She looked in the mirror, at her own image, staring back at her. Dressed in her red wedding lehenga, she donned the best of the look, magnificent jewellery around her neck, bling bangles along with a big diamond studded nose piece, heavy gold earrings. She wore the best shade of red lip colour, eyes looked perfect, the best of hair done, the beautiful red chunri covering her head, depicting that she really was the bride. She looked like a goddess, as people say – Beauty personified. She looked ravishing on her D-day.
She looked at herself in the mirror, just a short glance, and then, looked away- sighed. She couldn’t look into her own eyes; she knew she had betrayed- betrayed the man of her life, betrayed herself! They say it’s better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all, it isn’t true. Losing your love is never a better option- not in any condition. That moment she closed her eyes to recollect those cherished memories, those lived emotions, those midnight conversations, long hugs, and in no moment tears of joy rolled down her neatly done eyes, smudging her said so water-proof mascara. She didn’t give a shoot.
She barely looked at herself that day, all she could look at was the image of her love in her eyes, he was there, right there with her- just like the dark kohl standing out in her green eyes, like the natural curls of her blond hair, like the lustre of her pink lips. He was there- in her dreams, in her memories, in her past, in her thoughts of the future, in her love, in her hatred, in her soul. Where he wasn’t, was in her life, and the very thought was eating her up from the inside. He had left permanent marks on her soul, not just her body, but her soul also wasn’t hers anymore. It belonged to someone else. It belonged to him.

“I wouldn’t survive if you ever decided to leave me. I’m telling you, Meera, I’d die. You’re my life, my heartbeat- it is because of you that I’m alive today and not even a day goes by when I don’t thank god for giving you to me. I think I could never thank him enough. You’re so special to me, what would I do without you, love? I don’t even want to imagine!”

A few of Meera’s cousin sisters and aunts came to meet the bride, but failed to notice that she was lost in her own trail of thoughts. They were telling her about how the groom looked, what he wore, how the baarat danced, what was the menu like, but no one could tell what Meera felt. She probably didn’t even hear any of it, she wasn’t even interested. The beautician arrived to correct the smudged mascara and pile up another layer of make-up to hide the lines of love her face flaunted, the love of Shlok. The unwilling bride wondered if the lines of love would ever be concealed from the inside of her heart. The make-up artist asked her to close her eyes, she did, a bit reluctantly. As she knew, the memories of Shlok would knock the door once her eyes closed.

It was in an accident that Meera lost Shlok. It was a car crash- a drunken truck driver crashed his car from behind when he overtook the driver on an otherwise empty road. Meera died that day with Shlok. She didn’t betray him, instead, he did. He left her alone, and her world came to an end in just a moment. It happened only a week after their wedding date was finalised. Meera was left heartbroken, she didn’t eat for days, didn’t meet anyone- not even her family. She locked herself in hers and Shlok’s apartment, stayed there for a month, all alone. She died from the inside, just like the sunflower dies out when kept away from the sun, except her sun was never going to rise ever again. she’d dream about him, think about him. She had stopped interacting, most importantly- she had stopped smiling, the thing he loved the most about her. For her, the world had come to an end. She didn’t exist for people, and people didn’t exist for her.

“Shlok, baby, why do you have to go today? I forbid you to attend that meeting today, you always have to work! You have no time for me at all.”
“Meera, it’s an important meeting and I’ve to go to the Gurgaon branch today, I’ll be back by midnight. So you don’t keep waiting for me, okay? Have dinner and sleep on time. I don’t want my baby to compromise on her beauty sleep.”
“Why don’t you understand? I’m not getting good vibes about you driving to that far. Ask your office to provide a cab or whatever. I don’t know, you’re not going”
“Meera, that isn’t possible. please understand. Accha, I’ll be back on time, before midnight. I’ll try my best to be with my jaan as soon as possible”

She waited for him the entire night- restless, anxious, and nervous. Perhaps, sometimes things are not in our control and we can only sense them, not alter them. She knew something was wrong. She kept calling his number, but no one picked up. And when someone finally did, they told her how her that her world was over now.
Every night she dreamt about him, repenting not having stopped her from going for that meeting. She'd dream about somehow altering the end of her life story. This thought came to her mind whenever she closed her eyes. Just like a nightmare, this time again she opened her eyes and realized where she was. It was her wedding in a few hours, and she couldn’t have been doing this with her life. It had been two years since Shlok was gone, but he was still alive, inside her. Perhaps, he’ll forever be, till her last breath.
She didn’t betray him, he did. Or did she? She was marrying another guy. How could she? She loved him, didn’t she? Then how could she belong to anyone else but him? How could she be separate from her love? She was his, forever.
The beautician left after doing her make-up, which she didn’t care about. Meera opened the drawer of her table and took out the ring that Shlok gave her. She had almost forgotten how she survived these years, she didn’t know how to live without him. She decided she wouldn’t. she looked for one last time at herself in the mirror, all she could see was Shlok’s Meera staring back at her, screaming how she betrayed him. The next moment she slit her left wrist with a knife, and then the other one. She didn’t scream in pain, didn’t cry, she knew she had to do this to be back with her love. She knew this suffering would take her to where she belonged – to him.
This was the only way she could get to be with him, at least that’s what she thought then. A life without the one you love isn’t a life- it’s a punishment, a lifelong punishment that you can’t get rid of because it’s only their presence that makes alive your otherwise dead self. She would finally meet him after what seemed like ages, in a world some other where no one could separate them. Where- she would be his- Shlok’s Meera for what they call Forever!
Half an hour later when Meera’s mother came in to take her down to the mandap that she sees her lovely daughter lying in a pool of blood. And on the mirror was written in red lipstick- “Shlok”

Tags: Short Story

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