Emily: Chapter Ten

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TO ENDINGS AND NEW BEGINNINGS

If felt as though Ethan and Emily had been smiling and saying, “Thank you for coming!” for hours before the wedding hall finally emptied and only the immediate family on both sides remained. The two of them had just sat down at a table and were sipping on some ice-cold juice when the Master of Ceremonies announced, “Will the family of the bride stand to my left and the groom on my right, please. It’s time for Emily to join the Mendonca family now.”

Emily’s stomach plummeted. At Abbey’s wedding, Emily had bawled through the small ceremony while Uncle Roy, her father’s elder brother gave her sister to Clive’s family. He had asked them to accept her with an open heart and treat her as their own as he knew she would them. In all the excitement of her own wedding and reception, she had almost forgotten that she would be going to her new home and new family. She got up in a daze and walked to where her parents and the rest of her family were waiting. Probably thinking of her own wedding, there were already tears in Abbey’s eyes. Emily looked away quickly.

Uncle Roy had passed away shortly after Abigail’s wedding and as the oldest surviving male member of the Vaz family, the emotional burden lay heavy on her father’s shoulders. Her father held her hand with one of his own. “I hate this part”, he whispered stroking her cheek with the other.

Emily stared fixedly at a broken tile on the floor. Her father began to say, “We give you our daughter. She is our youngest and we now ask you to take her into your fold and accept her as one of you. Forgive her for the mistakes she might make– all of us make them. She is now your daughter. She is one with you. We give you our baby…” her father could get no further. He pushed Emily forward and Ethan’s Uncle Rex received her. Emily was crying so hard, she didn’t even hear the reply that came from the Mendoncas. Ethan had appeared by her side at some point and unsure of what else he could do, put his arm around a sobbing Emily and said, “It’s going to be alright Emily. I swear I’ll try and make sure everything is always alright.” Emily looked at him with what she hoped were grateful eyes and by the time they left the hall, she was no longer crying.

At her new home, Emily and Ethan were welcomed by the Mendonca clan.

“Ethan and Emily, you’ve to drink and eat this before you…erm…for…errn…strength….” Mummy said smiling coyly as she set down a copper tray on the coffee table. There was a tall glass of milk and two bananas there. While Ethan’s younger relatives guffawed at the dirty jokes his older relatives were cracking, the newlyweds downed the milk and fruit as quickly as they could.

Ethan’s family had booked them into a hotel so that they could have their privacy on their first night together as husband and wife . Uncle Rex dropped them off at the hotel, shook his nephew’s hand before leaving and wished him luck. Emily and Ethan looked at each other, both a little red in the face as they stepped into the one-bedroom suite. “Are you tired?” Ethan asked Emily as she sat down at the edge of the bed and played with a loose thread on the duvet cover.

She looked up at him and said, “A little. Not terribly. Perhaps I should go get changed.”

As she excused herself to change out of the heavy saree that she had been wearing since the reception, she giggled a little and carried her bag into the bathroom. She ran her fingers along the silky smooth fabric that she was about to wear and felt her cheeks become hot to the touch. She undressed, took off her makeup, brushed her hair out and put on the black and red outfit. Hesitantly she looked at herself in the mirror and took a deep breath. She crossed her fingers and hoped that Ethan would like what he saw. She made her way out of the bathroom towards the bed nervously and stopped when she recognized the strains of Bryan Adams’, ‘Let’s make it a night, to remember’ playing softly. She looked at Ethan who was in his vest and suit pants, “I know it seems cheesy, but, maybe we should have a song to commemorate tonight?” he asked in a low voice.

She smiled, walked closer to him and whispered, “I love cheesy…”

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Thanks for reading the latest chapter! To catch up, click here. Come back tomorrow to learn more about Emily.

Post 13 in the UBC this month.

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Emily: Chapter Nine

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MR., MRS. AND MUMMY

As they were driving to the hall in which their wedding reception was to be held, Emily looked at the ring on her finger. This was it. It took them all of one hour to go from being two separate individuals into one entity, ‘united in the sight of man and God’, as the priest had pronounced them. She was married. She looked up at Ethan who had been studying her face and blushed. He reached out and brushed a stray strand of hair away from her face and said, “I don’t think I got a chance to tell you how unbelievably stunning you look today. I hope we can always keep each other happy. I’m beginning to think that I really love you…” nervously he ran his fingers through his hair.

