The digits on the cell-phone clock contain a rhythm of seconds in steps and I can feel tiredness seep into my pores like a rising tide. My body sinks into the faded grey leather seats of the car, tiredness making my legs at once jumpy and leaden. The car maintains a constant of 100KMPH and her purr a metronome of comfort until there is a sudden swerve and all of us leap up in a sudden aerial twist and land softly.
“Sorry”; he says. “Haulle” (Slow); Ma says
And we snuggle back in the dim lit silence. This moving motorized animal smartly cuts through the enveloping midnight December fog. I watch the digits choreographed in block steps moving forward and listen to night gathering. And, watch the white haze on the windows and the north Indian country sides rushing by. I can feel myself out there somewhere at the peripheries of things, like a jellyfish that is present only in its own pulsing.
A dozen days have whizzed by, already!!
Dulhan Chachi, Bhabhi, Bahu, Mami, Votti, DhyoutNu, Dewarni and a half a dozen more of such specialized titles … at a stroke of midnight, like all great turn of events... I stepped over into matrimony!
There might have been a time when I would have argued against the ceremonial hulla-ballo. But now I know it is a necessity like pressurized CO2 in Cola bottles. The flatness into the event would take the grace away. I know that for me it’s here and now, the reds and golds, the pinks and peaches … weaving saccharine carpets for the next avatar to tread upon.
The staccato episodes keep panning in and out… there was, me in them and there was me, outside them. A non-judgmental audience! I might have once been terrified of this. Or shy. Or outright rebellious against the so-called social nonsense; but now I know that somethings are better done the classic way. The crowd of relatives, the rambunctious merrymaking at home, the tired brother and overworked parents, the running sisters and cribbing sister-in-laws, the pampering grannies and the doting uncles. The flirtatious “baraat” and the solemn “vidaai”
I might have once been stubborn about not getting married. Or not needing a husband to survive. Or not needing a seal of society stamped on the relationship. But the last few years have borne enough aches to teach me this: growth happens when the moments are bitter and slow, when night happens early at the edges of my soul. And also this: that morning comes again. Bright and Sunny!
In my core I have resilience. In me there is a swift restorative sap that tells me again and again to have trust in my life. And, complete faith in the man I married.
I see myself lately in a different light and recognizing this feels a bit like finding a Polaroid of me in a shoebox and being unable to place the context or the time in which it was taken.
I have things to work at in this new inning. And being married puts me at odds with the things that I need to create a new me, with the recycled stuff of me-until-now. Being married makes me introverted and fragile and susceptible. It makes me tender and sore spent at the end of the day. And I still have months and perhaps years ahead of me of this balancing act before I stop working and see myself cocooned and comfortable in my new garb.
Somehow I’ll make it through. Somehow I’ll huddle in the palm of each day and wait to be handed by grace into the palm of the next. I’ll sip good chai, and make good chappatis and do a little puja and work at being a good human being and do justice to all these new titles. I’ll read poems that fill me up and write more. And I’ll wait… till the new me is recreated… and woven into the, me-now. A holistic me!
Till then I’ll breathe in the warmth of my husband’s skin and adjust to being Mrs. Sharma.