|Picture Credit: Internet|
The room was in total silence as Deepa carried a tray of specially brewed filter coffee for the guests who were waiting eagerly to devour the hot beverage as well as Deepa herself.
With trembling hands she delivered the coffee to every guest seated on their freshly prepared sofa (keeping the event in mind).
Clad in a crisp peacock green Kanjeevaram saree with braided hair and jasmine flowers to adorn them, Deepa marched into the room like a goddess. Only that she didn’t feel like a goddess and was nervous to the hilt.
After providing the performance of the day she was made to sit next to the woman who seemed to be the family matriarch.
Deepa was strictly instructed by the elders in the family to be seated with heads bowed down and not to look up or in the eyes of anybody who might ask her questions.
Until now she was nervously installed in her bedroom as the guests chattered about the ‘boy’, about how well-mannered and well cultured he is, his education, his job, his income and on and on.
Deepa hanged on with baited breath for the house to call upon her and the moment arrived too quickly with Deepa handling the tray of coffee and her aunt carrying the evening snacks.
Now sandwiched between the mother and the sister of the prospective bridegroom she awaited the impending storm.
Amma was waiting in the room nearby, with her ears completely focused on the happenings in the living room. She was advised by the same ‘elders’ to stay put at the adjoining room and to not come out of the room. What else do you expect a widow to be doing on such an auspicious occasion!
Deepa’s uncles and grandparents, who had taken charge of her future on account of her Appa’s absence, occupied a minuscule area of the room, with most space occupied by the boys’ side, who had come out on a rally.
Deepa was yet to look at the boy who was sitting opposite her and who she felt was equally nervous, what with the sound of his feet thumping the marble floor continuously.
There were other activities happening in the room. The women were discussing the saree design and color and the amount of gold the girl had on her, the men were ogling at her perfect figure and beautiful structure, the elders were trying to munch on the snack with difficulty without their dentures and the kids were running around the room.
Everybody seemed to be lost in their own musings, when suddenly an elderly voice awoke them abruptly and brought them back to the room.
“… So child, you completed your graduation and currently working with an accounts firm?”
Deepa nodded to approve their knowledge, with her head still bowed down.
“What will be your height beti?” chirped in another voice who was awaiting a chance to talk.
“Hmm, 5.2”, no I think 5.3”” said Deepa meekly.
“Oh, you don’t know your height” chuckled the voice finding a reason to laugh and be heard of.
“Why don’t you stand, so we can have a better look at you?” volunteered an uncle, anticipating a better view of her sculpted body.
Deepa went red in the face, but that was not to be seen, since she was bowed down and in any case they didn’t care about it.
She stood up tensely, clutching the hem of her saree. All eyes were fixed on her and roved nonchalantly, as if examining an item on sale.
“Just walk around the room in your beautiful saree like a model, won’t you beti?” pat came a voice urging the girl to walk around the room so they are confirmed of her ‘way of walking’ and to scrutinize if there was any problem with her gait.
Deepa did as she was ordered. She came back and stood next to her allotted place in the room, between the mother and sister. She waited to be told to sit down. But the moving eyes had not yet stopped.
Seeing the situation, one of her uncle came to rescue and asked her to sit down in a polite way, not wanting to affect their sentiments.
As soon as she was seated, a string of questions followed soon, some answered by Deepa, some by her relatives. The guests tried to access information about the quantity of gold to be given, wedding preparation expense, property details in name of Deepa, and many other materialistic topics.
In all these chaos, nobody gave a thought to Deepa and her opinion, whether she wants to marry Sudhir, whether she is happy with the alliance etc.
And as if as an answer to all these questions, Sudhir cleared his throat loud enough for people in the room to shut-up and listen. He stood up, walked across the room, came in front of Deepa, went on his knees, took her shivering hands in his own, lifted her chin up, made her look at him and whispered softly – “I’d like to marry you. Do you want to marry me?”
The room had gone dead silent.
Sudhir’s mother opened her mouth to protest, but he simply silenced her with a wave of his hand, without taking off his eyes from Deepa.
Deepa forgot her anxiety and worry when she looked into Sudhir’s eyes. Is this what they call as ‘love at first sight’?
After 15 rejections in the last 2 years, here is someone who not only approved her but also wanted to be approved by her. Nobody in her family ever cared to ask her if she liked a particular boy. It was always the boy’s preference which was considered.
But these were not the only reasons for her decision. The warmth of his touch, the serenity that engulfed her in his presence and the love that she saw in his eyes played a major part in this saga.
Deepa lowered her eyes, this time blushing and not as her elders had commanded, and moaned a soft ‘yes’ to Sudhir, who savored the moment before breaking into a blissful smile.
Love Happens! And his eyes said it all!
And yes, They Lived Happily Ever After!
|Picture Credit: Internet|