Originally published on Groundviews.
He was a filmstar, they said. But she had never much cared for films. She had heard of schoolgirls hoarding dog-eared posters; giggling over provocative poses; singing the songs the stars sang; dancing the dances the stars danced; wishing for the same clothes and hair styles. She had heard stories of the glitz and glamour of that faraway world. But they meant nothing to her. Her school days hadn’t lasted long. She hadn’t the time to grow up, watching films and singing songs.
Time was snatched from her and replaced by a gun in her hands. A gun could stop time, she was told. And it had. She knows it has been years since she’d pulled a trigger for the first time, but she can’t tell how many. She can’t measure time by days or weeks or months anymore. None of that makes sense. She can’t measure them by bullets either – there have been too many fired at her and fired by her.
Only her body hints at her that time has passed. She was short and stout when they took her away but now she has grown taller, slimmer. The puppy fat of her teenage years has given way to smooth, hard muscle from constant training, constant moving. Her hair, which she wore cropped short in her younger days, now snakes over her shoulder in a long plait that tickles her bare hip. Her then non-existent breasts have bloomed out over the years despite the tight, limiting uniform. She remembers blushing this morning as she put on her sari jacket, noticing almost for the first time how much her body had changed. In the past, it had been almost easy to forget she was a woman. The sudden reconnection with that essence of herself as she wore her crimson wedding sari that morning made her feel self-conscious and almost uncomfortable. Continue reading The Wedding Day: an imagined portrait of an unusual occasion.