“It’s such a beautiful clear sky today,” thought Revati as she looked up at the sky. She was sitting in her office cab to go to work. The cab moved at a snail pace as usual, as the traffic continued madly at the Silk Board junction.
“I hate the traffic in Bangalore, I hate going to work, and I hate my life,” she grumbled in her mind.
Revati was a 24 year old who was recruited though campus in Infosys. After her rigorous training in Mysore, she was finally posted to Bangalore. Everyone back at home felt proud of her but she was never content with her job. She wanted to achieve something greater.
“Everyone gets a job after college, and just because I did well academically doesn’t mean I’m smart. I need to win over my boss’ respect too. I’m nobody in this huge company,” she thought.
It had been over 2 years since she graduated from the university and her family wanted her to start looking at guys. She was forced to create an account on all the matrimonial websites that ever existed. Revati promised her parents that she would happily marry someday but she wanted to achieve something in life first. Her parents ignored her words and continued their search for suitable grooms. She was basically a cheerful girl but the pressure to shine made her a permanent brooder. Her family and friends were unhappy with her sudden change in attitude towards life. Everyone tried their best to make her understand that she should not run behind success all the time; they emcouraged her have a normal life, but it all proved futile.
The cab finally reached the campus and everyone headed towards the office building to swap their cards, and then went to the cafeteria to get some breakfast. Revati sat alone for her meals. She had isolated herself from everyone as she thought that it distracted her from keeping her focus on work. She read Forbes magazines during breakfast each day as the women leaders around the world inspired her and helped her to keep her gaze fixed on her career goals.
After breakfast, she began to work on the tasks that were given to her by her team lead.
“Please submit a little later today, your team mates says that you are a threat to all,” laughed John, her team lead.
“I don’t care if they are lazy and slow,” Revati snapped.
“Just kidding. Chill.”
Revati began her task at once and was completly engrossed in her work when her mum called at about 11 O’clock in the morning.
“Hi Revati, no call from you today.”
“Ma, I’m busy with work. Can’t we talk in the evening?”
“Sure beta, just listen to me once. Shuklaji called to say that he has found a guy for you. He is well settled and comes from a good family.”
“Who’s not, Ma!?”
“Just check out his profile on shaadi.com. I will also share his LinkedIn profile because I know that you take so much delight in a persons work profile,” her mum laughed.
“I will Ma. Can I get back to work please?”
“Okay beta. Please don’t skip lunch today, you do that very often, I know.”
“Ma please, I’m busy. Bye.”
That evening, Revati checked out the guy’s profile just to get her mother off her back, but she was surprisingly impressed with she saw. His name was Shubham Shastri. He had more recommendations from his bosses and colleagues than her. He was a star performer in his team and had an MS degree from the U.S. He had also been a top student since childhood. His profile pointed out that he was looking for an independent working woman and would have no restrictions on her career or choice of clothing. She immediately called her mum.
“Ma, I’m okay meeting this guy. But I’m only doing this just to get you off my back.”
“Hahahaha, I knew it. You loved his LinkedIn profile, didn’t you?”
The horoscopes were matched and the families decided that the would-be couple should meet each other first before the families met. They decided to meet at a restaurant in Meenakshi Mall.
Shubham was a shy guy by nature. Even though he did well academically, his focus was centered on the little things that gave him happiness. He always put family and friends over money or his work. He respected women a lot and wanted his wife to have her own career, and always felt that the household chores should be equally distributed amongst the couple. He had seen how his mother had given up her job to take care of kids and how she ran around the house doing errands for everyone else while his father only ordered her around. His dad even refused to pick up his own plate. Shubham always wanted to put an end to the patriarchal era.
The minute he saw Revati in the photos her mother had sent, he fell in love with her. It wasn’t just her looks but something about her felt that she would be his future wife, the mother of his children; the person to keep his family bound together, the one who put family over everything else. The day they met, he was very confident about his perceptions of her. Revati seemed very confident and spoke about herself in detail; she did not hesitate to ask him anything about his career but he noticed that she did not ask him a single question about his personal life.
After their coffee date, they met for dinner another day at UB City. It was a Friday night. Shubham finally opened his heart and told her that he was in love with her. Revati smiled and said that she was also very happy to marry him but she had a condition. She would only get married once she’d fulfilled her dreams of achieving a breakthrough in her career.
“Take all the time in the world,” Shubham said.
“Thank you for understanding me.”
“Isn’t there anything you want to ask me about my personal life? I asked you so many questions.”
“Nah, mum has already told me everything I need to know about you and your family,” she smiled.
