“Well?”, uttered an anxious Pakhi, as her brother entered in her room.
“Mom’s expecting you downstairs.”, replied Dhruv.
“And there was no one else to let me know of that?”, she questioned back.
“Let’s just say, I volunteered.”, he bantered.
“Really?”, she questioned again.
“Okay, you remember that annoying aunt of Naina, the one from Sahnewal who keeps on probing into our married life; I caught her looking at me while I was talking to Arnav. As soon as she started walking towards me, I turned around and came to see you.”, replied Dhruv who was gazing at his sight in the mirror.
“Didn’t we have a conversation where you promised that you will behave in a civil manner at my wedding.”, asked Pakhi, annoyed at his lack of chivalry.
“And I am keeping it, ain’t I?”, he wittily remarked pretending to be oblivious of her concerns.
“Forget it, I have better things to do than preach you today.” said Pakhi, shoving him aside so as to grasp the image of her as a bride.
“Yeah, you have bigger fish to fry.”, he commented.
“Quite the choice of phrase. So what am I getting as a parting gift?” she asked him, her gaze shifted towards him.
Dhruv stood beside her and looking at their grinning reflection, replied, “You do realize that this is not a Tanishq advertisement where I take out a pair of dazzling earrings and hand it out to you. Plus after the fortune that you have made us spend on this fancy wedding of yours, I think the only thing in order is a thank you.”
“This is nothing compared to the destination wedding you promised me at Udaipur.”, she reminded him of a trivial promise he had once made to her.
“Here we go again, Pakhi Mehra, the perpetual victim.”, he retorted and chuckled thinking of all the names he had called her.
“Yes, Dhruv Mehra with his penchant for wry humor.”, she reciprocated, wondering if she will ever be able to match his wit.
“But honestly, you take any given excuse to whine.”, he said.
“You do realize that I am whining for the last time in front of you.”, she pointed out. A subtle reminder of the separation that ensues her wedding.
“Why, are you going to pass on to the higher abode?”, he mindlessly bantered, evading the turn the conversation of about to take
“You are impossible.”, she answered peeved at his flippancy.
“We live in the 21st century. You can call, text, skype, whatsapp or you can come over. “, he stated.
“Seriously you haven’t bought a gift for me?”, she inquired again, and thus camouflaging the insecurities looming in the back of her mind.
Supporting her attempt to digress from the subject, he replied, “None that I know of. “. He shifted his attention to his beeping phone, a text from his wife Naina. He then looked up and said, “Mom is kind of waiting for you downstairs, I think we should go.”
“Okay. How do I look?”, she quizzed, as she stood up from her bed and straightened her lehanga, the last-minute apprehensions piping in.
“All right, could have eased up on the blusher though.”, he quirked.
“Stop annoying me Bhaiya or I am going to throw you off the balcony.”, she muttered and thought that there was no count of the number of times she must have said the same sentence.
“No regard of an honest man.”, he said, flashing a grin at her.
She held his hand tightly and walked out of the room; as they were coming down off the stairs he meaningfully glanced at her and articulated, “You know you can help make my dream come true.”
“Which one, are we talking about?”, asked a clueless Pakhi.
“The one in which I help you flee from your wedding.”, he responded, reminiscing a nightmare he saw in his late teens.
“Need I remind you, that was because Mom and Dad were forcing me into the marriage and the groom looked hideous. None of which hold true in the context of this wedding.”, she said.
“Well, your insanity is forcing you to get married. Those regressive daily soaps have more or less deluded your mind in favor of marriage.”, he said poking fun at her obsession of television.
“I am not deluded, I love him. And marriage is the obvious progression of love.”, she confidently enunciated.
“Exactly my point, deluded! Besides this fellow Arnav is not quite a stunner.”, he said.
“He is brilliant and shut your mouth. I don’t want to be pictured as a bride with a frown.”, she retaliated.
“But isn’t that your natural expression, you have never smiled, not even as a child. Your pediatrician told us you would never be able to smile.”, he ironically remarked.
“That’s a really sad joke with no shred of truth in it.”, she told him. She sensed the tears welling in her eyes and started walking briskly towards the shamiyana letting go off his hand.
Dhruv fastened his pace, grasping her hand again he stated, “Wait, I am sorry. Besides no one likes a rushing bride as well.”
He probed deep in her eyes and said, “You remember the one thing I always told you. That you are my most precious belonging in this life. I just want you to know that you will always be.”
“I know.”, she said, a tear falling off her eyes.
He wiped the tear with his finger and then mockingly wrinkled at the little make up he caught off her face. He then took out a small jewellery box from his pocket and placed it in her possession. As she opened the box, he said, “I know you wanted a phone but Mom wanted me to stick to something conventional.”
“I love this, it’s the most gorgeous gift you have ever given me.”, she uttered, mesmerized at the pendant within the box.
He again reached out to his pocket and produced a phone. Waving it into the air, he queried, “So I should return this phone, right?”
She snatched the phone from him and hugged him tightly. She said, “Bhaiya, you are unbelievable. I love you. You know that I would have loved you even without these fancy presents. ”
“I just wanted to send you off happily. And to mark the moment, to give you something to remind you of this time, of us together.”, he told her. He then held her face in his hands and kissed her on the forehead.
In that fraction of a second, both simultaneously wondered that how delightful would it have been if holding time was in their prowess.
What about you, have you ever wanted to put a stop on the ticking clock?