Was it the door bell ringing? No… all was quiet….. it was just her mind…. imagining things. The sound of the clock in the Living Room was going on at full speed. It was, as if, someone was purposefully increasing the volume of the clock. It seemed too loud. Rye held the pillow on her ears to drive out the noises. What noises would she drive out? She had a lot of things going on….and she needed to get some of it out of her system. She pulled the covers, got up and started walking towards her Parents’ room. She could see a light glowing from under the door. It meant that, may be, her father was still up reading something. Slowly she knocked on the door. She heard shuffling steps hurrying to the door. ‘Are you alright? What happened?’ asked her father worried to see Rye standing at his door at 2 in the night.
‘Nothing…. It’s just that I am scared…I don’t want to marry Papa…’ she blurted out all at once! Suddenly she broke down almost sobbing. Her father removed his reading glasses, held her hand and closed the door behind him to move towards her room along with her. He held her by the shoulders and walked beside her ‘Shh… it’s alright… you don’t have to marry. We will call off the marriage!’ he soothed his 28 year old daughter, who was engaged to be married within a few days.
‘Really…? You will do that..?’ asked Rye forgetting her tears. ‘Yes of course! Why not? We decided to get you married because Abhi and you liked each other, so we thought it was best to have you settled. As it is, you are my only child and all I want is your happiness. If you are not happy about this, we will not have any marriage… alright?’ reasoned her father.
‘No… actually it is not that… maybe…..maybe, not cancel… can we delay it?’ asked Rye apprehensively…. already confused at her father’s proposition. She had not expected him to be so supportive. A few days back, she had asked her mom the same thing, but what had followed then was sobbing, crying and blaming…. when her mom blamed her of trying to malign their family name in the society. Had she known her father would react in this way, she would have never gone to her mom in the first place. Right from her school days till the time she secured a job, she had shared everything with her father and he had supported her and also spoiled her with all his love.
‘I think, Abhi is a fairly understanding person….. he will understand why you want to cancel the marriage… isn’t it? Then in the meanwhile, if they find another bride…. he may marry her and we will find a better groom for you…. Is that alright?’ offered her father.
‘No… I don’t want that… how can he marry someone else?’ questioned Rye quite perplexed by now. ‘That is not what I want…. actually I don’t know exactly….’ trailed off Rye’s voice and she looked down. Her father lovingly held up her face and said: ‘But I know exactly…. I still see the small girl in you, who never wanted to go to sleep without hearing fairytales and stories…. It is perfectly okay to be scared, Rye…. We will miss you a lot when you are married and gone. But whenever you get married, it will be the same process and we will miss you still….. whether you marry now or later it will not make any difference….. but if you feel so, I’m okay with having you with us forever…. There will never be any marriage. And you will never have to leave us and go. For now… go to sleep and we will think it over in the morning….ok?’ he could see a childish smile appear on his daughter’s face, akin to that of a child, who has finally seen Santa Claus, and had proof that he existed.
‘What about Ma? Will you talk to her too?’ she asked her father. ‘Oh…. What about her? You don’t worry about anything… I will take care of everything…. You just get back to bed and try to sleep. We are all with you!’ Rye was relieved…. finally her problem was solved. She would not get married and Papa would take care of everything. She felt light at heart and felt her eyelids go heavy with sleep. With a sleepy smile she concluded: ‘Good Night Papa!’
‘Good Night to you too’ saying he left her room and closed it behind him. He smiled knowingly to himself and headed towards his room.
The morning was happy with bright sunlight streaming in through the curtains and cool breeze blowing from the balcony. Rye slept till late and got up around 10 in the morning. She was totally refreshed and very happy after her talk with Papa last night. As was her habit, every day before getting up from bed she checked her phone and put it off the ‘silent’ mode. While doing so, she found 5 missed calls from Abhi and a message saying: ‘Unable to sleep without you anymore. Come Soon. Love you!’ her face blushed reading the message and she got up from bed quickly. She was about to call back Abhi when she remembered the talk, she had with her father the last night. She was thinking of what to do next when the door to her room opened and her father entered with her morning-tea in one hand and the newspaper in another.
‘Good Morning….Sleepy-head! It’s almost afternoon…. Get up now?’ chided her father playfully.
‘Papa, I…. I want to talk you about what I said last night…’ replied Rye.
‘What talk? Last night? Did we have a talk? And if we did….. then its top secret and already forgotten…’ added her father with a wink. ‘Now have your tea and call back that fool, he has already called and woken up the whole house trying to reach you. I asked him to wait since you were sleeping…’ added her father almost teasing. Rye laughed out loud and mouthed ‘Thank you Papa!’
Her father kissed her forehead and added ‘Shh…don’t mention it ever….and now….. call Abhi… he’s been waiting for a long time!’
[P.S: For another interesting read check out http://wehaveastory.blogspot.com/2012/03/surprise-surprise.html ]