If someone in the future wrote a biography on me, then I’d say today would be one of the remarkable chapters in my life.
I have never done this, nor did I think that I’d ever do this.
And this has been the most awkward moment of my life. I looked at the mirror one last time, before I could take my plunge of faith. I was decked up in a beautiful fuchsia lehenga all decked up with jewelry and make-up. What a waste, I feel!
I take a look and without thinking twice, I made my move.
It was hard and it was unexpected. Whims and fancies have never been my best friends, but then they cannot be worse enemies.
My life has never been so histrionic before. At least before now. That is all that I can say, at least. I took out my strongest quilts and entangled them forming into a formidable foe that helped me through my quest.
Before it could get any late, I made my jump like I was in the arms of Spiderman, and before anyone could notice I was swept away in the wailing hours of dawn.
I walked past the footpath, as I had suspicious eyes checking me out. I don’t blame them. I would have been there in their shoes and done the same.
I took large steps, running and panting, taking breaths every now and then until I reached the Purple Box.
I lifted my lehenga a bit from my foot so that I could walk in piece. My heels were hurting me more than I could imagine. Removing my heels, I took them in my right hand, and my wallet in my left hand. I’m lucky that I at least managed to grab my wallet.
The café staff were staring at me in awe, not awestruck but with an awful look – the obvious did she elope from her marriage look. I also saw them looking at the door waiting for someone to come behind me. Well, how predictable!! That’s how the world thinks, If she eloped, who did she elope with. Duh!!! I can run away alone. DO NOT NEED A COMPANY for that.
I yelled at him “Mind taking my order?”
“Mam, did you run….?” He tried his hand at being a moral police, at least he sounded like that.
“You know what, go to a news channel and make this as breaking news.” I was clearly frustrated. Not angry with them. But then he was just adding the fuel to the burning fire.
He apologised “I’m sorry ma’am. Can I please have your order?”
“One Cappuccino, One french fries with extra cheese and Mayo, and a Mushroom Sandwich. Also, add a lemonade to it, and a basil and tomato soup.” I blabbered.
I didn’t even know if I needed all these things. I was clearly frustrated and hungry. And trust me it is a terrible combination.
The café began to fill up with a few people here and there – mostly college students who were just trying to make their own story with my attire. God !!! I should have left my wedding attire before running away. I don’t even have a set of normal clothes and I don’t have my cell phone. Now what? Deal with it.
As my order arrives, I ignore the obviously suspicious stares and focus on the problem. Like he said “ When in problem, forget everything and focus on food. It solves the problem.”
If not solving the problem, it at least takes your mind off it and distracts you for a bit.
Just while I was engrossed in my thoughts, I felt a hand on my head. Accumulating all the wrath within me, I look back to find a familiar face staring at me. I expect an angry face, but it was calm. Which meant a hurricane is whirling to attack me anytime soon now.
I keep a poker face not saying anything focussing on my blue lemonade. It cools me in the moments of stress.
“You couldn’t have gotten more irresponsible.” He mocked at me.
“Then why are you here?”
“Well, when you make mistakes somebody has to correct.” He further added “I’m terribly upset, Arianna!”
“Look, I’m sorry…” before I could complete he begins “I don’t need your apology.” He had this stern look on his face, which always meant that I’m in for some serious trouble.
“Dush, just listen. I..”
He cuts me again. “Why did you have to do this?”
“I don’t know.” I hung my head down not facing him. Because deep down my guilt was stronger than anything else. I kind of spoiled his life, my parents reputation and my life probably.
“I don’t know, Dush. I’m just not sure about it. Mom and dad were too excited about it, and I didn’t want to let them down. And you!!! I don’t even know where to start it from? I just felt this was the right choice.”
He rubbed his eye brows, and snatched my lemonade from hand and places it on the table “You did what you felt was easy. Running away. That was the easiest part. Not having to deal with anything, isn’t that right?”
“That’s not how it is.” I justified. But I know there is no justification for this act of cowardice.
He gave me a completely apathetical look and I continued “Okay fine. That’s how it is. I ran away because it is convenient. It suited me. I did not have the incessant need to confront anyone. I don’t even know why. But it is a strong gut feeling that this is not right. And I just did what felt right?”
He stared at me for a really long time, or at least it did feel so “You never wanted this, did you?”
“To be honest, yes. Never.” I confessed.
“So why not come up with this, before. You could have saved us all some time.” He seemed to mock at me.
But he continued “Look Arie, I have known you since we were kids. I thought I understood you. And this disappoints me!” I look at the crowd staring at two people who were supposed to be at a wedding. But both of them have eloped for different reasons and are meeting at a coffee shop. It might look like we are having a date. But we clearly are far from what it is. Not a date!
I just felt like closing my eyes, wishing that all this was just a bad dream and I would wake up and things got normal. Or that I was playing a game at which I was losing, and I would restart the system and everything would fall back and the game would go the way I want.
Alas!!! This is nothing like that. I close my eyes for a while, and then I open them. The same me, the same him and nothing has changed. Both of us in our wedding attire, in a coffee shop with a bunch of idiots staring at us. Typically bourgeoisie. And predictable. Like it was some clichéd movie!
I can’t believe that our lives had taken a sudden twist making our lives so convoluted.
He waits patiently for my answer “What happened, Arianna?”
“What disappoints you?” I countered his question.
“This!! Why did you do this?”
Well it is a long story, indeed. What could I tell him?
I have known him for the past 14 years, which is a long time. But not long for us to get married. I have never known him that way. Nor did I feel for him that way. He has always been a great friend, and a guardian angel. He has always been there when I was in trouble. Helping my with my homework, protecting me when my parents were about to whack me. It was perfect. But I never did feel that way about him. Nor, did he feel that way about me. And we were happy. We were best friends. He moved to Germany, and I moved on with my life. Never knew this serpentine twist would engulf our lives.
