"I know you are hurt by what bhaiya did but if you don't come back then you may very well lose him," Uma was trying hard to convince Suman to come back home. If she didn't, then in a couple hours, Bhushan and MaSaheb would be bringing home a bedni. As far as she knew, MaSaheb had already selected one.
At first Bhushan was reluctant to accept a bedni in his life and was willing to apologise to Suman but MaSaheb had used her
tears and a few choice words to convince him not to. And Uma was unable to get through to Vikram's phone.
"No Uma, I have made my decision. He has to apologise. If he prefers to have another woman in his life then so be it. I would know that his love was never true. Uma please accept my decision. It's all up to destiny now. Take care," Suman dropped the receiver down without giving Uma a chance to reply.
She refused to accept that Bhushan would betray her like that. "No, Bhushan would come for me," she told herself firmly.
"Hurry up Sugni!! It's almost time for the ceremony to start," Bumsukhiya was getting impatient. He just wanted this sardakai to be over and done with as soon as possible. He wanted to get his commission badly from this deal as he had already made plans for the money. Just this morning he had overheard Uma trying to convince Bhushan to not go through with the sardakai. He could have bet all his money that had it not been for MaSaheb
walking in that moment, Bhushan would have agreed with Uma. But thank god MaSaheb reached in time.
"Just five more minutes Bums!!" Sugni called out.
"Okay, I am counting!" Bumsukhiya replied. He was happy that Sugni decided to get her sardakai done at the perfect time. He always knew she would rake in the money.
"Sugni, you are looking so beautiful. Just like a real bride," Gulabiya was feeling so emotional right now. She felt torn between the hurt of knowing what was about to happen to her daughter and her family's current situation . Sugni looked like a real bride. It's too bad that she was not marrying her dream prince instead of having a sardakai ceremony with some thakur. But Gulabiya accepted that there was nothing she could do because of
her illness and she respected Sugni's decision of wanting to take care of the family's needs. Gulabiya's worthless brothers, Hukum and Katari, had run off with the money for house hold expenses. They wanted to use the money for a bid in a ring fight in the next village. Neither had been heard of in the five weeks since they left. She cursed herself for spoiling them and now her precious daughter was going to sell her dreams and body to
provide for them. Had it been just her, she would have preferred to die than have Sugni give up her dreams but there were her two sisters-in-law and niece to think about. Plus the new baby that would be born soon... Still all this was too much to put on Sugni's shoulders. No, she couldn't allow Sugni to give up her dreams and become a bedni instead. Somehow or the other she would do rai again and provide for them but Sugni will not become a bedni...
Sugni looked at her mother's face and knew instantly what she was thinking. She didn't want her mother to feel that she was letting her down. "Ma, have you ever seen another bedni dressed so richly? No, right? This beautiful sari and these jewelry have made me feel like I am about to marry a prince...I know that is not what is going to happen..but I could pretend right? I have decided to not cry about it and just accept what fate has in store for me. So Ma, promise me that you will not cry and let's enjoy this for as long as it lasts right.. Promise?"
"Oh Sugni, I don't know if I can..."
"You have to ma!! Promise or else I would start crying here too.."
"Sugni,...I... I promise, ok. Are you happy now?"
"Great. Can you just go ahead and let Bamsukhiya see that you are ready? I will be just a minute, I want to just make sure my make-up is fine ok?"
Sugni looked at herself in the mirror and tried not to cry. She took a few deep breaths and told herself to do exactly what she told her mother.
Smile and just accept things as they were, for as long as it lasted. It would not last long she knew. These thakurs changed bednis very often. Sugni tried out a smile in front of the mirror and then turned to meet Bamsukhiya, who was waiting to take her to her sardakai.
"Oh come on..come on.come on...,"Vikram was drumming his fingers impatiently on the stering wheel, waiting for the lights to change. Why was it that whenever one was in a hurry, all the traffic lights had to turn red just as you approached!!!
"Finally!!!" he yelled as he pulled off in a rush.
His mobile phone battery was discharged and he was late to get home. The last voice message he received was from a frantic Uma telling him that the sardakai ceremony would start at 11:00am. A quick glance at his watch told him it was way past the appointed time. He increased his speed some more hoping that it was not too late ...
Sugni kept looking at the floor. She wasn't ready to see who her buyer was yet. A few more rituals and then it would be all over. She will be officially a bedni and then she can look at the face of the thakur who was her owner...As the final ritual where her thakur would place the chunari over her head neared, she started to cold sweat. "Am I really going to do this?..Oh god..no.. I don't think I can..oh sita maiya..I should just stop them
before it's too late...I will say that I made a mistake and then I will go back home with Ma quickly...O gosh! ma..she needs her medicine..how could I even think about backing out now?..how will I get medicines for ma and food for Tinkle?.." She took a deep breath, "No, I will have to do this..there is no other option..
Sita maiya please just give me courage..I...I will just count backwards until it's over...100, 99, 98, 97, 96..."
As Vikram pulled his jeep into the town's square, he saw his mother handing the chunari to Bhushan. He knew that once that ritual was completed, Bhushan would be the owner of a bedni. Damn it!!! Why couldn't he have driven a bit faster, he wondered to himself. Now it was too late. As he pulled the scarf from around his neck to wipe the perspiration off his face, an idea came to his mind. He looked at Bhushan hesitating to drape the chunari on the bedni's head and sprang into action. He climbed onto the nearest table and after uttering a quick and silent prayer, he flung his scarf across the distance...
Edited by JulieD - 17 June 2013 at 8:04pm