It was splendour wearing its best Sunday suit. The orchestra filled the evening with light music. The marble pillars which partitioned the lawns from the dome ceilinged hall were draped in white orchids. White orchids in India?!! It was even better than having doves deliver a handwritten parchment of love, not that anything of that sort had happened. But yes the white orchids clung elegantly to the smooth marble of the pillars.
The display of trends and fashion would have made some of the best designers of India, want to auction their styles here. Yet, it was merely a wedding. A wealthy wedding between two very wealthy families. It was theatre and the masses had flocked to participate. It was a swayamvar for the pretty lasses and flirting grounds for the spoilt brats. Diamonds courted green notes.
She was no diamond. But yet when she had stood before the mirror earlier this evening, she had silently admired her own subtle elegance in the reflection. Subtle elegance her foot! She felt as pretty as the ugly duckling amidst all the swans. Even her neck felt shorter, darker and fatter than those creamy necks decked in precious stones.
“Really Tashi, you could have tried dressing up at least this one time!” Rita’s mom had said in her belittling little voice. She always wondered how women whispered just at the right octave so that only those concerned would hear the whispers. This was one of those whispers. She was sure all possible match-making mothers in a radius of ten feet around them had gotten what Mrs. Benetta, the hi-flyer of Pune, had opined on this waif of oddity.
Rita Benetta on the other hand could not be flawed. Her sequined black halter forming a dramatic contrast against her pale white skin, shimmering like a veiled starry blanket under the chiffon red of her designer saree, the long black pearls which dropped from a silver string in her ear, the swarowski bracelet which curled around her slender wrist, they were all in perfect harmony with her startlingly beautiful face a black almond-shaped eyes. Natasha, had always envied her. They were not friends, but circumstances had occasionally thrown them together for one part or the another and Rita had always left her felling.. under-dressed.
“Hey Tashi, are you freaking out of your mind?” Urvashi had pulled her aside and demanded of her. Completely out of clue Natasha had just stared her. “Walking beside Rita is like committing an open market suicide! Do you really think any guy would even look at you if you are standing beside her?” with particular emphasis on any and even. Natasha just shrugged her shoulders causing one of her straps to slide off her shoulder. Before she could do anything about it, Urvashi reached out and hooked her dainty finger through the string thin silver and pushed it back into place saying, “ you really don’t understand, when you do not qualify as the top three best looking women of the evening, its ok. When you walk around with one of the women who does fit that category it just highlights your unbelonging. Get it?” chivalry might still be a name often flung at men, but diplomacy in women is almost an insult.
So she had retired to a rather unnoticed corner of the well manicured lawns with a bottle of sparkling wine and decided to spend the rest of the evening forgetting about it.
That’s how he saw her. Her feet up on the granite slab, her chin resting on her knees. The soft blue of her saree, made even softer by some far off dim light. The silver of her spaghetti blouse glinting mildly in the twilight and wisps of black her being pushed off her face by a gentle breeze. Beside stood one lone glass and one lone bottle of wine.