‘Oh no papa! Not again. I am just 25 years old. What’s the hurry?’ said Natasha. ‘Beta, at least see the profile of the boy. The broker told me that he has done MBA from a prestigious American university, and I know his father personally. Just meet him once and it is not like as I am going to force you for anything.’ said Natasha’s father. It was a routine in the Malhotra clan. From last two years, the dining table conversations usually revolved around finding the right man for Natasha. Her parents wanted her to settle down. They had sought all ways and means to find the suitable groom for her- newspaper, matrimonial websites, and marriage brokers, but no luck. Natasha had met several boys over coffee, discussed the same old, boring topics, and as fate would have it, nothing worked. She had almost given up on finding the right man. Right now, she just wanted to get married, not for herself but for her parents.
Natasha, like any other girl of her age, dreamt about getting the perfect gentlemen. Her idea of love was totally filmy. Somehow, that never happened. Natasha was a bright student, focused on academics. She never actually had time for any ‘sightseeing’. When it was time for her marriage, arranged marriage seemed to be the obvious choice. Natasha wondered maybe she’d find love in the old school way. She readily agreed and prepared herself to go through the grind.
She was eager to meet the first prospective groom and his family. The meeting went smoothly. She was herself, and the boy was a smooth talker, but it was difficult for her to take the decision only in one meeting. With prior knowledge of the families, an informal meeting was organized at the café. Everything was going strong, and both of them were about to come to a positive conclusion until the topic of ‘women’ came up. Those next ten minutes were about to change her life. She discovered that, even in the facebook era, men haven’t changed. This guy was a total MCP who looked upon women no more than an object of desire. Natasha gave him a kind smile, stood up and started walking towards the door. She didn’t even feel like saying him a goodbye. She just realized groom hunting was going to be a herculean task.
The next two years of her life were spent on finding the right groom. There were meetings after meetings. She was asked to dress in a conservative manner, speak in a diplomatic manner, and transform herself into a damsel in distress. Natasha tried every trick of the trade, but nothing worked. She had given up all hopes as boys in arranged marriage thought that they were out on a shopping spree. They wanted the best and would not settle down for mediocrity.
So, when Natasha’s dad showed her the profile of Siddhartha, she scanned through it, and agreed to meet him. She knew it wouldn’t work because she and Siddhartha were about the same age and he was a new entrant in the marriage market, but she honestly didn’t care. The first meeting went as usual. Siddhartha’s family came to her home to meet Natasha and her family. Pleasantries were exchanged, and they were sent to the other room to discuss the typical, mundane topic of their likes and dislikes. To her surprise, she discovered Siddhartha was different from the other boys she met. He was sophisticated, pleasant and most importantly, openminded.
Next day, Siddhartha’s father called up her father and dropped the bomb- that Siddhartha liked Natasha. She was stunned at this revelation. She wanted to get married, but now when it was happening, she was confused. The news spread like fire in her entire family. Everyone was thrilled except Natasha. She liked Siddhartha but wanted to be sure. Just when she was trying to digest this sudden bout of information, Siddhartha called her up. She was apprehensive but didn’t let it show. He asked her out for coffee, and she agreed. In those two hours, over coffee, she realized that they had a lot in common and were perfect for each other, but what about love? When would that happen? Or will that ever happen?
Over the next few weeks, they were constantly in touch. They met on the weekends, dined with each other’s families, and everything was going smoothly, but Siddhartha didn’t say those three eternal words. Somewhere, Natasha ached for that M&B romance. She convinced herself that perhaps, in arranged marriages, there was no room for all the fiction romance. Nevertheless, she was happy.
Meanwhile, to attend a month long training in New Delhi, Natasha was selected by her company. It would be a great for her career, and Siddhartha was extremely supportive. First week into the training, she realized that she had to pull up her socks. She was busy and hardly got time to speak to Siddhartha. She missed him and wanted to meet him that weekend in Delhi, but was skeptical.
On the lazy Saturday afternoon, relaxing in her nightclothes, she heard a doorbell. With a mild irritation, she opened the door, and what she was about to witness was going to be the moment of her life. Siddhartha was standing outside her door with a bouquet of flowers. ‘I missed you and couldn’t wait any longer to see you.’ shouted Siddhartha excitedly. ‘I love you, Natasha!’ finally Siddhartha told her.
Natasha thought, it certainly didn’t matter if it were a love marriage or an arranged marriage. Each marriage was incomplete without love and each love story was incomplete without an arrangement for marriage.
Note- This entry is for the contest LoveyaArranged on Indiblogger.in
The debate continues at : www.facebook.com/LoveYaArrange.