Dedicated to: Fahad Y Mohammed, my very own special *Boss*
It was a day I had played so many times in my mind. It seemed picture perfect always. Just the way it was supposed to happen. Just the way it was supposed to be. Happy faces everywhere. Happiness everywhere. And, on top of the elevated platform, maybe you could call it the stage, they stood, smiles pasted on them – head to toe. It seemed that everyone was extremely delighted – that sort that you get after finishing a big deed you have always been waiting to complete, coupled with a sense of satisfaction and fatigue. Somewhere, kids were playing hide and seek and deeper into the hall, inside a very remote door, a man seemed to be yelling a lot of instructions. Chairs screeched and moved everywhere. And mobile phones kept singing every minute – to each, his tune. I stood at my place, near the door of a very intricately carved teak door, slowly rotating my mobile between my thumb and my index finger. My eyes were observing the people around me, and weirdly, something felt totally wrong.
The previous night’s party was so much fun! We had danced and danced and danced through the night till our legs had screamed in pain for salvation. The head was still feeling dizzy. Party lights were glistening from all directions and the decorations were still glittering. Too tired to think about anything, everyone was returning to their rooms past 2 in the morning, the big day, or let’s say, the big moment reckoning in less than 5 hours. I dragged on to my room and flipped right into the bed. After what seemed like a minute, somebody was banging on my door. “Get ready, get ready! We have just 2 more hours to go! Wake up, sleepy-heads!” I could hear the joy evident in his voice, as he happily went tripping by, banding on any door his hands could reach. I was picturing how his really-nosy-and-pompous aunt would have crushed him into a big early-morning hug to show that she was also westernized and that she has ‘forward’ thinking. I laughed a little to myself and rubbed my eyes, sitting up on my bed and stretching with a huge yawn. I saw the clock that was beside me on the table. Oh, boy! It was just 4 in the morning. I couldn’t remember seeing that time on any clock before in my life. Big day, it sure was.
In about half an hour, the whole place was buzzing again, and I could sense the excitement even within my room. Even the children had woken up and babies were wailing at the top of their voices. Everyone seemed to be shouting instructions to everyone else. I didn’t hear his voice again. He should’ve been pouring over himself in front of the mirror. Definitely. I could hear a lot of bangles clinking outside my door and a few bangs again, just checking if I was awake already. I had to keep shouting from my shower that I was already up. Forty-five minutes later, fully dressed, I stepped out of the room and walked to the grand hall. I could see red drapes hanging from the ceiling. Balloons were fixed everywhere. The walls had been decorated with white satin and a lot of laces tied them together. The red carpet ran from the entrance to the grand hall right until the stage. The chairs had been adorned with the same white satin and a bunch of flowers were placed to hold the cloth. The whole room seemed to glitter, white and red deftly combined to bring about the air of celebration and joy.
I had chosen a blue dress. Of course it had a lot of sophisticated work on it. When I had first seen the dress at the shop, I had jumped a few steps back. The dress looked like it had been dipped into a basin full of glitter and stone work. The blue and white balance was perfect. But I would look like an idiot, walking around with so much of a flashy decoration. But he had insisted that I get it. “It would look amazing on you! It’s the big day! Come on! You should do it for me!” I couldn’t ever argue with him. And I wanted his day to be filled with everything that pleased him. And there I was, wearing the blue and wondering if people would be able to spot me or if they would mistake me for another piece of decoration, considering the amount of glow the hall was generating. I was thanking the stars that at least the colour was different – blue. It should stand out from the red and white everywhere.
His friends were laughing about some joke and trying to attract the attention of the girls. Couldn’t blame them. All the girls around were extremely pretty. Measuring by the intensity of the laughter, it sure was an adult joke, that much I could say. I could recognize a few of them. They turned towards me and a few waved. They spoke among themselves and a shot of recognition wiped a few more faces and they called out a hello. I smiled, waved and moved inside. In the side room, his mother was chatting happily with her sisters.
“Oh, my little girl! You look so beautiful! I told you this dress would look so wonderful on you! Looks like I should appoint someone to watch over you so that no one kidnaps you from the hall!” she joked and laughed. Her sisters laughed along with her. I blushed and stood there.
“Is there any work I should do, aunty?”
“Definitely! Enjoy yourself and eat a lot!” she said and laughed, tapping my cheeks.
