(Disclaimer: I wish I could say that this was a true story, but I can’t in all conscience, so this is purely a work of fiction and all the characters and their dialogues are purely imaginary).
Back in Chennai I kept in contact with Nithya through Facebook and Twitter -doing the usual likes and comments on even her inane posts. And I happened to notice that someone else too was on the same scheme I was in. And what’s more, her replies to his comments were prompt and gushing while replies to me were almost an afterthought. When I checked out his profile it was the very same North Indian, unwashed jeans, guy- he was a professional DJ it seems and had come to play for the engagement party’s Sangeet ceremony.
So this was the track the train was running on huh? I almost felt tempted to bring this to the notice of my friend Karthick but better sense prevailed…this was a toxic matter and to get involved at this stage would sully my reputation too. Better to let things go where they will. I had played my hand and lost, let me not stand in the way of another’s true romance, which seemed to be what this was developing into on a daily basis. If everything went wrong, at least the girl would have learnt a lesson from this experience- that all that glitters is not gold- which in my view is something everyone needs to learn at least once in their life.
I happened to meet up my friend Pradeep aka Manmadhan at a Scientific Symposium a month before the wedding and in the post lunch (siesta?) session we found a seat in the back of the auditorium to gossip on more important topics than what was being shown on stage. The speaker was droning on about a craze for new cosmetic surgeries including designer vags and hymenoplasty’s (constructing an artificial hymen) for every new remarriage/post-divorce. Some people are crazy enough to spend money on anything at all and then complain against doctors fleecing them.
Anyhow Manmadhan’s shocking bit of news was that he had twice seen the DJ guy with Renuka, the Bride’s sister – once in Inox Theater and once in Mayajaal. I just couldn’t keep back my bit of news after this shocking revelation- so I told him about the guy two timing Renuka with Nithya. He was shocked and expressed his contempt at people who take advantage of innocent girls and I agreed with him, but there was absolutely nothing we could do as this sort of thing happened every day, everywhere. Besides we had a small satisfaction somewhere – that those stupid girls who had turned us down were getting their just desserts. Before we split we confirmed that we would be travelling to Pondy for the wedding next month.
The day before the wedding we left Chennai for Pondy quite early, before the sun really came out in full force and Karthick not being with us to distract us with frequent breaks, Mama drove down ECR at his usual breakneck pace and it felt like only minutes before we were in Pondy. We drove straight down to Nitins place and as we entered we felt bad vibes. The entire household sat around listlessly with no mark of marriage tension or happiness. Karthick hurried to us and I asked a bit apprehensively “What happened? Did someone die?”…he shook his head and said “The weddings off…the bitch ran away last night”. My first thought was that if Nithya had indeed run away, then I am partly to blame, for not alerting my friend Karthick to the possibility. I asked him “Why are you all here then? Why are you not out there, searching for her?” And just as I said these words Nithya came out with a glass of water for us (with swollen eyes).
I understood then…damn what a twist…the DJ guy had chosen Renuka and ditching Nithya had eloped with her…what a comedy. I felt like laughing out loud- but didn’t. And then Karthick said “didn’t no one notice that bastard that day at the betrothal? When we ask now about him – they say he came there, saying he was just an ex-colleague of the bride. My brother says he had his doubts but even in his wildest imagination he didn’t think she would run off the day before the wedding with her ex.” and then it struck me “You mean, the girl? The actual girl? The BRIDE? And not her sister?” I swallowed. Karthick looked at me strangely “Whatever gave you that idea? It’s the bitch herself who disappeared last night”. And then it struck me the – entire beauty of the play the man had made. In silent admiration I felt like lifting my hat to him if I had had one on my head then…all I could do was whistle my appreciation in private for the humongous scam he had pulled off over everyone’s eyes….ok, wherever they were let them be happy, I blessed, at least, until they file for divorce. And we headed straight back home to Chennai.