Ananya sat on the bed, eagerness and anxiety tumbling in her stomach. She felt beautiful, clad in the traditional, red silk sari and adorned in the customary jewellery, head-to-toe. Her feet, painted red, was slightly shivering from anticipation. 

Though the fact that she settled for an arranged marriage was slightly unsettling, the unknown always excited her. Jai wanted the night to be romantic, yet traditional, so he arranged it to be at a classy hotel nearby. Her eyes were glued to the door, waiting for his presence. She decided to pace around a bit to calm the nerves.

“Fifty thousand for tonight. I’m not settling for anything less. You guys picked her and I entangled myself in all the shenanigans and drama. The burden will probably be with me for some more years, I might as well gain properly out of this. First it’s my turn, when I’m done I’ll let you know. Wait here.”

She heard three more voices argue with Jai’s. “Lower your voices.”, Jai commanded. The argument continued in hushed voices.

A cold shiver ran down her spine. She looked down at her hands covered in the red mehendi, it was shivering like a leaf. She looked around in panic, her heart was pounding.

A sudden jerk woke her up. She opened her eyes, disoriented at the bright light. The train had halted somewhere.The passengers were buying coffee from a vendor. She took a deep breath of the comforting aroma and closed her eyes.

Was it only a dream? She slowly opened her eyes and looked down.

Her hands, adorned with the red mehendi, were still shivering. 

Picture courtesy : Pinterest