When arranged marriage hurt even before the marriage
I was having a random conversation with one of my colleagues in office. We were having lunch and we had nothing else to talk about. So I asked him if he was planning to get married (I don’t know why I brought this up, but I had nothing better to talk about). He told he was getting married in November. The date was yet to be confirmed. I asked him some more things about the girl, the dates, the wedding location. He was done answering all of that. He then told me it was a love marriage and his parents were not really proud of it. I asked if they had met the girl. He told yes and they did not seem to have any problem. Just that they would have been happier (and show that they were way more happier) had he married the girl of their choice. I was intrigued by this bit, enough to ask him more.
‘Was there a girl of their choice?’, I asked.
‘Yes, there was one.’
‘What happened to her?’
‘I wasn’t really interested’.
‘Because you were already in love?’
‘No..no, this was long back, before I fell in love’
‘How long?’, I just started with my main course, I had time. (Actually, it was just getting interesting)
‘About 4 years back’
‘4 years back is when you were 23? Are you kidding me? My age?’
‘YES. I was working in Mumbai that time. First job. I went back home happily with my first earnings only to be given of shocker of having to see a girl’
‘Yeah, they asked me to generally meet a girl. I obviously refused. But they made faces. And they kept making it for days. I had to oblige. They knew their son well.’
‘Looks like they knew which faces to make’, I wanted to say.
‘So, how was the girl?’, I asked
‘She was good.’
‘In the sense?’
‘I mean she looked good. She was pretty. I had seen her pics. She looked good and had then decided to go ahead and meet her’
‘Oh! So it wasn’t your parent’s faces that convinced you to go, see her. It was her pretty face’, I wanted to say.
‘Oh! then what was the problem?’
‘She was pretty. But when she started speaking…’
‘When she started speaking? What?’
‘SHE DID NOT KNOW ENGLISH’. (Not at all an Ouch! moment)
‘She did not know Englisss rather..hahaha’
I was shocked. Something angered me about this. I had to ask him.
‘So you rejected a girl because she did not know English? I thought Chetan Bhagat wrote such stories to sell his books. Are you fucking kidding me?’
10 seconds of awkwardness.(Silence)
‘No man, I couldn’t marry such a girl. She told me not to talk to her in Englisss. She was acting very soft. Sushil as my parents would put it. But I could not live with a person like that. Not my entire life’
I don’t know what happened there. I mean I totally understand the guy but I don’t get what helped him to make up his mind that fast about saying a no. I tried to analyse the thing. He met a girl. He spoke to her. She spoke to him. He asked her a question in English. She told him not to ask him anything in Englisss. He was shocked, enough to say a no. What transpired later is inconsequential.
‘So I went home where my mom was all ready to tease me. She was happy, really happy. She wanted to stuff my mouth with sweets. It was my turn to make a face. I made one and said no. The expression on her face changed. If there was a thali in her hand, she would have dropped that. She was angry. I could see it in her eyes. “What is wrong with that girl?She is perfect for you. Where will you find a brahmin girl, who is this pretty, who cooks well? Where will you find such a hira in today’s times?”, she had threateningly asked me. I lost it. I told her I would talk to father and not her as he would understand’
‘So he did understand?’
‘NO. He did not. He asked me why. I told him about everything we spoke about. Obviously, the english part was very prominent. “You are saying no to a hira because she doesn’t know English”, he asked very angrily. As less as I might have liked to put it that way, I had no better way of saying it.’
‘And that’s how the chapter closed..’
‘No man, it did not. They kept make faces. That week was torturous. Home was like hell. No one would talk to me. Emotional blackmail. Doubted if I ever had a say in this. Only way out was to ask my sister to convince them. She is from my generation’
‘Ah! Sisters. They know the way out of every tricky situation. So she bailed you out?’
‘Hahahahaha’ (I am funny. But this wasn’t. Meanwhile, I had reached desserts)
‘My sister loved that girl. Can you believe it?She loved the girl. Haha. She told English was a little problem but overall she was a gem. Absolute hira’
‘I was cornered. That sucks. I had no other way but to…’
‘So you said a yes?’, I asked with a little overdose of excitement.(I was happy for this girl)
‘No..no..no. I had no other way but to get out of my house. I decided to pack my bags and leave that day’
I did not know what to make of this story. I did not know whose side I was on. As ridiculous as it might sound to tell no to someone because she did not know a language, I could get a sense of where it was coming from. There were a lot of questions I wanted answers to. But I somehow cared about the girl.
‘So how did you manage to tell that girl?’, I asked, genuinely interested.
‘I did not. My father did.’
‘Okayyy…so how did he tell her then’
‘I hate to tell it but he told the family that I did not like her because she did not know English’
That seemed harsh. Pity. It has been 4 years now. She sure must be happy, in a place that respects her. Treats her like the hira she is.
‘It has been 4 years. Last month I was home and the relative who introduced us to this girl was there too. He told me about the ills of love marriage. He then started talking about this girl’
‘WHAT DID HE SAY?’.
‘Beta,she has been taking English classes for quite sometime now. Would you like to meet her again, just one more time?’