Marriages are like stories. Don’t believe anyone who tells you ‘Once upon a time’ is all make-believe. An unforgettable proposal marked the beginning of mine and each day ever since has added a chapter into a great story in making. Almost 4 years down the line – its hard to tell , was it love that got arranged by destiny? A bit of flash-back.
“So, why an arranged marriage?” I threw another playful smile at him over my tall glass of Ice tea and enjoyed the fleeting moment of uncertainty run over his face. We were back, yet again, at the popular place, Passion my cup of tea at the breezy Priya Complex close to my home. Young couples and college buddies were sitting around us, lending a casual feel to the place.
With an amazing range of teas, cakes and bakes to choose from, this place was climbing up the charts of our ‘great places to hangout in delhi’ list much above the ‘Mochas’ of the world. Also, as I had discovered to my utter shock and dismay, my companion wasn’t a coffee fan.
“Umm, because falling in love didn’t work out?” He said with his smile now well in place. The moment of being caught off guard by my in – your – face move, was shrugged aside. The way he put it, it was more like a question directed right back at me and I thought to myself with a smile ‘Anti – Coffee, but open minded, matter of fact and direct. That’ll do.’
Handwriting analysis demos, mutual love for travelling and swapping our super eventful life histories. Conversations had flown in quite easily. Over teas, if not coffees. Hundreds of sms’es and gtalk chats followed by calls, followed by texts again every day. Some one looking at us would have never guessed this was our sixth meeting and only 15 days since we had known each other.
The seventh meeting was going to change everything.
Once upon a time in single-land:
One needs to ride quite a few other ones before one comes across a Porsche, it’s said. And as a 27yr old person, my infinite wisdom of such test drives indicates, it’s quite a bumpy ride one needs to endure ‘before’ the life ‘ever after’ begins.
I am not a cynic. And I am not getting into an arranged versus love marriage debate here. To each his own, really. It’s just that I’ve always believed, Prince charming as a concept comes in with a ‘date only’ tag. Moreover, I gave up hope on running into my knight in shining armour ever since I started to drive around in Delhi. One look at the traffic, one needs to wade through to get to me and he would sprint off right back to where he came from. Now if the ‘meet your dream guy’ isn’t working out, one needs to take matters in one’s own hands and thus began my search for the ‘Mr Right’. A little over 8 months back.
The keyword search on matrimonial sites don’t account for ‘exciting conversations over coffee’ as a parameter (they should add that you know, wouldn’t it be quite tough to live for another 50 odd years with a person you can’t talk to?) And after months of such startling observations, here I was finally sitting across some one who had the potential to graduate from the Mr Right – Now to Mr Right! Talk about leap of faith!
Jab we met:
Calling our first meeting a truly memorable one would be slightly unfair to all the other potential grooms I was hooked up with through my ultra zealous parents. If marriages are made in heaven, could some one tell me, why do our folks go to every possible length when it comes to ‘finding the suitable match’? Now, don’t get me wrong. Match Making antics in my case weren’t as close to those documented by our good ole’ Jane Austin but some of those meetings were quite amusing. So , compared to those , our first meeting fell behind on the ‘fun quotient’ but made up in a lot of other departments .
The deal breaker, though I must confess, was his jumpy-almost at the edge of his seat – enthusiasm, and the story – telling that came in much later over lunch dates.
A little while back I had caught on one of those travel and living shows , a lady who goes about dating 80 odd men across the world , in search of ‘the one’. She was truly my hero. Sadly though , most Indian arranged marriages don’t follow that rule. But our 4 dates proposition by the guy in question to take our story forward wasn’t too bad either. We were at our 3rd date and I was wondering already – this isn’t too bad at all.
The one ingredient that makes the recipe of a perfect matrimony has got to be conversations. I am not expert at marriages, and frankly let’s not indulge in ‘armchair activism’ on the subject like every one does on politics and cricket. The trust and understanding and the whole deal that comes with the relationship follow when you can speak your mind and lend an ear. Obviously one is at one’s best show when one’s meeting a potential life partner. There are no right ways or wrong ways at this gamble other than going with one’s instincts. Or perhaps asking the right questions and reading between the lines.
He said, she said
“So, what are your expectations from your perfect bride?” However odd it may sound, this question can never have a one word answer. We were one short of our last and final meeting before we took a call and give a satisfying reply to our very curious parents who were beyond wondering ‘What’s going on’ and I was in the mood for some soul-searching. The sincerity on his face and in his words was heart warming. After all, he was just another guy, looking for a girl who made the whole life changing transition seem normal.
“Hmm…. It’s a long list. I’d be lying if I say I am not looking for a cross between a beauty queen and a super woman like any other ordinary optimistic groom-to-be would”, he went on as I arched my brow and gave him a look that meant “Oh C’mon ! You can’t be serious!!” but maybe to him it read as “Elaborate”, so he went on.
“Independent, beautiful, smart and sensible – some one who manages a career and our home perfectly. The list is endless really. But before you type-cast me as an MCP, here’s the disclaimer…” He paused for effect or perhaps to judge how the monologue was going & since it wasn’t easy to read my thoughts, he continued “more than anything else, I know I am looking for an equal half. Because I feel marriage is about equal responsibilities” and he smiled for effect!
Trust me when I say that, I’ve asked this question quite a few times, and I’ve got answers ranging from incredulous to plain dull. I found myself making a mental note of this conversation for my autobiography – and I was surprised to realize he was already featuring in it.
Quite a few questions and straight- from- the- heart replies later, I was happy with my work for the day. I was quite close to making up my mind. Maybe I already had. If only I could read his!
What’s a story, without the perfect ending?
“But it’s a girl’s movie out; let’s push it to next week?” I was trying to argue some sense into him, but he seemed unusually stuck up. I was moving out for an official trip the next morning and had plans with my sister and mom to catch a movie in the evening. He on the other hand was pushing relentlessly that we meet up again asap. ‘Alrite, post the movie then, dinner?’, ‘Yes! I’ll pick you up from your movie”. And that was that. I was curious, with a million thoughts running into my head, none close to indicating what was really in store.
We had been driving around for ten minutes making small talk. He was singing along, very off key, with the song playing on the car stereo getting not even a single word of the lyrics in place. I had quit attempting to stifle my laughter any more. ‘This is such a perfect date!’ I thought to myself, just about when he pulled up the car to my utter surprise. “There’s something for you in there, why don’t you open it” pointing at the dashboard, he said.
One sees them dreamily on the celluloid, reads about them in star speckled fairytales, but when such a moment is playing out in real life, what does one say?
“I knew I found my perfect partner, when I found you laughing at my jokes and listening to all my stories…ahh, the first time we met. These no-strings-attached dates have been a bonus!” He winked as he opened the little box with the prettiest ring in it. “So what do you say to a lifetime of story telling with me?”
My horoscope for the day had read; think before making a hasty decision today. So, I took a moment, and thought, it was such a perfect date. This was such a perfect story. And what can a girl say to a proposal like that? “Hmm, love – at – first –sight would make a great first chapter, don’t you think?”
“Yes”, we smiled as we looked at the ring that glittered on my finger.