She sat in the midst of the decorations in the bed covering her head with the heavy veil. She didn’t know what to expect, till now in her life nothing happened as she expected, may be now she will get the love she longed for. She chided herself for thinking like that, how can he love me, when he married me only for a heirloom, when he was in love with someone else. That reminded her of the innocent face she saw during the ceremony. She was beautiful, serene, an angel in all aspects, someone who made her feel home when no one else bothered about her. How can he not love her? She noticed the tinge of sadness in her face. She cannot become a mother; she had lost that ability after an accident. She didn’t want to get married because she knew that she can’t give him a child. He was ready to adopt but his family was against it. No one wanted him to marry anyone other than her, but his mom came with a plan to get him married only for a child. They both were not willing for that but their family decided it and went ahead. They finally got a scrape goat in her form, who was an unwanted burden in her family. Tears didn’t flow from her eyes as she knew that it is her fate, may be her life will be useful for someone.
Her thoughts were broken when she heard him entering the room. He went near her and told, “Change yourself to something comfortable. Dresses are there in the cupboard towards right.” She knew that was the only thing she could expect, but fortunately, he was not rude like her family. When he moved towards the coach, she stood up and went near the cupboard. She saw only nightdresses, which revealed more than required. She didn’t have a choice. She took a decent looking dress and went to change in the dressing room. While removing her ornaments and wedding dress, a lone tear escaped from her eyes for the first time that day, knowing that she had no right to even dream of a married life. She got fresh and changed into the nightdress. She came out and for the first time saw her handsome husband standing facing his back to her in a black vest and tracks. She knew she won’t even have the right to call him as her husband, unknowingly she clenched the mangalsutra. She moved towards the window waiting for the response from him. She could feel him turning towards her and was aware of his gaze from head to toe. He slowly came near her and hugged her from her back. She could sense the hesitance in his hold. She knew that he wants everything to be finished so soon that he could get his love back. She eased herself in his hold. He removed her long black hair to a side and placed kisses on her shoulders. In one quick move, he carried her to bed. She held on to his neck looking at his face for the first time. He was breathtakingly handsome. His M-shaped lips, his dark brown eyes, his perfect jaw and the stubble, added to the masculine features.
He placed her on the bed all the while not looking into her face. He switched off the lights and joined her in the bed. He placed himself above her and buried his face in her neck kissing her there. He trailed kisses down, while removing the strap of the nightdress from her shoulders. Soon her nightdress along with her inners and his clothes joined the floor. She could feel his reluctance in every touch and kiss. This was the first time someone was touching her intimately but unfortunately, it was not out of love. She let him do everything while she held him tight knowing that this may be her first and last time to experience this new feeling of belongingness, she belonged to him, she knew that and will always belong to him only, no matter whatever may happen. She will be happy at least with the fact that she could give birth to his child. She could feel the pain when he entered her, but soon it was all forgotten when he started moving. She could feel him showering kisses and bites in her bare upper body, as he was moving towards the final goal. He finally collapsed over her and she could feel his heart beating erratically. She moved her hands on his back and felt him calm down. He moved away from her and lay down on his side of the bed, pulling the comforter over both of them. He turned away and slept without uttering a word. She held the comforter and slept out of fatigue.
She woke up in the morning hearing the sound of shower. She looked around and memories of last night flashed on her mind. She didn’t know what to feel, the stained sheets showed that she lost her virginity to her husband. Every wife should be shy or elated, but what she can feel? On the other hand, does she have the right to feel? She got up and wore her nightdress back. She was about to change the sheet when she heard the bathroom door opening. He came out in a blue jeans with a towel wrapped around his shoulder. He saw her and went to the dresser to avoid looking at her. He told, “Geet, I will change the sheets. You go and freshen up.” She nodded like an obedient child and went towards the cupboard. He told, “You can find sarees or suits in the left one.” She went near it, took a simple but elegant red saree, and went to bathroom. While taking bath, she could feel the burning sensation between her legs. She ignored it and came out getting ready. She noticed that he was sitting in the couch in deep thoughts and found that the sheet was not yet changed. She was about to change it when she heard Sanjana calling, “Maan, aap dono utt gaye? Ma aapko bula raha he.” She could see the flash of guilt and hurt in his face hearing her words. He went to open the door before she could remove the sheets. She came inside and looked at the bed and her. She could see the pain behind her smile. She told, “Geet, tum ready hogayi. Chalo sab tum dono ka wait kar raha he. Jaldi se neeche aajao.” She replied, “Sanjana di, mein aapke saath chalthi hoon.”