That was the first time he had told her he loved her.

Emily looked into Ethan’s eyes and saw sincerity there. She had been watching romantic soap operas on television for years curled up next to her mother and Abbey on the sofa. She had always imagined how she would end up meeting her own man  – at a party, at a basketball match, in the rain or on the beach – not once were her parents involved and she most certainly never saw them playing the matchmakers. Yet here she was. Married to Ethan; who she met in true arranged marriage fashion. Nonetheless, he was her Mr. Right. True, he was no Patrick Dempsey but he made quite a good McDreamy all the same.

In the five months leading up to the wedding, they hadn’t even met that often, yet at some point, she had fallen in love with Ethan. She didn’t know how to put all that she felt or wished for into words, so she looked deep into those black eyes of his and hoped she could convey all of the emotion she carried in her heart when she simply whispered, “I love you too…”

And there, in the back of their wedding car, Ethan and Emily shared their first kiss as husband and wife. Emily felt comforted by that kiss and although her own insecurities as well as the things that her mother had said the night before were still in her mind, she didn’t think it could be all that complicated, until a little later, when she was being chastised in front of all Ethan’s female relatives.

“Come now Emily, enough of this Aunty business! Mummy, you’ve to call me Mummy from now on.” said Mrs. Mendonca as she pulled, pleated and pinned Emily’s sado.

Emily, feeling exposed and embarrassed in nothing but her vermillion saree skirt and blouse in front of all those women she didn’t know, swallowed and scanned the room for her mother who, once found, steadily refused to make eye contact with her. It almost seemed like she had given up claim of her. So Emily looked back at Mrs. Mendonca, who was managing to drape the silk saree on her with great ease despite her short stature, and conjured up a tight smile.

Emily didn’t think it was appropriate to liken a wedding to a fatal accident, although in the same sort of time frame her life had changed completely. Not only did she have a husband, she had a new mummy too! Mummy…the word didn’t roll off her tongue easily.

“Mummy…” she managed to say out loud with another smile.

She hoped that in time it would become easier.

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Hope you enjoyed the newest installment in the Emily series. Would really like to hear what you think! Click here to read all that has happened so far.

Still posting as part of the UBC this month.

 

Emily: Chapter Eight

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WEDDING BELLS A-RINGING

Tired as Emily was from all the dancing and sheer madness of her Roce, it was only as the first light of the morning was beginning to stream through her open window that she finally fell asleep. When she woke up a few hours later, she ran to the mirror hoping that she didn’t look as tired as she felt. Fortunately, she looked perfectly ordinary.

Time seemed to move either in slow motion or hyper motion that day. One minute she was eating some breakfast and the next, Sheila was back, looking at her with her eyes narrowed, hoping that her wedding day would not be a repeat performance of the evening before. She had even brought two other girls from her beauty salon as reinforcements.

Emily smiled at Sheila holding up a steaming cup of masala tea as a peace-offering. Sheila hesitated briefly before returning a smile of her own and taking a big sip. “Come, Emily, let’s make you the most beautiful bride anyone has ever seen.”

Although Emily was sure that Sheila said that to all the brides she dressed up, she hoped Sheila would make good on her promise. She wanted Ethan to believe that he was marrying the most gorgeous woman he had ever laid eyes on and so she remained on her best behaviour for more than an hour while Sheila and her assistants worked their magic. When she was ready, Sheila stood Emily in front of the mirror. Emily looked at the bride staring back at her and couldn’t believe she was looking at her own reflection. Apart from the few instances when she had worn a dress, she had spent most of her life in pants – of various lengths and fabrics and even when she was dressed up she always thought she looked like anybody else. For the first time in her life, she thought that she looked beautiful. The makeup was light enough that she didn’t look unnatural and heavy enough that her skin looked flawless. Sheila had managed to set her hair in soft curls and they framed her face in a most becoming fashion. Her gown was inspired by the one her mother had worn on her wedding day and was flattering to the point that it made her look like a princess, straight out of a Disney fairy tale.  She knew Sheila had done her job when she walked out of her room and her father, who was talking to her uncles and aunts, stopped mid-sentence and smiled. Tears shining bright in his eyes. It took all her strength to keep from crying. Apart from anything else, she was afraid that Sheila would have a fit if she had to do her make up again.

