The curse of the beautiful bride
“Oh, look at her!”
“Look at her gorgeous red Silk Sari!”
“How old is she?”
“What a glow on her face!”
“What did you say her name was?”
“Kanchan! Ahh, such a nice name!”
“Hello Kanchan, how are you doing today?”
“Hey, Kanchan what are you doing all dressed up like a bride?”
“Aren’t you a little too young for this marriage?”
Kanchan didn’t care to answer any of them.
Of course, they were all concerned about her well-being but now wasn’t the right time to bother her with such dumb questions.
She was getting married, and nothing, not even her own demons, could dampen her mood today.
Kanchan had a petite face that reminded most people of a rose petal.
She had a natural pinkish glow on her perky round cheeks.
She wasn’t your usual modern-day drop-dead gorgeous. But was charming in a feminine manner that everyone found irrestible.
However, as the famous saying goes, too much of anything is dangerous.
Her bewitching charm led her to believe she could get away with anything in the world simply by batting her eyes.
She was so full of herself that she didn’t even consider telling her parents about the marriage, and had no qualms whatsoever about eloping with a married man of 30 years.
“Who is Manoj? Hey, is he really as good looking as Hrithik Roshan?”
“Does he have a government job, a house and a two-wheeler?”
“Does Manoj also carry a big & impressive moustache like Baldev, our village wrestler?”
Manoj was married with two little children.
Kanchan had been eyeing him since the beginning of last year when she first saw him in a village-fair, wearing a smart blue-chequered shirt and tight black pants.
The moment her eyes fell on his barrel-chest & muscular jawline, she knew Manoj was the one for her!
Afterwards, everything fell according to her plan!
She carefully applies the kajal on her eyes, ensuring every new layer is darker than the previous.
She then picks up a crimson coloured lipstick and begins to fill her full lips with the tact of an artist.
She continues to paint them until the time her lips turn bloody & red.
Manoj always complimented her saying that she was the only woman he knew who could carry even the darkest shade of red with grace.
“Won’t you ask your mother once before running off with that scoundrel?”
Oh those demons away!
Kanchan didn’t give much thought to the question believing that the “voice” belonged to some jealous old-maid who couldn’t digest the fact that she would soon be married to the most handsome man in the village!
“Aren’t you scared, Kanchan?” ..the same voice again.
“Scared, huh!” Kanchan exclaims loudly.
“I have nothing to be afraid of. I know my parents don’t support me in this decision. But I don’t need their validation for every little thing in my life. I have and will always live life on my own terms.’’
“How do you know that Manoj is the right person for you?”
“What a foolish question you ask!” she sighs, “how does a newly born baby know he has to breathe in order to live? Who teaches him what is and what isn’t good for him? I just know it! I feel it”
Kanchan continues to groom herself in front of the mirror.
Once the eyes and the lips had been decorated to her heart’s content, it was time to put a small shiny silver dot on the middle of her forehead.
Finally, wearing her mother’s auspicious gold bangles, she was all set to leave for the banquet hall that Manoj had arranged for their unison.
Happy as she was, she reached the banquet hall earlier than expected.
“What a shamble it is? Kanchan, what are you doing? Haven’t you heard about the woman who was shaken, beaten, and then wolfed down by the spirits of this hall?”
“What happened to her?”, she questions herself in a voice that even she couldn’t recognise.
“Nobody knows how she died, and if her death was a suicide or a murder. But when the groom reached here with the Baraat and found the bride’s dead body floating in blood, inside that well, he burnt the entire Banquet hall down. This place is cursed!’
‘’Oh, come-on, what nonsense do you speak!” Says a bewildered Kanchan,
“Can’t you see how well-decorated the entire hall is, and how grand it looks against the fading moon-light! Look at its elegant pillars. I can still smell fresh paint on them. I think I couldn’t have found a better place myself.”
“And look’’, she continued, ‘’Manoj is here too! Hello, my love. I had been dying to see you. Tell me how I look in this dress you gifted me? Lo & behold, here comes the pandit too. Sir, quickly get started with the rituals. I can’t wait any longer”
“Stop it Kanchan! You will have the same fate as the girl who died here years ago. There is no one here. Just the ghosts of your pasts. Run Kanchan ..Run… Run before it is too late!”
And then she shrieks and does as told. She runs and runs and runs… until she reaches the infamous well. She looks into its darkness with great interest, tilts her head a little to the right, gives a huge teeth-flashing smile and jumps.