Early morning madness. Men drinking cups of tea while laughing raucously. Small children running helter-skelter. Women scolding them and then laughing it off. Inside the room, the atmosphere of silence prevailed as the girl stared at her made up face in the mirror. “Didi, you’d have to wear you lehenga now, if you want to reach the parlor at time.”
“Diya, don’t forget your big gold necklace, okay?”
“Okay,” she whispers nervously. Her heart beats faster as she steps gingerly into the perfect red lehenga. She feels a thrill of excitement as she looks at herself in the mirror. Ajay will be star struck.
The afternoon sun shines magnificently above them as they rush their way on the rickshaw to the nearest court. She sobs quietly in his shirt and he pats her head soothingly. He knew that that it was her only option and that it hurt her. Her parents would never agree to her marrying a lowly office clerk.
“It’ll be all right, Ganga. Don’t cry, please, it’ll be all right,” he murmurs quietly in her hair.
She whispers back, “Don’t worry, Krishna. I won’t let his men get to us, our happiness, and our marriage.”
“I know you won’t. I trust you.”
“No sir, not my daughter,” she cries as she clings to his leg mercilessly.
“A deal was a deal. Five years ago, you promised, didn’t you?” he shook his leg. Not hearing a reply, grabbing her hair, he yelled, “DIDN’T YOU?”
“Yes sir,” she screamed. “But sir, she’s my daughter. My only daughter, you can’t just marry-“
“I can do. You didn’t pay you money, did you?” he said, suddenly quiet. “So, now you have TO LET HER GO.”
He wrenches his leg free from her grip as his men tackle her daughter, who was too little, too scared to understand what was happening. She lies on the ground begging, crying as they drag her daughter, her dreams shattering, and her hopes drowning. Only the flat truth before her, she’d never see her beloved daughter again.
The veranda air was silent and somber. The woman’s sob were disguised with quick motions. She hardly notices the quiet whispering as she efficiently removes her jewelry and puts it in the box, never to be used again. She hands her a grey gown and lifts her up. She carries her across the veranda, to reach the door that just escapes the morning sunlight. She pushes her inside, and shuts the door just as the banging starts.
“He was my husband mother. I can’t do this mom, please,” she shrieks from inside.
She replies, wiping her tears and turns back, “He was my son.”