There’s a reason why most Bollywood films end with the couple getting married, and leading us into the illusion that ‘they lived happily ever after.’ And we get sold into this. Only to realise, rather quickly, that life immediately after marriage isn’t what a film would want to show. Because post-marital bliss, while it does exist, it definitely doesn’t the way it’s depicted in films and TV shows.
Think of how you’ve always imagined a new bride to be like. Fresh, energetic and ready to kickstart her life as a newlywed. From dressing in her brand new clothes and jewellery she’s spent months collecting, to being the sanskari bahu who can’t wait to make chai for everyone, to having sex like rabbits.
Yet, you ask a new bride and she shall tell you. The first thing she wants to do as soon as the wedding celebrations get done with is (quite contrary to what most aunties and uncles think) – NOT sex. She wants to get out of that heavy outfit (yes, the same lehenga she spent months stalking every celebrity wedding on Instagram) and jewellery into her old, worn-out pyjamas. Wipe off all those layers of makeup, not to mention getting rid of that entire army of pins that have been holding her hair together. Order a pizza, a side of fries and an entire portion of dessert. And then fall asleep. Only to wake up straight in the Maldives. Or Goa, at least.
And then just when she’s dreaming about this, some aunty shall knock on her door and remind her that she needs to wear her finest kanjeevaram, her most expensive jewellery and ‘beta, don’t forget that sindoor and that mangal sutra’. You’re the nayi bahu after all.’
And then she gets the reality check. I most certainly did.
In my case, the first month of marriage has been great. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Yet it’s also been challenging at the same time. With its own set of ups and downs. I’ve come to the realisation that just like postpartum depression, post-marital blues are also real. Even as the constant congratulations keep flowing on social media, you realise that you occasionally miss your days as a carefree single woman.
On some days, you feel homesick for the house you grew up in, coming to realise that you’re now expected to address it as ‘your parents’ house’. The initial days of unpacking your bridal trousseau, and dealing with new labels (mami, chachi and so on…) are filled with nostalgia, exertion and sometimes just a feeling of nothingness. And your constant battle with your inner self, where you keep reminding yourself that you’re supposed to actually feel on top of the world, when in fact you feel a little low.
And that’s when you realise that while you’re happy, there’s also a mixed bag of emotions that you might not have prepared yourself for. But it hits you nonetheless.
And such is how you learn to deal with the new and bittersweet realities of married life. In the time that your mehndi takes to fade away, and you keep your bridal lehenga away in some corner of your closet (in the hopes that you will be able to redeem the value by wearing it again, someday), and you deal with the extra kilos you’ve suddenly put on courtesy the honeymoon and the dinners and lunches you’re invited to as newlyweds, real life starts kicking in.
The band-baja-baraat days are over. So is an entire khandaan fawning over the dulhaniya. Shaadi shopping, sangeet dance rehearsals, the bridal beauty regime – all of what occupied your mind for months before the wedding, is now done with. You start learning how to live with another person (in some cases, an entirely new family).
Adjusting to new habits, making new rules and rituals for yourself and your partner. And of course, getting used to everyone from the building watchman to the sabjiwala transition to addressing you as ‘bhabhi’ over ‘didi’.
And it is in these small moments – you find those little pockets of happiness and delight you’ve been seeking all along. When after a long day, you snuggle up on the couch and watch your favourite Netflix show together. When your mother-in-law sends over her acclaimed gajar ka halwa for the daughter-in-law.
Girls, the ever after does exist. Maybe not in the Karan Johar style as you would have imagined, but it does. Not the filmy style happy. Rather the roller coaster style is happy, with its ups and downs. With new twists and turns daily. Where each day is different.
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