Arranged, Not Caged

I don’t remember when it began
I don’t remember, “Aadi, we’re looking for the right girl”
But on the 24th of December, not Christmas Eve, but Saphala Ekadashi
In the midst of fasting and aromatic wafting
I was told about “the one”
“We’re sure you’ll love her, son”

Not much of a romantic, mind you
Have focused on studying instead, as I should
But somehow I had forgotten, over the plus two examinations
That arranged marriage, though fading in the nation
Was in my future, soon
It only clicked in that room

The questions came next
A hunger for information over Aloo Tikki
“Are you sure she’s right for me?”
I knew what to expect
“Of course, Aadi! Why worry?
We didn’t do this all in a hurry!”

A mixture of emotions followed
What if with her I just felt hollow?
Independent courtship does seem like a quest
Maybe just take the girl out, give it a test?
The same process in my mind
That has kept arranged marriages going over time

I could always say no, of course
(Though that is not the case in every place)
Turn her down kindly and gently
(Though afterwards my parents will have much to tell me)
 “What’s the worth? Love who you love!
Don’t marry someone you don’t fancy much!”

My inner foreigner tells me
In a British accent, English style
It is hard to understand, and strange to read
About how in India they arrange marry
“Keep an open mind, Aadi, and you’ll see.”
My father’s answer to “Is she right for me?”

It clicks again
This isn’t mandatory, but a parental suggest
They have a shortlist, and surely they’ll show it
And at that point the fear begins to finally lift
“What’s the worth?” Helps you narrow down, have an inner search
 “Love who you love!” That’s the goal, but no need to rush

“Don’t marry someone you don’t fancy much!”
Who said anything about marrying without love?

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