Wedding diary: Amma, I'll miss you the most!
Today, I should tell Amma what she means to me because tomorrow I'll be married and gone, says Divya Nair in her last column before her wedding. Illustration by Uttam Ghosh.
It's the day prior to my wedding. Early in the morning today, I got my mehndi done. The smell and colour reminds me of my childhood.
During the vacations, my cousins and I would pluck the mehndi leaves from a tree in the neighbourhood and make a fine paste of them on the ammi (a traditional stone grinder).
My Amma would then plop a generous drop of it on my left palm, right in the centre, and spread it into a circle. She'd then make small dots around this circle to make a pattern. The next three hours, till the mehndi dried naturally, I'd trouble Amma for every silly task – right from asking her to feed me lunch/dinner to giving her instructions on how to tie my hair to even scratch a particular spot on my face.
It was a practice among all of us cousins to compete against each other to find out whose hands produced the brightest and darkest colour.
In fact, I grew up under the impression that the brighter the colour, the more someone loved you. But Papa would dismiss all my hopes saying it's all about body heat (pitta), nothing to do with love.
Today, the henna on my hands is not all round and dots, but it's more elaborate and looks beautiful. It has intricate designs and patterns, plus it is expensive.
I sat through the session for five long hours and my back is hurting now. But I'm not complaining at all.
My 80-year-old Amuma (maternal grandmom), aunts, uncles and cousins have travelled all the way from Coimbatore to make it to my wedding.
My brother is home after a gruelling semester exam (he has one more tomorrow, but is hoping to appear for it two months late).
My humble 450 sq feet home feels like a honeycomb of activity.
The building I live in is all lit up in colourful lights and I'll soon be joining my friends in the adjacent hall for a song and dance session.
This is the moment everyone has been waiting for. In a few hours from now, I'll be married and move to a new place.
I should be feeling happy, but I'm not. I'm nervous and lost.
I can't decide whether it is the scene from Julia Robert's Runaway Bride or the more recent Shuddh Desi Romance, but I'm not able to put my finger on what's bothering me.
No, I don't have second thoughts about the guy I am getting married to. That's sorted.
Perhaps it's the fear of things not falling in the right place, the unexpected goof-ups that crop up on wedding day combined with the anticipation of having a perfect wedding, where at the end of it, everyone smiles at each other (and have nothing to bitch about).
No, it's not that. Let me think more.
Ok, I get it!
The feeling that I will be married and have to move to a new place, away from my family is what is disturbing me.
Unlike some of my friends, I have never lived in a hostel or stayed for too long outside my home, except maybe for a few days at a friend's or relative's place.
Tomorrow, I will be moving to a new home, to a new family, PERMANENTLY.
Somehow I'm not able to come to terms with it.
I make my way to the bedroom -- the peace corner of my house.
The stuff accumulating on my bed seems like it will soon touch the ceiling, but today, I really don't care.
I open the door of the wardrobe in my bedroom and stare at it. I am used to stuffing things into it as if it had limitless space, and always opened and closed it with caution expecting a few things to fall out.
Today the door opened effortlessly. I look inside and it is half empty. Barring a few, most of the clothes have either made it to the brand new suitcase I'll be carrying to my in-laws' place or has been packed separately to be given away to the needy.
I feel like an important part of me has already prepared itself to leave the house.
Last week when I was shuffling my wardrobe, my brother jokingly said that once I was gone there would be so much space in it that he can put the world in it. I ignored him then, but today, I think he was right.
The neatly packed suitcase parked in the corner is probably carrying the world my brother mentioned. Maybe it is also loaded and stuffed, just like my world is right now, full of people around, full of emotions.
On the other hand, the wardrobe, reminds me of how my heart is feeling right now -- empty. I resist the urge to cry, I should not cry.
I look at Amma, she is busy welcoming the guests, and is at her hysterical best; she is asking me to rush to the hall where everyone has been asked to gather.
She thinks I'm wasting time staring at the wardrobe. I wish I could steal a moment, hug her and cry, but she is too busy for these silly things today. Tomorrow, she'll be busier.
Monday onwards, she won't have to wake up early to make my dabba. She won't tap me every two minutes and scream ‘Divyaaa…eneekae (wake up)…innu office poande (don't you want to go to office today).”
If I overslept, she'd switch off the fan and when the mosquitoes sang in my ear, I'd crib and wake up.
If I still did not wake up, she'd sprinkle cold water on my face. Of course, I'd complain how cruel she was, only to regret and apologise later.
Holding back her tears, she'd say, "You’ll know my worth when you go to a new place."
Amma, today, that day has finally come.
More than this house and everything around that I grew up with, I'll miss you the most. Perhaps, that's what girls miss the most after marriage – they miss their moms.
I don't think I should resist any more, maybe I should just let those tears roll, like I'm doing right now, as I write this last piece before my wedding.
Today, I should tell Amma what she means to me because tomorrow I'll be married and gone, but today…today is special, because today is my last day with her in this home.
Amma, you're special and will always be, even after I've gone!
Don't miss Divya's previous columns:
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh