Submitted into Contest #2 in response to: Write a story about someone who's haunted by their past.... view prompt



I belong to a middle-class family of Kolkata, yet my wedding is taking place in Chunda Palace, Udaipur only because of Dad's college friend Aditya Rathore, who belongs to a very rich family of Kolkata insisted to host a destination wedding for me because he wanted to feel how the responsibility of marrying a daughter feels as because they have no children of their own. The guests already started arriving. The ritual will begin tomorrow: Mehendi, Sangeet, Haldi and then the wedding. Chunda Palace is a beautiful palatial hotel offering mountain views, international dining and also indoor & outdoor pools. I'm staying in The Royal Imperial Suites, it adorns colorful embellishments, vast size, and royal interiors. And it gives a breathtaking scenic view from the room. I wish it had been another day instead of my marriage. I am nervous and scared too of course because of the wedding.

It's an arranged marriage. I didn't want to be a burden on my parents anymore. They were worried about me. I have to had agreed for their sake. I never thought I would ever get into an arranged marriage and so soon. Kabir and his family came to our house last month. The day Kabir and his family came to see me, next week the Roka ceremony (a pre-engagement) took place. It marks the beginning of the relationship between the two of our families followed by Ardaas a small puja.

"Are you ready, Meera? Kabir's family has arrived." Knocking on the door Maa said.

The door swings open Maa enters the room. I get up from the stool. Maa looked at me from bottom to top. I'm wearing India's one of the top brand Kalki Fashion's beautiful Bottle Green Anarkali Gown Beautified With Resham And Zari Embroidery Work. Maa was amazed by my look. 

"You're looking beautiful Mahi." She put kajal behind my ear and caresses my face. I smile at her. We head to the roof where Kabir's family and relatives were seated. The arrangement was done beautifully. The colorful tassels and the pink decor were looking perfect for the ceremony.

Everyone compliments me. I touch the elder's feet of Kabir's family and then sit on the pink and white decor dewan. Kabir's mother drapes me with a red chunni (stole). It was Kabir's family heirloom, it was passed down from their generation to generation. The beautiful chunni is net gold thread embroidered patterns all over the length of the chunni is an intricate gold thread and sequence embroidery and fringe border. It was beautiful. I was also presented with jewelry which Kavya, my sister-in-law help me to wear. After that, she applies a tiny dot of henna paste on my palm for good luck. They stayed for one and a half an hour and then head back to their hotel. We have to do two hotel reservations as the groom's side has 200 guests and this hotel doesn't have that many rooms.

After the shagan ceremony is over I head to my room and take some rest because later I have to get ready for the engagement ceremony which was going to happen in the evening. I haven't talked to Kabir since he was busy in his business deals. I am excited as well as nervous to meet Kabir. I like Kabir, he's a nice guy I want to tell him the truth but at the same time, I am scared to tell him what if he broke our wedding? what if he tells his parents? But I don't want to start a new relationship with him with a hidden secret. It's killing me to start a new relationship with a lie.

For the engagement, I wore Shyamal & Bhumika's beautiful pastel lehenga. I don't want to hide the truth from Kabir. Before he himself finds out the truth I need to tell him. I will try to speak to him about that. One bitter truth, one mistake ruin my life and here I'm all blank, don't know what I should do? I want to move on in my life I want to happy again but the past, the mistake is pulling me backward. It's not letting me go off it. It's hard to live with that burden, the guilt, the regret than anything else. It's digging inside my heart like a sharp dragger deeper and deeper. But I have to face the truth I have to talk to Kabir before its too late.

I am sitting in my room with my friends but I am thinking about Kabir. How I'm going to tell him the truth. It's really hard to do. I don't know how he will react to the thing What if he backs off?

"Mahi! Kabir and his family are here. Its time to go." Kirti said.

"Kabir is looking sexy" Said Priya.

Shruti gives me a last finishing touch. After that Maa enter the room and I head toward the roof with Maa and my friends. I enter the rooftop.

 "Why its pitch dark and so quiet in here? I can't see anything. Where is everyone?" I wonder.

I step forward and the spotlight falls on me I guard my face with my hand. Suddenly the song is played "Tere Sang - Rustom". I look around from where the music is being played when suddenly someone grabs my hand from behind. When the man comes forward I instantly recognize him, It's Kabir with a big smile on his face. The lights were dim. I could see people looking at us. They clap, make happy noise and cheer for us. I realized It was Kabir's surprise dance for me. I dance along with him matching the rhythm and steps with him. After the song ends everyone claps for us. Suddenly, Kabir hugs me in front of everyone. It was so sudden I was shocked but I couldn't resist him. I hug him back. The crowd makes noise. I was feeling a little shy. Kabir pulls back smiling at me. He holds my hand and leads me to the stage. We sit on the sofa.