As the clock struck four thirty, Emily left her house for the last time as plain old Emily; the younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Vaz. She would never return home as that again. In a few hours, a gold band would adorn her finger and she would become Mrs. Mendonca. As she sat in the back seat of the elaborately decorated car, some of her doubts about marriage resurfaced and she began to get cold feet. Abbey, who was her matron of honour kept whispering reassurances on the way to the church and she began to calm down. But, nothing helped assail those fears as much as catching Ethan’s eye as she stepped out of the car. He gasped audibly, blushed and a goofy grin appeared on his face. Sheila had delivered on her promise.

The short ceremony was lovely. The old Vaz family church in which so many Vaz men and women had been baptised, married and buried, was decorated with white orchids and dull gold satin ribbons. Every pew, even the ones in the wings, was filled with family and friends. The priest gave a delightfully humorous homily about love, faithfulness, acceptance and understanding. Emily prayed that she would be able to keep what the priest called the ‘pillars of a happy marriage’ strong and upright. When the priest pronounced them Man and Wife, Ethan and Emily held hands and walked out of the church to the merry sounds of the church bells ringing. Never had there been a couple as happy as they were that evening.

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Come back again to find out what happens next. To catch up on the previous chapters, please click here.

And I’ve managed to get to post #10! Only 21 left to complete the challenge! Can I do it? Come back everyday to find out!

Emily: Chapter Six

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HOME

“Ma, do I really need to wear this kirgi?” Emily asked looking at herself with uncertainty in the mirror while Sheila, the lady from the beauty salon stuck, pulled, tucked and pleated one of her mother’s royal purple kanjeevaram sarees round her waist in the time-honoured style.

“You wanted to wear it till this morning!” Abigail said scathingly before their mother had a chance to respond.

“Well, that was before I knew I would look like this!” she said gesturing at her half-dressed self, unimpressed. “You looked great at your Roce. I suppose it was because you got to wear Ma’s gorgeous rich burgundy sado and not any old saree.”

“Perks of being the first-born, Em, perks of being the first born.”

“Plus” Emily continued, barely registering what Abigail said, “not only did you get a ‘traditional purifying ceremony’, you got a bachelorette party as well! But then, if I had had a bachelorette like yours, I would be doubly in need of a Roce wouldn’t I?” Emily remarked in a mordacious tone. She narrowed her eyes at Abbey who was rocking her tiny son in her arms looking at her nonplussed. The stress of the wedding was taking its toll on Emily. She would apologize to Abbey later and hopefully, her sister would understand.

She turned her gaze towards Luke who was gazing at the fan revolving overhead with such rapt attention one would think it was magic. The transition into motherhood had been so seamless for Abigail that Emily couldn’t help but admire her. In her heart, she hoped that when the time came, she would be as comfortable as Abbey seemed to be as a mother. The little man was only one and a half months old and the love she felt for him surprised her. Before his grand debut, she didn’t think her heart could hold so much love. She couldn’t fathom what it would feel like to love her own child. But, she was getting ahead of herself. There was time for that yet.

She shifted her attention back to her mother while Sheila, who was desperately trying to dress a very fidgety Emily, made irritated clucking noises.

“Ma…Ma! Earth calling Ma! Come in…Come in!! Can’t I wear that nice gold ghagra choli I have for after the ceremony in the beginning as well?”

Sheila exasperated, raised her hands in the air and would have thrown curses at Emily had it not been for the baby in the room and more importantly that her mouth was being used as a makeshift pin cushion.

Mrs. Vaz turned to look at her baby girl and her eyes glistened with tears that she wouldn’t allow to roll down her fair cheeks. “I’m going to miss having you at home with us baby girl.” she said softly, her voice breaking a little.

Emily drew in a sharp breath. She suddenly felt like a spectator watching a film about her life and somebody had pressed the fast-forward button. One minute she was searching high and low for a husband and the next, she was ready to put on her wedding gown. It was as though she had missed a good chunk of the middle of the movie.

