.. 5 am in the morning. She sits at the doorstep of her house. All-nighters were not a choice; insomnia is a disease when one awaits the return of a loved one. She had tried to fall asleep all night, twisting and turning in the bed. But she finally gets up at the sound of the early morning temple bells, and settles down at the doorstep. Her eyes are full of sleep and dizziness. She wants to fall asleep for once, peacefully, like in her mother’s lap. The peace that she had known only for a little while. Since as long as she could remember, she was told every day that she was a girl, and girls don’t belong to the homes they are born in. She was told that she would be sent away to her husband’s home, and that is where her real life would begin. She cursed the childhood version of herself, for getting the gudda-guddi married as a part of a game. “Maybe that’s why they got me married – because they misinterpreted a childhood game as a wish of little girl”, she thought to herself – an eighteen year old dressed up as a bride. But little did she know – this was the game the elders liked to play.
At the doorstep, she lifts her drooping eyes. Black clouds are settling in the predawn sky. It is easy to see them coming in the light of the day. But when it is dark, and the sun is still going to take a while to show its face, you feel the black clouds of rain ; like an army of soldiers ready to attack while the town is still asleep. The goose bumps start appearing on her skin, and her saree ruffles with the wind, as she gets up to breathe in the new day. Thunder and lightning scowling; the temple bells responding equally. Not a drop of rain on her body. She waits; she waits to get soaked in the morning rain. Before the neighbors are awake, and before the rules bound her again. She waits, her arms stretched to the infinite sky. She waits, as she has been waiting for a while now. For an year now, in vain. No news of her husband.
Tears course down her cheeks, even before a raindrop could make its way to her barren body.