"You're looking gorgeous, today," Kabir whispers in my ear. I thank him and compliment him back. 

My friend Shruti and Kabir's sister Kavya bring the rings on the stage. Kabir and I get up and hold the rings in our hands. We look at each other and smiled. We exchange rings and our families exchange gifts like clothes, sweets, and fruits. Everyone claps for us. Right after the ring exchange, the groom and bride sides dance-off begins. The ceremony ended with our dance on "Dekha Hazaro Dafaa - Rustom." Suddenly the lights go off. Everyone was wondering. Suddenly a hand grab my hand and pull me toward him.

"Shhhh... It's me, Kabir." He whispers. 

"You did it?" I asked. 

" I wanted to give you something that I cannot give in front of everyone," he said.


He suddenly leans forward and kisses on my lips. I froze at that moment. Right after the kiss, the lights back on. 

"Are you guys alright?" Maa asked. 

I nodded to maa and I look at Kabir in surprise. He winks at me. 

"I think we should move on now. Myra must be tired. Tomorrow will be a little more hectic day for her." 

He then walks out of the rooftop with his family members. I head to my room with my friends. My friends were staying in the next room. Bidding them goodnight I get inside my room. I head to my closet, get my nightdress and head inside the bathroom. I took a long shower and put on my nightdress. I walk out of the bathroom rubbing my hair with the towel. I sat on my bed. The happiness, the excitement everything was gone. I couldn't tell Kabir. How would I have told him? He was so happy, I was too. If I had told her the truth, this relationship would have broken. Don't know how he reacts? But I can't hide it. It's wrong. I should tell him the truth. He deserves to know the truth. I lay on my bed and close my eyes. I am stuck between the devil and the deep sea. I don't want to hide the truth from Kabir but at the same time, I don't want to lose him. I like him, I love him he makes me feel special and important, he cares about me, he loves me. 

I open my eyes. "Yes! he loves me and he will understand, I believe. Tomorrow I will tell him the truth no matter what."

The next day, I dressed in Kalki Fashion's citrus green double layered with pre-stitched pallo lehenga for the Mehendi ceremony. The rooftop is beautifully decorated. It's giving the vibes of the wedding. I am just stunned to see colorful hanging umbrellas and the yellow-green decor it's just perfect. Aditya uncle has chosen the perfect Wedding Venue.

I sit on the floral decorated wooden swing. Four Mehandi artists were arranged for the Mehandi ritual only for me. And three others for the rest of the family ladies and friends. Uncle also arranged Folk singers too. They are singing and entertaining us. The mehndi artists start applying the Mehandi on my hands and feet. I put a fake smile on the face whole time so people couldn't see how worried I'm inside. I want to meet Kabir and tell him the truth. But I have to wait until the evening. I will tell him during the sangeet ceremony. I am scared and nervous. My heart skips one beat whenever I think about the moment when I have to tell Kabir the truth. My friends and my cousins dance on the beat. I watch them sitting on the swing.

After a few hours, I am getting dressed for the sangeet.

"The groom's side has arrived. Are you guys done yet?" Anu enters the room.

My heart skips a beat. Kabir is here. I am going to tell him the truth today. I look at myself in the mirror. I'm dressed in Kalki'sLP natural beige satin jaal embroidered net gown with a drape at the back. I inhale a deep breath and get up from the stool.

I enter the rooftop. I was decorated in cocktail party decor with a starry backdrop. The stage was all lightened up. Our sitting stage was so breathtaking. I saw Kabir with his friends dressed in a suit. He was looking stunning. His friend sees me and whispers something in Kabir's ear. He looks at me. Our gaze met. I walk toward the stage with my friends.

While climbing on to the stage I stumble. Kabir holds me and pulls me closer.

"No matter what you wear, you always look fantastic," Kabir whispers in my ears.

He held my hand and we sit on the sofa together. He looks at me and gives me a teasing smile. He's making it difficult for me to tell him the truth. My heart is beating faster. But I gather my courage. I exhale a breath and turn toward him.

"Kabir! I want to tell you something."

"I'm listening," he replied.

"Kabir I wanted to tell you the......" Before I could say the rest his friends and cousins come on the stage and pull him away from me. The sangeet ceremony begins. The bride and groom's sides start competing against each other. We are sitting now apart from each other. Kabir is sitting with his family and I'm sitting with my family. I have to wait but I'm restless. I need to tell him. I can't hold this thing to me. One by one member of each family performs on the stage. I look for an opportunity to go to Kabir. But every time I get closer to him someone comes between us. The function comes to an end and finally, I get a chance to talk to Kabir. I hold his hand and took him in the corner away from our family. 

