Anju was fascinated by the sight of Mrs. Broota popping one scrumptious laddu after another into her garishly painted mouth in quick succession.
“I’ve suddenly lost my appetite” Anju murmured to herself as she tore her eyes away from Mrs. Broota’s steady sequence. Placing the laddu back into the platter, she walked towards her sister who was perched on a swing, having her hands and legs covered with intricate swirls of henna.
Anju was back home in Delhi after 5 long years, for her little sister Dipti’s wedding. Being back after so long made her realize how much she missed India and her home. Yes, New York was where she had always wanted to be, but home was home after all.
On the flight to Delhi, Anju was nervous, imagining how it would feel to be among family after such a long time. All these years, Anju had given her all to her publishing career with a single-minded dedication. Family and friends remained in touch via video calls and the occasional visits from her kin soon dwindled down to none.
When her mother called up one morning, asking her to get her tickets booked to attend Dipti’s wedding, she realized just how disconnected she was from everyone she had known. Well, it was time to remedy it all. For someone who hadn’t taken a single day off for the past 5 years, Anju put in an application for a month-long leave and her shocked boss was more than happy to sanction it.
A tired Anju was just walking towards her boarding gate when a call from Sandy surprised her and put a spring back into her step. They spoke and Anju cut the call only when the final announcement was made for the passengers to board the flight to New Delhi.
“I’m going miss you Sandy” she sighed aloud, as the aircraft wheels left the tarmac.
All of Anju’s apprehensions vanished at the sight of her eagerly awaiting family. Dipti ran forward and hugged Anju squealing ‘Didiiiii!’. Her parent’s eyes misted over as they enveloped their firstborn in a warm embrace. Raghav, her kid brother was a strapping young man and she beamed at him with sisterly pride.
“You’re next Anju”. Anju snapped out of her reverie at the sound of her Aunt Kamyani’s voice in her ear. Dipti’s henna was almost done, and it was Anju’s turn to have her palms adorned. Walking towards her sister, Anju rolled her eyes at Dipti and they exchanged a smile.
She was getting a little tired of this “You’re next” business. Old aunties nudged her till she thought she surely must have bruised a rib or two. She was tired of being introduced to so many “nice boys” that kept popping up wherever she went.
“I think Anju surely has someone tucked away. Isn’t that so Anju? Tell us if you do!” guffawed her other aunt Urmila, with a lewd wink following this remark. Anju was sure Aunt Urmila had been eavesdropping on her phone conversations with Sandy, and that’s why she wanted to embarrass Anju into confessing the truth. She was so tempted to tell them all about Sandy, just so that they would leave her alone, but this was Dipti’s moment.
“Tomorrow is the wedding Anju. Pick any of the nice boys from around here and we’ll get both you and Dipti married in the same mandap” called out Aunt Urmila “ if you don’t have anyone special whom you left behind and are pining for” she concluded guffawing.
“Yes, Urmila Bua. There is someone back home” spat out an exasperated Anju, regretting it immediately. There was a pregnant silence in the room with every eye on her.
“Who?” asked a voice, and Anju turned around to look into the perplexed eyes of her mother. “You’re joking right, Didi?” questioned Dipti, accusingly adding “you would have told ME if there was someone, wouldn’t you have?”
Anju didn’t know where to look or what to say. She stood alone in the middle of the room surrounded by questioning eyes.
“I was joking” she managed to murmur, lamely trying to laugh the whole incident away.
“No, you’re not! I’ve heard you talking on the phone. Sweet nothings.” boomed Aunt Urmila’s voice, breaking the awkward silence. Anju blushed a deep red, the basket of flowers she was carrying, slipping from her hands onto the floor.
“His name is Sandy. Isn’t it Anju?” questioned Aunt Urmila, a note of triumph in her voice. Anju’s head snapped up at the mention of Sandy’s name. What else did Aunt Urmila know, she wondered.
