Chapter 1 – ‘I’ arrived


A pregnant moon full of light in its womb was celebrating my arrival. Six young boys from my would-be village were carrying me in a wedding wooden wagon. All I could smell is sweating masculinity in the month of July in Himachal. I could see a dark brawny arm holding my wagon from in between, trying to balance my weight and suddenly I was envisioning Satu’s muscular body. I don’t remember his face. All I remember is his folded sleeves up to elbows, the thick hairline running from his wrist to the elbow and yes, his fauzi haircut; as my brother says zero haircut.

Today I married him. I will be living with him in the same room. I have always shared a sleeping room, with my mother, with Rani and suman, with my cousins but I have never shared a room with a man, with a man of my age. How it is going to be? We are supposed to sleep on the same bed, with little or no separation. How is that going to be? Our bodies will rub each other. I can smell him, his neck, his arm pits, his chest and he can do the same. Nobody will think why we are together in the same room? What we will be doing behind the doors?

Suman was teasing me for my first night. How is that going to be? I am tired, my face and forehead is all red with sindoor. Marriage ceremonies were too tiresome. In the red veil, I could see no body. I mean why to get ready and be so beautiful when nobody can see you? All I could see was hands, my hands, Satu’s hands, my mothers’ hands and priests’ hands, all stained in grains, water, milk, butter, sindoor and what not.  My face contorted at the thought of whole ceremony. I remember how I hated marriage ceremonies and how I used to tell amma that I so want to marry in court like my teacher in school did. Amma used to snap and say, ‘haan bhaag ke jayegi, naak ktayegi hamari.’

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