He checked the number of suitcases one more time. Checked the locks. All good. He glanced at the room, taking it in; the subtle changes in it. The addition of a new cupboard that was filled with a new set of clothes that belonged to someone else, the jewelry box that was settled in the lower drawer on the left hand side of the dressing table; the tiny studded silver box filled with vermilion on top. The change of sharing in the air, that someone else was also walking these wooden floors; brushed the switches with their fingertips accordingly; warmed themselves with the same blanket as he did; dreamt on the same bed. That he shared his life with someone else too now.
It was surreal, in ways he couldn’t fathom any words to express. But it was beautiful.
He remembered that day. Celebrations and chaos everywhere. It was as if the world of occasions had decided to be celebrated that day. The way the house had been dressed like a bride, awaiting one. The way everyone seemed to be stressed and excited at the same time. The boisterous ceremonies. The teasing. The laughing. His nervousness. He’d seen the way his mother had tears of joy in her eyes and wiped them the corner of the aanchal of her pink saree that had glamorous works in silver and white-he’d bought it for her- seeing him in the golden sherwani; the way his father looked at him with pride and memories. He remembered the way her house had radiated with warmth and familiarity as he proceeded with the rest of the baraat behind him. The way her-his too now-mother beamed as he bent down to touch her feet. They were all there. Extended family. Future family. All of them geared up in bonding, radiating excitement. But where was she?
He suddenly felt his heart stop as he caught his breath. She was with her brothers-living the memories of childhood that had grown up with them-giggling and nudging at them. She looked like a goddess who had descended amongst them in all her glory and glamour. She didn’t see him looking at her. But for all he knew, he couldn’t take his eyes off her and was starting to feel his cheeks flush like the holy fire in front of him. His heart was bursting with an overwhelming feeling of happiness and he felt it creep up to his lips. He saw her taking cautious steps towards the mandap; towards him; towards her future. He couldn’t stop himself from marveling at the delicate beauty of everything. He’d seen her biting her lower lip and felt her nervousness as she stole a glance at him.
He heard the melody of anklets and a soft knock on the door as she peeked into the room partially and said, “Breakfast’s ready.” with a smile that filled him with content.
He remembered how her eyes had been filled with hope and innocence. And that potent desire to protect that look; protect her. He remembered what he’d said.
“I promise you two mountains to every valley in our life together.”
And he intended on doing just that.