A Matter of Choice - Part 1
Nidhi felt a wet rush down her chin. She had been so caught up with her happy memories that she had accidentally bit her lip reliving the joyous moment. This caused her lip to erupt towards the left side. It wasn’t visible thanks to her lipstick but she felt the burning pain. So much for Nikhil and his memories, she thought. She rushed to the washroom and dabbed a wet towel on her lip. The burning sensation increased. Should she inform her mother? Since her parents were already busy tending to their thousand guests, she decided against it. The towel showed only stains of blood. She looked confused, and then thought about waterproof lipsticks. Oh yeah, how times had changed.
She neatly wiped off the blood and dabbed on some Vaseline. Since the beautician had left her kit here, she might as well as cover her lip with some more lipstick later. She looked out of the window, heavy clouds were forming. The weather had said rain and she prayed that the weather would not play spoil sport today or the next day when they flew for their honeymoon. The groom’s family had already arrived and Nidhi could hear the loud music of the band being played. She walked back to the mirror and re-did her lips carefully putting the lipstick back into the make up case. It was 10.20. The muhurat would start in 20 minutes. Having checked herself for one last time in the mirror, Nidhi sat back in her bed and waited to be called.
Mr. Murthy was very hyper. He ran like a small machine on fire all over the place, making sure the arrangements were all fine. He signaled to his nephew to check if all the guests had eaten their breakfast. When he received a positive reply he heaved a sigh of relief. He wasn’t very comfortable wearing the white lungi and walking around, but he had to wait until the first set of ceremonies were over. He dint seem to mind much though, today all that mattered to him was his daughter and her happiness. It reflected in his proud smile and his concern towards everyone.
Mr. Murthy was then called by the pundit. He came and bowed down, as per the Hindu custom. The pundit pointed his finger towards the big clock hanging towards the entrance and asked him to call in the bride. Mr. Murthy nodded and felt a tug of emotion inside. His only daughter would not be with him anymore. But he was content. The groom was of her choice and judging Nidhi by the past few weeks, it seemed like she couldn’t wait to get married. She had taken care of every detail herself. Right from the venue, to the menu, to the transport, to the music. And Mr. Murthy had made sure that his daughter’s dream wedding comes true. He called his wife aside and asked her to bring down their daughter.
Nidhi walked down the stairs with the coy grace of a new bride. She looked around and smiled at the familiar faces and looked intrigued by not so familiar ones. She stopped to hug Mili, her best friend who couldn’t hold back her emotions. She then extended her hand towards Diwakar, her neighbor and good friend. Both smiled and Nidhi walked on. She reached the wonderfully decorated mantap and sat down basking in all the attention. She looked pleased and showed thumbs up to her dad who was fighting hard to not break down. After a brief exchange of words with the pundit, Nidhi looked up and faced the crowd. There were a lot of people out there. 1200 was what the Murthys had expected. This definitely was more than that. Thank God they had ordered food for 1500, she thought and said a silent prayer.
The pundit then signaled for the groom to come in. He looked splendid in his silk dhoti and pale white shirt. He had trimmed the hair on his beard and smelt fresh. “The Dreamer” by Versace, Nidhi guessed. He walked towards the mantap and bent down to touch the feet of Mr and Mrs Kumar, his parents. They blessed him and his mother walked him into the mantap. Nidhi looked up at him and smiled. As always, he gleamed every time he saw her. He sat down next to her and asked her if she was doing okay. “I’m fine”, she said. He sat down cross legged and the pundit held their hands together and began his chant.
Diwakar’s parents were caught in the rain. They did not want to miss their neighbor’s daughter’s wedding. Mr. Purohit called his son to inform him that they would be late. Diwakar sighed and continued to make small talk with Mili. The rain poured outside the venue. Since the weather had said rain, most of the invitees had come prepared. The security guard at the venue stopped the grey Santro had that had just arrived at the gate. Mr. Purohit lowered down the window and said “The Murthy’s wedding”. The security guard shook his head and asked for the invite. Thank God Mrs. Purohit had insisted on carrying it. He shoved it at the guard. The guard looked pleased and directed them to an arch toward the left.
The arch was beautifully decorated with white and red carnations, with a few sunflowers peeking in between. The rain sprayed on them causing them to look fresh with every drop. The red carpet paving the entire lane to the wedding hall was soaked now. Mr. Purohit nodded. Murthy had done a wonderful job, he thought, as he saw the figurines of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on both sides of the entrance. Mr. Purohit reached the entrance and stopped the car. He and his wife got down, and handed their keys to a chauffeur who politely drove down the car to the parking lot. Mrs. Purohit adjusted her saree and Mr. Purohit wiped of the water from his forehead with a white hand kerchief. When both were pleased, they walked through the entrance which had a huge white board perched on the top which read “Nidhi weds Vikram”.
To be continued..