when the childhood game turned into reality, years later. The little girl was infatuated with marriage, a fable like entity. The thought of it never failed to paint her cheeks a shade of pink and turn her heart into jelly. She had already fallen in love, without ever having a brush with romance. As she grew older, this bride game was soon forgotten, pushed to the corners of her mind, an almost embarrassing memory.

However, the girl had never stopped loving marriage, something she soon realised as she sat there years later on the sofa at her boyfriend’s house, trying her best to appear charming. She might have overgrown the bedsheet and the bangles, but deep inside her was the same six year old, craving for appreciation, acceptance, and above all, love.

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One Response to “The Bride Game”

  1. Nicholas May 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    many these days wud probably disagree a bit 😀

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