It was the last time she had come to meet him, she said, "I won't take more than 10 minutes of your time nor will I question you about anything". He said, "I had always dreamt of seeing you in this red lehenga. But what made you wear this today? Did they force you to get..." before he could complete, she stopped him. She said "how can they make a deal of someone who is already taken. "
She said, "For 15 years I have been waiting to put on this lehenga, tie knots, and get married to you. I just had this one wish in my prayers all these years to grow old with you."
"While attending those classes together and while getting to know you more, I knew you were the one. The one I could share my life with. They stopped my education because they didn't want me to be with you. It still kept me going as I could see you through the window while you went to college. I thought to myself you will study, get a job and one day we will have our own world. This thought kept me happy even while they made me work like a slave doing household stuff."
"Seeing you in temples on Mondays was the only thing that worked like a medicine for my pain. The day you completed your degree with distinction made me feel closer to our dreams. When you shifted to another city for a job I felt like I was left alone in this hell but I convinced myself I have to be strong till you come back and take me to our world of dreams. Watching you leave every month tore my heart till your next visit but I couldn't stop you because our dream was closer. When all my friends were getting married and having babies, I was still trying to convince them about us. They could not understand that no caste is as big as their daughter's desire."
"When I finally had the guts to run for my dreams I was forced to come home because they said they’ll kill you. How could I not return when it was about your life?" Tears rolled down her face as she said that.
She said, "I was scared of them even though I knew we had legal rights to stay together. I was your wife legally and should be allowed to stay with you but the fear of losing you forever couldn't let me stay with you. I know how difficult it must have been for you when your family kept asking you to get married. After knowing my family's history, I could understand your mom's concern and the risk she talked about. I never expected anything from you. I could never give you the happiness that was meant for you."
"Today I just want you to put this sindoor on my head. This is the last thing I would ask for. Last thing I would want you to do without questioning me."
He did as she said. His eyes filled with tears. He pulled her towards his chest. Her pain must have come like an uproar when she pulled out that powder from her sleeves and within no seconds gulped it. He snatched it from her hands but some part of it was already in.
He could see his world falling apart. The taste, the smell, the feel, everything was gone. The only thing left was nothingness.