Both families met and the marriage was officially fixed. Shubham’s parents knew that Revati didn’t want to fix a date immediately so they insisted that they would patiently wait until Revati was fully prepared.
The courtship period was fun for Shubham. They met frequently on weekends and also had a few fun trips with friends. But Revati always tried to change the subject every time he spoke about their wedding. It had been 6 months already and his parents kept asking if they had picked a date. Revati didn’t seem to have any plans of getting married soon. Shubham was ready to wait but he at least needed a plan, but she got upset every time this topic came up.
One fine day, Revati called him up and sounded extremely excited over the phone. This had been the first time she’d been so happy since he’d met her.
“I’m getting an ‘Employee of the Year’ award this year,” she said excitedly.
“Yeah, it’s a new tradition that started a couple of years ago and I’m the first woman to receive such an award.”
“Great! I’m really happy for you, Revati. You’ve always wanted to achieve something extraordinary. Hope this suffices your desired expectations.”
“Oh yeahh. I’ve never been so happy...”
“Not even when you met me?”
“C’mon now. Don’t be so dramatic. You know me. Career always comes first.”
The conversation ended up in an argument where Revati accused him of being jealous and spoiling her mood on such an important day. Shubham was forced to apologize but he didn’t feel guilty of anything. He was starting to really worry now. It wasn’t just about picking the wedding date; he wondered if Revati was only getting married because of the societal pressure. Were his instincts about her wrong? She was really happy about her award right now so he decided not to bother her for a couple of days.
Except a few greetings during the day, there wasn’t much conversation between the two. One day, Revati unexpectedly dropped by his apartment. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and all his flatmates were still sleeping. Shubham had just woken up and was having a cup of tea.
“Hi, you up so late?” she smiled as he opened the door for her.
“Yeah, c’mon in.”
“Please get dressed, we’ll go for lunch.”
Shubham quickly showered and they went to Rajdhani for an elaborate lunch. He was very happy that she wanted to finally meet him.
“So how have you been doing? I’ve missed you,” said Shubham.
“I’m good, yeah me too. Hey listen na, please tell me... How is my speech for the award ceremony? I’ve been rehearsing it all by myself; now I want somebody’s opinion on it.”
“Is that why you wanted to meet me?”
“Off course not, don’t be silly. Also, we need to pick me a dress for the occasion.”
“Okay Revati, we will do everything. But you promised me that after you’ve achieved something in your career you’d pick a wedding date. I hope this is still on your mind.”
“Oh yes. I will talk to mum tonight and ask her to speak to our panditji and he’d pick a date in the next 6 months. Is that cool with you?
“Yes, it is. But are you really excited about getting married and not just doing it for me or your parents?”
“No no, I’m happy about getting married, Shubham. Why do you ask? Is it because of our fight the other day? I’m really sorry about the stuff I said,” she held his hand.
That night Revati couldn’t sleep. She was too excited about her award ceremony. She wore the dress she’d picked and kept rehearing her speech over and over again. She would first thank her parents and then her fiancé for all the support she got from them. And most importantly, her paternal grandmother who she’d been the closest to. She was the one who had always been by her side throughout childhood. Revati shared everything with her. Whenever she had any issues in school, with her friends or teachers she discussed it with her. Her mum was a little envious of their relationship but Revati was more comfortable with her than anyone else in the world. She remembered how her grandma had supported her for her first job while her parents had been forcing her to get married first. Finally, she dozed off after texting Shubham that her speech was finally ready and sent him a picture of her in the new dress.
Shubham couldn’t sleep that night. Revati was least interested in the wedding and treated it like a mere formality. She was happier about her award and her speech than anything else. He expressed his concerns to his mother who he rarely shared his anxiety with.
“She seems more interested in the award than getting married to me. I think she’s not interested in even getting married. For her, career and fame seems everything.”
“I’m sure that’s not the case dear. In our country, women are quite supressed so she’s just happy about proving to the world that women are much more than just housewives.”
“But the obsession is too much mum. I always support her but family should always come first.”
“We’ve met her, dear. She seems sensible. I’m sure it’s just a phase of life. Give her some time. I’m sure once the award ceremony is over she’ll get excited about the wedding as well. It’s a big day for every woman. Also, her mum had called to say that we have good dates like 12th and 20th of November, or 25th and 29th of December. We can have the engagement on a day before. They prefer the 29th as it’s a Sunday. What do you say?”
“What does Revati want?”
“She also prefers a Sunday so that her friends and colleagues can attend the wedding.”
“I will have a word with Revati once she is done with her award ceremony before I finalize anything about getting married.”
