“Shubhamangal savadhan…” the priest enchanted and all started showering unbroken rice on my brother and his just to be wife, vahini. I playfully threw the colored rice on his face to irritate him. My Mom gave furious looks to me and Dad was laughing in favor of me. “I will soon get a chance to take a revenge of this, you just wait,” my brother teased me, raising his eyebrows. This reminded me that she hasn’t arrived yet. I went to the side of the stage to call her, as the bride and groom were asked to get ready for the photo shoot. “Where are you? I told you to be on time at least today-” I questioned in tensed voice on the call. “I am near the entrance, Rajeev, where are you?” she consoled me. “Ohhh finally, wait I am coming…” I instantly made my way towards the wedding hall entrance. Everybody was enticed to the food stalls now. So it was easy for me to cross this entire ocean of known faces.
I could finally see her waiting at the entrance embellished with white flowers. She was glaring inside the hall looking for me. It gave me immense pleasure with the thought that these lovely eyes are curious to meet me. Every time I see her I tend to get engrossed deeply into her. With each step towards her, I was witnessing every piece of her graceful beauty. The peach colored flared dress enhanced her appeal and complimented the fragrant flowers too. I always admired her side front braids and flowing hair on her shoulder. That peach lipstick made her lips fuller and soft, I know how much she loved that color. She was consciously making an effort to fix the dupatta on her shoulder. Our eyes finally made a contact and she commenced moving towards me with a nervous yet lovely smile. While she was on her way to me I noticed the elegant bracelet on her left hand. The moment she reached near me I held her left hand and cheerfully said, “Oh, you remembered…” “Of course sweetie, ” she gave a gleeful smile. “Now let us go, they are waiting for you” I began moving towards the stage. “At least tell me how do I look?” she asked while following my steps. “Pretty as usual, ” I laughed looking back at her.
The photo shoot had started. The bride, groom, and relatives were all standing in poses. The photographer would focus lights on their faces requesting them to smile. My eyes were locked at Mom, I began walking briskly towards her. “Mom…!!!” I shouted waving my hand to her as soon as we arrived at the stage. She got the signal and stepped down the stage. “Oh you pretty girl, we were waiting for you since morning”, excitement was pouring through her voice. “Rajeev’s Papa, Lata, come here to see the most awaited person, ” Mom instantly called Dad and Chachi. Moms will never change. I warned her not be overwhelmed, but all in vain. And why would she not be? after all, she was meeting my girlfriend for the first time. “I hope you could easily find your way here?” my Mom asked in concern to my girlfriend. “Yes Mom, I had sent her the location and this is a famous hall, ” I tried to quench her worries. “Wow, this bracelet looks gorgeous on you” Mom praised looking at the bracelet. “Yes aunty, all thanks to you for this gorgeous gift, ” my girlfriend finally got a chance to speak.
“Rajeev go help your Dad, ” Mom ordered me pointing towards Dad. Dad had held my grandmother’s hand, helping her walk she as was attempting to step down the stairs of the stage. I also went to the other side of my grandmother and held her hand comforting her. Along with Chachi, my cousins had gathered near the stage, surrounding Mom and my girlfriend. All had got a hint and were delightful. My grandmother had a wonderful smile on her face. She was over joyous to know that both her grandsons had found their better halves. It was also a big day for me. I had been eagerly waiting for this day, more than my brother. As my grandmother took the first step on the floor, my girlfriend touched her feet, I told her to do that. I was sure that this gesture will definitely impress my grandmother. “Aai, she is the one Raju has chosen…!!!” my Mom said with a twinkle in her eyes. “Hmmm, what is your name beta?” my grandmother was curious. She raised her hands and rested on my girlfriend’s head.
“Ruksana Khan, Aai, ” my girlfriend replied in a nervous voice. And there was silence for a moment.
My amused cousins stopped giggling. I knew the reason for this silence. My heart was beating heavily with anxiety. Except Mom, Dad and my brother nobody else was aware that my girlfriend is a Muslim girl. My grandmother began to lower her hands. I didn’t know how would she react. Her acceptance of my relationship was important to me.
She lowered both her hands and touching Ruksana’s cheeks she broke the silence, “You must learn to make sugar free shirkurma now, I am diabetic…!!!” and everybody burst out in laughter. My grandmother lovingly kissed on Ruksana’s forehead. I was overwhelmed by her warmth and big heart. I hugged her saying, “You are the best grandmother, I love you…!!!” My voice was choked and tears were rolling down my eyes. With these tears falling down, respect for my grandmother rose in my eyes. I could see the happiness in Ruksana’s glittering eyes. She gazed deeply into me and whispered,
“Thank you for such a wonderful acceptance…!!!”