“Yes, Dadi Ma. Why have you called me? Is there anything I missed or do you need something” Saloni replied to a phone call made by her grandmother from the next room.
“No, dear…I don’t need anything. I just wanted to have a look of yours. I want to admire my princess. From tomorrow you will be queen of someone else’s kingdom.
Please, spare some time for your old and strict Dadi Ma.” Anjani ji smiled and ended the call.
Saloni is getting married today. She is getting married to the love of her life. It was not easy to convince her orthodox family to get married to a boy from another caste and that too from another state. It was like a dream to her.
She was sitting in her room, clad in a beautiful bridal attire. Saloni was looking like a pretty doll. She still can’t believe her father, who was strongly opposing her alliance with Piyush, will give her hand to him in a few hours. She started her journey down memory lane, how they both met and their tough love journey finally ended in a blissful nuptial knot.
Saloni, the only daughter of Mr. Rajesh Dubey, a banker and chairman of Brahmin society of that small town. Saloni was a brilliant student and to pursue her higher education, she joined a college in Delhi. She got a scholarship there and got admission in one of the renowned management institutes. Her family was supportive in her education, but they had only one condition, she was not allowed to choose her life partner. Decision of her marriage would be made by her father and grandmother.
But, destiny had something else in store for her. She met Piyush in college. He was a very decent and intelligent guy. Their friendship gradually turns into a sweet relationship and they decided to get married. Piyush was a South Indian boy and of lower caste. Before finishing their last semesters, they both got a good job in a multinational company. Piyush already had a talk with his family and they were ready for this marriage. Now it was Saloni’s turn to talk to her father, and grandmother. Her mother always kept neutral for the decision taken by her husband or mother in law.
Her grandmother was a lady of few words. She talked to anyone quite rarely. She was just passing her days by doing daily household chores and reading books. But, she earned a lot of respect in the society and Saloni’s father never took any decision without asking her.
Saloni talked about Piyush on the dining table, where all were present. As expected, her father became furious and started shouting. Everything right from her sending to a bigger city to his position in society, he screamed for everything.
Her grandmother didn’t utter a single word. She just sat quietly as if some turmoil was disturbing her.
“Saloni, you must be tired. You take some rest. Be patient for a week. We will tell our decision in a few days.” She calmly put her hands around Saloni’s shoulder and tried to compose her.
After that incident she observed the ongoing conversation between her father and grandmother for many hours. After a week, suddenly her father asked Saloni to give Piyush’s contact number. She was so surprised to witness the tremendous change in her father’s tone. She didn’t ask anything.
Today, after three months, she was going to get married to Piyush. It was still a puzzle to her, how her father got convinced. Suddenly, her phone started ringing. Her grandmother wanted to see Saloni in her room.
Saloni went to her room, she called her inside lovingly and closed the door. Saloni was wearing the red banarasi saree which she gave to her mother as blessings. There were tears in the eyes and unsaid emotions filled the room.
Anjani ji composed herself and took out the keys from her drawer. She opened the locker of her wardrobe. From there, she took out a red coloured small bag very carefully and handed it to Saloni.
“Beta, I want you to open it”. Saloni was staring at it . She never saw that beautiful bag before. It was a red velvet bag decorated with small white pearls. It was like some hidden treasure was waiting for her.
She had no clue what was that and why her grandmother was giving it to her? Saloni acquired it carefully and opened it with some hesitation. As she opened it, the room was filled with the sweet aroma of rose petals. She could see a small bottle of beautifully carved glass. Some liquid was filled in that.
“Dadi Ma, what is this? It is such a beautiful little wonder in a bottle. Such a nice perfume and it smells so nice. Why are you giving it to me?”
“Beta, it’s not perfume, in our times it was called scent or Itra in hindi. It smelled very nice. Do you like it?” Anjani ji could not hide her feelings for that small bottle. Saloni could see the spark in her eyes when she was talking about that small piece of emotions.
“Oh, I just love it. But how come I never was aware of it till now?”
“Beta, this was my life’s first gift. It was given to me by someone very special to me”. Anjani ji caress the bottle with love and affection.
“Saloni, if I tell you, it was a token of love given to me by my lover”. She quickly said that and tried to move away from Saloni.
“Oh! DadiMa..you mean dada ji gifted it to you. Such a beautiful bottle and it still has a beautiful fragrance.” Saloni laughed and questioned her Dadi Ma.
“No beta, I said, my first and only love. Your Dada ji was my husband.” Saloni stood mum there. She could never have imagined such a reply from her grandmother.
“Dadi Ma, what have you just said? Dada ji and your lover were different persons.” Saloni was not able to understand.
“Yes Saloni. You heard each and every word correct. I always respected your dada ji but could not love him. I always fulfilled my duties but can not give my heart or love to this house what it deserved. And I am still feeling guilty for it.”
“You can see a book of poems too in that bag. That was a collection of poems he wrote for me and later gifted me.” She further added some mystery.
“Dadi Ma, how was that possible? How did you fall in love fifty years back? “
“Saloni, fifty years ago, I was a girl like you and then too girls had feelings. But not courageous to disclose it. I, too, had to accept my parent’s decision. Later I came to know that my love committed suicide. Till now, I could not forgive myself. I am still leading my life in guilt. I could not do justice to both of them. So, when I heard about your choice, I decided that I had to convince your father. You will not lead a guilt life, like I did.”
Oh my God. That’s why Dadi ma spoke so less to everyone. She opened the full bag to find a book of short poems. On the first page, her grandmother’s name was written and dedicated to her. She took out a little perfume and applied it on her palms and behind ears. She started smelling like a rose flower.
Her grandmother hugged her and said,. ” Saloni, always smell like rose and keep spreading the fragrance of your love in both families. Be happy always my dear”.
They both had tears in their eyes and the sound of drums and crackers were approaching near to the house.
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