Alankrita saw herself in the full length mirror. She was wearing a peach color lehenga with matching diamond earrings and necklace. Alankrita looked at the time displayed in her iPhone. It was 7 am in the morning. In about three hours, she would be married to Ankush Singhania. How could she have been so stupid? People were not as they seem to be; weren’t they? As the Financial Advisor of her company, she met new people for signing various agreements. By just one look at the document, she could find the loop holes in the deal. She brought the most profitable deals to her company and gained the confidence of her superiors.
But, how did she fail while taking the most crucial decision of her life? She thought. Her eyes welled up forming a trail on her face.
The Mehta’s and the Singhania’s were business partners. Mr. Singhania’s son, Ankush had completed his studies and was set to return to India. Mr. Mehta saw him as a potential groom for his daughter and suggested the proposal to the Singhania’s, which they agreed. When Alankrita was informed of this, she was geared up with her laser vision to study him and reject the proposal.
It was a quiet evening when the families met at Mr. Mehta’s house to see Alankrita. After exchanging pleasantries, they gave Alankrita and Ankush their privacy. Both were MBA qualified confident individuals. During their talks, they found that they had similar interests. She felt that Ankush was sweet and sensible. They exchanged their numbers and sent friend requests on Facebook.
After that, they went on several dates hiding from their families. The Singhania’s and the Mehta’s were conservative. She remembered the night when she had to wear a kurta one size bigger than her to hide her crop top underneath it. Alankrita lied to her parents that day she was going to spend the night at her friends for project discussion whereas she planned to dance the night away in a club with Ankush.
A weak smiled appeared on Alankrita’s face when she thought about all this. She looked around her room where Ankush’s gifts were scattered everywhere. He had showered her with gifts on every date. She held one of the soft toys which was given to her by him and began punching it angrily.
A week ago, they had gone to the Red rock café for one of their dates. The couple were head over heels with each other. She was in a black knee length off shoulder dress and he was wearing a grey blazer with white V neck shirt underneath it. “I can’t wait for us to get married”, he said holding her hand. “Me too”, she replied while looking lovingly in his eyes. “We can go to Bali for our honeymoon”, suggested Ankush. “Yeah, after coming back we will raise the Singhania brand to great heights”, she quipped. “What do you mean by ‘we’?” he asked with a puzzled look on his face. “I will join your company after marriage”, she answered coolly.
“No, no you need not join the company. I suggest you stop working after marriage”
Alankrita shuddered at this and felt the floor beneath her slip. “Why can’t I work? I too have an MBA like you. What will I do sitting at home”, she told with a shaky voice.
“I’m saying this because my earnings are sufficient for both of us. You won’t be lonely in our house, you have my sister Anshika, to give you company”
When she was about to open her mouth to say something, he said with an air of finality in his voice “What I said is final. No more discussion on this”
That day, she saw something in his eyes that she had never seen before. She felt shivers running down her spine. Alankrita couldn’t sleep that night and wept her heart out on her pillow. She informed her parents about this, they ignored her repeated pleas and took his side on the matter.
How she wished to run away from this situation? Yes, why can’t I run from this marriage? What about my family reputation? They didn’t take a stand to protect my self-respect, why am I worried about their reputation? Let it go to hell, I don’t care! She thought.
She had about an hour before she was going to be married. Alankrita quickly removed all her jewelry and threw them on the floor. Next, she slipped out of her lehenga and changed into jeans. She grabbed her laptop, credit card, checkbook and other essentials with the blink of an eye. Alankrita covered her face with a shawl and left her room. She cautiously went towards the back door of her house.
She boarded an auto from the auto-stand near her home. She stopped at an ATM. After withdrawing the money, she asked the driver to stop at a nearby lodge.
When she checked into her room, she did a happy dance to celebrate her escape. She opened her laptop to type a mail addressed to her company requesting for a transfer. “Any place would be better than this”, she thought.
“Alankrita Singhania, the highly qualified runaway bride”, she said to herself and laughed while typing the email signature.