He whistled. It was not the usual whistle that he blew to sing his favorite Kishore Kumar songs, with melody, romance, and emotions in the right proportions. It was a harsh one. The melody was missing completely and the tone was as inappropriate as the words of a newborn baby. No one including him had heard it before. Perhaps he had just composed it, thinking about what was coming next in his life. And even though the moment was not appropriate for a whistle, he could not stop himself. It made him to feel better, without regretting anything that he had done.
Two Hours Before:
The whole village was busy in celebrating the wedding, in their own traditional style. Old ladies were singing folk songs in their croaky voices, while the younger ones were soliciting their men to consume more drinks so that they could explore more of their wilderness, which was otherwise not possible. Men were busy in drinking local wine and were least bothered about anything else in this world. They were equally excited about the night as they could pretend that they were doing with someone else’s wife and meet their fantasies in the drunken state. Children were busy in hiding and seeking, while singing the latest songs that they had heard on Akashwani last Sunday. Some were eavesdropping to the conversations of the adults and getting amused, equally surprised too, about the masked wickedness of the elder generation.
This was a typical wedding scenario in the village. Except this time, the bride was not in a mood to follow the rules of the society. She had her reasons. Her lover and her groom were two different men. In her whole life she had never imagined that. When she was a little girl, she would tell everyone that she would marry someone who would look like Rajesh Khanna. They laughed at her, and she blushed and hid her face behind her hands. When she found him, her perfect man, she told him that he looked like her favorite actor. He took pride in that. But unfortunately the groom was no hero. He looked more like an old man who would not even go to cinema with her. Her lover however was a different man. He had a big heart, as many people said. When her marriage was decided, he asked her to force herself to love her husband and forget everything about him.
I was the past. You will get over me and have a happy life – he had said. If only it was that easy. It was too late for her to forget him. She had gifted him her body, her heart and her soul. I am yours and you are mine – she had told him countless times in her life. And even when he had made it clear that he wouldn’t come back, she was still expecting him. She knew that he would come and take her away.
The ceremonies commenced. The tears in her eyes were not noticeable because of the Pardah. Love as they say is the most dreadful disease. It leaves you in a state where you die every moment but the hope of being together doesn’t let you die in actuality. And she was in love.
The wedding continued and almost all the ceremonies were completed. Except the final one – Where the bride and the groom were to be taken to the hill top to offer prayers to the river. And they did. When the last ritual was performed where the statues of bride and groom were thrown from the hill top, no one noticed that it was not the statue of the groom that was thrown, but his dead body.
Inside the palanquin, bride’s lover was whistling softly. He was murmuring – I am yours and you are mine. Everyone seemed to be ignorant about what all had happened. However, even he was ignorant too. That in the other palanquin, there was only the statue of the bride – the bride who was slowly drowning in the river.