So that bridge you were thinking of crossing when you got there, it’s here. Tonight is the first time you’ll see, hear, smell and possibly touch your husband.
You’ve had some sweating and tremors off and on for the last one week but everyone tells you they’re normal and expected. You can’t get over the feeling of dread. As per your mom, this is a sign of purity and saintliness. Since you defer to your mom almost never, this doesn’t alleviate your anxiety.
The wedding is a very blurred event. You wake up, get to the salon when it’s still morning and come out when the sun has gone down. Rumblings as loud as an earthquake are emanating from your belly. You try to stop yawning but all the yawns that you’ve never yawned in your life have lined up today. You are desperate for some ice cold water but everyone shushes you when you try to talk. You wonder if the makeup is that flimsy that mere talking will destroy it? Then how will you spend the night in it?
Your hair is a massive nest of pins and berets and a stuffing. Your sparse hair was frowned upon by the salon Aunty and she recommended for you to have a stuffing in. She recommended the same for your breasts too but you declined that offer. Your outfit for today is stitched so close to your body measurements that besides your body nothing else can be stuffed in it.
You’re plonked on the staging area. What was it that Shakespeare said? That the world is a stage and we are all actors? You do feel like an actor as you smile and try to act brave. You try to act shy at the same time. The result is something unimaginably horrible because your mother darts towards you and reminds you in a deadly voice that you need to have your eyes to the ground the whole time.
Soon you see your groom walking towards you. He’s surrounded by other men making crass jokes at your expense. He’s nervous-looking himself and this gives you a sense of relief. At least he looks clueless too.
You look up to communicate with him telepathically. Even though you’ve been engaged for six months you have never spoken to him. He’s a stranger to you. A stranger who is going to take you home with him.
You become philosophical. You went to a good school and had good grades. But as soon as you hit your twenties your parents became worried for you. They wanted to get you off of their hands. They wanted to see you settled. They wanted to see your kids. Strange that even though your mom has fondly talked about playing with your kids many a time since your engagement, she forgot to hand you the manual to the process of reproduction. You marvel at your mom’s simplicity. Then you get angry at her for pushing you into a life that you never envisioned for yourself. Slowly you become emollient. So what if your parents wanted you to get married instead of pursuing your dreams? Dreams don’t have to materialize. Isn’t it great that they found a guy for you? You’re the last amongst your friends to get married and the worry of this catastrophe was really getting to your mother. You become happy that you’ve fulfilled a dream of your parents even if it cost you your own.
Suddenly you’re jolted from your thoughts into reality. An exceptionally large woman has sat next to you and pushed you into the ribs of your husband. You’re embarrassed at your bony elbow hitting him right in the chest but immediately look at the ground as previously instructed. He is looking at you suspiciously as if you did this on purpose. He finally looks away and subtly shifts himself closer to you.
Oh boy! Does he think you snuggled closer to him on purpose? Is he going to follow your unintended romance with a sexual move of his own? Sure enough! He casually says “hi” to you.
Even though people have said hi to you in the past, eligible men have been strictly forbidden to do that to you. You have been told by your mom that only brazen and characterless girls say hi to men and that sometimes when you’re saying hi and ovulating at the same time, it can lead to a pregnancy too. Since you’ve never really understood what ovulation is and can’t be sure of your dates ever, you’ve shunned men all your life like a bad disease.
You try to produce a dignified response to his manly “hi” but all that comes out is a squeaky and high-pitched rendition of some form of a greeting. He stares at you, probably properly looking at you for the first time, smiles a little and then looks away. You’re trying to salvage the situation by saying something funny but just then your sister and his sister come over and announce that it’s time for you to accompany your husband to your new home. Acting more confident than you feel, you gingerly collect your many yards-long outfit from underneath multiple people and try to walk with minimal support from your sister, sister-in-law and most of all, your husband.