The door opened. I lift my eyes, and I'm suddenly exposed to alot of light. Light peering in from every angle of the room. It's irking to my eyes, but I still give a constrained smile. People infront of me are singing and dancing. They're enjoying themselves at the expense of my discomfort. I'm standing here, loosely holding the garland in my hands, hoping that I'm looking perfect in everywhich way possible. Someone's hand is trying to fix the way I was holding the garland, perhaps the angle didn't look so perfect. I was told that both hands need to be perfectly collinear while holding the garland.
I'm moving slowly, partly due to the fact that the people infront of me wouldn't stop dancing, and partly because my restrictive dress allowed me little movement. I'm giving a perfect, well practiced smile at every step, so that people feel that I'm a good bride. I'm going to be a good wife. I also have my eyes lowered, I must come across as a shy person. People don't like brides who don't lower their eyes.
My make-up has been done with extreme caution and finesse. Every stroke has been done with great precision. I must admit, I do look beautiful, but it's making me feel uncomfortable. I'm not used to so much make-up, but it's a widely accepted and followed norm that a bride must look beautiful.
It is a strange, wierd feeling when the realization that the marriage is happening for real dawns upon you. I will no longer carry my own surname, it'll be someone else's. I'll no longer be able to be carefree and free spirited, marriage means responsibility, I'll have to transition to a responsible woman. My mother used to me tell me stories of her childhood, how she used to be extremely naughty and fun-loving. But her vibrant story always came to an abrupt halt the moment she said, "Then I got married", as if marriage acted as a 'Dead End' to her enjoyable life.
My surroundings seem to transition to slow motion, and everything becomes blurred. I can't help but wonder, will the same thing happen to me ? Am I just two steps away from losing the liveliness of my life ? People are still dancing around me, but I'm suddenly feeling laden, perhaps the real realization has finally dawned upon me. A completely new chapter of my life is about to begin, I'm just one step away from entering a completely different world, a new realm, a new system, a new life. For alot of people, this realization maybe exhilerating and exciting, but I'm scared. I'm afraid of this turning point.
I finally reach the grand seat where the groom is waiting for me. The DJ is playing a supposedly romantic song called 'Bahaaron phool barsaao, mera mehboob aaya hai..", I hate this song, but I smile nevertheless. The cheering gets louder as I go and stand infront of the groom. He's holding the garland too. People are trying to make this ceremony amusing by trying out various antics. Why people like to mess around during the 'jaymala' ceremony evades me. Why can't we just exchange garlands and get over with it ?
Someone lifts the groom up, so that I can't put the garland around his neck. I don't try to either. After a few moments of continued (and unwanted) delay, he finally moves towards me and puts the garland around my neck, I do the same and we turn to face the people. The photographer jumps out and requests us to take our previous 'pose' again, so that he could take a photo. He basically wanted us to position ourselves in such a way that it seems as though we're still putting the garlands around each other's necks.
This starts my thought process again. Why does everything seem so fake ? So artificial ? Is this marriage a superficial ceremony only to be recorded for future entertainment purposes ? The 'Jaymala' is supposed to be pure, true and genuine ceremony, not an eye-candy for ten thousand people and a juicy oppurtunity for the photographer to click endless photos.
As we take our seats and the crowds moves towards the DJ, I know that the entire ceremony went as planned, and as practiced. It was perfect. I looked perfect, the groom looked perfect. But now, in this very moment, I was wishing, more than anything else, to get out of that room, shed my artificial look and be imperfect again.