I have written many stories now but this one is my favorite. I hope you enjoy reading this and Don’t forget to leave your comments. Thank You. Happy Reading
Illuminated halls, Banana trees at all the doors, Loud Speakers with some brilliant music and people with flamboyant designer wears- it surely is some sort of a special occasion, isn’t it?. What occasion is this? Well, you could wonder but people in Tamil Nadu will get it spot on. What else other than marriage will have banana trees outside your doors? Yes it is Karthik’s wedding.
My friend Karthik! the guy who I grew up with, from college? The singer? Hmmm, it seems you don’t know Karthik. Let me then, introduce the groom. Well, Karthik, is not the kind of a guy every girl would dream of having her life with. But he is a nice extrovert. He has planned on proposing, 3 or was it 4? No, the last one doesn’t count. Let’s say he planned many proposals but actually did a very few of them which resulted in, agony? No, definitely not. They resulted in more booze and a lot of money, for me. Well, I won most of the bets I had with my friends on the results. He never- Oh! It’s the bridegroom on his way to meet his best man. Yep, it’s me, who else would be the “best” man.
‘Hey Benny, I asked you to move our friends to the apartment in the 2nd Main road. Why are they still staying in the hotel man?’ Karthik asked.
‘They were not in a state to be moved yesterday, so, I extended the hotel stay for one more day. Thought you wouldn’t mind.’ Of course I know he wouldn’t mind.
‘K, not a problem, but do it today huh?’ he replied calmly.
Shouldn’t he be worrying about the other things? How is he so cool and calm? Damn I hate this guy.
‘Hey Karthik, where is your dad? He asked me to come up with a special-effects guy. Any idea, where I could find him?’. His dad kept pestering me yesterday about this.
Karthik didn’t reply. His eyes were constantly searching for something or someone.
‘Hey Karthik!’ I raised my voice to get his attention.
‘Yeah, Fine, do it tomorrow. I need to find my Uncle, told me he had something to say’ he started moving towards the living room area.
Hmmm Uncle, these relations they always have something to say don’t they, waiting to voice their myriad opinions over absolutely everything. Indian weddings are complicated. It’s not just enough to convince the parents but we need to convince every close relation for the marriage. A guy and a girl are bonded together in a marriage and are asked to love each other. Most of the times they don’t find that spark but it never matters. They ‘predict’ that the couple will be able to love each other based on, say, the family backgrounds and the current status. These guys should have prophesized MH370 or something. Damn. Oh my Goodness! Its 4.30 am already and the marriage is at 6 am. Sorry, I should get going. Pardon me.
Everything moved fast and there we were in the marriage hall with the groom ready to tie the final three knots that will bond him with a girl (stranger) forever. We have none to declare them as man and wife as the priest is busy chanting all those mantras, he makes a living with, in the precise order. We do have a code “ketti melam”, a sign the orchestra waits for, keen and careful.
The tradition is for the bride’s mother to accompany the bride to the stage. We are eagerly waiting for the bride’s arrival.
I was telling you about Karthik, Well. He was never an advocate for the benefits of arranged marriage. He keeps telling people how good will that mountain trek with your girl be? He wanted to find the ‘one’. But unfortunately the half-life of his proposals was shorter than that of a radio isotope. Funny, but he tried until this very moment. So now you know why he is sitting here, despite it is totally against his ideology.
He is nervous now, I can see that. But he never admits it. He is so good at meticulously avoiding those types of questions.
‘Karthik, you might need a hand-kerchief. See, those little droplets of water on your forehead is called sweat’ I derided him with a laugh.
‘Bro, I am not nervous’ it’s just the heat’ Karthik defended himself and denied the existence of a feeling that made him human. We made those crazy fire tricks in our marriages with our priest being the magician.
‘Right answer Karthik, as expected’ I hushed in his ears.
We always do this and we both know that he is speaking the truth (Sarcasm).
So the wait for the bride prolongs. I am more anxious than he is. Ah! Here comes the bride’s mom. But wait, where is the bride?
