( love,why me?)
By chidinma jerry.
I heard my name,it was Sam’s voice.I hastily removed the leaf from my mouth and threw it in the water.
“SHREYA? Is that you?”he said
“Yes its me sam”I said and turned he rushed and hugged me.
“Baby am sorry for all they said to you,it Wont stop me from loving you,our first ritual is tommorow shreya,you will wear red and you
will be my wife.”he said
“I will wear red?”i asked
“Yes shreya,red sari,red vermilion,red colours.our wedding fell into the festivals of colour and I Sam I will celebrate you with the colour red.” He said and i hugged him.
“What if your mum doesn’t let me in?”she asked.
“Mother already chose to disown me and I agreed to leave so she and grandmother are like guests at our wedding not my family.our secret is safe they Wont say anything”he said
“Are u sure?”.
“Yes I threatened to kill myself if they do”..
“Sam what about the priestess..what if she exposes me in the crowd, I won’t be able to handle that”she said.
“The goddesss is on your side shreya ..the priestess might be your nuni”he said.
I nodded and secretly plucked another leaf. if the priestess tries to embarrass me I Will eat it and die..I promise.
We both headed home.
Early the next morning I walked shreya into our family and preparations started.
My mother didnt talk to me she really disowned me.
My grandmother used her veil to cover her face.
Our big hall was fully decorated
Today is the second day into the festival of colours so a lot if coloured sindoor filled the hall..mostly red to adorn the bride.
I saw the red sari which my dad bought for shreya..some girls came and dragged shreya away.
She was so happy when she saw her red cloth.
I walked in with my brother to dress up.
I walked into the hall and it was so full.
It was already filled up.
People adorned themselves with colours.
Married women applied a little red vermilion on their fore Head.
They where moving colors in barrows like sand.
There where a lot of colours..
Soon everything was set and I sat waiting for my shreya.
I couldn’t wait to see her in red.
Just then the bell rang to announce that the priestess who was coming.
She wore white and held a staff.her hair was white,i hope she is not a seer.
I pray she blesses this union
I got scared for shreya
I saw that leaf she plucked out.
” the goddess is here in fullness,bring out the bride”the woman said
I looked at the idol of the goddess, beautifully molded. all I could say was thank you.
/> SHREYA walked out wearing red.
She looked so beautiful so pretty I smiled.
People admired her loudly.
The woman looked at her for a while and suddenly looked up.
Her followers too looked up in silence
Before I could relate,two of her followers took shreya back inside.
Everyone was confused
I was confused
I looked At my mum and my grandmother.
In few minutes they brought her out and she was dressed in black.
She was crying.
I tried going to her but Ely held me tight.
“Sam you Wil kill yourself..don’t involve with them they are not mortals”he said.
/> I couldn’t stop my tears as I watched shreya cry.
” SHREYA can never wear colours.
She would never wear red on her forehead as a bride.
She would never wear red on her body as a bride.
She can’t be wedded on such a holy day.
She can’t ever be wedded on any other day.
She too knows this truth… she shouldn’t have come back here.”The woman said.
“According to the temple traditions, a worshipper above the age of 18 can only leave the temple as a bride or follow a family member.
Shreya here let a man defile her just few hours to her main ritual as a life worshipper. .without wedding vows.
According to the tradition, a girl who does that must pray in the river for 30 days and 40 nights..No food no water until she has been cleaned and forgiven.
But shreya didn’t beg for forgiveness for one day instead she travelled to Vietnam and lived a dirty life.
She lost her self respect every day.
She was caught up in a deep sin
Even the goddess finds her dirty she can never be adorned with colours.
Shreya’s tears dropped.
” since shreya was never married and never followed a family member she still belongs in the temple.She will fast for 50 days in the water and when she is clean she shall return to the temple not as a worshipper but as a worker and she shall die there.
The colour red shall never touch her
No colour shall touch her
She wore white before now she shall wear black.
She has been cursed.
Take her to the river”the woman shouted.
I watched shreya open her Palm and the leaf was there.
I rushed her but people held me.
the leaf into her mouth and it started raining.
everybody in the hall started murmuring and making Noise
“Who are you to not forgive shreya when the goddess herself grants her mercy”an old woman shouted and shreya vomited the leaf.
SHREYA stood up and walked towards the idol of the Indian goddess…it was crying blood.
People where shocked..
Worshippers started praying.
Shreya fell to the floor in tears ….
“Mom!!!”shreya whispered in her tears.
Before she could complete her statement.
The red sindoor which was in a plate above shreya fell down and poured on her hair.
SHREYA laughed in tears.
Next my mom took a handful of red colour and poured on shreya.. She kissed her and hugged her.
SHREYA looked at me in tears.
My grandmother carried a full cup and poured on shreya,shreya started laughing.
“Bless you my child”she said and hugged shreya.
My father poured a hand full on shreya he hugged her.
Her nuni and my brother landed a basin of red colour on her. SHREYA laughed and I just watched her like a movie.
Someone poured red on her from behind,she turned and it was her nuni and one other woman.SHREYA looked in her face and shouted
“Mom!!!” She hugged her and the woman poured red on her.
My crazy friends poured red paint on her she laughed.
Soon her black gown was red.
Visitors started pouring red on her.
I walked towards her and took a handful of red vermilion.
I poured it on her fore head.
I didn’t remove my hand from her head rather I used that opportunity to tell her what I wanted.
” SHREYA..I will love you till I die,i will never leave you,i will take you as my God..I swear on you” I said.
Her maam priya poured red on her from behind.
“SHREYA…I finally believe in love because of you.” She said and hugged her.
SHREYA was taken away then she changed into a red sarri
The wedding ritual was completed.
I am so happy I couldn’t help but sing in my mind.
🎼 oh mother oh mother Aphrodite
🎼oh mother oh mother Aphrodite
I was welcomed by Sam’s family..like a new bride.
I deeped my leg into the red paint and everybody clapped.
My face was fully covered
My hand was adorned.
My jeweleries where heavy.
I cant wait for Sam to remove all this.
I traced my leg into the house and the trAces of my feet was sparking red on the floor.
I walked into Sam’s room where I sat.
🎼 my future is dark make it bright
Shall i not wear red, but red is yours
Oh mother oh mother I came back
Will you really keep quiet oh Aphrodite
I couldn’t help but sing.
Sam walked in and opened my face
“Hey,we did it”he said
He removed all the heavy jeweleries and dropped them on bed.
“My goddess”he said to me as he finally removed by cloths one by one.
I smiled happily.
SHREYA do u remember the first few days when we met
He asked and we both laughed.