One day our parents decided to get us married. And I said Yes. Okay. Not a problem. I don’t realise when was the last time that my life had been so fucked up. I do not realise when was the last time, that I was stupid enough to turn my life into a complete turmoil .
We were great as friends. But when our parents decided that we should get married, neither of us rejected it. I mean, why? Oh god, why??
I was in relationship with him for over one year before this. And I was happy. He made me happy. But it was awkward and weird. And it was just a long distance relationship. Talking over Skype and WhatsApp. In this one year he just came here once, and that was when we were getting engaged. Just like my friends, I was supposed to be in love with this man that I have to get married, thinking about what I will upload on my FaceBook Page, what my candid wedding photos would look like. How many likes would I get. How many people would wish me. How awesome my honeymoon would be! Where would we go?? Greece or Mauritius?
And here I am eloping from my own wedding, sitting in front of a guy that I was supposed to be taking oaths. But here we are here. Sitting in front of each other. Confronting on the fact that I eloped from my own wedding – the wedding for which my consent had been taken.
Dushyanth had asked me if I was happy with it. For a thousand times, and over. And I said yes. All the time. Yet I eloped. Why?
“I’m sorry Dush. I have no words, but sorry. I spoiled your life. And you have every right to hate with all your might. You can even abuse me. I am sorry, that’s all I have.”
“And I do not need your sorry. You can’t fix this with I’m-so-sorry. You’re not going to have an easy escape out of this, Arianna !”
“Fine, what do you want me to do?”
“I want to punish you. Make you suffer. Like how you put me through pain.”
“So, what are you going to do?” I questioned.
“Tell me why did you do this?”
“As I told you, I wasn’t ready.”
“Then why did you not tell me?”
“Because, I was scared. And you were happy. Everyone was happy, and I did not want to spoil it.”
“Sometimes, we have to do what’s right for us, Arie. You have always been doing what makes everyone happy. You can’t keep doing it. At some point of time in your life, you are going to upset someone.”
“SO, you are not mad at me for doing this?” I was astonished.
He yelled at me. This was my chance to be yelled at” Of course, I am mad at you. I am mad at you for not including you in this rendezvous. I am mad at you, that in spite of being best friends you did not consider talking to me once. Of course, I am mad at you from the bottom of my heart.”
“I’m sorry, Dush.”
“What do you want now, Arie?”
“I don’t understand.”
“You eloped. You are sitting in a coffee shop with me. What do you want to do?” he asked.
“Even you eloped.” I pointed.
“I came here to find you. Your mom was worried.”
“They all know.”
“The entire area knows by now, perhaps!” he giggled.
“You’re not being funny.”
“It’s funny how you have turned a serious event into a funny one. “ He had this sly smirk on his face that drove me wild with guilt. I was on the wrong side. Couldn’t do anything much.
“Look, I am in love with you. But that is not an enough reason to get married to you. And if you are not happy with it, I cannot be happy either. The idea was we would spend our rest of lives together. But..”
I stopped him “It’s not like I don’t. But we do not know each other, and I did not want to make more mistakes. “ I hope he understands. But I do not know.
“You need to figure out a lot of things.”
“As in ???”
“Arie, you are a cornucopia of confusions right now. Go home. Take a warm bath and go to sleep. Get up, have a hot cup of coffee and think. You will have a lot of questions. And you need your answers. Seek them. Seek your answers. They’re waiting for you.
“I don’t know, Dush. It feels so stagnant in life. Everything seems to have come to a stand still.” I confessed.
“Why do you feel so?”
“I live the same life every day. Go to the work at the same place, come back to the same home, live the same monotonous life. It’s gotten far too insipid.” I said.
“Do you know why you feel that way?”
I nodded a no.
“That’s because you have not tried something new in your life. You do the same old things, and if you think that you are going to feel different each day. You won’t. You bloody won’t. You have to get out there. Get out of that dreaded comfort zone. You’ve gotten too comfortable with that zoning of yours. You are happy. And you can’t move on in your life if you live like that. Occasionally in life, you got to go out and meet people. People who hate you. People you hate. Try understanding things that you always shy away from. Do things that freak you out. Like the stint you performed this morning. It was out of your comfort zone, Arie. You did something, because there was a force that pushed you. You can’t always have that. You have a force within you. Keep that spirit. Keep pushing yourself.”
He suddenly made a lot of sense, and I suddenly remembered what was coming to me.
“I can’t go back..”
“They’re your family. Waiting for you.” He raised his voice “ Don’t be ridiculous. Go home.” He held his hand and took my in his. “Let’s go.”
“We haven’t paid the bill.” I said.
“Then pay it.” He commanded.
“How can you make a girl pay while you are here?” I teased him.
“Well, we are not on a date. So suck it up!!” he grinned.
I paid the bills and held his hands. I was sweating with the fear in me. I did not know what to do. I was scared of facing my parents, after today’s adventure.
He held my hand throughout giving me hopes of a happy future.
We reached home after what seemed a very long time.
The house was deserted with just my parents waiting for us. I was devastated to see them like that. I never wanted to hurt them, but I made a choice that resulted in that state.
“I’m sorry, mom.” She just walked away. Her tears said more than anything. Dad came to me, separated my hands from his and said “ I don’t understand what your generation does. We both love you, and want you to be happy, always. Just trust us.”
“I am sorry, dad. I should have spoken to you.”
“Arie, we make mistakes in life. They all help us grow. Sometimes, we make mistakes that result in collateral damage. We end up losing people. And we go beyond what we thought. Just be strong with your instincts, and I am glad that you just did that.”
I looked at him, and knew that damage was already done. But I could still undo that.