I was twenty eight and my time was running out. All my efforts at finding that “right” girl to get married to on my own had been a complete failure.
“Did your mother give you her photographs and bio data?” my uncle asked from behind a newspaper. Cutting and splashing noises indicated my mother’s presence in the kitchen.
I was halfway through the day’s list of forwarded smses. I kept the phone away and took my time sifting through the envelope which my mother had given me the previous day. I had kept that away until then too. “She looks pretty. I am surprised that she is still single,” I said.
“That’s ok. What about the alliance? Do you think it will work?” The chair creaked under his weight.
The kitchen fell silent. “She is getting a master’s degree as well. Why would she even want to marry me?” I asked. I had a bachelor’s degree and worked in the IT sector in Bangalore. She was awaiting her final year MA results.
“We think it will be a good match. You should at least consider her. She is worth it. We know her family since the past thirty years—from even before you were born,” my uncle said, lowering the newspaper just enough to look me in the eyes through his horn rimmed glasses.
Our grandfather clock ticked as he waited for my answer.
“I want to meet her somewhere outside,” I said. I did not want the drama of twenty people accompanying me to their house to see her. The pressure cooker in the kitchen whistled.
My uncle stopped rocking his chair, folded the newspaper up and kept it aside. He had a long look at me and grunted his approval. He looked up their number in his dairy to make the “arrangements”.
Four filter coffees, two cheese sandwiches and three glasses of water later, “the prospect” walked into India Coffee house on MG Road for our first meeting. She was more than an hour late and looked stunning in her full sleeve, Nehru neck white kurti, hand embroidered lavender dupatta and white chudidaar making the wait worthwhile. I tried to look as casual as I could in my black sports shoes, a six pocket trouser and a round neck tee.
“My brother dropped me off,” she said, and did most of the asking after that.
I was moonstruck and mumbled some incoherent answers to her questions. She insisted on sharing the bill—I did not protest. She—fortunately for me—did not ask me about my bank balance.
She said yes about “us” to her parents. My uncle did not even ask for my approval. We got married in July, 2006.
I turned twenty nine that August.
published 25 April 2012