Everybody pretends to hate weddings. But they all turn up anyway. Maybe it was the free food, or the hope that their contemporaries weren’t doing so well after all. Her asthma was acting up. Perhaps it was the heavy perfumes. She wondered if anyone else knew that exact whiff of heavy silk soaking in sweat. It smelled like stale coconut.
The bride and groom were her classmates. But they weren’t really childhood sweethearts or anything. Probably found nobody else to get married to. A sudden flash of memory. Standing in the assembly, roasting in the summer sun. Uniforms being checked. One arm distance from the person ahead of her in the line. Reciting the national pledge together. “India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters.”
It makes her want to throw up. She didn’t know what was more revolting. The idea of state-sponsored incest or the thought that all the awful people she was in the midst of were somehow related to her. Why on earth did they have to declare all Indians to be their siblings? She would have to find someone from another country now.