Swara woke up to find herself in her own great queen sized bed in the Palace. Was it all a nightmare? She felt her head aching badly. Lightly massaging her forehead with both her hands she looked down at herself. Her body was covered with a heavy embroidered silk quilt. She slightly pushed the quilt aside to have a look at her own body.
So, it was not a nightmare. It was a sinister reality. The red marks on her body confirmed that. She was broken beyond limits. What kind of a man was Sanskar? He used her for his own needs. How wrong was she in judging him? Her gaze shifted to a note pinned to her pillow. She tore it open with shaking hands. The words were written in pencil in Sanskar’s hand:
“You are mine. The chain around your neck binds us together. Maybe you don’t remember. But we got married yesterday as per gypsy customs. The chain is the gypsy token of marriage.”
Swara immediately ran her fingers round her neck to feel the chain. Yes. It was there. She stood before the mirror to find its clasp so that she can throw it away. But it had no clasp. It was sealed around her neck. The seal of Sarovar’s love.
She was feeling humiliated. He played with her self-respect last night and he was claiming that he married her according to his gypsy law. She always believed that marriage is a pious relationship which united two souls. But the man who was claiming to be her husband was behind her body. She couldn’t let him win in this dirty play of his. She tried to break the chain. But it was strong as his hands. She must show him that his marriage and his chain meant nothing to her. Determined to prove the Gypsy leader wrong she ran into the washroom to get fresh.
Sanjay was reading some paper in his lightly lit, warm, classy teak panelled study. Swara entered the study to hoping that Sanjay wouldn’t notice the marks on her body. He looked up anxiously and hurried to meet her.
“Swara, my dear, I was beginning to worry. I told the servants not to disturb you. Bit if you had been much longer, I was going to send you a message.”
Swara was relieved. So nobody came to know about her abduction last night. Well… it is better this way. She would never let Sanjay know about that dreadful night. Today she’s getting married to him. She will prove Sarovar wrong by marrying Sanjay and shall lead a peaceful life.
Grabbing a paper from the table she talked to Sanjay in what appeared to be a cheerful tone to him
“Oh, Sanjay. My head was aching badly. I really wanted to join the party after some time. But I… I just couldn’t make it. Sorry for that.”
“Oh.. its totally alright dear. You still look weak. Shall I call the doctor Swara?”
“No Sanjay. I’m perfectly alright.I’ll be alright by evening.”
“Yes. you must be. After all today is our marriage.”
Her heart skipped a beat at the mention of marriage. Surely, Sanjay was excited for their marriage. He was getting her as his possession. But for Swara, she felt like she was doing something wrong. Terribly wrong.
“Sanjay shall I leave now?”
Sanjay Maheshwari looked disappointed. He spoke his heart out.
“You are so mean Swara. Aren’t you going to kiss me or say a single word to show me that you love me a bit.”
She stood there motionless , unable to speak. Sanjay was leaning towards her. She must stop him. She couldn’t let him touch her.
She pushed him slightly and passed a smile at him.
“Of course . I have many kisses for you dear. Aren’t we getting married today? Besides our culture doesn’t support all these before marriage. You just have to wait for a few more hours. now let me leave. Otherwise you would have to wait for me at the mandap.”
“But dear, what about this chain on your neck? where did you get it from?”
“oh. this is just an old chain of mine.”
“you prefer to wear this over my pearls?”
“Don’t be silly Sanjay. Do you expect me to wear those precious pearls in the morning?”
Barely answering to his questions, she one again made an excuse of the marriage preparations and ran out of the study.
Later after a light snack break in the evening she found herself getting ready for her marriage , with Sanjay. Dressed in heavy lehenga, she had heavy kundan jewelry to compliment her looks. But somehow all these felt wrong and inappropriate to her. She just wanted to run away.As she got ready she moved towards the window to get some fresh air. She saw Sanjay in his wedding attire going out of the palace with some British officials. She wondered where he was going when it was almost the time for their wedding. Soon Mrs. Maheshwari made her way to Swara’s room informing her about the delay that would be caused. Swara, however rather than being disappointed, felt relieved.
“I’m afraid my child, that you have to wait some more. It seems that that troublesome fellow Sarovar, the gypsy was seen this afternoon somewhere near the palace. So Sanjay had to go to make sure that he made no problems. He’ll be back in an hour.”
A mist came before Swara’s eyes. What if they get him? What if he doesnot get a chance to escape?
Reigning her thoughts she asked the old lady standing in front of her whose eyes bore pure disappointment.
“You mean the famous Sarovar?”
“The infamous Sarovar.” She said grimly “But you don’t worry. That gypsy had gone too far this time. The village is full of police for wedding. Sanjay says they will get him within an hour.”
Swara’s hands started shaking badly . If Sarovar was caught , she knew what it would mean. They would shoot him or shut him up in one of those dungeons underneath the Palace. The she would never be able to forgive herself for failing him. She hated to admit. But she still loved him the same way she loved him in the cruise. Maybe some more. She respected the chain around her neck. Her reverie broke as soon as she found Sanjay walking back to the palace. Mrs. Maheshwari and the other girls started dragging her downstairs. Holy matras were being chanted. She saw Sanjay sitting in the mandap waiting for her. They made her sit by his side. The marriage rituals began.
Tada.. here’s the sixth installment of gypsy lover .Tell me. How was it? Will Swara get married to Sanjay? Or will Sanskar do anything? Keep thinking. I’ll update the next part tomorrow. Thanks to all those who commented. I would love to read your reviews. Write your opinion below in the comment box. Thanks to all those who commented. If there are any silent readers do comment. Your comments mean a lot. Break your silence.
Credit to: Niveditha