“Beta, is it true?” her mother asked softly. She was by Anju’s side, helping her pick up the scattered flowers. ”Tell us whatever it is beta. Is he a foreigner? Be honest. We can talk about it,” implored her mother.
Anju felt like her tongue was stuck to the roof of her mouth. Words refused to come out. She felt tears sting her eyes, threatening to spill over. This is not how she had wanted her family to find out. This was definitely not how she wanted to let them know.
“He is coming to Delhi tonight, this Sandy” finished Aunt Urmila triumphantly. The final nail in the coffin.
There was no way out now. She would have to let them know.
“Anju Beta? At least tell us if all that Urmila is implying is true or not” beseeched her mother.
Taking a deep breath Anju stood up, with the basket of flowers in her hand. “Yes mom, it’s true” she replied giving Aunt Urmila a piercing stare.
“What!?!” gasped her mother, thunderstruck.“ Why didn’t you tell us, Anju? All this time? Why?”
“I was going to mom.”
“When?” interrupted her mother, close to tears now.
“After Dipti’s wedding.” continued Anju.
“But why hide it all this time Anju? What’s the point? You are 33 years old. Isn’t it high time you got married?” intervened Aunt Kamayani.
Every eye in the room was on Anju, asking her the same question.
“I …err….I…just didn’t feel the time is right” she muttered awkwardly.
“As long as the boy and you like each other and he is well settled, we wouldn’t have minded him being a foreigner Anju Beta. Isn’t that so Bhabhi?” questioned Aunt Urmila, sneaking a sly look toward Anju’s still-shocked mother.
“Yes Anju, yes. Urmila is right. You should have told us. We wouldn’t have minded at all,” said her mother.
“So, is Sandy coming here today, didi?” questioned an excited Dipti.
“Yes Dipti, Sandy is going to be here tonight” sighed Anju.
“Since when have you known this Sandy” questioned Aunt Kamayani.
“Five years” replied Anju.
“What does he do?/How old is he?/Is he a foreigner?/Is that why you hid it from us?/Are you both living together?/ Have you got married to him?/Is that why you used to say no to all the proposals we sent you?” The questions flew thick and fast. The questions felt like bullets being shot from all sides.
“No Sandy isn’t a foreigner and yes we are married, is all I’ll say” a collective gasp went up here, “please do not ask me anything more. You can all meet Sandy for yourselves tonight,” said a visibly distraught Anju, holding her hands up in the air.
Before another question was directed at her, she fled to her room and locked herself in.
This wasn’t the way she wanted to break the news to her family. At their spur-of-the-moment wedding in Vegas, Sandy had asked her to let the family know, but Anju, giddy with contentment wanted to keep the news to herself for a bit.
She wanted to revel in marital happiness for some more time before she shared the news with anyone else. Sandy understood perfectly and went along with Anju’s wish. The ‘right time’ never came and it was 3 years now that they had been married. Sandy gently reminded Anju to let her family know, but Anju kept putting it off, till this is how the news broke out.
It was dinnertime when Anju finally came out of her room. She was dressed to leave for the airport to pick up Sandy. She refused to take the chauffeur and declined Raghav’s offer to drive her there.
Two hours later, as Anju’s car turned into the driveway of her house, she saw that every window was lit up, despite the late hour. She turned to look at Sandy, who gave her an encouraging nod and together they stepped out of the car. They both walked into the open front door, beyond which eager eyes awaited them.
As they stepped into the living room, hands firmly entwined, where the whole family was seated, Anju introduced everyone to the love of her life, her soul mate.
“Meet Sandhya Mishra. Known as Sandy to all.”
This post has been written for Blogchatters #WriteAPageADay Campaign and for the StorytellersBlogHop Season 3 hosted by MeenalSonal and Ujjwal Mishra for the topic ‘Shades of Love’.
40 thoughts on “The Wedding #WriteAPageADay #StoryTellersBlogHop”
What a script!
