Chapter Forty


Back at home, It had been two weeks of Miral’s demise. Khushi had been constantly prodding Jay about their marriage and what they were going to do about it. She had been trying to reach out Parnika in the meanwhile but she just never replied.

She used to get back home at abnormal times, never answer the calls and when confronted just make some excuse and never reply. Being a doctor, Parnika’s such reaction with death of her patient was unusual. It was irking Jay equally who now somehow had lost courage to just confront Parnika after the incident.

The things he had heard when Khushi and Miral were arguing had placed him some kind of zen mode. He was just constantly self evaluating the situations in his life till date. He was again seeping down in guilty, although this time for a different reason. He tried to strike a conversation with Parnika on Khushi’s constant prodding but she just ignored him. Parnika just wanted everyone to leave her alone for the time being. Somehow Miral’s death had affected her deep.

Parnika was constantly thinking if her love was really worth chasing after? She realised that till date, Jay never even confessed his feelings for her. He never told her that he even saw her in that manner. She wondered, who knows he just considers me a sister like Khushi? She recalls those moments when Jay’s mother, Shalini used to tell her that she was like her daughter. She gulps and looks at the moon in the sky. She wonders if all that care and affection was just a non-romantic gesture.

Here Jay was ashamed of not standing up for his own self. He was reprimanding himself for not standing up with Parnika all this time. He never had a chance to express his love and seemed he won’t get it again at all.

Next morning brought a change that would leave a prolonging impact on their lives. Jay’s parents, Shalini Shah and Arindam Shah ring the doorbell. Shalini drops her purse on the table closeby and pulls Jay into embrace. Arindam picks up the bag and gets the luggage inside the house. They were back home after their year long world tour.

The smile on their faces displayed the satisfaction of the world tour but there was something else much bigger which just had made them feel like they are happiest parents in the world.

It was a long dream of both Jay’s parents and Parnika’s mother to get their kids married. They had seen their bonding since childhood and were assured that they would make a great couple. The parents yet wanted to make sure that their children decide the same on their own. Their happiness had known no bounds when Parnika had informed her approval for the marriage.

A few years back, Parnika was asked first if she wished to marry Jay. She wanted to be assured that Jay wished for the same before giving her approval. So when Parnika’s approval arrived, parents had no idea that Jay was totally unaware about it. They assumed that both Jay and Parnika had a conversation and had arrived on the conclusion just like they did for every other thing until now. They never had any idea about Jay and Parnika making their own decisions alone.

With the parents back in the house the wedding preparations begin. Jay and Parnika were banned from contacting each other until their marriage rituals are over. Jay lost his last chance to tell Parnika, how much he actually felt for her. Jay never let parents know the truth. He just happily participated in every ritual wondering if Parnika did the same?

It was a destination wedding planned in Canada. Hitesh and Khushi had decided to Canada. Both had been working for a while now in the country. It was a dual destination wedding just like Khushi had planned. Hence Jay was now all alone waiting for the day. Hitesh was spending time with his family completing the rituals. Khushi was the bride to be and hence was kept busy as she was also organising the whole event alongside.

There was no time to have a proper conversation without anyone interrupting in the busy household. Parnika was first happy but surprised at the same time as Jay didn’t oppose the marriage. He never had a say in this decision and yet he just played along. Is he only doing it for the sake of his parent’s happiness? She wondered most of the time. She half-heartedly participated in every wedding ritual.

She was happy from the outside but confused and depressed from the inside. The last thing she wanted was Jay marrying her out of compulsion. It was the only reason she had asked Jay’s parents to wait and let her confirm if he wanted the same. But now there was a huge confusion and no solution.

Time passed and the day of marriage arrived. A red carpet paved the path for the couple to walk on leading towards the two beautifully crafted mandaps. The wedding arena was a open garden with flowering trees and bushes covering the whole area. The mandaps  were beautifully decorated with flower garlands covering the white pillars which supported the beautifully crafted pearl white dome overhead. There were two havan kunds placed beneath with the asans for the people to sit.

The wedding rituals begin with the chants of the mantras. The holy fire is lit and the brides are called in the mandap. Khushi walks the on the carpet followed by Parnika accompanied by Arindam. Khushi smiles at the crowd as she walks into the mandap. Parnika’s eyes look for Jay but it felt as if she had to wait longer.

Both the brides were beautifully dressed in red and white Panetar (Bride’s wedding dress). Khushi’s dress was glimmering with shining stones like a star light sky on a moonless night, while Parnika had simple yet elegant golden and silver threaded design over as if it was carved with gold and silver. Both the brides appeared equally beautiful as their jewellery shone and reflected the sunlight into some keen eyes.

Parnika’s eyes continue to search for Jay as the rituals commence. A few minutes later a call for groom is sent. Her eyes are locked at the path as she awaited for him. Jay walks in ahead followed by Hitesh. Both the grooms were in similar golden chrome shervani with orange dhoti. Both walked down the carpet acting like kings of some long lost kingdom. Jay smiled looking at Parnika who steals a glance and looks down. She didn’t smile back, instead looked at the flames of the holy fire in front of her. Hitesh winks at Khushi who for the first time blushes and looks away as her friends tease her from behind.

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