‘You must look absolutely stunning that day!’…he said.
It was the year of new beginnings. I had just graduated from college and started working at the first company that offered me a job. Being employed was a big enough thing as half my class dint manage to land a job immediately.
Entering the corporate world was like bringing home a sheep and tending to its needs till its fattened enough for slaughter. Quite a bloody picture to paint, but it was a fact. The fresher’s were treated so well at the start. Inductions at the best of hotels and food galore. Once this sweet period of roses were done it was time to get down to business. I don’t have to go on about this, you’ll know how it works.
Just when I was slowly settling into the everyday turmoil at work, came my next change…
Don't be alarmed! Its a normal thing when you are born into an Indian family. Everyone suddenly realizes that you are a girl and you need to settle down in a strangers house and look after him. I’m kidding! its not as bad as it sounds. It was this bad maybe 50 years ago. Now when they find a suitable boy, they try to persuade you to consider him as a potential mate.
The persuasions began in full swing.
‘This is the best guy out there’ said an uncle. ‘He will look after you like a princess’ added another.
‘ You are truly blessed to have got such a nice boy and an even nicer family’. ‘They do not have daughters, so when you get married and go there, they will treat you, not like a daughter-in-law, but A DAUGHTER in that house’…and on and on they went for months.
Unable to say a direct no, I asked my father if I could decide after i have met the boy a couple of times.
Readers, Please pay attention to the ‘after’ in above statement.
Soo…I met the boy at a local coffee shop. I was so anxious, as i had no clue what to talk about. Luckily, our man did his homework and knew exactly what to talk about. So he asked me questions about myself, work, college, etc.
I almost forgot to mention. The boy and I were childhood friends who forgot about each other when we grew much older. Our parents got involved and there we were sitting in a coffee shop trying to catch up, or get acquainted all over again. It was a great first meet. I liked him enough to meet him again.
Little did I know that he has been in love with me for the past decade and has been wanting to marry me ever since. So this meeting according to both our parents was just a formality so that they could proceed with their plans.
Still unable to voice myself about wanting time to get to know this person I will have to start living with, I began to think that maybe its not such a bad idea. I anyways wouldn't be getting married anytime soon. It would be after a couple of years and I can get to know him meanwhile. So I concealed what I really felt and pretended to be happy.
Then came the day when the Boy and his family would come to the Girl’s house. Its Tradition.
On the eve of this day, while we were texting each other, outta the blue he tells me…’You must look absolutely stunning on that day!’.
Since it was the first thing he has ever asked of me, I kindly obliged. Took a little extra time that day to look nice for him. I was so nervous when I heard the car pull into the driveway. Squirming with fear in my room. Then came in my future mother-in-law and helped me relax. She complimented my beauty and forced me to sit next to her son.
I guess just having the two of us in the same frame over-whelmed every heart in the room.
‘We love your daughter, and would like to have the engagement in 3 months’ blurted out the father of the Boy.
I swear I dint feel my heart beat after I heard this. The person sitting next to me, well what can i say…his heart was beating for the both of us I guess.
Soon the conversation took a different path. My father and the Boy' s father were engaged in the topic of dowry.
Once they were done, neither looked happy. My father was furious (of course only I knew that, cuz he pretended to be fine) and the other father was more or less disturbed.
It was only after they left that we learned that their expectations in matters of dowry were very high. Rocket high! Shocked by this rate that came across no one uttered a word. There was a painful silence that night.
The usual texts that he and I exchanged every night also took a back seat.
Next day, unanimously everyone wanted to talk about what happened next. We found out that boy dint stand up to his father in this matter. I was shocked when I heard this cuz now it seemed like all he liked about me was the money I came with.
After everyone shared their opinion I was asked what I wanted. I looked into my father’s eyes and he knew. I dint have to tell him cuz we both had the same thoughts running through our head.
My father called an uncle who had played middle man in this enchilada. I pressed my ears agaisnt the door with the hope to over hear the conversation. But all I could hear was…
“My daughter is not for sale!”.