Around the 3rd year of post graduation, pressure started building up to get me married. Not that my parents were anxious, but there was pressure from their aunts and cousins “She’s 22, its time you start searching, dont wait for too long to start searching atleast. Now, you have time to pick and choose etc etc;” And everytime my parents asked me I kept answering that I wanted to work and I didnt want to just get married and sit at home being someone’s wife and stand on my own feet. And Dad always agreed to it.Even today he says”Be independent”. But then during my final semester project work, there came a proposal from Dad’s favourite Aunt. A seemingly good proposal-the guy was 29/30,project manager in a reputed company, already well settled with his own car, only son, travelled occassionally onsite, young parents…” And Dad was lured. Apparently his older sister, married and settled in the USofA had come down and they wanted to meet me. It was a tuesday that Dad’s aunt called and told him these details and they were to come meet me on sunday. If all went well and the families and we(boy/girl) liked each other, they wanted to us to get engaged the next friday which happened to be Varalakshmi festival before the sister flew back to the US. They would wait until I finished my degree in the next 6 months for the wedding which apparently would give the boy and me some courtship time to understand each other. It all sounded wonderful to Dad.And all hell broke loose. I vehemently denied ‘seeing’ the boy. My Dad sent my passport size photo to the boy’family because they wanted a picture and I refused to oblige with getting one taken. This tug-of-war happened for 2 days. Then on thursday I was surprised to find Mom at home when I came home from college by lunch time. We had lunch and then Mom said she was unwell and went to sleep. After sometime she called me inside and said “Look, why dont you see this boy? Everything seems really good. The aunt would’nt have suggested it if she was not convinced and you know how much they all care about you. And your Appa is really keen that you see this boy.” I said” No Amma, he is already 30 and Im still 23-he is too old for me and I dont think I can be ‘friends’ with him. I want him to treat me like an equal,not like Im a little girl, and I want to work…”
“Dont give the excuse of age, R. It wont work. Its not a huge age difference either.The only way you can get away from this is by telling the truth. Do you have someone else in your mind? If you do, now is the right time to tell. Otherwise you have no choice but to see this guy and once they come home, there is no saying how things will move. If you are really serious about someone else then let me know right now, so I will talk to Appa about it….Are you interested in S? Tell me if I have understood you correctly. You are interested in S. Arent you?”
I almost fell off the bed “Amma, if you already knew, then why didnt you ask me before.”
“Then its true. I didnt want to put thoughts in your head,so I didnt ask you before.But tell me frankly now.”
“Yes, I am interested”
“OK, but what about him? Will his parents agree?”
“Yes, he only proposed and yes he says his parents will have no problem”
“Do they know about this?”
“Then will he be ready to tell them now? Before they come to see you on sunday? If his parents agree before that then we can stop this entire thing”
I just rushed out and called him with shivering hands telling him to tell his parents THAT night no matter what otherwise there is no gaurantee what would happen. He argued and then understood the situation and told me no matter what-there would be no phone call between us that evening…
I cried and by bed time, I was running a high temperature in fear of what would happen.Mom came in,gave me God’s prasadam before I slept,caressed my head and said “everything will be fine” and went out…
The next morning,on the way to college,I called him early from the phone booth.
“Hi, What happened”
“Good morning, what happened?”
“Whaat what happened!!(Imagine me screaming) did you tell your parents? What did they say?”
“All ok,not to worry”
“What all ok, tell me fast, I have to run for the bus! Tell me now!I have to tell at home today”
“I said, my parents are fine, they agreed to our relationship but no marriage until we get jobs obviously…”
Whew! I couldnt wait for the day to end and tell mom.I was waiting for her to come home from work and told her and granny that his parents were ok, obviously we need to wait until we both get jobs and they wouldnt mind my parents going and talking to them now.
Mom told Dad and that day evening we had a very long chat-Dad,Mom,Granny and me-all of them sitting on the Sofa and me in the center of the hall sitting down on the floor. Dad was obviously disappointed.He gave me a lot of facts on how it would be better if I married someone well settled-I could choose to work or not where as in this case I HAD to work for us to settle down and a lot of other things, that were practical and I accepted to all of them.He also said that it would not be easy to work and manage home and later on baby (ies) and take care of in-laws while I had a choice with all these if I settled down with some one else. At the end of it, I told him that this was the guy I saw I could live my life with-I already knew him,knew he didnt have any bad habits,knew he loved me enough to take care of me(Dad always said:Marry the person who loves you more, not the one you love-that way he/she will take more care of you out of love than out of duty and that matters more). I was willing to put more effort with finances by working all my life because we would be starting out life from scratch and together we would be able to make it work.That was his only major concern. Thankfully, it also probably helped that his Grandfather was well known doctor and my Grandfather was his friend-Granny knew about their family.After about a couple of hours,Dad said, ‘OK, if you are convinced that you are going to be happy with this boy, I have no problems-but be aware that you are responsible for the consequences of your decisions. Dont come back to me when the going gets tough and cry saying that I didnt warn you about this before. This is your own choice-atleast you will not blame me for not choosing the right person for you.”
After that, he cancelled the meeting with the other boy,spoke to my would-be FIL and arranged to meet them that sunday-friendship day :-). The parents met, spoke about this generation youngsters who choose their own partners and how all they can do is support us and also decided that they would not be telling anyone else in the family until we boht got jobs. The same evening my FIL realised that he hadnt seen me at all, so they called up, said they would be coming home to complete the ‘girl seeing’ and came home that evening while I was dressed in a salwar and was just the way I always am. No asking me to sing, no questionaire nothing. FIL just teased us that we (S and I) got a rare chance to meet each other on a sunday evening too! Both sets of parents told us to continue talking on the phone and meeting for short durations and that we had to keep them informed whenever we met outside-so they knew incase someone saw us. We both readily agreed, now that everything was sorted out!
Over the next few months, we both got jobs and the day I had to join my training in Chennai, I got the sad news of his Grand father’s demise. As a mark of respect for him, we decided to wait for the whole year and then get married. That was our courtship days in all glory 🙂 We got introduced to each other’s family, went out on dinner dates, shopping,movies…
Sigh! Those days. The wedding was planned after the year was up and went off without any hitch. Even today, at every cousin’s wedding – all my cousins remember the fun they had at mine.It was the first wedding in the family in our generation and Im glad that it is still remembered by the family fondly as much as I remember it…
And The End of fluttering Hearts and Rose tinted glasses…