My Daughter’s Wedding

The preparations are in full swing
The wedding is slated for March
That beautiful season of Spring,
When the weather gods turn benign,
When the sun shines,
Trees blossom
And nature renews itself, bringing even the dead back to life.

It is my daughter’s wedding.
A lovely, bright girl,
Spontaneous and spunky,
Competitive, ambitious and yes, working.
She met her beau just a few weeks ago, but is already all set to go.
I guess the Bard had it right–
Whoever loved, who loved not at first sight!
I can see the rush of youth,
The raw passion that consumes her,
Her face brimming with Spring-like hope,
Oblivious, unmindful of what other seasons could unfold.
She has designed her own wedding card,
It is a rather special one,
With verses on marriage by Kahlil Gibran meticulously inscribed.
One look at it and my heart sinks,
Worrying, hoping, praying that life figures out the way she wants.

Her prospective in-laws are over the moon,
Waiting to have my baby in their fold soon.
Affluent and influential, they are generous to a fault.
I watch this high tide of emotions with mixed feelings,
My mind restless, fearful of the time when love wanes and the tide starts receding.

I am her mother, how do I warn her about the rough, bumpy road ahead,
Of what marriage could possibly entail,
Of the conflict inbuilt,
Of the conflict inherent and incessant,
Of the intricate warp and woof of relationships,
Of the complex knots within.
How would she deal with the chiaroscuro of emotions,
Its unending shades
Would she be able to handle the eternal story of a million expectations,
A million adjustments,
Of constant appraisals,
Of constant judgement…

After the unabashed display of love,
After the frenzy and festivities,
After the dance and drama,
After the razzle-dazzle of the event,
When the unrehearsed choreography of life begins,
Would she be content being the backdrop of her husband’s existence
Or would there be resistance?
Would she be content to tip-toe like a pretty accessory in her in-laws home?
Would she be happy when she finds that she is married to not one person but a family of eight–
Each demanding a slice of her attention.
Would she be able to accept it or feel crushed under that weight?
What will happen when she comes home after a day’s work
And realises that there’s no place she can call her own…
Tell me what will happen when my daughter’s full-throated laughter turns into a forced, tired, bleak smile?
And tell me please, what will happen when the realisation dawns on her
That she has just entered the trap door leading to a palace of illusions…

Please tell me how do I tell her that inspite of being working and independent,
The axis of oppression somehow remains tilted in the same manner
That it’s not always about economy alone,
That the language of marriage is a language of ownership,
Not a language of partnership.
Tell me how do I tell her?

Meanwhile, the music plays on…
There is love in the air…

Sangeeta Kampani, 62, worked with the IRS and retired as a Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi.

Featured image: Hush Naidoo Jade Photography/Unsplash