I took leave from there. Time seemed to be running and the grand hall was filling quickly. Music started playing from somewhere and the excitement grew even more. Waiters with shining white suits weaved through the crowd carefully and took around drinks and snacks, smiling at everyone they met. The attire of all the forty-plus women in the hall put my dress to shame. They were walking glitter factories. It looked like they had forced their husbands in their tuxedos because not eve one of them seemed happy or comfortable enough to be inside one. The rich NRI sons seemed to be gleefully flirting with all the girls around, boasting about their brand new N8s and Rolex watches.
At about 8 o’ clock, he came into the grand hall from his room, draped in a cream-coloured traditional suit and adorned at the borders with a band of gold. The cameras went in a frenzy, clicking him from all angles. He loved it, no wonder, the narcissist that he was. He was searching for someone. And his eyes flashed a look of extreme pride when they found mine. I gave him a thumbs-up. He beamed. And in minutes, the crowd arose and burst into applause as the girl was brought inside the grand hall. She was draped all in red, flowers adorning her hair and garlands around her neck. There was a glow beyond all diamond that she was decked with, from her face. Her dad stood beside her, proud man. The music changed notes and I think the grand march was played. Dad and daughter, they walked the red carpet, the cute little cousins of his following suite, with flower bunches in their hand and obvious delight pasted in their round, big eyes, wide-open and taking in the grandeur of the moment, smiling to every camera possible. The elders were murmuring among themselves. I was positive that the topic of discussion was definitely about the girl’s beauty. I smiled. The girl reached the altar and he stood there waiting, beaming at her.
The ceremony took about forty minutes. At the end of it, he held her close to him and kissed her on the forehead. The crowd erupted into a cheery applause and more cameras flashed. I caught a tear slipping by my cheek. More ceremonies followed and people were dispersing for lunch. The cameras followed the couple like paparazzi and I retired to my room. I was way too tired and sleepy.
The sound of music awakened me. The clock said it was four in the evening. I decided to have a shower. I was just then putting on my ring when my mobile rang – the much awaited call. Finally, ‘The-Dream-Guy’ was coming. This just couldn’t get better. I rechecked my make-up in the mirror. He was definitely going to like what he was going to see. I smiled to myself and went to the grand hall. The crowd was assembling again. I decided to take a walk outside in the garden. The children were happily chasing each other. He came, scooping me into a sideways hug and giving me a peck on the forehead. I was way too stunned to talk anything. He took me out in his car – there was one more hour to spare till the evening celebrations began. We went to an ice cream parlour and had a double scoop of everything I wanted. He spoke about his business deals and how beautiful his office was turning out to be, after the redecorations. He seemed to be enjoying his work. He gave me a little package, gift-wrapped.
“Give it to your Boss. I have a feeling that he will like it.”
He came and dropped me back at the grand hall and kissed me goodbye. He had to get back to work for some important meeting. I walked back into the hall. And there they stood. Beautiful and stunning. Definitely, they were made for each other. They matched each other so completely even at the intellectual levels. The photo-shoot seemed to be going on. The music so easily tuned everyone into the right mood. The DJs sure were doing a good job. The dance floor opened up and couples were dancing ever where. Aunty and uncle were looking so adorable, doing a few moves together. I captured that moment in my mind. The couple descended to the dance floor. The cake was cut and the speeches and toasts were made.
He stood there, holding her in his arms, in his master tuxedo, stitched specially for the occasion and re-checked a few million times by him over the past one week. I never understood why he wanted a purple coloured suit. He seemed to fancy it a lot. And he had white roses at his pocket. She was the personification of perfect beauty, draped in aquamarine attire. A couple of diamonds glistened there and here. The rings were joyfully showing themselves off, bursting into the rainbow effect when any source of light but touched them. I walked up to them and he beamed his big smile for me. Being the wedding planner for my own Boss’s wedding was no joke. Every arrangement had to be rechecked three hundred and forty times. He wouldn’t let me go arrange for anything alone. Which meant a rechecking for the rechecking for another half a million times. We had chosen everything, right from the colour theme up to the DJ, together. Most of the times, his enthusiasm would eat up my energy levels and I would collapse into a heap of tiredness on his shoulders and sleep it off, as we came back from arranging whatever we could for each day. I gave him the package ‘The-Dream-Guy’ had brought and gave her the jewellery I had purchased for the occasion some two months back. She smiled. “Good luck, Bhabi! It takes an enormous amount of skill, talent and patience combined to handle him. I am hoping you turn out to be the master of them all!” She laughed. He beamed even more and wrapped me into a tight hug. He mumbled something like, “Thank you, baby. For this day and everything.” It might have even been, “I’m going to kill you baby, for this.” I have no clue. He seemed to be too crazily enjoying the moment, or maybe he was intoxicated by the magnanimity of the moment, to talk any sense. I slipped away from them as the cameras suddenly started flashing wildly again.
