Thirteenth Wedding Anniversary. “How has been your journey so far?” Asked a well-wisher.
The question took me directly to the day we were married. No! It took me to the day we first met. A typical arranged marriage set up in a traditional family household. A check on horoscope and family background was the only research taken up by the members of the family. Date was fixed for a formal meeting. One country but two different states.
The boy’s flight was delayed. He was to reach around lunch time. The assorted memory of mother rushing through the kitchen, planning a lunch for a total stranger and his family; and the repeated commanding tone to “tidy up your hair and face” echoing in the hallway is etched forever .
Short hair, what could be done was a bigger issue. The boy’s rejection may be just on those grounds “you see”. “Oh. Please smile. It enhances your features.” “Chose a lighter colour, it will improve your complexion.” To quote and unquote some concerned family members.
The bell rang. One last minute scrutiny on my surrounding and me. Father opened the door. Brother stood next to him and nodded; the code between brother and sister, a reply to “He should be a few inches taller than me.”
I stood behind, watching.Our eyes met over the many heads.
Fifteen minutes of get-to-know family business and 10-minutes of boy meets girl separately. He began to speak. “I want you to know….” There, he listed his vices first, including his workaholic nature. I chose the same order to introduce myself. He laughed and I fixed a smile. No typical questions and trained answers. Expectation none. Demands none. “Just be yourself.”
Waiting for their response was the longest. “They’ve to reach home, speak to their people and then they will call.” My father told my grandparents.
The phone rang…. The senior family members began to congratulate each other. Their delighted eyes turned to me. “Tell us about the meeting. What did he ask you? How did you behave?” “I was being myself. There were no conventional, regular questions.” I left them wondering.
Yes. That’s the answer. “Journey has been the same so far. Nothing has changed post marriage. We’re, what we would say, “just being ourselves.”
As for conditions apply, love, respect and understanding just followed the course.”
Copyright © 2018, Deeya Nayar-Nambiar