26th Nov 2007
“Where are we going?”, I asked Abeer. We got engaged 7 months back, after seeing each other for 5 years. We were going to get married in another 20 days. “When can I open my blindfold?” I asked him, fidgeting with the blindfold over my eyes”
“In some time. Just stop fidgeting and stay still”, he said, as he held my hand and led me somewhere.
“Why can’t you just tell me what my surprise is? Why all this? But what is my surprise, tell me no”, I said. It was our 5th anniversary.
“If you’re going to keep on asking such irrelevant and redundant questions even after marriage, then I have some serious rethinking to do”
“How is asking what my surprise gift is on my anniversary an irrelevant question?”, I argued back
“Aaaarooohiii…the only way I can shut you up is this…..” he stopped, lifted me in his arms, kissed me on the lips and started walking again.
After a while, he stopped and put me down. Then it seemed like he was opening a door with some keys. He got me in. All this while I was wondering where on Earth he had got me in the name of our 5th Anniversary celebration. He opened my blindfold and I after a couple of moments of disorientation, I realised we were in his living room standing by a table with a real big, fat candle which was lit in an otherwise completely dark room.
“This is your gift”, he said with the widest smile he could manage.
“A candle?”, I asked, perplexed, flustered and angry. I was blindfolded to be given a candle!
“No! This is your gift….” He said, taking my right hand in his and started walking around the table ahead of me. “I promise to always provide for you….”, he said, looking directly into my eyes. It was then when I realised what my actual surprise was!
“Your wish would be my command”, he said, taking a second round. When he saw my eyes sparkle, he added, “Only the reasonable and affordable ones!”
“I promise to be with you in sickness and in health”, he said, taking a third round
“I promise to always be faithful and loyal to you”, we took the fourth round
“I will always be supportive of you, in whatever you do” we took the fifth round
“I will be with you till death do us part”, we took the sixth round
“And when death comes, it will have to go through me to get to you” and with that we finished taking seven rounds of the table.
“No, death will have to go through me to get to you”,I said with tears in my eyes.
“Shut up. These were my vows, so my wish” he said. “Anyways, there’s more. I take you, Aarohi Sharma as my lawfully wedded wife. Do you take me as your lawfully wedded husband?”
“Obviously I do!!!!”, I shouted excitedly.
“Can the groom kiss the bride now?”
“We’re married now!!! You don’t need to ask for permission anymore”, I winked.
“Not that I used to ask for it earlier also, but still”, he said and we kissed for the first time as man and wife.
And that day, my love for him multiplied manifolds. I remember, after we got engaged when our parents sat down to finalise a date for our wedding, I wanted it to happen on 26th Nov, which is our anniversary day but we couldn’t find a decent place to get married as all of them were booked, so the fixed date was 16th December. But, looking at my dejected face, Abeer had promised that we would get married on 26th Nov and we did!! I had completely forgotten about it, but he hadn’t.
26th Nov 2008
It was our first wedding anniversary (between us, we always maintained that we got married on the 26th and not on the 16th) and he was already an hour late. I was sitting alone at Wasabi at theTaj Mahal Palace playing with my phone and waiting for him to turn up before the waiters threw me out for not ordering. He came running towards the table where I was sitting, looking gorgeous in his white shirt worn over faded blue jeans. Men shouldn’t wear this combination…it isn’t easy to stay angry for long if you find the other person irresistibly hot! He bent over and kissed me on the forehead, hoping to placate me.
“I don’t want to talk to you.”, I frowned. Well, faked it.
“I got late because I was hunting for this for you”, he said showing me a complete Twilight series in his hand. I wanted to smile really badly, but I controlled.
“I’m over Twilight”, I showed him some attitude
“Then, this will help you fall in love again”, he said handing me the book series.
“Fall in love with whom? Edward Cullen?”, I said teasingly.
“I know you’re a one-man woman…and I’m your man! That blood sucking vampire can wait”
“You should consider yourself to be a very lucky guy…. Your wife just can’t stay angry for long”, I said.
“That’s because of my pure genius sweetheart!”
“Whatever!”, I said, throwing my napkin at him.
“Yeah, I love you too”, he said with a smile on his face. I couldn’t hear him as some other crazy Punjabis were bursting a lot of noisy crackers to celebrate someone’s wedding. “I’ll just go to the loo and come”
“Abeeer”, I complained.
“2 minutes baby”, he came forward and kissed me before walking off.
The Punjus outside Wasabi were getting crazier and sound levels at which their crackers burst could actually deafen humans! Abeer came back soon as promised.
Soon after he settled in his chair, 2-3 men dressed in black, like commandoes entered Wasabi with their huge guns and started firing randomly.
“Abeeerrrr”, I shouted in terror, unable to process what was happening, unable to hear anything, totally confused.
I stood up, wanting to run. Abeer sprang up the second he saw me stand and jumped on me across the table and we both fell on the floor. Everything happened so suddenly that I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. All I knew was Abeer was on top of me and his mouth was on mine. I understood that it was a signal for me to shut up and not start crying. Those commandoes were still firing randomly and I kept my eyes tightly shut lest they know Abeer and I were still alive. I kept on reciting prayers for Abeer and my safety. I had a barter deal with God… that if Abeer and I make it out of here safe, I wouldn’t ever read Twilight. That was a huge compromise.
For what seemed decades was only a couple of minutes when the firing stopped and there was a deafening silence that gripped Wasabi. A couple of minutes later, I could hear people cry. I still didn’t dare move. Abeer was on me, he didn’t move either, I thought that was a cue for me to stay still. He was rather heavy today. He isn’t so heavy when he’s on top of me while we’re making love. I couldn’t breathe because his weight was crushing my lungs and I kept my hands on his back, trying to shake hi, without talking, to signal him to take his weight off me. When I moved my hands over him, his back was all wet. I feared the worst and when I brought my hand to my face, I couldn’t breathe. And that wasn’t because of his weight…. It was because of his blood……
This can’t be true!!! It must have been someone else’s blood on his clothes. He can’t…. I couldn’t bring myself to say the word….even think of it….. he’s just 28 for God’s sake! And we’ve been married only for a year! There’s so much more to life ahead of us….. I cupped his face in my hands and shook it. A stream of blood came out from his mouth onto mine and it was like someone dropped at 100kg stone on my chest.
After minutes of struggling to get out from under him, I finally found the strength to move out, sit upright and keep his head on my lap. The white shirt that he was wearing was everything but white now. Red was my favourite color, but not when his shirt was full of it……
I know he was just kidding with me for still liking Twilight and Edward at 25. And he knows how much blood freaks me. He’s just plain mean!
“Abeer, listen na baby”, I said, shaking him. “Open your eyes no baby. Abeer….”, I said, with tears rolling down my cheeks. “Abeer, sweetie, I promise I won’t read Twilight again. I won’t ever talk about Edward to you… I’ll not like him. I know you hate me liking him….I’m sorry baby…please open your eyes no….just tell me once more you love me. Abeer, I won’t ever get mad at you for getting late. Come whenever you want to…. I will not say anything. I will never pester you by asking you stupid questions….but please just talk to me once. Abeer….. you can’t go…..you can’t leave me alone…… What happened to the kids we were going to have. Ok, I won’t force you for a son…. I’ll name our child whatever you want… I won’t fight with you on it….but baby, please just once, talk to me na….open your eyes Abeer……”, I shook as I spoke to him. He was just not responding. He can’t be so upset with me for liking Edward.
“Abeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr open your eyes Abeer”
Part II Coming Soon.