I took a good twenty steps away from the centre of attraction and wondered to myself. It was a day I had played so many times in my mind. It seemed picture perfect always. Just the way it was supposed to happen. Just the way it was supposed to be. Happy faces everywhere. Happiness everywhere. And, on top of the elevated platform, maybe you could call it the stage, they stood, smiles pasted on them – head to toe. It seemed that everyone was extremely delighted – that sort that you get after finishing a big deed you have always been waiting to complete, coupled with a sense of satisfaction and fatigue. Somewhere, kids were playing hide and seek and deeper into the hall, inside a very remote door, a man seemed to be yelling a lot of instructions. Chairs screeched and moved everywhere. And mobile phones kept singing every minute – to each, his tune. I stood at my place, near the door of a very intricately carved teak door, slowly rotating my mobile between my thumb and my index finger. My eyes were observing the people around me, and weirdly, something felt totally wrong.
I ran upstairs and went to the window where we had sat a month ago, on the evening we had chosen this grand palace for the wedding ceremony, sipping coffee and observing the rain pouring outside. He was promising me that he would take up the job of the wedding planner when ‘The-Dream-Guy’ and I would decide to get married. He promised to roam with me a good three extra months more than the time we had worked for his marriage – which would mean half a year – and help me hire the best of everything for what he called the second part of the best moment of his life. And now I sat there, wondering: Would we be able to sip another cup of coffee after maybe 5 more years and plan my wedding? Would we be able to so carelessly roam around the city at odd hours, searching for a catering service when it was heavily pouring outside? Would I still be able to take the liberty to sleep off on his shoulder when I was way too tired after the day’s roaming? Would it still make sense to call him up in the middle of the night and demand him to speak with me to entertain me? Would I still be able to lay down rules and kick him every day and make him do his work with lesser distractions? Would his wife think me as an intruder, insisting on the idea that anything apart from being blood-related didn’t qualify as being siblings?
I was trying hard not to let the tears slip by and I was very quickly losing the battle. What if I could never yell at him again in the tea-stall or what if I could never ask him to take me out to shop for the exact shade of pink hair clip? Too many questions were flashing in the mind and it seemed like a zillion voices were screaming in my head. The quiet upstairs was driving me insane. Wiping my tears, I came running down the stairs and I stumbled into Nivash. He seemed to have cried a bit too. His eyes were red.
“Hey, Bugs!” he quipped.
I breathed deeply, not talking anything, scared if my voice would break and give me away.
“You need to remove your eye makeup, Bugs. Your tears have smudged it enough to give it away quite easily.”
I gave up and let another tear roll by. He gave me a tiny hug and patted my shoulder. The silence seemed enough. Suddenly, a loud shot of music blared from downstairs and the people were cheering loudly for something. Should have definitely been an attention-grabbing antic by him. And he seemed to be getting every bit of what he asked for.
“I’ll join you in a few minutes. Go down. That guy is having the time of his life!” Nivash said, as he smiled and disappeared upstairs. I slowly descended the stairs and saw the bride and the groom swaying to the music. He was trying to dance. The people loved him and even aunty and uncle were cheering loudly. I wanted to laugh.
I stood there, head titled, slowly absorbing in every detail of the moment. Every part of the hall held a story for me. So many bus trips. So many picture-posing sessions. So many tea shops. So many arguments. So many bargaining skills and so many memories. I heard some footsteps behind me and before I could turn around, Nivash was there, standing beside me, an assuring hand on my shoulder and smiling through his moist eyes. The dance ended and he kissed the bride. I leaned into Nivash’s elbow – no, I couldn’t reach his shoulder, thanks to his unearthly height – and he held my shoulder. He posed for more pictures and out of the whole day’s celebration, his beaming face and his glistening eyes and that million-dollar smile were pasted firmly in my mind. Wrapping up all the rest of the memories to another section of my brain, I let that picture of him stay in my mind.
“Time runs away so quickly from our grasp, no?” Nivash says. I smile and shrug and lean on the carved door. It still had a small stain of the coke we had splashed on each other during the fun-fight we had had on the day we booked the hall, much to the horror of the watch-man who had to chase us away.
P.s: This is just an imaginative write-up. I was just trying to visualize how that day would be, in the future, when my Boss gets married. 'Boss' not in the literal sense - I just call him that. :)
[Picture courtesy: Deviantart.]
- Just Someone.