Abhishek Gupta



Abhishek Gupta




4 mins

Come fast, dear! We are getting late.

'Just two minutes maa', I replied while tucking my lime green shirt inside the black formal pant.

'You are looking handsome!', my dad complimented.

Thank you! They will add an extra five lakhs in dowry for my looks, I replied sarcastically.

He looked at me annoyingly.

Last night we had a heated argument. They were planning to demand twenty-five lakhs rupees, as dowry, to which I had objected. I had just cleared a government job. And I couldn't understand, how it was related to demanding such a huge lump sum of money. Nevertheless, I had to give up because I couldn't take a strong stand against them.

I took the driver seat of our ancestral chariot, Maruti 800. My father sat beside me and my mother took the back seat.

'At least have a smile on your face, we are going to finalise the date of your marriage', my mother said, sensing my irritation by looking at me through the driving mirror of the car.

'And my market value as well', I triggered my gun again.

No one said anything from then until we reached our destination. The whole family was standing outside the gate to welcome us, except the bride. 'Am I going to be married today, I wondered!' We proceeded towards the house after exchanging warm hugs and taking blessings from the elders. We were offered snacks. The elders were busy with their regular chit-chat about work, politics, sports etc. I was waiting for my girl! And after waiting for fifteen minutes eagerly, she came dressed in the typical Indian outfit. She was wearing lime green kameez, black salwar and black dupatta tied to her left shoulder. A pair of golden earrings was dangling off her ears, a pretty necklace around her neck and a tiny black bindi embedded perfectly in the middle of her forehead. It was a coincidence, I was also wearing lime green and black. I loved it. My mother also noticed it and smiled at me. I smiled back at her. After the general conversation, my mother pushed me to talk to her in person. I knew it was an excuse to settle the deal. I had lost my stand last night, moreover, I also wanted to know more about her, so I agreed happily. She took a cup full of tea along with a plate and we moved to her room. As we entered the room, I was left in awe.

Stacks of books and magazines were arranged neatly in the bookshelf. The posters of the UPSC toppers were pasted all around the wall. Even I hadn't put that much effort into my preparation.

'So you are also a UPSC candidate', I asked her smiling.

'Yes, I wanted to become an IAS officer, but couldn't clear the mains exam', she replied while handing me the tea.

I poured half of the tea in the plate and offered the rest to her, showing that from now everything will be shared equally between us. She denied but I insisted, to which she gave up.

How many times have you attempted?

"Two'', she replied.

Only two and you are quitting.

I don't want to quit, but my parents have forced me to quit reasoning that it is the right time to get married. And there are other reasons too, I hope you understand.

Hmm, I replied. I could see the spark of chasing her dream still alive in her beady eyes.

Our chat continued until we were interrupted by her younger sister. The deal was done, my market value was twenty lakhs and the date of the auction was finalised a month later. In between the time, we had the freedom to talk over the phone. Occasionally, we met outside for coffee or lunch. I had started liking her. During our conversation, I had asked her about how her parents will arrange the huge sum of money. She denied answering it but after asking her continuously she said that her father had sold an ancestral land. The guilt inside me grew stronger and started cursing me. I was committing a sin by being a part of accepting the dowry. Yet I couldn't change anything.

I got married to her. She looked adorable in her purple lehenga along with the other jewellery. We shifted in Jamshedpur, far from our hometown; Varanasi because I was posted there. It was during our one-month anniversary when we were out on a dinner date, I suggested her to continue her IAS preparation. I knew she would love to chase and achieve her dream. She looked at me blankly. But I insisted and encouraged her and she finally agreed. It was a tough journey. I helped her in whatever little way I could. She also worked hard and smart under my guidance. Finally, after two more attempts, she passed the exam with flying colours and cracked the interview as well. Three years have passed since the day she had taken her job as an IAS officer. Every month she sends her salary to her father. Though he had denied bluntly I had managed to convince him. My parents also objected it but this time I took a strong stand and won the argument against them. I hope I'm compensating for my sin.

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