Maan looked at her surprised hearing her address Sanjana as di. She looked away and followed Sanjana to the hall where she received a cold welcome. His mother gave her some legal papers and asked her to sign it. She signed it knowing that they were the divorce papers but not making others obvious about her knowledge. Sanjana didn’t seem happy with all these. Days passed by with the same routine between Maan and Geet. He never talked much with her but was slowly being comfortable with her. Even though she thought that he was doing all these to fulfill the purpose, slowly she started feeling something else too, but shrugged off thinking that why should he think different? She waited the whole day just to have him near her. He was no longer reluctant to touch and feel her. The kisses and hugs they shared were getting passionate as days passed by. He will keep her close after their love making session until she wakes up early. She was feeling loved but was afraid to accept it because she knew that it would turn to an illusion soon. The days reminded her of her role in the house as no one even bothered to think that she is there except Nakul and Sanjana. Nakul always used to make her feel home with his talks and she used to help him in the kitchen much to his protests. She slowly learned everyone’s favorites and being good in cooking, everyone liked her food. However, she had asked Nakul not to disclose that she did it, so that they can eat the food whole-heartedly.
She was starting to adjust to the way her life has become trying to find happiness in small small things. She cherished her moments with Maan, as she knew that it would be short-lived. The day she gave the news that she was carrying the whole mansion was overjoyed. She could see the happiness in Maan and Sanjana’s face. She was happy for being the reason for their happiness. Situations changed drastically after that. His family who never cared for her, started to be cautious in every thing she did. His papa, Aryan and brother Dev started to mellow down and was cordial towards her. She could understand that they were guilty of what they are doing, so until then couldn’t bring themselves to talk with her. His mother Vasundhara and sister Annie however remained almost the same except that they commanded Nakul to take proper care of her. But all these were never enough to compensate the happiness she felt in Maan’s arms as he started to sleep in the couch after getting the news of the baby. That broke the sand castle she built in her heart. She knew the purpose behind the marriage would be over soon and decided to take as much memories as possible with her. Throughout the pregnancy, she craved for many things, but never voiced out her needs, as she knew that all they cared for was their heirloom. He had accompanied her to the appointments with doctor. She could see the happiness in his face when they first saw their first ultrasound. She was contented to see his face but the heartbeats of her baby echoed in the room, reminded her of her loss, her baby. Silent tears came out of her eyes and she wiped them away before anyone could see it.
The day she gave birth to their son was the happiest day in their lives. She saw the happiness in everyone’s face. Maan was holding him like he is something fragile. She was not getting to hold the baby when she saw the longing in Sanjana’s eyes. When the baby started wailing, they gave her to feed and left leaving Sanjana and Maan in the room. After giving the feed, she took the baby and gestured Sanjana to come near. She gave the baby to her smiling, was happy to see the love and care in her eyes, and knew that her baby will be in safe hands. The baby snuggled into her arms and slept. She told, “Dekha di, woh aapke saath kitna khush he.” Sanjana smiled through tears while Maan went near them and held Sanjana by her shoulder. Geet looked up and saw a perfect family before her. She controlled the tears that were threatening to fall from her eyes. She was, is and will never be part of it. She closed her eyes to give them privacy and drown in her own misery.
Days went by so fast. Their son was completing six months next day. He liked to be with Maan and Sanjana than with her, or she had herself forced the change to happen. She stopped feeding him a month back and used to give him bottle feed. He was now no longer dependent on her. She looked at him sleeping peacefully in the crib and traced her fingers in his face, after tomorrow she does not know whether she will see him again. She knew that her mother-in-law will talk to her regarding the divorce tomorrow, but she wanted to make her task easier. She heard footsteps outside the room and immediately went to bed pretending to sleep. She knew it was him. She heard him going to check their baby inside the crib and then moving towards the coach. She wished at least once she could have him near her before she left. But that was again something impossible. She drifted off to another disturbed sleep with a heavy heart.
Next morning she got up late and found that he was not there in the room. She could hear noises down. She saw that their son was sleeping peacefully. She took bath and got ready in a white salwar suit gifted by her nani before marriage. She gave their son a warm bath and got him ready. She knew that she won’t get to do it anymore. She kissed him and fed him for one last time. She took her small bag that she had as her possession, took a photo of him and their son, and placed it in the bag before closing it. She didn’t wear the mangalsutra and sindoor as she knew that it no longer belongs to her. She took the mangalsutra along with the bag and took her son in her arms. She heard a gasp from the family when they noticed her coming down. She knew that they were afraid that she would take their son. She went near Maan who stood up and was coming towards her. She placed the bag down and forwarded her hand with the mangalsutra to him, “Maan, please take this. I know it doesn’t belong to me anymore.” Maan asked shocked, “What?”
