Red bride………..

As a student of Microbiology, I studied that life could be changed, manipulated, sometimes to harm and sometimes to save. All the paraphernalia in the Lab, the pipettes, the microtips, the centrifuges……..everything was meant to achieve a miracle God let us perform: Manipulate Life…….

But when I look around me, I don’t know how to feel. Those droplets of blood I saw in Labs have turned to rivers. The bacteria that looked so harmless have become a pile of limbs and flesh and bones around me. The needle I had used to prick my finger to draw a drop of blood had turned to a bullet as I stood there, too stunned to even know what was going on. Somewhere in the pile lay Ankur, the sapling that has changed my life……..

I began to feel dizzy for there was blood continuously out of my left palm, a mehndi adorned palm. A hand that was supposed to have caressed Ankur today. A hand that was to be gently kissed by Ankur tonight. A hand that was to be held close to his heart and have promised seven lives together.

I have difficulty believing that I got married less than three hours ago. That there was happiness, laughter and cheer around just in this place as I cried silently on my sister’s shoulder, a typical vidai rasam. That I stepped out of my threshold, looking forward to a life in a house where everything was alien. New people, new house, new relatives…….

The car had moved out of my house to leave for Srinagar at about 7:00 pm. My parents are very open minded and they let me study Microbiology till the Masters level. I was always intrigued by our mushroom farms, the way Babuji explained that mushrooms were not really plants and were not animals either. The way I used to sit cutting a mushroom to pieces in a corner in the hope of being able to find out WHAT it really was…..

I went to a College in Delhi as Babuji wanted me to get the best of education. After I finished my Bachelors with a distinction, my teachers recommended Masters. I obliged and did my Masters. That was when I met Ankur. He was one year senior, the brightest in the class, and definitely the best looking too. He had an easy way with people but when alone, he was more of a dreamer who preferred to talk about abstract philosophies. I loved these talks as he seemed to vulnerable in these times. I did not even realize when he became my best friend.

And when I announced my return to my village in Kashmir after Masters, he was the one who was most disturbed. He had a job in Delhi by then and was doing well for himself. Just before the train slid out of railways station, he mustered up the courage to ask me if I’d marry him!!! I couldn’t have been happier. My eyes wouldn’t leave the spot where he was standing as the train gained speed. I nodded a yes and that was it!!!! My dream came true. He came to meet my parents a few months later and everything was fixed. I was to be married on January 12th, my 24th birthday.

The time between our engagement in December 20th and January 12th was the most exciting in my life. I could barely wait for the day. Ankur called every evening and I started living my life between 8:00 pm of today and 8:00 pm of tomorrow. My world was filled with happiness………I suddenly understood what being on the top of the world meant.

January 12th came and I dressed in a bright red lehenga. My sister had pestered the tailor so much for this lehenga that by the time it got stitched, it became the most beautiful thing I’d ever set my eyes upon.I was the “laadli” daughter of my house, with my younger sister preferring to be the outcast, having no interest in the goings-on of the house and sticking to her Fashion Designing like a maniac.

Everything was so perfect………………’s hard to believe that it was this way until our car was stopped by a crying infant sitting in the middle of the road. Ankur’s father got down to pick the infant up. What happened after that is so utterly unbelievable. Human figures clad in loose kurtas loomed out of darkness wearing ominously black masks. The rest is a blur of screams, blood, bullets, metal screeches and Ankur’s hand pushing me down the backseat………..

After a maddening few mintues, all fell silent. The human figures disappeared faster than they had come and I began to think that I’d gone berserk and had imagined all that had occurred. But the evidence of the nightmare was very much there……I could see the death and destruction everywhere. A bullet hit my left palm but I was unhurt save for that wound. The faint light from the street light showed me a mangle of dead bodies around me. I was paralysed and glued to where I was sitting, half expecting the human figures to come back…………..

After what seemed like an eternity I moved, only to see that the blood from everywhere was red, so red……………..just like my wedding dress……………just like my wedding widow dress………….

PS: This story is not entirely original. Back in College, I heard of a massacre in Kashmir where a wedding procession was gunned down with only the bride left alive. It cut in so deep that I couldn’t quite forget it. After years of this incident, I finally decided to write a story on this, from the perspective of the happy bride whose happiness was wiped off in a second of madness of the cruel terrorists.

Killing can never be a way to peace if peace is what these terrorists ever wish to have in the beautiful Kashmir valley……



  1. Vinod Kumar B G said,

    October 11, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    Oh 😦
    The last line is just perfect……”Killing can never be a way to peace if peace is what these terrorists ever wish to have in the beautiful Kashmir valley……”

    Keep it up Pritz…..

  2. Rajarshi said,

    October 12, 2006 at 8:55 am

    ..the terrorists murdered her dreams, her family…but sometimes the society norms r even more cruel like getting her remarried in no time!!…it’s like murdering of feelings..
    We don’t realize many times how we bury our true feelings trying to be one the ppl around us want us to be….this is something that we can change….I jus tried highlighting a small ray of thot coming out of ur brilliant write-up

  3. October 12, 2006 at 11:57 am

    Hey Vinod, thanks for dropping by man. I know that these terrorists are fighting an aimless battle. Hardly ever has violence been useful in achieving anything meaningful……

    And I agree Rajarshi……there essentially are more evil things that can be done to a person. I shuddered at the thought of thinking about what could’ve happened to this girl after all this……..too horrifying a thought……..

  4. girish said,

    October 12, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    Quite a touching story. A similar thing happened during the hijacking of IC 814 at Kandahar in 1999. One person was killed, he was returning with his wife afte their honeymoon in Kathmandu. It certainly is terrible.

  5. Bhargavi said,

    October 12, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    Very nice! beautifully written…
    its so senseless, what these terrorists do, wrecking people’s lives in the name of peace!

  6. Shamit said,

    October 12, 2006 at 7:15 pm

    Very evocative; I liked the african one better especially for the ending; though I had figured out where the story was heading, as soon as the fat monster-like character appeared.

  7. Tarun Ramsinghani said,

    October 12, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    Hey Great Writing.
    I wont comment on anything else. that’s all part of life.

  8. October 12, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Good job Pritesh! Keep up! Enough written about terrorism by the other commentors! I’ll refrain! 🙂
    Perhaps, it shouldn’t grow into a habit to always acknowledge that you have stolen the idea from a real-life incident. In that sense, no art is fully original. God has already created everything that’s there to create. Merry or macabre, beauty is all a gift of nature. Flowers to be picked from reality by those who have an observant eye.
    Freely plagiarise from God. He doesn’t mind! 😉

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