She walked straight to Karthik’s father. They murmured for a second and went inside the bride’s room.
None of us understood what was happening. Sounds of Nathaswaram and Melam filled the room louder than before. Karthik’s face grew gloomier every second.
His father returned with a stern face and asked Karthik to move away from the stage. He stood on the stage and looked at everyone.
Is he going to make a toast or what? I wondered.
‘The girl left’ he paused. ‘She didn’t have a clue what is this marriage is all about. She cared for her more than for anyone else’.
Isn’t that what everyone should be doing? Pardon me, if I sound a bit too misanthropic. However, she could have done this before the marriage. Why do all these people react only in the last moment? Damn!
‘We have this marriage prorogated’ he burst into tears as soon as he ended the last word.
I know how it feels, I have seen this before. I wish I had not seen it again. Damn!
Karthik, shocked but composed, wanted to make sure his father is okay.
‘Dad, it’s okay I am strong and fine and I am sure we will find a better girl’ Karthik consoled or at least he tried his best.
This doesn’t happen very often, a marriage, coming to the final stages and the bride running away- it is definitely not something everyone would say about Indian marriages. Yet this transpired. I can’t say how Karthik should be feeling right now. But I am sure, in a matter of months he will be back to who he was before. I have seen him do that after many continuous failures. But I honestly don’t know about this one.
So this marriage, after all the hype it generated has come to an intolerable end. The culmination is totally unexpected as we all assumed (or at least they did) the bride would love Karthik as her better half. But the girl ran away from the altar. I still can’t believe this is happening.
Will people belittle him for this? May be they will. But none of them have even a close-to-happy married life. They live with their differences and aversion towards their partners. For them, marriage was like a project, which once taken up has to be seen through till the end. Most of them will bemoan, cry, change yet they stayed in their project, as they didn’t want everyone discussing ‘the story of how their marriage fell’ in the upcoming special occasions.
The Marriage hall started moving towards the exit. Only the close relations stayed back to console Karthik’s father. But, for Karthik, the project came to an end before even the inception.
For all the girls out-there, he is open and single. Not funny at the moment, I know, just crossed my mind.
Karthik moved his father to the room. His father was still crying when Karthik left the room to meet us, his friends.
‘Sorry, I was not able to give you a happy day. Thank you for being here with me——-‘
If there is anything I’ he struggled to speak his words and I intervened.
‘Hey, it’s okay Karthik, we all know that you should be going through a lot right now. You need to get this out of you. You should, we don’t know, may be start playing your violin, talk to your mom. Do something. But make sure you are distracted.’
Kathik’s mom passed away when he was in high school, ever since he used to talk to her portrait about his dismays and despairs, happiness and joy.
‘Let’s have a drink then, hope that is a good distraction, you know; with all of us it’s going to be a good pacifier.’ It was Guru, our college mate. No, he is not an alcoholic, just had his drinks whenever he felt needy.
‘Karthik, we don’t want to force you but, if you think the same-’. I too think that’s a good idea. Booze can make you remember as well as forget; a perfect partner for both good and bad.
Karthik agreed and we had drinks but none of us got high as we never wanted to. Karthik seemed okay to me. I took him to his room; helped him set his bed. He then started speaking to me. It was a not usual after-drink unconscious speech. He really wanted something to get out of him.
‘I did it Benny, I did it’. May be I should not have met her before the marriage’ he sounded depressed and self-inflicting.
‘Karthik, you should go to sleep, I think it’s best not to recall anything that happened today’. I think it’s better for him to sleep than to talk. Sometimes sleep is the best medicine you can give somebody.
‘I met her a few hours before the marriage. I told her that I wanted a girl who would walk that lane with me all alone supporting me through the struggles, not complaining about my stupidity to take risks’.
He paused for few seconds. No, he was not going to cry. Don’t ever expect that from Karthik.
‘May be she thought I am dumb or she thought I am not-‘he was to say something stupid and I stopped him right there.
