I reached the reception venue. It wasn’t flamboyant; nor was it base or plain. There was a simple elegance and old school charm associated with it. Much like the crazy bride who was getting married. Actually, it wasn’t her exactly; it was them. Together they’d always seemed so to me; simple yet elegant, crazy in love yet subtle and calm in their togetherness.
I don’t know which of us loons from college was going to make it to this wedding. I had to Skype the wedding ceremony to two friends – they couldn’t fly down to India for every wedding ceremony. The last one of us who got married recently, very few had made it. In contrast, the ones who got married right after college or a year post college had almost everyone from college attending. I don’t know the logic per se, it just happened to be so. There simply was no time anymore, ever.
Waiting in the buzzing gathering, looking at the dozen whatsapp groups for news of late comers, now and then glancing around the hall hoping to catch a known face, my mind wandered on to my life.
I was at crossroads these days, perpetually. In every facet of earthly life, over and over again. So much so that it seemed like I was being forced to rent out that grumpy apartment during my first job – that one apartment in the middle of nowhere but close to office (of course the office was in the middle of nowhere too) – year after year, month after month, yet another day. I guess I’m associating the feeling of being lost and hitting actual roadblocks in life with staying in a dark lonely apartment that I hated from the day I moved in – the unpleasantness, all the while drawing at straws in mute desperation for a happy change. Would it ever be enough? I wonder, considering my life from a healthy positive distance : I have a more than decent job, a good home (long way from the lonely grumpy apartment), a great support system, good bunch of friends, my hobbies and a casual dating scene. I have it all, good and beyond. Isn’t it enough?
Seeing it from up close and through my eyes: Not at all. Nothing, my life.
Life seemed to have just lost the naive and innocent purity that made it beautiful, and I was made aware of the fact every minute in my daily life. I felt it at work, surrounded by corporate cut throats and their materialistic game of snakes and ladders. I felt it with my companions, who I realised I liked being with only after downing a couple of shots. I felt it in public spaces when dealt a cheating hand, in work that didn’t make my head whirr in excitement, in company that didn’t make my heart dance, amongst people and conversations that just failed to create any impression, much less a favourable one.
I felt it in the meagre amount of time I got for myself.
The meaninglessness of it all just took the wind off my sails.
I understood that I had to look within and change my perspective.
In an odd ball of a way that’s exactly why I was here.
Remembering that, I chucked my phone and the dozen whatsapp groups out of sight and out of mind. I walked up to the stage where my friends were sitting posing for people to wish them and click photos. At first pretty sure some relative would chase me away from their side, I kept a bit of distance. Soon I settled right behind them, gossiping and making sure to duck behind during photo shoots.
As the night progressed I think I understood why I’d chosen their wedding ceremony to get back to connecting with life’s other side.
The reasoning only solidified the next morning, their wedding day.
They’d chosen to get married in a temple nearby which wasn’t as grand as the wedding venue in the movie ‘2 states’, but just as wondrous. Very few people were invited, just a handful. There was no sweat and noise, typical in most Indian wedding. There was no sense of urgency or haste, everything just was. The decorations at bare minimal and everyone wearing the simplest and most beautiful raiments. The weather was again, perfectly pleasant. It was, to me, the most beautiful setting for two of those lucky people who struck gold the very first time they looked.
There, as the wedding proceeded in a timely fashion, I felt a bit of my old genuinely positive self seep back into my body. Is this why all the elders believed so much in weddings? Because of this happy and soul stirring feeling? Is this why youngsters are pestered all the time to get married? I don’t think so. Most of the wedding ceremonies I’d attended previously were just about the food or a social formality. To each his own; like my father once said he likes to attend weddings because that’s the only place he gets to meet old friends and cousins.
I think this ceremony held a strong claim to my heart because of my friends. They represented that class of fairy tale characters who meet, fall in love and have their always and forever.
More, rather. They met, fell in love, lived life with that special brand of energy they found in each other, fought and moved away, came back, doubted a future together, didn’t plan for anything serious, and just held on to the present moment.
All of us just knew from the first moment though; they were meant to be together. All of us – even when they didn’t believe it themselves, when life threw a few rough turns.
Seeing them now, the same happy selves, the same chemistry they shared back then, my heart felt lighter than it had in ages.
It helped lay the first stepping stone in finding myself, within.
I think it reinforced my long lost belief in happiness and the goodness ever present in the world.
One just had to hold and keep searching, even in the darkest of times.
Crossroads won’t find me so unsettled and torn apart anymore.
~ story by AK
Other short stories in chatterboxerr can be found at : https://chatterboxerr.wordpress.com/short-stories/