“Sure, you can but I’m sure there’s nothing to be worried about. Goodnight.”
It was a day before the award ceremony. Revati anxiously paced up and down in her apartment that evening. Revati’s best friend’s wedding was on the same day as her award ceremony. She recollected how she had told her that she had something more important to do. Her friend sounded upset over the phone and asked her to attend her Sangeet and Mehendi but Revati refused, saying that she had some preparations to do. Her friend didn’t say much but Shubham who was with her at that moment got very upset and said that she didn’t have to be so rude. He sent her a message, reminding her of her friend’s Sangeet. She didn’t care. Everybody got married, it wasn’t a big deal. But achieving something on your own was the real deal, especially for her since people had always underestimated her. She wanted to prove to everyone that they were all wrong. There was no way she’d miss something like this for some stupid wedding, not even her own. In fact, her Panditji had even picked an engagement date for tomorrow but she had asked her mum not to mention it to anybody and keep the engagement on a day before the wedding. If Shubham should know about this, there would be unnecessary drama.
Finally, the big day arrived and Revati was feeling sick; she hadn’t slept a wink that night. She couldn’t afford to be sick on her big day so she gulped a crocin. The nightmare of missing the ceremony made her almost giddy. She’d invited her parents and Shubham for the ceremony as she was allowed to bring in a few guests. The event would start at 6 pm and her award would be given around 7 pm, so she’d asked them to reach an hour earlier. She told her dad and Shubham to record her speech separately on their phones; she needed back-up just in case one of the phones got hung or perhaps the battery drained. She peeped from backstage and saw Shubham sitting quietly. There seemed no emotion on his face. He seemed very off since the whole award thing had come up. She would have a word with him about this. He wasn’t one of the jealous male chauvinistic guys but something was definitely bothering him. Was it her own behaviour, she thought? She’d been giving this way more importance than anything else. She didn’t want to lose him. She would talk to him first thing tomorrow morning and clear everything up. After half an hour, she peeped again. Her parents were nowhere in sight. Were they caught up in traffic? They were supposed to come with Shubham. She had to call them up and make sure they reached on time.
Revati’s parents had earlier told Shubham to go ahead; they said they would come in a little later. Her dad seemed a little off on the phone. Shubham had to repeatedly asked him what the matter was to which he replied that everything was alright. The clock struck 7 pm and the award distribution began. The strangest thing happened. He heard the announcement of ‘Employee of the year’ but Revati did not appear on stage. Where could she have gone? She had waited for this moment and obsessed endlessly for the past few weeks. She had even sent a picture of herself from backstage, saying that she was too excited about the evening. After 2 minutes, a request was made for Revati’s fiancé Shubham to collect the award on her behalf. He collected the award on her behalf but did not say anything on stage as he was too shocked to process all the sudden change of events. He stared at the award in his hand. It was a curved golden bust of a confident women staring at him. He then went outside and dialled Revati’s number. There was no response so he called her dad.
“Hi uncle, where is Revati? She didn’t come to receive the award.”
“So sorry Shubham, we didn’t have time to inform you. My mother had a minor stroke and had to be admitted. We tried to hide it from Revati but she kept asking persistently so we told her to come to the hospital after the ceremony as her grandmother was doing okay and was stable but she just left everything and rushed to the hospital. Her grandmother means the world to her...”
Shubham was dumbstruck. He had been judging this girl all these while for giving her career way too much importance, and all of a sudden she’d made the most unexpected quick decision on the most important day of her life. Wasn’t this the kind of girl he had always wanted to marry? The kind who tosses away everything for family? He smiled to himself as he’d made the perfect choice. His mum had been right after all. His doubts had all been in vain.
“Shubham? Are you there?”
“Yes, I’m coming to the hospital. Please text me the address.”
He hugged Revati the minute he saw her at the hospital. She looked beautiful in the blue gown she’d carefully chosen. He remembered how she had told him that she looked more confident in that colour. Her face reminded him of the first time he saw her in the pictures. The girl who would be his future wife, the mother of his children; the person to keep his family bound together, the one who put family over everything else.
“I’m so sorry Shubham; I left without even informing you. I rushed in a hurry. I hope you’re not mad at me for leaving you. I wasn’t sure of what to do at the moment. I love my grandmother so much,” She said and wiped her tears. Her kajal smudged over her face.
“Don’t worry, I’m not mad. We’ve both made the best choices today. Here is your much deserved award,” he said, wiping her tears away as she looked at him confused.
Let's discuss this story in the comments below
This is such an interesting read! I totally enjoyed it.
This is such an interesting story