‘Karthik don’t start your reasoning saga, everything will be alright.’ This is Karthik , he believes every phenomenon in the world has an epiphenomenon, you know that butterfly effect? Something similar to that. He reasons out everything till things become logical, if not he becomes the anti-thing.
‘Have you ever been to a doctor, Benny?’ Karthik gave me that you-are-wrong-but-you-could-have-been-right look.
‘Yes, of course Karthik, let’s not get into some rhetorical shit here.’ I tried to give a period before he started something.
‘You know, when you feel sick, you start thinking of all that shit in the world that is possibly negative with your body, but the doctor says and he is not a god, “this is just a something, you will be normal in two days.’’ When he doesn’t know what’s actually wrong inside your body, yet still gives his proud and usual prognosis to cure me psychologically, or at least that is what he thinks he is doing; next day, if your condition worsens, he changes the answer. That is how it feels like benny,— right now, after listening to your answer’. This is the saddest I have seen him ever since I’ve known him.
‘Karthik, I have seen you come out of tough times before; I think the same now , you are resilient, you will recoil, just don’t take a long time man, that’s my advice and I want to end this conversation right now, right here, go to sleep’. I sounded a bit too authoritative but I suppose that will work.
Karthik doesn’t know and he should not, I am telling you guys because you can’t possibly hurt Karthik, you can hate him or like him but you can’t hurt him.
I met the bride a day before the marriage. She was having a fight with someone over the phone; I didn’t know who. I just felt that she was loud enough to go mano-a-mano with Karthik, when they had a fight.
‘So, you don’t want me in your life?, Alright, but I need you in my life and you have no right to say otherwise, because it’s my life IDIOT. I decide what I should do with my life’. She was acting like an idiot, how can you trouble someone just because it’s your life to ruin? She started crying and I was watching all of these without interfering to help her, my friend’s fiancé.
I will regret this throughout my life, I shouldn’t have come this way, I shouldn’t have listened to all this; these thoughts crossed my mind, but still there I was listening to everything.
What should I do? What do you think I should have done?
a. I should go and hint my best friend about his future wife’s affair.
b. I should go and talk to the bride and help her with the problem so my friend would not be heart -broken throughout his life.
c. I should turn a blind eye to what I have seen and heard so that I could feel just the way I was before all this.
I chose option A as I felt it is my responsibility, to help my friend; but before this, I needed to make sure it was an affair as I could not prejudice something bad. I wondered how to do it, but things unfolded themselves in an unfashionable way as I waited there.
‘We have been living together for many years now and I did whatever you asked me to, why do you want to stop it now? I need you’ she sobbed as she spoke. ‘Have I done something wrong, is it my mistake? I have not looked at other women after I met you, this marriage is your idea; you want me to drop it?’
She continued to speak as if she was the only one with the feelings. I got perplexed on hearing the word ‘women’. What the hell was that? This is totally unexpected. How am I going to tell my friend, who dreams of the girl he is going to wed, that his fiancée is a ‘lesbian’. How am I gonna do that, I asked it to myself innumerable number of times. I definitely can’t tell him this. He and his family will go into a shock. I can’t tell the bride’s family either they might throw this woman out on the streets or who knows what worse could happen to her. I can’t negotiate between my two thoughts. I was in a conundrum, when she ended the call and moved to the other side of the room.
I consoled myself and made up my mind that I won’t be doing anything, somehow I came to option C(which I thought I never would), I will let the marriage happen, that even if the marriage fails, I know Karthik, he would be able to come back. It was me, I was more scared of. Will I be able to hide this nice and cold from my best mate? Will I be able to do it, with my Karthik?
Well, now you all know that I did what I thought I won’t be able to, but it turned out to be a completely different story to what I expected; things could have been worse yet.
‘I will always regret this mate. But you should know something, that it was not you; it will never be you. Nobody, knows why she left? But she left for good from your life’. Karthik had slept by the time I told him this.
‘’What we do defines us, what others do to us defies us; but it is the journey that makes us who we are, when we reach the destination.’’
– A short one by Hari Sudhan