The following morning, I got up early in the morning. It was 5:00 am. I got out of the bed smiling at the thought what was going to happen today. I picked some clothes from my wardrobe and got ready.
Jesse asked me, "Mithali, what’s up? You got up so soon."
I replied with a smile, "Yeah, today I am very excited. We have to reach at right time otherwise we will be late." She too smiled back.
Actually, we had planned we would pick Sarika and Pooja from their hostel and then we would reach court. We all were in Ronit’s car. Ronit was going to drive, but I didn’t tell him we were going to court.
Ronit, Jesse, and I were in the car. Ronit asked me, "Mithali, what’s the plan?"
I looked at him shocked. Actually, I sat next to him because I was telling him the way to Sarika’s hostel. Anyhow I managed myself, "I don’t know... because Karan planned it, but I know where he’ll meet us?"
"I mean, he’ll text me the address and also the way about how to reach there. According to plan, let's pick Sarika and Pooja first."
He nodded. Thank god! He didn’t argue. We were enjoying music, but Ronit looked so tensed. I didn’t know why. May be, he wasn't satisfied by my reply. I didn’t ask him because it was a very critical situation and I didn’t know how to handle it.
We picked Sarika from Ghaziabad and Pooja from Noida. I was directing the way and Ronit was driving accordingly. At last, we reached the court, Ronit asked me angrily, "Mithali, is this a court?"
I said, "Yeah, but Karan has sent me this address only. Give me a minute."
I dialed his number, but he was not attending the call. I was murmuring with every ring, "Please, Karan, pick up the call, please."
I heard Pooja’s voice, "There they are." I looked towards the direction where she was pointing.
Karan, Tulika, Abhi, and Surbhi were there. We got off the car and walked toward them. They were looking tensed.
I asked, "What’s up? Why are you here? Let’s go inside. It’s already 11:00 am."
Karan looked at me with anger, while Abhi told, "Today, there is a strike in court. That’s why all marriages are postponed."
Pooja, "What? We are here only for marriage. Couldn't you tell us earlier?"
Surbhi, "How could we tell you earlier, when we didn’t know about it. We get to know few seconds before."
Pooja, "Today, my whole day get wasted."
Karan said, "You are thinking about yourself. Here my life is going to be ruined."
I suggested, "Why are you saying so? Can't you get married after some day?"
Karan, "But I want to get married today."
Ronit interrupted, "By the way, what's going on? Have we come here for marriage?" And turning to Karan he asked, "And whom you're going to marry?"
We looked at one another. Should we explain the whole situation? Thank god, Abhi handled.
Abhi, "Ronit, we lied to you. Actually, we are here for Karan and Tulika’s marriage. They love each other very much, that’s why we have decided they could go for court marriage."
Ronit, "But why court marriage? Why not traditional marriage if they love each other."
Abhi, "Yeah, they can. But Tulika is orphan and Karan’s father will never agree for their marriage. So, we have no other option."
Ronit, "Why will he not agree? At least, once you talk him about it."
I interrupted, "Because he believes in caste system. Anyone wants to die before time?" I smiled. Everybody was smiling except Ronit, Jesse, Karan, and Tulika.
Karan was more angry than before, "How can you joke about it? Here, we are in problem. What types of friends you are?"
Sarika explained, "Hello, Mr., we all are here for you. It's strike today. What can we do now? We are trying to cheer you up and instead, you're blaming us?"
Ronit again put his point, "At least, we can talk to his father."
I told him, "Are you crazy? We can talk to 'Adam Hussein' for world peace. But we can’t talk to his father for inter-caste marriage."
Ronit, "I can’t believe this, Mithali, you're saying so. You are always ready to help out your friends, but you can’t even talk to his father."
I replied, "Yeah, I am telling you, you don’t know his father. Didn't you remember, how much he used to afraid of his father in his childhood? Even he didn’t go in front of his father."
Ronit stated, "I remembered but…"
Karan said, "Shut up. At least don’t insult me in front of Tulika. Everybody is afraid of my father. If you can’t solve this problem, please shut your mouth."
I suggested, "I have a solution." Everybody turned to me with excitement. I continued, "Why don’t you get married in temple? After marriage, your father has to accept this marriage. After that, you can get your marriage registered. Both are settled here. If your father throws you out, you can live here. How is this idea?"
Surbhi exclaimed, "Superb, why didn’t we think about it earlier? Mithali, you're genius."
Abhi said in affirmation, "Yeah, it's a best idea."
Sarika said, "But there are complications."
Pooja replied, "Why? We can think about it later. By the way, they're going to register their marriage later."
Tulika, "Yeah, we can do it, Karan. What do you think?"
Karan was still quiet, I suggested, "Karan, now Tulika is also ready. What are you thinking?"
Ronit as usual interrupted, "But we should talk to your father first. If you want, I can talk to your father."
All of us looked at him in a shock. How could he say like that?
I forbade, "No, you won’t talk to him."
Ronit replied, "Why? If you can’t talk, why are you forbidding me?"
"I said you won’t talk to him. It means you won’t talk. You don’t know his father. You don’t need to help us. We can solve our problem. If his father takes any other action against him, what will you do?" I claimed.
Ronit said, "Then it’s my responsibility to get them married."
Wow! He is boasting so much, he thinks he is a hero. But soon he will realize when he faces his father. If he wanted to die, we had no problem.
Karan asked, "Are you sure? You can talk to my father?"
