Arranged!

Short Story

"Heyyyy! Long time... What are you doing here?"
Rajani yelled from across the shop.

Yelling in a saree shop is acceptable. It is like a cafe... for women... And you get to meet so many of your old friends... Rajani was a dear friend from college.

"I was buying sarees for my wedding..." I said.

"Woooowww... When are you getting married? How come you didnt tell me?" She asked.

"Umm... In two weeks... everything happened so fast..." I managed to say.

"So how is he? What does he do? Is he a Doctor? Remember how you used to say...," Rajani glanced at my mother who was going through a pile of sarees, "Is it a love marriage? Or is it arranged?"

"Umm.. It's complicated Rajani... He's an Engineer. Works with a multinational in Banglore," I said. I looked at my mother who was now getting impatient going through the pile of sarees all by herself... "I should get going Rajani. I will call you some time?"

Rajani left. She noticed I was under a lot of stress. Weddings are stressful. I thought mine will be smooth sailing. But life doesnt happen how you think it will.

I thought I will marry a Doctor someday. He will sweep me off my feet. I would be intrigued by his passion for his work. His dedication towards his patients, his ability do good for the society would attract me towards him. I looked at the sarees my mother was showing me. Peacock green with a turquoise pallu for the sangeet. Bottle red with shades of pink and a light orange pallu for the wedding day... I had a say in choosing the sarees I wanted to wear.... But what about the man I wanted to spend my life with?

Why didnt I have the right to choose him?

***

For our honeymoon, it was decided that we ll go to Ooty. It was close to Banglore. So it was decided.

Sometimes I think things would have been different had I been born and brought up in a big city... Maybe then I would get to choose the man I wanted to spend my life with. But look at Rajani... she lived in the same city... we went to the same college... and she can fall in love and marry the man she loves.

Why didnt I fall in love? I was friends with some guys. I had a crush on a guy in college. But could never fall in love with him. Should it be this difficult?

Walking down the steep inclines of Ooty with Suresh, now my husband, I couldnt stop thinking about how I had imagined my husband to be...

I thought how I imagined our afternoons to be... How we would talk about serious issues... about work... about how we wanted to do something for the poor... contribute to the society....

Suresh cracked a joke... I smiled... just enough to not hurt him... The poor guy had been trying to make me comfortable for the three days that we had been married.

He's so different than the guy I thought I will spend my life with... Suresh pointed towards the valley. He said something and laughed. I didnt hear what he said, I was too lost in myself. But his laughter was infectious. I smiled. This time, not out of mercy.

I was lost in my thoughts as we walked downhill. Just then a state transport bus came screeching down the slope and Suresh pulled me towards himself. I looked at the bus that whizzed by... too arrogant to care about a girl lost in her thoughts. I looked into the eyes of Suresh. He held me by my waist. I could feel his heaving chest, his strong hands... This was the first time I was standing this close to a man. I felt safe. I meant something to someone. There was someone who cared for me. He let his grip loose. His eyes almost apologetic for having held me so close.

He was back to his jocular self after a while. This time, I was lost in his talks. He was so intelligent.. so witty... We came across a park where there were school kids playing with balloons. He kept looking at them, a smile playing on his lips... The smile faded when he saw a poor boy in tattered clothes looking at those school kids. He went ahead a bought a balloon for him. The eyes of the little boy lit up. He ran off with the balloon jumping with joy. There was a smile on my husband's lips...

I fell in love with my husband.

***
Back home, once we were out shopping...

"Heyyy.. long time... How are you?" It was Shreya. We were friends from school... "And when did you get married?" She asked looking at my mangalsutra and the sindhoor on my forehead...

"Last month." I said.

"Woooowww... that is so amazing... Love marriage or arranged?" She asked.

"Arranged." I smiled.




________________________________________

I would like to thank Heena. This is the first time I have adapted a story. "Arranged" was first written by Heena here - (http://queenofmars.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/a-walk-to-remember/)

This post is dedicated to Nupur and Heena for different reasons. You know the reasons.

I was talking with a German friend the other day. The topic steered to Arranged marriages in India. Though she argues with me on most things (in spite of me being right always), I never thought I will find myself supporting the concept of Arranged marriages so strongly. I hope this story helps.

This is the first time I am writing from a girl's point of view. And yes, it was difficult. If any of my engg friends call me girlie after this, expect some serious ass kicking..



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8 letters to the editor:

    On September 25, 2010 at 9:45 PM     
    Nupur said...

    *speechless* And yeah, thank you!!

    My first comment on your blog....

    why arrange marriages are so success in India till now...reasons: the literacy rate of women in India was less ....girls world was limited to her home and close relatives...it was rare that she got chance to be active in social life and interact with men..her husband was the only male she knew by nature so no comparison with other men....source of income was husband only .... she had no dreams, ambitions but to be a good housewife......i am talking in general...there are some exceptions.

    NOW: she is educated....she have dreams, career ambitions, value for her opinions..she is active participant....why she will like to marry a guy who she don't know. its obvious she will compare him to others or find him dumb ..
    why she will like to get dominated by others if she have rights and ability to stand alone .......now its only luck that will help in arrange marriages....the scenario of love marriages will change in India as women get education and become active ....and this time is no far.... now love marriages are common in big cities... and the same is spreading to small towns...time will come when our future generation will laugh on us for arrange marriages...lol
    hope this comment is relevant to your topic.....

    I may have missed something.. Its felt like an out and out bollywood story.. used and reused n number of times.

    Wonderful post..!!!
    Loved it..!!

    r u kiddin me!!u know u wr lk a guiding light when i wanted to take a decision..n now m indebted to u forever.. thank you..is all i can say!! :D


    @Nupur: You are welcome :)

    @Jadish: I think there are lots of exceptions.. there are so many exceptions that they cant be called exceptions!

    When you think about India you should also think about Urban India. Most of the women I know have been highly educated and are still married. I think a lot has to do with our culture and the social stigma attached with divorce.

    That might be changing...But that wont stop arranged marriages from working. :)



    @Santosh: That's the beauty of it... :)

    @Pavitra: thanks

    @Heena: What are friends for!


    somehow...i just needed this...:)
    thank u.....