The Union

The Union

She is in love; except it is not with her husband sitting next to her smelling of marigold and incense. So she has no idea why she is going through with this marriage. Like other things she has no idea about: Being a princess, for instance. It is time to consider this latest problem: how is she to engage with the everyday lives of these strange people clad in layers of silk and finery?   She cannot, however, think with all this gold stifling her neck , or the  pendulous earring ripping her lobes as it sways like the swing from whence she was about to fall ;but he had caught her just in time  , his nimble fingers taut against her bony waist. 

Looking back she is sure that is when everything changed. Looking back she is also sure there are no such things as coincidences: Their chance meetings in the busy market place when he could be sure no one will spot him slipping the glass bangles over her slender fingers and wrist, or the many accidental ones on the river bank after she had let slip the several earthen pitchers aunt had been so livid about. 

Her husband’s hand is around her waist and his fingers try to wade under the seams of the tight velvet blouse. Gross! She wriggles. He smiles at her coquettishly. She knows what will happen later that night after they finish changing her into ten different costumes made of brocade or silk or velvet and, of course, the gold which will catch the flickering orange hue of the many lamps they have lit in her honour.  She ought to be grateful for all this love. But her heart, despite her best efforts to keep it harnessed to the present, is elsewhere, wandering, as it always does, amidst trees on cool river banks and within cooler recesses of her trunk where she has hid his image. The fan-bearers have increased their speed yet the sweat pours down her face mixing with the vermillion and the collyrium. 

Considering his uncanny knack of turning up in the most unexpected places, she cannot understand why he had not appeared on time to stop this marriage. Nonetheless, there he is now, walking up the aisle empty handed except for words that promise her of his love, as always. She is angry and does not listen to his assurances of either constancy or eternal attendance. Afterwards when snakes in baskets turn into flowers or when she floats while she ought to have drowned, she will understand.

Many years hence  on an evening when  the skies  are a deep purple with the music of her love,  he  holds her  in his arms and she turns her eyes to his,

“You seem…”


“No” says Mira “this is exactly how I have always imagined you, my Giridhari!”


The story is a retelling of the legendary  Mirabhai and her love for Krishna.


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