It seemed unreal that it was already the last night she would be spending with her parents, sleeping in her own bed, in her room as just Emily Jane Vaz. In a few hours, all of that was going to change forever.

She shooed Sheila away and half-dressed though she was, ran into her mother’s arms. She put her head on the shoulder that had been her solace so many times before and sobbed, “Mama, I don’t want to go!! I don’t want to get married anymore!”

Mrs. Vaz said nothing for a minute and simply held her tight. Then, taking a deep steadying breath, “Yes, you do Emily. Somehow, all of this wasn’t as bittersweet with Abigail. I mean, I knew I was going to miss her. But, perhaps because she wasn’t leaving the city it wasn’t this hard. Or maybe knowing that one of my girls would still be here gave me some comfort. I can’t figure out what it was. With you leaving the nest too, it’s going to be just your father and I and it hasn’t been that way in decades! Maybe we should finally get that puppy we always wanted.” she joked to try to diffuse the sudden serious situation that had arisen.

Emily didn’t laugh and gazed down at her manicured hands twisting the small diamond engagement ring that sat snug on her ring finger.

Mrs. Vaz continued, “Your father and I were talking about how it’s terribly unfair that it is always the girl who has to leave her home and everything she has known her whole life and start anew. We raise you and love you and give you as much as we can…finally, we’ve to give you away too. I’m only now beginning to realize how much heartache your grandmother would have had to endure. We were five girls!”

She paused to tuck Emily’s long hair behind her ear. “Everything will be different when you wake up day after. Life isn’t like it is in those silly soap operas we like to watch – not so much black and white as grey. Marriage is never easy, but just like any other relationship, it is worth the effort that goes into maintaining it.

“You’ll have a whole new family after the wedding. Remember to always treat them with love, kindness, and respect. Don’t lose sight of who you are and never feel obliged to agree with all of their ideas. Ethan and you are going to fight, it’s good for your marriage. But, at the end of the day, never be too proud to apologize when you’ve messed up.

“I hope you’re always happy Emily. I pray for it everyday. You too Abigail.”  A small sigh left her lips and she looked at both her daughters. “I’ve waited for this day for so long. But now that it’s come, I’m a lot more emotional than I thought I would be. The two of you are the best things I’ve done in my life and as sad as I might appear to be, I’m also so very glad and proud that as of tomorrow, the two of you will both be well settled.”

She drew both her daughters into a tight embrace and it was at that precise moment that Mr. Vaz, looking dapper in his bottle green sherwani, walked in to find out what was taking Emily so long.

Sheila threw him a dirty look when Emily scrambled away from her mother and threw herself into her father’s arms. “I love you, Dada. I wish tomorrow would take a longer time to get here…”

Her father, not a man used to hugging and the like, replied, “Let tomorrow arrive when it arrives, worry about today! Get ready NOW or you’re going to be late for your own Roce ceremony!” Then a little stiffly, ruffling his daughter’s hair, he added, “Love you too, kid.”

Sheila, fortunately, had not left by then and about forty-five minutes later, a gorgeous, traditionally dressed, only slightly late Emily was standing in front of a small crowd of her close family and friends waiting to begin her last party as a single woman, her Roce.

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  1. Roce ceremony: Traditionally, a purification ceremony is held the night before the wedding for both the bride- and the groom-to-be separately. In some parts of India, this is done by applying turmeric paste on the face, arms and legs of the bride- or groom-to-be. Among Mangalorean Catholics. coconut milk is used instead of turmeric paste.
  2. Sado: It’s the term used for the saree that is given to the bride by the grooms family at the wedding. During the reception, it is customary for the bride to change out of her gown or white saree into the sado to symbolize her move from her parents home into her husbands.
  3. Kirgi: The bride-to-be generally wears the sado that her mother wore at the Roce ceremony. However, it is not drapped like a saree but like a pleated skirt. A long form-fitting waist length blouse is generally worn on top.

To find out what happens to Emily at her Roce ceremony, please come back tomorrow. To catch up on previous chapters, click here.

This was post 8. Fingers crossed I do all 31 needed to complete the ultimate blog challenge this month!!