On Marriage

We both learnt that a marriage was not what the married folk made it to be. It was not in just the happy pictures and social appearances.

A bunch of bangles hang from a thread in the ceiling to denote a wedding in India
Photo by Lenzil Gonsalves / Unsplash

Here are a few paragraphs from an earlier version of my short story that is forthcoming in a literary magazine. I hope you like it. Happy weekend folks! :)

We both learnt that a marriage was not what the married folk made it to be. It was not in just the happy pictures and social appearances. In pretty sarees and white veshtis. No. It was much more than that.

It was in the night lillies that burst open, as they cascaded from a pot near our bedroom window. It was our fart smells that lit and exploded inside the bedsheet, and sometimes, our combined smell of sweat on a night without electricity. It was the food that Rana made, and the clothes he ironed for us. It was in the slimy drools and sticky phlegm when one or both of us got sick. It was in the soups. It was in the store-bought samahan.

It was in our sodhi with chopped vegetables fried and tossed in coconut oil, and in the sounds of appalam crackling in our mouths. It was watching our turmeric roots sprouting in the middle of the day. It was our pumpkin creepers coiling and hugging on to the creeper grid we built of slender bamboo sticks. It was our orange bougainvillea, and the seashells abandoned by their dwellers, quietly pocketed by me on our walks by the crashing waves. It was the sun slanting into our living room. It was our incense sticks, and the brass candelabras.

It was my embroidered telephone covers with doily edges and yellow hibiscuses threaded in French knots on it. It showed itself as an unexpected tear in my pyjamas as I rolled myself into a cartwheeled yoga pose. It rang in the morning whistles of the pressure cooker and in the evening chiming of the Tanjore wall clock a wedding guest gifted us. It sang in the toasting of crunchy groundnuts on an iron skillet. It lingered in the wooden teapoy with two steaming cups of tea and a plate of biscuits. It was in our fights, in the collision of our intellects sparring on a balmy Wednesday night. It was our slurred speeches, after a few pegs of whisky. It was our books, and their authors.

It was the world map, splayed out on the pocked mosaic floor. The world we built and the words we birthed. We dwelled in it. We had no plans of abandoning it. We sealed the entry and exit points. We were its only occupants — its only owners. The marriage was a partnership, and there were no tenants. Guests who questioned or disrespected this were thrown out. Respectfully.

It was all us — and a language between only the two of us.

Photo on social cards by Prakhar Saxena on Unsplash