Could it be true? Could it be true that love could be arranged?
“When are you coming? It’s been 4 long years, tujhe man nahi karta maa se milne ka?”
Sometimes the heart pounds inside your chest cavity as if it did not care about whether you live or die. It tells you “dude, do something! Or, I’ll explode”. I felt the same when incessant phone calls rang just one ring tone “come home” and every possible friend and relative assumed that I had not been to my home country because I was busy earning dollars, drinking beer and dating goris. I didn’t want to explain that it was almost like an exile and I was NOT having any fun. I was battling life, just was doing it alone. And that I missed home, missed parents and doting sister and friends and everything which made me,me.
“Your visa has been approved!”
United States of America, the land of opportunity, sometimes has strange ways of expressing it’s gratitude to immigrants. Well, we know its gratitude even though they make it seem as if its attitude. But those words were like honey to my ears. A long wait of four years had just ended and I could board a plane back to my home and live it all over again.
“Kripya apni kamar ki peti baandh lein, vimaan Boeing 747, Nayi Dilli airport pe utarne ko tayyar hai”.
The voice of the air hostess sounded like the sweetest music to my ears. I was going home finally. Many emotions, which had been pent up over the years, got a vent, my sister and cousin were waiting in the crowd at my arrival and my yearning eyes were frantically looking for a familiar face. And then I was hugged by two people at the same time. Oh the warmth was warmer than the California sun. The warmth was enough to protect me from dilli ki sardi, and it did!
Happy budday to you!
My cousin was pleasantly shocked to find me standing at her door step. She was jumping with joy. The next seven days were insane. Immigration, chaat, rikshawaalas, familiar incense smell, chai, “bargaining”, traffic and many such “experiences” were re-lived. Friends, relatives, cousins, aunts and uncles, it was just a full blown fanfare.
Then something strange happened.
“Yaar yeh to peeche peeche hi aa rahe hain” said my sister.
A man, woman and a girl followed us for a good half a kilometre, turned where we turned, keeping a distance. We climbed the stairs to our apartment and so did they, we went in. They followed. Dumbfounded, my sister, my cousin and I quickly went into another room and my second cousin greeted the three followers. They were relatives to the cousin. Not knowing them, and not wanting to know them, made us curl into our own little cosy corner while the other cousin entertained these guests. I had no clue where this would lead. But it seemed strange. The day ended and we were to go to our hometown to meet my parents. We headed for the train station.
“Nayi dilli se Dehradun ki or jaane waali gaadi, platform kramaank ek pe aayegi”, announced the recorded voice of a seemingly tired lady. The train journey would be boring, I thought. It wasn’t. Winter breeze greeted us and feelings of yester years came rushing in. It was magical. But like every journey, it ended soon.
There is nothing like touching your father’s feet and getting an aashirvad in return when he touches your head and says “jeete raho”.
Pitaji had been waiting for four years to see his son grow into a man. His haggard looks, his lean body and his greying hair, said it all. The emptiness in his eyes was filled with pride, affection and was lit again like a new light bulb, when he saw me. It was amazing. All four of us would be united under the same roof after a long wait. My heart was pounding, I still had to meet my mother whose faith and hope had made me go on and take on life.
My father drove like Michael Schumacher.
I think he, of all, wanted all of us to be together soon.
The graceful lady, I had left four years ago, was thinner, but oh my god, her eyes were the same. We hugged each other for eternity and she wept. So did I. Those tears washed away all the tiredness I had been carrying for years. I was home. Finally cold brick walls felt like a warm blanket. I guess that’s what family is. Home is where they understand you. You are so comforted by togetherness that even the most silent moments make you feel that that was the best conversation you ever had. I was blessed.
Then, came the dollops of ghee, floating in aloo paranthas, tadka daals, and ghar ki roti. I would become as big as a house, I promised myself.
The world knows that India is the land of awakening.
I was about to get a lesson, which would remain with me forever.
“They said that they liked the guy!” said my mother winking at me.
“Oh those people who came to visit at Daksha’s apartment” she said, casually.
“Oh My God, what are you saying?” I replied shockingly, feeling like a product being marketed.
“They would like to meet you in person”
“No way.. Maa!”
“No one is forcing you, just talk to them”, said my mom sternly.
Even though I thought I was being trapped into a never ending “selection cycle” of Hindu matrimonial services, primarily run by the ladies of the family, I knew that they wanted a bahu, for their son and wanted him to be happy. But I was not ready.
“Maa, I’m not going to be doing this, I can sit there, but I am not going to say a word”. I rebelled.
“You just come along, there is no harm in being there”, comforted my mother.
Dear world, you would never understand that the pleasure it gives us Indians to worship our parents and listening to their small little wants, to make them happy, is not loosing our individuality. It makes them happy, seeing them happy, makes us happy. A happiness that is elusive everywhere else. It may sound as if I conceded to my parents’ want to meet a family for nuptial consideration, but I did it for their pleasure. So that they don’t feel that I have betrayed them in any sense. That my upbringing had not been wasted. Their children still listened to them. I was still a Bharateey.
The pounding of my heart began again. What lay ahead? What would happen? How is it going to be? Endless other things were crossing my mind.
The silence was deafening, so we broke the ice by doing the regular questionnaire of “Where do you work? What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies? etc.”
I had just one question floating in my mind which I had to ask, and ask I did
“So how come you are all ready for arranged marriage?”
She was confidant and her poise said it all. I don’t know if she was taken aback by my boldness, but she replied.
“What’s wrong with that?” she asked.
“I mean, how can you arrange togetherness, it is 2012 man!” I retorted.
“I don’t know about others, but I have come to this peace with my self that my Man is out there, I will love my husband and be dedicated to him and be the best wife there can be. My parents know what is best for me. Even though I am letting them chose the family, I will chose the man. It does not matter what route I take, I believe that He is out there for me, and I will get him this way or that, so I am choosing this path.”
“Hmmm” is all I said.
I was not ready for nuptial alliance, and especially not this way. So I
made it clear that I was not going to marry her unless I feel it.
I felt something which I had never felt before.
If that person is out there, and it is destined that I would find her,
it’s already “Arranged”, I just have to go look for it.
Love was Loss of Valuable Energy for me. The doors had been closed due
to some past bitterness.
Now it is open, I will find my soul mate. I know she is there.
Thank you, young lady. I hope you find your Knight in Arms. I know you
will. Accept my apologies that I am not that person for you.
Let, God show his Arrangement to me. His Arranged Togetherness!