Sunday, 10 March 2019

part 33 : Tumhare hum

I wake up the following morning because my mother is gently running her hand through my hair affectionately. She notices I am awake and kisses my forehead lovingly, dropping a lone tear on my forehead. I reach up and give her a big kiss on her cheek. I whisper, "Mom, you know you can always cancel the wedding and I could live here with you forever!" I said it almost pleadingly because I really meant it! She laughs and brushes my hair away from my face. She wraps her arms around me and says, "Beta, I wish you could, but one day I won't be here and I need to know that you will be in safe hands. I can see how much Armaan loves you Riddhima, I'm so happy you two found happiness in each other. Every girl gets married one day and leaves her family to start a new life with her husband. Riddhima I'm very proud of you!" I smile slightly and rub a hand over my stomach, knowing who lies within is not something to be proud of. That does not mean I do not love my child. Of course, I do, but I'm not proud of breaking my parent's trust and listening to my idiotic heart. My mother gets up from my bed and leaves my room so that I can freshen up.

It finally sinks in that today is my wedding day. Today is the day I will because Mrs. Riddhima Armaan Mallik. God help me! There was a time, when the thought of this made me giddy with excitement; however, things never turn out the way you would expect them to. There are many things I thought would never happen. The two toppers of this list include sleeping with Armaan and now carrying his child. Life is just full of suprises, although in my case, they are never the good kind.

I really detest how he makes me feel inferior and weak. I can't even stop my body from responding to him and his presence. My mind would tell me a million reasons to hate him, but they all go unnoticed by this heart of mine. I'm so confused about everything. I know that I can't forgive him for blackmailing me into marrying him, but I'm also carrying his child. I can't bring a child into our world, where I strongly despise my child's father. I don't want my baby being exposed to such hatred. Well I guess the baby won't understand hatred for a couple years so until then I'm good. What I hate the most, is that he used my father for blackmail as well. I can't believe he would stoop so low as to do such a despicable thing. Even so, my heart refuses to consider this. All my heart can see is the love shining clearly in his eyes and that is the only truth that it is willing to accept. However, I will never accept this truth.

Muskaan comes into my room, bringing me out of my thoughts. She says, "The hairstylists and makeup artists are at the hotel." I nod and get ready to go to the hotel. I take one last good look at my room and slowly shut the door to my childhood behind me. When we arrive at the hotel room, I change into my blouse. The hairstylists come and surround me. They start putting my hair up in a bun so that it does not interfere with my duppata. It is quite an intricate bun; however, it's not like I care if I look beautiful or not. I don't see a point to all of it anymore. Next, the makeup artists brush on my foundation and find the perfect shade for my lips. They start adding a soft shade of rosy pink against my cheek. Then, they focus on my eyes, adding eyeliner, golden eyeshadow, and fan out my eyelashes with mascara. There are several other things to add such as jewelery, etc.

When they place the duppata over my head and I look into the mirror, I see a gorgeous bride staring back at me. The girl in the mirror is adorned in gold jewelery and a beautiful maroon and beige lengha with heavy golden emboirdery. They only difference between her and a normal Indian bride is the sadness reflecting in her eyes. I'm not happy with all of this, not one bit. I feel Muskaan place her hand on my shoulder and I continue to stare at my reflection. My mother walks in the room to see me staring at the mirror. She smiles while wiping a tear away from her eyes. My mother says, "Barat aagayi hain hall mein! Armaan beta is sitting in the mandap." I look up at Muskaan who replies for me, "Riddhima just needs a minute." My mother nods and closes the door behind her. Muskaan says softly, "Are you ready Riddhima?" I sigh replying, "I'll never be ready Muskaan, not for this… but I have no other choice…" Muskaan nods sadly and helps me up. We both walk out the door and become surrounded by a bunch of older women, who help bring me down to the mandap in the hall. I feel like Armaan hired them to bring me down so I wouldn't run out the door. My father comes towards me and kisses my forehead. He brings me towards the mandap with my mother and Muskaan.

I look around the hall, noting all the candels, the magnificent chandelier above, the rose petals, and the colorful drapes around the room. It looks absolutely breathtaking. I look around in awe, completely forgetting that my parents are leading me to the mandap. I soon see Armaan sitting in the mandap, wearing a maroon sherwani with a beige duppatta around his neck. My heart starts to beat faster with every step I take towards the mandap. This obviously isn't out of love, but because of nervousness about how I am sabatoging my own life with my own hands. Armaan stands up as he sees me. He starts grinning widely as he scans me up and down. Yeah take a good look because you'll have this… again.

Then my father hands me a garland; it is just really too bad that I'm not putting this over his dead body… I think that is too mean, even for me. Anyways, when I try to put the garland around his neck, he moves back thinking he is so clever. I roll my eyes and grind my teeth in frustration. He bends his head, like he should have in the first place and I roughly place it around his neck wishing I could just choke him. I hear him softly complain, "Ouch!" I really hope a stem pricked him or something. Then he places the garland around my neck, smirking way too much. Muskaan helps sit me down next to Armaan, while glaring at Armaan for me. God I love this girl! Armaan is a little taken back by her glare and instantly looks a bit guilty. Armaan and I then turn our attention to the Panditji in front of us who has started the mantras.

I sit there flooded with memories of my past about all the pain he gave me and memories of that one night which changed my entire life, leaving me so vulnerable. It is because of that night that I am here today, sitting next to a perky Armaan and committing the worst mistake of my life. A tear forms in my eye, which I quickly brush away. My mother brings me out of my thoughts as she nudges me. I look next to me to see a pair of feet and when I look up, I see Armaan holding his hand out for me. I glare at him and get up myself with the help of Muskaan. He just shakes his head at my stubbornness, but then again what do you expect me to do. We start walking around the sacred fire and I keep my eyes downcasted, wishing this is all just a nightmare. He suddenly stops after the seventh phera, while I nearly crash into him. I stop myself just in time before looking like a total fool.

We then sit down and I look towards him sadly. Armaan moves forward to place the sindoor in my maang. I close my eyes as he places the sindoor in my maang. I let a tear run down my cheek. I then I open my eyes; I look at him through my teary-eyed vision. He looks away, perhaps feeling guilty that he brought those tears to my eyes. He comes closer and places a beautiful mangalsutra around my neck. As he places it, he whispers in my ear, "I'm sorry."

I wanted to ask for what exactly, not because he has no reason to be sorry, but just the opposite. In anycase, I would never forgive him for the pain he has always given me. No matter what excuses my heart makes for him, I will never let myself feel so vulnerable to be forced into a situation again. It is because of my heart that I am in this mess. It is because I listened to my heart's desires instead of my common sense.

We sign the actual papers and then everyone gets up for my farewell. I look towards my parents and the tears automatically spring to my eyes. I throw my arms around their neck and start sobbing violently. Muskaan comes behind and rubs my back while my parents try to reason that this is a good thing for me. I can see through their false faade because I know they will miss me just as much, since I am their only child. I am escorted to Armaan's car by my family and Armaan shuts my door. He runs around to the other side and then sits in the driver seat. I look through the window to see my parents getting further and further away from me as we drive away towards the nightmare that is my life.


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