She sighed and told, “Maan, I knew the reason for this marriage much before it happened. I know now that our son is..” She paused and continued, “Sorry your son is six months old and the divorce petition is filed one year back, it is time for me to leave the house.” She could read the shock and guilt in his eyes, not wanting to read any further she placed it in his hand and moved towards Sanjana. She gave their son to her and told, “Di, I know there is no need to tell you to take care of him. I know you will do it much better than I could do. Aapko zindagi ki saari khusiyan milegi. Mein dua karthi hoon ki aap teeno ki zindagi humesha khushiyon se bhare ho.” Before she could respond she kissed her son and moved to Nakul and told holding his hands, “Thanks Nakul kaka for everything you did.” Nakul had tears in his eyes while she nodded no. She went back and took her bag. She turned to them and told, “Aap log chintha mat karo. Mein aap sab ke zindagi se bahut door chali javoongi. Mera saaya bhi aap sab ke zindagi mein nahi padne doongi. Chalthi hoon.” She left to exit before someone could stop her, knowing that she can’t hold her tears a minute longer.
She walked out of the huge mansion clenching her bag close, not knowing where to go, not knowing what to do. She kept on walking until she reached near an army camp. She saw people waiting in a queue outside it. She went near them and asked a guy who appeared on his early twenties on what is going on. He told that an army selection camp is going on. She thought for a while and asked, “Can I also join?” The guy looked as if he saw some alien. He asked, “Are you serious? Do you know what you are going to commit?” She told firmly, “Yes, I am. I was never so confident.” Seeing the determination in her eyes, he told, “You need to have your certificates and have to pass the fitness tests. If you want you can try after a month, the camp is going to be conducted again next month. Here, take my number and call me if any help is required. By the way, I am Amar Chopra. And you are.” She told, “I am Geet.” She thanked him and turned to leave. Now she has a destination, she looked at her purse and found the ATM card gifted by her nani before her demise. She never had to use it after marriage. She went to a nearby ATM and checked for the balance. Her nani has saved enough for her to live for another 4-5 years. She took some money and went out in search of a ladies hostel.
She reached one, which looked affordable and good, run by nuns. The head Nun asked her about her family. She told she had only her nani and now she is no more. She also mentioned about her plans to join army. The nuns were surprised by seeing her determination when they questioned on why she wants to join army. However, they never failed to notice the blankness in her face, which was uncommon for a 19 year old girl. As per her request, she was given a single room, as she preferred to be alone. She went to the room and opened it with the keys. It was a small room with one small bed, a table and a chair. A small shelf was there on the side to keep her belongings. She took out her belongings and placed it neatly after cleaning the whole room. After getting fresh, she sat in the bed, ready to give a new meaning to her life. Her soul had died the very moment she stepped out of the mansion. However, she is ought to live the life gifted by her babaji. She knows that nothing can be a better option than serving the country and prayed babaji to get her selected.
Days passed by and with the help of Amar she learned the basic requirements for army selection. She came to know that Amar had a sister who was in army and lost her life serving the country. He considered her as a sister and helped her. She came to know that his family lived in Chandigarh. She got selected by babaji’s grace and was all set to leave for training in Hyderabad along with Amar who was already selected. She boarded the train and looked outside. She is leaving the place, which was her home once, now she had nothing here which she can call hers. She can’t even claim her son as hers. She took picture of them and held it close to her heart like feeling them. She kept it inside when she saw Amar coming. Amar told, “Sis, all ready to serve the nation? You are sure about this, are you?” She could see his concern for her, she smiled and told, “Bhai, I was not so sure about anything like this until now. I want to do it.” Amar smiled and told, “Geet, mein tumhe batatha hoon. Ladkon keliye yeh utna muskil nahi he. Mein ab ki baat nahi kar raha hoon. Par jab tumhari shaadi hogi tab tum shayad apni family keliye time spare nahi kar payegi.” She looked out hearing marriage trying to hold the pain she felt and told with a smile, “Bhai, mein shaadi nahi karna chahthi hoon. Jo mujhe mere zindagi mein aaj tak mili he woh mereliye kaafi he.” Amar could read the pain behind the smile but thought of not forcing her to tell. The train left the station taking her to a different destination in her life.