“Time passed quickly and the day of my marriage arrived. My lehenga was so heavy I could not walk in it without someone holding me and heavy gold ornaments dangled from my neck, hands and ears. After my shaadi and after the marriage procession was complete, I was exhausted. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to get rid of my clothes and jewellery,” says Pragya. “It was 2am when my sister-in-law took me to Abhi’s bedroom. The smell of roses nauseated me. I was sitting at the edge of an unknown huge bed, unlike the smaller one which I slept on back home. Now this would be my home for the rest of my life. This is where I will live my life and give birth to my children.
I wouldn’t be seeing my mother and sisters every day. There will no longer be my mom to make my breakfast. I will not be Pragya Arora anymore. I will be Pragya Abhishek Mehra. It all seemed so intimidating and strange. I started crying. I wanted to go back home, back to the comfortable life I’ve come to love. I heard a slight knock on the door that was left slightly ajar and my skin crawled.”
Pragya had been single in her teenage years and she hardly had any male friends. She lived the way an Indian girl is expected to. Virgin and within the boundaries of her culture. Marriage was an alien phenomenon for her. Love, indeed was something she never understood.
“It was Abhi. I quickly wiped my tears. He locked the door and came to sit beside me. I was in a room with a stranger, elder to me by 3 years and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. My mom had instructed me, “He will be your husband. Whatever he will do to you, don’t worry. I have also been through it. You will love him Pragya. Just hold yourself together.”
“Abhi was sweating profusely although the air conditioner was kept at a low temperature. I was nervous, He could tell it right away but so was He. Plus, if I didn’t remove my earring, my ears would bleed. I looked at him and then looked away. Then I looked at him again. He didn’t know what to say. I was shy. If the night went on like this, I would never get to sleep. So I initiated the conversation. This gave him some confidence and he asked me if I could be his forever. This question shifted my adrenaline to the sixth gear. My heart throbbed and shakily I said, “Yes.” Then we played all the games we were supposed to, he finding his name on my mehendi-designed hand and us drinking milk from the same glass. We relaxed a little and started talking. The only thing he repeatedly told me was to feel at home, to feel free. We were going to have a wonderful life together, that I was sure of. He removed my kangans, my ornaments and assisted me in taking all the safety pins off my wedding dress.”
“Then he turned off the lights and held my hand. His touch was warm but tender. It was like a dream for me, very different from the movies that I had seen. We undressed carefully, the knot of Shaadi I tied with him became the strongest knot of my life with unending love and undying compassion. We made love all night and it was 7am after I closed my eyes. It was a s*xy and memorable wedding night.”