Wow, what a great twist at the end! All along I was reading the story and imagining Anju in my mind’s vision as your words are so vivid that I could visualize her very well. Love, is all about living in the feeling, nothing else matters at all. Loved the story and your storytelling, Mayuri.
Thank you for your encouraging words, Swarnali .
When the story began, it seemed like something ordinary. But the end was quite a turn. I also gasped and could imagine the family gasping too.
Loved your comment, Ambica! Thank you!
Fab!! Another amazing story which started to be just simple and the ended with a twist and turn. I loved the way how you penned it, I was able to imagine being in Anju’s position while reading it. This is just how I like the story to be.
Thanks so much, Romila!
A very well-written piece! You are quite the writer!
Thank you, Chitra.
Beautiful narration, the choice of words are fabulous. You have a way with the words, Mayuri.
Thank you, Dipika.
Loved the story, full of twists and turns!
What started as an ordinary story, turned out to be unbelievable magic. Kudos for this piece.
Thank you, Aditi.
The story started with a narrative where every girl can relate to. Liked the twist in the end, though I predicted few paras before end 🙂
Thank you, MeenalSonal.
Vivid imagery, fast paced narration kept one on tender hooks. I guessed Sandy would be a girl, because too much “boy” kept coming. Wonderful build up to the climax. You certainly are a wordsmith
Glad you enjoyed reading it, Deepika. Thank you.
Wow ! The twist at the end !! And now I can’t stop smiling as I imagine the reaction on Aunt Urmila’s face. She might have just fainted seeing Sandy aka Sandhya !! You are a true wordsmith, Mayuri as the narration just kept me glued till the end. Totally enjoyed reading it. Bravo!
Love your comment, Chinu. Thank you for reading.
Wow, now this ending is such a pleasing surprise. Love does come in different shades and I quite liked your shade of love. The wedding scenario is well written that is quite realistic too. Overall, a good story with a surprise element!
Thanks so much, Amritha.
Your words simply create magic. LOVED the story and am amazed at the ease and flair with which you carve your words. I could literally visualise the entire story! One of the best pieces I’ve read in a long time. Kudos!
Thank you for this heartwarming comment, Zenobia.
Beautiful. We all have that nosy relative who puts us in a tight spot. You have crafted Urmila auntys character so well that I could feel her roaming around trying to find my secrets. When she refused to tell anything about Sandy, I had a slight inkling that it is a she. But you have spun it really well. Loved it.
Thank you, Rakhi.
what a beautifully spun story. absolutely loved it <3
the punctuation, the narration, the story itself, the build up and the climax! waah!!
Thank you, Prisha.
Gosh Mayuri – you and I were thinking alike…..
As I started reading your story, I had a hunch about where this was going. Loved the ending. Enjoyed reading the construct. Great imagination! Looking forward to reading your other posts.
Thank so much, Sakshi.
Story was amazing for immature audience.
But there is no way it is possible for someone marry upto 3 years and not a single person in home knows.
Specially that lady who told the whole story.
This stories are just one dimensional and make less sense.
Please increase your focus on real life stories more, Thank You!
Thank you for not only reading the entire story but also creating a fake id to leave such a lengthy comment on it. You are more invested in my writing than I am. Also, I know who you are 🙂
However, I will take your advice and give a lot more thought to my plots.
I am reading a story from you after so so long Mayuri! coming to the story, you have certainly shown a new shade of love no? though I could kind of predict the gender of Sandy, you did a great job with setting the scene and building up the narrative. The bit about all the aunties was very well done.
Thank you, Harshita.
woah! I so love the ending. It kept me hookup to it. And loved how you blended the whole concept of love very simple.
Thank you for reading, Sadvika.
The last part took the story to a whole new path and explained the central character’s dilemma. The story did explained everything and completed with a well-crafted ending.
Liked it very much. Keep Going
The great writing did have a twist that left me thinking about how well the story could be written so well. Enjoyed reading.
Hhaahhaha! Oh gosh! I hope the mother didn’t get a cardiac arrest. Good story and interesting twist in the end!