The Second Marriage

In Islamic etymology, Tasneem refers to a “fountain in Paradise”. However, for Tasneem Raza Hydari, her name had spelt catastrophe and a rugged life clinging to the portents of adversity. Her mind and soul were ferociously bumping against each other amidst the mist of her contradictory emotions. Her eyes welled up with tears as she braced herself for her second stake. This time around she was gambling her spirit and existence as a wager. She couldn’t afford to lose this time around. She gazed intently at her wedding dress. She was wearing it for the second time in her life- a blessing in disguise or a morbid blunder, it was left to be seen. How does a girl feel like when she braces herself for her second attempt at a marital relationship, after having experienced the bitter side of it once before? I cannot answer this question; neither can Asad Bhai, Falak or Shafaq.


Marriages- either love or arranged are a calculated risk taken at the altars of social expediency. This serene but fragile bond needs to augmented repeatedly with the constituents of love, trust, devotion and selfless compromises. More often than not, things tend to work out in the desired manner. However, for Tasneem destiny had chosen to play the devil’s advocate. Her first marriage had ended on a woeful note, shattering her into bits and pieces, denting her conscience beyond repair. She’d never wanted things to end on such a sorry note. The mirage of her aspirations and expectations crackled beneath the veracity of an irrefutable statement- She’d been divorced. Pain was inevitable, suffering was optional.


A layman, like me would remark: “Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy is, staying in an unhappy marriage, killing yourself day in and day out before wearing out to live a life full of regrets, wishing that you’d taken the initiative to sabotage this nonexistent marital alliance.” In stark contrast, divorce is like an amputation. You survive the predicament, but a part of you is lost in oblivion for eternity. Divorce is the psychological equivalent of a triple coronary bypass. After such a monumental assault on the heart, it takes years to amend all the habits and attitudes that led up to it.


Quite understandably, Tasneem’s second marriage was scheduled to be a low scale affair, avoiding all the ostentatious platitudes. She was the eldest among the siblings, the other three being Asad Bhai, Falak and Shafaq. I guess, her lips must have trembled a wee bit, her heart throbbing at the rate of knots, as he consented to the alliance with the words “Qubool Hai”. The Imam (religious leader) raised his hands in prayer. The congregation followed suit. The Imam pleaded before God to bless the couple with his grace and magnanimity. These prayers had proved ineffective the first time around.


As the Nikah ceremony ended, tears welled up in the eyes of all her family members. She’d always been a dutiful daughter, kind and considerate towards her parents and affectionate towards her younger siblings. Ever since her divorce, she’d died a thousand deaths every day. Cold stares and deafening giggles intensified the abrasions on her conscience, mortifying her soul with an incongruous guilt – the guilt of letting her parents down, the guilt of not being able to stand up to their expectations. She held herself responsible for everything her family was going through. However, her family had supported her indefatigably during her darkest hours, comforting her with optimistic premonitions.


The real fun began after the Nikah ceremony. Falak and Shafaq, accompanied by couple of their younger cousins scampered through to pinch off the groom’s shoes, while the groom’s brothers scurried in haste to prevent the obvious. The chaotic state of affairs was an absolute pleasure to watch. Meanwhile, Tasneem was sitting on the stage, her lips locked at the altars of her bashfulness, her eyes soaking the droplets of bliss brimming in her eyes. I could anticipate hope in her eyes. She must’ve been optimistic about her future, and yet, she must’ve been struggling intently to rid herself of her ominous apprehensions.
It was time for the bride to depart. Her in laws were assuring her parents that she’d be treated as a daughter in their home and they need not be concerned for her. I earnestly hoped that they stood firm to their claims. Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy is, staying in an unhappy marriage. Killing yourself day and day again. reassuring yourself, that you’d be able to pull off this union, even though you know, you won’t be able to. Waking up day after day, gravely wishing to break away from the onslaught of self imposed shackles.


Tasneem won’t be the same again. She’ll have to bury the effigies of her agonizing memories and brace herself to embrace the cologne of a fresh relationship. To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness. For my part, I am willing to hope that things turn out for the better this time around. Marriage is a beautiful relationship, endowed with myriad textures of abstractions, some soulful and memorable, others somber and melancholic. At the end of the day, it is the sublime serenity of an incredibly delicate relationship and the belief that in tandem with our partner, we’d weather all the storms that block our way, to the rainbow, that prompt us to take a chance at marriage, despite all the odds associated with it.


For, in the end, it is hope that keeps us going.

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