Chapter 3

Priya's POV

My dad and mom started leading me towards the Mandap (Altar). I was walking towards Rahul. My heart was beating like a drum. I just had a crush on him, but I never even thought that I would ever get married to him. He never even looked at me. It seemed he didn't even know that I existed.

I didn't know if what I was doing was correct or not.

What if he hates me for doing this? What if he was still in love with Leena?  What if he never accepts me as his wife? 

We never even talked to each other. What would I talk to him about?.

We almost reached the stage where we were supposed to go for Jai Mala (exchanging garlands). I was looking downwards all the time. But as soon as I reached the tiny steps near the stage I looked up, my eyes collided with him, he was looking extremely handsome in his off white sherwani and deep red turban. He offered me his hand, I was a bit shy, but I caught his hand and he helped me to climb those steps to be on stage.

It was a strange feeling as he was still holding my hand. Everybody was looking very happy, but he was upset, I can understand his state of mind as he was in love with someone else and was supposed to get married to her, but was getting married to me instead. The girl, whom he always avoided like plague.

What was I doing?  What should I expect from him or this marriage?

I was just a substitute bride for him. I had felt only for him but he didn't...

Everyone applauded as we were standing in front of each other. Aunty brought a big platter with orchid flower garlands. She asked me to pick up one and then she turned towards Rahul, he also picked another one. Pandit ji ( priest) told me to put the garland in the groom's neck, I shyly did that, our families started clapping and teasing us. I was blushing like a rose and then he put the garland in my neck. His friends were teasing us and he was glaring at them and all his relatives were there on the stage. I was missing my friends. They didn't even know that I was getting married at this moment.

Now we were called for Pheras (taking wows while circling around sacred fire). His mom tied my Chunri with his stole and we started our seven Pheras and with each one, we took our vows.

After that, my dad was called for 'Kanyadaan' ( to give away his daughter to the groom). My parents were getting very emotional and so was I.

Pandit Ji asked Rahul to fasten Mangalsutra (wedding necklace with black and gold beads) around my neck. He did that and then he put Sindoor (vermillion) on my head. And with that, I officially became Mrs Priya Rahul Kapoor.

We took blessings from our parents, relatives and Pandit Ji.

My parents and I were getting very emotional and we hugged each other. Ram Uncle assured my dad that I will be very happy with them as I have always been a daughter to them.

My dad made me sit in Rahul's tastefully decorated car and then he hugged Rahul and told him to take care of me, he nodded and said, "  Sure Uncle, just rest assured." 

We reached the Kapoor Mansion. It was very well lit and decorated. We got down the car and reached the main entrance. Aunty was standing there with Aarti plate in her hands. She smiled and performed Pooja and then she placed a big platter with kumkum paste in it and asked me to step in it and then enter the house with red feet. I entered and then she hugged me very tightly. Then I put my hand marks on the wall....... After all the rituals, I was very tired. 

Aunty told me to rest and took me to his room. It was decorated with rose flower garlands and there were floating candle arrangements with rose petals in them. Room was lit with aromatic candles. My heart was racing like anything. I was scared as I didn't know what we were going to talk about.

He came to the room and I got very tense. He was very upset so he looked at me and went to the washroom directly. I was tense as I did not know how to react. He came out of the washroom dressed in his nightwear. He was looking good in even that. 

He looked at me and said, "Why did you agree to this marriage? We don't even love each other. You could have said no, now we both are in an awkward situation."

" I know this is a very awkward situation. I know that you are in love with Leena. I know, it is very difficult for you to see me as your wife when you have feelings for her. I didn't want to get married like this, But couldn't refuse as Uncle requested me to accept this proposal. He is just like my father. I felt very bad when I heard that he got an anxiety attack. He was really worried about what people would say, all the reporters were there. He could get another heart attack, I got really worried and thought that  if me, agreeing to this marriage can ease his worries, It is ok with me"

" Ok, I understand but what about your life? What about your happiness? "

"It doesn't matter that much, as compared to the grief we would feel if anything happens to our parents. Moreover, there was no one special in my life so I took this decision."

He kept on looking at me for a few minutes and then said, " You may go and change, to be more comfortable."

I nodded saying," Yes, but I don't have anything to change into.,"

Just then someone knocked on the door and Rahul opened it. His mom was standing there with an overnight bag which had my toiletries and nightwear. 

"Your mom sent it beta," she said, " You can use it and tomorrow we get you everything you need."

I nodded and said thanks......she smiled and after saying goodnight to both of us she left.

I was feeling very uncomfortable due to the very heavy lehenga, makeup, hairstyle and jewellery....... I took my bag and kept it near my dressing area and started to undo my complicated hairdo.  I removed all the pins and the flower string that was a part of my hairstyle. I combed my hair slowly and carefully. Then I started to remove my very heavy dupatta but it was attached to my blouse (top of the dress) at the back with safety pins.

I didn't know what to do....... I needed help to remove my dupatta. Shall I call aunty?  I was very conscious that Rahul was in the room, I needed help but couldn't ask him. He was sitting on the couch with his laptop on and was working on it.

He saw me struggling and asked me, "Do you need help? I can call mom..."

"Yes, all this is very complicated, I can't do it on my own, pls call her."

He went out to call aunty, but came and said: " I am sorry, but mom was too tired, she has already slept."

What do I do now?

 I was just thinking when he came and stood behind me. My heart was beating at double rate. My hands go numb. Then he said, " I can't find anyone right now to help you, but I can... if you want."

I was not sure, but there was no option so I nodded. He slid my hair to a side and started removing those safety pins. He was standing right behind me, so his hot breath was caressing my back which was bothering me. No one has ever stood so close to me. His hand brushed against my bareback and I shivered.

Oh, God!!  What was happening to me? Why was I just melting by a mere touch of his hand?

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Deepali Gupta
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