"Kabir... I need to talk to you. I...." Kabir didn't let me complete my words. He pulls me closer to him and distracts me from my thoughts.

"I know what you want to tell me. It's so difficult to stay away from my beautiful fiancee. I can't wait to make you mine forever."

I am lost in his eyes. My eyes travel between his eyes and lips. My throat is dry. My lips are like sealed. I wanted to speak but I can't.

"Oh! You love birds are hiding here. We were looking for you everywhere." I jumped on the voice. Kabir and I stand apart from each other. Kavya found us.

"What you want? Can't I have some moment with my fiancee?" Kabir said.

"No! you can't. It's only a few more hours and you two will have a lifetime to spend with each other but not now. We need to go." Kavya said.

"But Kabir I need to talk to you I want...." Kavya stops me in the middle. She steps forward.

"Come on Bhabhi! The fruit of patience is sweet. You both need rest. Tomorrow is the big day of your life. You have to look the best." Kavya said.

Kavya didn't let me speak to Kabir. She pulls Kabir away from me. I lost the chance. I couldn't tell him the truth. Maybe not today but tomorrow I have to tell him the truth before our wedding. I head back to my family.

Early morning, I dressed in a mint color salwar suit. The very first ritual takes place Kangna Bandhana Ceremony, mouli, a sacred thread is tied on my wrist by Pandit Ji. It considered being a good-luck charm. After that, the Chooda Chadhana ceremony took place. I drape the chunni over my head. After the havan, I close my eyes and pandit Ji dip the chooda in the liquid mixed rose petal and milk. After that one by one Dheeraj Mama put the bangles on my wrists and cover it with white handkerchiefs. After a few moments, Shruti and others put the kalira on my wrists.

After that, I get up and shake my kalide tied to the chooda on my unmarried friends and cousins stand beneath it. It is believed that if a part of the kalide or a leaf falls on one of their heads, then she would be the next one to get married. It falls on Anu's head. Everyone cheers. I head to my room to get dressed for the haldi ceremony. I quickly dressed in jacket lehenga and head upstairs. 

The Haldi ceremony begins. One by one everyone come forward and put haldi on my cheeks, forehead, hands, and feet. Everyone was happy and enjoying. The female members of my family chase after each other with the leftover paste. It was fun. After the haldi is over I head back to my room and get ready for the main event. I didn't get an opportunity to meet Kabir. I need to call him and ask him to meet me somehow. I can't do this. I can't start a relationship with a lie. I make a call to Kabir but He wasn't able to make it. Shruti and others get me dressed in my bridal attire.    

Kabir arrived with the baraat. I could hear the firecrackers and all. Maa and Papa get emotional to see me in the red bridal lehenga. I get emotional too. After that, my friends and cousins took me to the mandap. I am nervous and scared. I want to stop the wedding and tell Kabir about the truth but I can't do that. One by one the rituals take place followed by varmala, madhuperk, kanyadaan, mangal phere, Lajahom, and the sindoor daan. I felt guilty I started a relationship with a lie. I didn't make it. I couldn't tell the truth to Kabir.

It's our first night, I am sitting on the bed waiting for Kabir. I know it's late but not that late I will tell Kabir the truth that.... that I'm not a virgin. I had an intimate relationship with my ex. In India, a girl's virginity matters a lot. Its a taboo in India to have sex before marriage with anyone. I fear what if Kabir is among the boys who will judge me on my virginity and divorce me or he would blackmail me for dowry from my parents. I don't know what will happen but I need to tell him before he finds out and feels betrayed.

A knock on the door, Kabir enters the room and locks the door behind. He heads toward me and sits on the bed beside me. He slowly takes the veil off my face. He leans closer but I look away.

"I need to tell you something. I was trying for a long time to tell you but never got the opportunity to tell you the truth." I said.

"Truth? What truth?" He asked.

"I want to tell you that...." I swallowed the lump in my throat. Close my eyes and exhale breath. "I'm not a virgin. I was an intimate relationship with my ex. But it was 2 years ago. I was madly in love with him and I thought he was the right person for me. He's the one. So we had sex. But later I realized he was just using me for sex & money. I was just a toy to him and nothing else. Please don't hate me for what I did. It was my past." I look at Kabir. He was looking at me with astonishment.

"But now I fell for you. I love you and I don't want to lose you. I didn't want to keep you in dark trust me but...." I look at him, hehe's not saying anything.

"Are you mad? Please talk to me. Say something."

But he said nothing.

August 16, 2019 20:27

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