A phone call woke me up at 8.34 in the morning on a typical Saturday. Tired from the late night movie session I initially thought of not turning around to pick my phone but the voices in my head knew it was family calling and not picking up would mean a long lecture on how I should change my lifestyle and wake up early and anything and everything going on in my life.
It was my dad calling from his phone. It meant only two things, I have done something I was not supposed to do or I am in for some serious life changing lecture. I sat on my little bunk bed and picked up, dad said, “Good morning, You just woke up isn,t it?”.
“No No Papa. Good morning and pranam. I have been up for quite sometime now”, I said in a very alert voice not to leave a little trace of sleep in my voice.
“Can you send us a couple of your pictures “, he said. There were little background noises which i could imagine my mom making trying to tell dad some non important things while he was on the phone, just a habit.
There was an awkward silence after I heard him and I knew it wasn’t what I thought it is about, it was worse.
“Ok papa”, I said its funny how I have always been very scared of dad when there isn’t anything so scary about him. I have always said yes to any he has ever asked me to do without questions and dad knew it.
“Talk to your mummy”. Somehow it has always happened that when it comes to explanations it has to be mom. This was the time when i talk more than ok. I ask question, I raise my voice, I get angry, I cry, I show happiness and a hell more than what i show to my dad.
“Hello Beta. actually day before yesterday Madhu bhabhi called us to tell that they are looking for a girl for their nephew and she thought you could be a perfect choice and by evening the mother of the guy called and asked for your birth date and… hello are you listening?”, it was as if she has memorized these sentences and rehearsed them a number of times before calling me.
It was very funny because a few days back I was told that sitting in such an isolated place which is Calcutta, irony!!! I have become very content and comfortable in my a job barely giving me 27k for working 11 hours a day while others who were with me are playing in good money, good firms , good places and I should do something big, dream big and with all that I should come back home. All the while she was speaking I really wanted to ask her, this is what you all met by big.
“Mummy, you couldn’t even call me once in two whole days about this whole thing. I mean bhabhi called you day before yesterday we talked yesterday about how curd shouldn’t be eaten at dinner because it can hurt my throat for an hour. Literally an hour!!”, I was pissed, very pissed. But then I am a 24-year-old girl who doesn’t want to study more, may be switch to a better job and finally marry. Being raised in a very conservative family in terms of marriage and relationships I had already made up my mind to not fall for anyone and let my parents do the selection so I really wanted to hear what my mom had to say.
“Ya then what happened, you would have given my entire bio data so far and certainly they would have identified me on social media why do they need a picture”.
“No stop it listen first then make your assumptions. They matched the horoscope through computer and it matched nicely and also they are very good Brahmins. Family is really good. Madhu has assured. We really like it”.
It’s so surprising that the idea of arrange marriages isn’t about love at first, it isn’t about the guy or the girl but its all about the family. I guess that why people say in India marry is more about family than individuals
“The guy? I don’t think it matters what is family is until they are taking adopting me”, I was angry for sure. Why? I really had no answer to it.
It was pretty interesting that my mother went on very smoothly on this one and said, “We have to understand the family first that whether it is worth talking or not. it’s not like we will get you married off without knowing about the guy. The guy works in an MNC in Gurgaon. He is decently educated, avid traveler and does make good money”.
As per my stubborn, rebellious brain i just said, “I don’t know any of that how could you just not tell me when it’s my marriage you are talking about. I don’ feel like sending the pictures.”
“Yes it is your marriage and we can’t tell you everything before knowing the possibility of a situation. We have seen so many guys, with few your kundali doesn’t match,few are so elder, few families are such that you can’t settle in. Don’t be foolish, if we tell you about all the guys as soon as we hear them you wouldn’t like it, either”. It was here I draw a line. I didn’t ask for any answers because I knew she was sort of right but I was unhappy about marriage may be because I have failed to believe this is how a typical arranged setup work.
“Can I see the guy? how old is he?”, I tried showing some interest.
“Send us your pictures recent ones and I am asking papa to sent you the pictures of the guy. serious suggestion, Dont overreact on everything bacha. Bubye”
All trough my teenage I wanted to get married in a typical Bollywood way which goes on like i will meet the guy, we will fall in love, tell our parents, we will have an amazing wedding but this was different I saw that how an arranged setup is driven up mostly by logic and not by general emotions like love at the very beginning.
With endless thoughts and weird feelings I got down from my little bunk bed and waiting patiently for that one mail from dad to see who it might be.
to be continued..