As she  stepped out of the house, she realized that this was the last time that she was stepping out as an unmarried woman and this will not be home any more. That was the first realization of the fact that she was going away, for good. She won’t be the protected Papa’s girl anymore, she won’t have Mama’s lap to rest her head in.

The wedding ceremonies passed in a blur. It was time to bid adieu to the guests and go to her married home. Mumma cried like a baby, but she didn’t. She consoled mumma and told her she will be fine. Papa hugged his precious darling and a tear escaped. Her brother held her tight and they both knew that they will have need to find completeness without each other now. When she looks at the pictures now, she knows that he cried, too. She was a stoic bride, all poised, not a single tear.

Husband’s home, her home now. More ceremonies, still a blur. She and her husband finally went away to a cosy little hotel to get a break from all the guests and ceremonies. She changed out of the finery and they sat face to face. She looked at him properly, for the first time in the day, without the noise around. And everything came tumbling down, her strength, her poise, and she cried. Inconsolably. For the loss of the life that she had known all her life. For the family that she had known all her life. For the loss of the world that she fit in. For the love of the man that she had married. She cried. And he held her till she stopped. “Want to go for a drive?” he asked. “yes”, she nodded. They went out and drove around the city, had dinner, everyone looking at her fresh henna tattooed arms and feet and wondering. He didn’t care.

He sat her down, finger lifted her chin gently and made her look into his eyes. I’m everything that you need me to be, from this day. I will listen to you and be your friend, you won’t miss your siblings. I will protect you, and you won’t miss your dad. I’ll take care of you and you won’t miss your mom. I’ll always stand by your side. He promised. And he lives up to his promise, sunrise after sunrise.

He is her strength away from her siblings, he is the protector away from her dad, he is the mom away from her mom. She didn’t lose a world. She gained a new one.