The Day I Died

AN: Not many people can actually say they remember the day they died. I can. It was my Wedding Day. An I don't mean death in the literal sense.

Summary: Your Wedding Day. Supposedly the happiest day of your life? For me, it was terror and the day I very nearly died inside.

All names of people and places have been changed. The only thing unchanged is my name and my new last name. Italics symbolise thoughts.

By: Hindi Sparkling Diamond

The Day I Died

Terror.

That was the only emotion that my brain was able to register right now.

A sickening terror that was stored right in my stomach making me feel sick with my fear.

What if he doesn't like me? What if I don't like him? What if he doesn't find me attractive? What if he's ugly? What if he expects me to have children straight away? What if he doesn't want any? What if …

Two words. What and if were replaying themselves over and over in my fuzzled mind as I stood in front of a floor length mirror. My eyes tightly closed.

"Aishwarya?."

I jump visibly upon hearing my mothers voice softly call my name. My name. I always hated it as a child. Too complex and ugly I thought. But many back home in England had commented on it, on how wonderfully exotic it sounded. If they liked it so much why didn't they take it?

"Aishwarya?"

"Hmm?"

I give a simple response, as if I cannot manage a full word or sentence. I do not wish to speak more, nor do I wish to open my eyes. Maybe if I do not, maybe if I cannot see myself I can pretend this is not happening.

"Open your eyes, Aishwarya."

Why?! I yell at myself. All I will see is myself dressed in the chains that shall lead me to my Wedding prison. Bitter thoughts rush through my mind, words I would never dare speak to my mother. I'm only nineteen! Inside my head I scream myself hoarse, but I can feel her glare burning through the back of my head. So was she. So was mother when she married. A sombre voice comes from nowhere inside my head, before my mother speaks again.

"Aishwarya Syal this Wedding has been planned since you were no more than a baby. It has cost you father countless thousands. You could at least open your eyes."

Her tone is quietly scolding, working to hit that little spot in my heart that controls shame.

And it works.

I relent.

I pray to Krishna that all I see is myself dressed normally. My eyes flitter open to face the bright room, and for a moment I am blinded by the flood of light. As my eyesight slowly returns I see my prayers went unheeded.

I am dressed in a full length dress made from a luxurious golden fabric, intricate red embroidery dances across the skirt, forming beautiful flowers decorated with real crystals. A deep scarlet trim runs along the bottom, three inches up, the same material covering my bust in a square, low neckline, but not too low of course. I have the family honour to uphold.

The short sleeves are trimmed with the gold embroidered fabric of the skirt. A beautifully delicate silk sari is draped in the usual manner by the waist and over the right shoulder. That is gold and decorated with tiny red rose buds and gold and clear crystals. Trimmed with red embroidered lace.

Around my neck is a thick gold necklace gifted from my future husbands family, matching ear rings hang contentedly from my ears.

My long black hair is pulled away from my face a high plaited ponytail wrapped around itself to form a bun. With golden silk strands woven in, faux flowers are gracing the back of the bun.

My eyebrows were defined and shaped by 'threading' a week ago, and look sleek, thin and razor sharp, my eyes are decorated with heavy shimmering gold and bronze shadow and my lashes, false of course, sweep up dramatically, a tiny crystal on each tip.

A bangle rests a little way beneath my left elbow, on each hand I wear a gold bracelet, attached to a ring on my centre finger by gold chain. Intricate mehndi (henna) designs wrap there way around hands and fingers, sliding a little way down wrists, applied two days previous by an aunt and cousin. I stare down at my right hand, to my eyes the name of my betrothed, 'Manjeet' is clearly incorporated into the design of flowers and creeping vines, as is the tradition.

His name lies somewhere else on me, written with henna in a modern form of mehndi. On the Wedding night the groom searches for his name, on me it is not only written upon a hand, but underneath layers of fabric, above the waist of the skirt yet beneath my naval. Written to delight more than anything.

The final touch is being 'glued' into place rather reverently by my mother. My red, gold and crystal bindi, she carefully adjusts, waves over an Aunt for a second opinion before smiling brightly.

"You look so beautiful." she whispers, as if she fears her own voice, I see tears prick at the corner of her eyes and she quickly sweeps them away.

"How will he keep his hands off you!" my sister Shmita giggles as she comes up behind me, giving my dress a little tweak.

Krishna save me, I'd forgotten that. There comes that light headed sickness feeling again. Tonight. I'm expected to…

Thankfully my thoughts are cut short by my mother calling me once more.

"Come now Aishwarya, we must go or we shall be late." She hurries over to me, swirls me round to face the door and literally pushes me out of the room. My entire female entourage close behind her.

I glance to my right as I am ushered out of the front door, the last thing I see is the serene face of Vishnu .. and it does not help me one tiny bit.

***

"I see him!"

"Where? Where?"

"Over there, look!"

Great, I just start to relax and my sisters start jumping up and down, squealing that they can see my husband.

I feel sick, I would probably be being sick right now if I hadn't not eaten since yesterday lunch time.

"Is that him?"

Someone, please make them stop.

"Preeya, Varsha, please!"

Thank you so much mother.

I open my mouth to scold my sisters myself but I freeze as music starts.

Oh no.

I am instantly shuffled out of my sanctuary, into glaring Indian sunshine and a crowd of people, most of whom I do not know. My eyes adjust and I am met with the sight of a young male dressed in white and red.

Wow.

That seemed to be the only rational thought that I managed to process at that time.

Wow. Wow. And wow again. Thank you Krishna!

He gives me a soft smile and extends his hand to mine.

**

Finally, Manjeet and I manage to escape from the humdrum of 1500 guests talking us to death, we were bade farewell with lots of winks and nudges.

Thank you so much, I have only just met the man, as if it wasn't awkward enough.

He held open the door to the hotel room in which we were staying before heading to Bombay the next morning. As the door closed with a soft click I clapped eyes on the huge bed.

And those wonderful butterflies decided to come back. Great.

Uneasily I sat myself on the edge of the bed, Manjeet shuffled down next to me, and slowly reached out and took my right hand. He traced the mehndi pattern with his thumb before he smiled.

"That's me." He whispered, running over his name in the design.

"It's written somewhere else."

Was that me? Do I not remember where that is??!

Burning eyes flash up to mine, eyebrows quirking upwards. "Really?"

"Oh, yes. You'll never guess where."

Where did that come from??!

He chuckles softly, and lifts my fingers to his mouth to place a chaste kiss upon my knuckles. "I guess I'll just have to look then won't I?"

Meep.

The he kissed me. Properly. And that was the moment.

That was it. that was the exact moment that Aishwarya Syal died.

And Aishwarya Bhudia was born.

End

**

I know I was lucky, arranged marriages have the highest divorce rate in than any other, I think it's about half or more that end nastily. I was so lucky that I was given 'Manjeet', though his name has been changed.

That was a year ago now in April, I'm twenty now and he is twenty four. And I am delighted to say that there is a little Manjeet or Aishwarya on the way in May. So I am rather *ahem* large, uncomfortable and armed with a bump at the moment that kicks like it plays for Manchester United.

So review and make me feel better.