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Woven in 500 "Kaal Raatri"

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Kaal Raatri 

 

Smriti walked hesitantly towards the direction of her Mother in law's room. ‘Ma’ had asked her to collect the jewelry for Bou Bhaat from her room. Smriti just stood outside when she heard her name. 

“Ma, why did I have to marry? She has yet not completed her education!’

“She is a cultured girl, from a known respectable family.” 

“But, I am an IIT graduate with a PhD. What will my friends think? She is a kid.”

“So? That’s a good thing.. you can mould her in your way of life.”

“Did you just say that?”

“She is the only child of your father’s close friend. Now, they are no more and she lives with her uncle. This seemed like the best way to bring her into my house, as my daughter. I was confident you would never say no. Did I expect too much from you?”

“Ma, don’t get melodramatic now. I did get married. But she will have to listen to whatever I ask of her.” he growled. 

Shaking with fear, Smriti could not control her tears as she ran to find a lone corner in the house. 

The reception was a grand affair. Her father-in-law, had left no stone unturned to make his son’s wedding a memorable extravaganza. Smriti stood next to her ‘Ma’ as she introduced her to everyone. She was a delicate sight to behold, decked up in expensive ‘benarasi saree’ and exquisite gold jewelry, given by ‘Ma’. She had also given Smriti, a dainty tiara that was a family heirloom. She looked and felt like a princess in her bridal attire.

Yet, her new husband was  intent on avoiding her at all cost, she glanced at him with growing trepidation.  But, she had to accept that, he had very sportingly participated in all the post marriage rituals. He is a gentleman, she assure herself. 

Now, left alone in ‘his’ room a feeling of dread started setting in, constricting her heart as his words came to haunt her. She sat in the middle of the bed, her veil covering her face. She felt like the helpless cattle ready for sacrifice.

 

Srijan had tried to evade her company until now. But, his wife was too pretty to ignore and too young he urgently reminded himself. He looked at her servile silhouette, through the embellished veil, his heart thumping. He was sure she expected some acknowledgment from him. So, he started, “You are very pretty,” as he lifted the lace veil. But she skipped a beat with his next words. She jerked up to look at him with those remarkable hazel eyes. That expression will be etched in his memory forever. 

“Tomorrow, lets go and get your educational certificates from your uncle’s house. You can continue your studies in Bombay, if you want.”

*****

“Dida, where are you lost, did you hear Dadu?”, Smriti was shaken by her granddaughter. 

“Happy Anniversary, Dr. Sen, are you again dreaming about Kaal Raatri?” teased her husband of fifty years. 

 

Kaal Raatri -  The day after the wedding (sindoor Daan), on this day, the bride and groom are not allowed to even see each other, as kaal ratri was the very night when Behula's husband was bitten by a serpent, as stated in the Manasamangal Kavya.

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Woven in 500 Words - This is a playful challenge I have given myself, to be able to weave a complete story within 500 words. And it would be up to the readers to decide if I am able to do complete justice with the characters. If the readers are able to empathize with the characters, I will feel, I have succeeded in my efforts. 

About the author - I have double Masters in English Literature and Asian American Studies. And, I have a deep affinity for teaching profession. I have tutored as young as grade 5 and given lectures on African Literature to Undergraduates. In between, I have taught graphic designing to advertisement students. And, my favorite thing in the world is being creative. I am a trained vocalist, and learnt kathak for a couple of years. I embroidery, knit, crochet, and love jewelry making. I am a complete outdoorsy until I am doing one of the above. But, most importantly, I read profusely and write incessantly. Writing helps me, arrange my thoughts and emotions. Writing makes me happy. Being creative is not an option, it is my necessity. It retains, my sanity!

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This one has been the best

This one has been the best effort. Seeing you metamorphosed is joy in itself! Keep growing, keep writing Mini!
♥♥♥
Richa

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