Ronit nodded. Now, let’s see what happens. Abhi, Surbhi, Karan, and Tulika went to their home. While me, Jesse, Sarika, Pooja, and Ronit were in the car.
The drive was quiet, Pooja broke the silence with a suggestion, "When we are here, we should go to some places."
We all stared at her. How could she think like that?
When she noticed our expressions, she continued, "I mean, we are here because of Karan’s marriage. Now, it is not happening. Ronit is going to talk to his father. Why don’t we go to some nearby temple for blessing?"
Sarika even liked that, "Yeah, she is right."
Then we go to Iskcon temple. When we reached in front of temple, we got off from the car and Ronit went to park the car.
It was a very beautiful and big temple. We saw the whole temple, did 101 chants around Lord Krishana, and took many snaps. There were many large statues of Lords. We liked them very much. At last, when we were on the way to back home, a wedding was taking place there. They looked like foreigners. The girl was holding a garland and the boy stood on the stage and was waiting for her.
We were looking at them. Ronit quipped, "Look at them. Though they're foreigners, they are having a traditional marriage and you being Indian, how can you think of court marriage."
Sarika, Pooja, and I stared at him, but we didn’t say anything. Pooja murmured in my ear, "Let him comment. Today, is his turn and our turn will come soon."
We both smiled. Sarika understood it, but Jesse and Ronit looked at us suspiciously.
Ronit talked to Karan's father. I didn’t know what, but his father called all the elders in the family for a meeting tomorrow. I and Ronit were also invited. I knew what was going to happen. I was scared.
Ronit asked me, "Why are you scared?"
I gave him a look, "No, I am glad, because I will be awarded to go Delhi with you."
He suggested, "Just relax. Nothing will happen. I'm with you."
"THANKS, BUT I DON’T NEED YOU. Whatever you did is enough for us."
My parents were sitting confused.
Karan’s father started, "All of you are confused why I've called you. But I have a reason. Ronit came to me yesterday and he made me understand something." He explained us what they talked.
I was shocked to listen. I couldn't believe that Ronit could handle this situation very smartly. He continued, "Now, I decided that I will meet Tulika and decide."
Everyone was appraised. Ronit and I looked at him happily. If we were alone, I would have hugged him. I was thinking about it, but came to senses when I heard, Karan’s father suggested, "Mr. Agarwal (Ronit’s father), it is my suggestion that you should take care of Ronit, otherwise next turn will be yours."
I smiled when I understood what he meant. Ronit made a face. But I forgot, I was also there. My turn will be next. He continued, "Mr. Mittal (It’s my father), Now, Mithali is grown up. You should start searching a groom for her."
What! What did I do? I didn’t say anything. Why was he suggesting to my father like that? My mother looked at me with anger. After that I was silent all the time as well as my parents.
As we stepped inside my mother warned, "Mithali, come to our room. We have to talk."
Jesse was waiting for us there, it meant my parents wanted to talk me alone. I nodded and followed them.
My mother closed the door. In addition, she burst out, "What is that, Mithali? We didn’t expect from you. Do you know how much we feel ashamed?"
I replied, "Mummy, what did I do? I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know why he said so."
She scolded me back, "Shut your mouth. You never know why everybody says against you. You don’t do anything, but everybody thinks so. You think everybody is stupid there except you. Ashwani bhaisahab is right. Your father and I decided. We will get you married soon. That’s why we invited a family to meet you. We are not asking you. It’s our order. And remember, I won’t tolerate any misbehavior. Now go and sleep."
I wanted to say something, "But mummy…"
My father said, "Mithali, we don’t want to listen anything and it is late now. Why don't you go and sleep? Good night."
How can my night be good anymore? I took a deep breath and came out from their room with anger.
Jesse was waiting for me. She asked me, "What happened?"
I said, "I will kill Ronit. It happened because of Ronit."
"But what happened? Tell me."
We both went to terrace. Ronit was also there. I told them what my parents had said. Oh sorry, what my parents ordered to me.
Ronit, "It’s ok, Mithali. They said to meet them, not to marry. You can reject the guy. It’s simple."
"Ronit, it seems simple to you, but it is not. You are saying so because you have experienced it. I don’t like, anybody asking me such questions, stares at me and doing all these inquiries. I want a solution. I have to think of a plan."
Jesse asked, "Plan?"
"Yeah, if my mother decided to get me married, she will do that. If I reject one, she has a list of stupid boys. I don’t want to get married. By the way, Ronit, I won’t excuse you for it."
Ronit asked, "What have I done? It’s your mom's decision."
"But you made her to decide. I'm going to sleep now, I've a terrible headache," I said.
I left them there and came to my bedroom. I lay on my bed and fall asleep.
Mithali is angry on me. I don’t want to hurt her, but I don’t know how that happened. She is in problem due to me and I can’t do anything for her. I can’t talk her parents about it, that will worsen the situation.
Jesse said, "I will go to her. She is tensed, so she needs me."
I nodded and she left. I couldn’t sleep whole night. That’s why I called Jesse up in the next morning.
I asked, "How is she now?"
Jesse replied, "She is fine. You don’t need to worry about her. You can’t believe she is sleeping till 9:30 am. I mean, when I came last night to her she was asleep. It seems she has no tension. How can anyone sleep in the tension?"
I suggested, "Why are you thinking like that? You should thank god that she is fine."
Then I turned off the phone, felt relax to know she is fine.