My big fat Indian wedding is continuing on whether I like it or not 😦 I am lying awake in bed with my sister on my wedding day. It’s 4am, time for me to get up and look like the bride my parents always wanted to see. I procrastinate for a few minutes longer, then get myself out of bed as I know my parents and relatives are already awake serving tea to my hair and makeup stylist. They’ve come to fetch me a few times, my body is refusing to move. Since I’ve learned the truth of the other woman, I have done nothing but convince myself I need to go forward with the wedding in the name of family honour.
I look down at my choora = handcuffs, it’s taken up most of my arms. I’m cuffed and now they will dress me in my prison outfit and escort me to my lifetime sentence. Again why are my parents and family doing to this to me and how was I chosen to be the sacrificial lamb??? I still don’t understand how this treatment was okay for a barely 20 year child. We know he has a girlfriend, we know him and his family are liars AND they are greedy bastards, we know I’m barely 20, and we also that I love my family very much and don’t want to hurt anyone. Why was my own family emotionally blackmailing me into this marriage? Would my dad and other family REALLY have a heart attack should I bring shame to the family? At 20 I guess I believed them anything that went wrong would be my fault. Just for the record my dad is alive and healthy and both grandfathers have passed away due to old age. I was so stupid to believe that they would suffer medically should I not get married!
I go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, look in the mirror and don’t even want to look at myself, I felt like I was betraying my own self. Taking my sweet time in the bathroom, I make my way to the other room where my wedding attire was neatly placed with my matching jewellery. It looked so beautiful, the perfect red, jewellery was perfectly matched. I look down at my hands, they were also perfectly decorated with mehndhi. This was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, instead it was the worst day in my life. I thought prison outfits were supposed to be hideous? Mine wasn’t. I stare at it some more and make my way down the stairs to meet the woman who is going to hide all the pain in my face with the strokes of her makeup brush. She was going to glamourize me so no one would be able to recognize the sadness in my eyes.
I meet my parents downstairs, Mom hands me a cup of chai with a mixed plate of sweets and savouries. I take it without saying a word but look them square in the eyes hoping the can hear what I’m not saying.
The stylist is very excited to get me ready for my wedding. She starts talking and I’m half listening to her, she prompts me to go put the top on for my lengha. I go back upstairs and put it on like a good girl and make my way back down. She sits me down and starts talking about a what I would like as a hairstyle and hair. My response, “Doesn’t matter, whatever you think.” I figure why start giving input now about my life, no one else seems to care what I have to say. She starts with my hair, my head is going this way and that way, I may have gone numb in the head and brain at some point. She continues to talk and work, I just listen without saying much. What was the point of talking? No one was listening anyway. 3 hours later I am ready, my hair and makeup are done perfectly. My outfit looks just right and I am shining like a true bride on her day. Inside I’m shattered and broken.
My dad is getting the whole house on board with the timing. He’s going around like a crazy man telling everyone to get ready and calling others to meet us at the gurdwara and not to come by the house. As per his instructions, I take the front seat in the van so my clothing will not be ruined. After some time, when everyone is departing for the gurdwara and the doors have been locked, we start our drive to the temple. My dad actually seems stressed and my mom doesn’t much during the car ride. I just stare out the window and continue to convince myself that this is the right thing to do. I have to get married today to Raj so my family can hold up their heads high in society.
I am inevitably sad in the car, and I’m sad NOW thinking about how sad I was back then. I didn’t say much to my parents, I just sat there thinking about myself. Was I really that much of a burden to my parents? Was I a bad child? Did I wrong my parents? Why were they willing to abandon me so easily? Is there anyone who cares about me? Why weren’t my brother or sister being given up, why me? My mom mentions a few housekeeping rules to me, Venya, no smiling (what do I have to smile about), don’t talk to much to anyone, show respect to your new family, don’t do anything foolish in public, be elegant, don’t hug other men (I’m a hugger), and she rambles on with THE rules of today.
When I look back to that day, there were times that I was excited and times that I was sad. Excitement is my middle name, I get excited over everything, so how could I not be excited over my own wedding. I thought I looked pretty good for a child bride. I did love all the attention, I was mixed up in the reality and the fairy tale aspect of my big fat Indian wedding. My sadness was obviously due to the fact I was being forced by my parents to marry a man who was living with someone else. Life was not fair. I was sad that not a single soul stood up for me or helped me run away or fix this mess. I was mostly sad that I didn’t even have a chance at this life before my life was going to be officially over.
My dad pulls up to the gurdwara, it’s swarming with wedding guests. I’m in real trouble now, no chance of running away. My aunties come to the car and whisk me inside to the brides waiting room. There are so many beautiful foods waiting for me in the room, my mouth waters at the sight of them. My last meal before my sentence begins.
To be continued…