Weddings made me nostalgic and tearful. The atmosphere always had me wishing for one myself. Staying in Sydney meant I usually missed out on most of the pre-wedding festivities in the family. This time, however, as the groom’s cousin, I was fully present and privy to all the sweet little moments that made up the big day. Siddharth, or Sid anna as we called him, was coming tomorrow from Sydney. It was the typical arranged marriage setting — the bride and groom were introduced by a mutual relative, the two met over Zoom, had a few online dates, all while their parents organised everything back here in India.
Though the whole day had gone in preparing for tonight’s Mehendi, I found some time to get to know my future Akka (sister-in-law), Nidhi. We instantly connected — she was almost my age and was completing the same Master’s program as me. We had a lot in common, but I quickly realised how different our lives had been. Having been brought up and studied in the same town in Hyderabad, she was visibly excited to explore the next part of her life — marriage. She was moving to Sydney with Siddharth right after her graduation. She had many questions about the place and knew more about the city’s attractions than I did.
Our small talk was cut short by Ishitha, Nidhi’s maternal cousin. Ishitha was the oldest kid in their family and was the first to get married and settle abroad. So, Nidhi turned to her for advice, “Any tips for married life?”
Ishitha replied playfully, “I still haven’t figured it out myself, and you’re asking me!”
Nidhi laughed and asked, “Till when are you staying then?”
“Not too long. Praveen’s taken leave as well to take care of the little one, so I’ll head back the day after. But no… you tell me first. Did you think about what I said?”
“Ohho, Ishu. Not this again, please!” Nidhi seemed quite annoyed at the question and excused herself from the conversation to attend to the arriving guests.
Ishitha sighed nonchalantly and turned to me, “I say one thing, and this is her reaction.”
I smiled awkwardly, unaware of the context and unsure if I should ask what had happened.
Thankfully, Ishitha continued, “Is it so wrong to tell her to rethink moving to Sydney immediately after her graduation?”
I was curious, so I prompted, “You mean… ask her to stay back in India?”