Those five days at home changed my life uni-dimensionally. From the moment I stepped into my home, all eyes were on me. Initially it felt great, the bada beta was home, he had a new job, so the next step was pretty obvious, but no one had the courage to bell the cat.
Finally! My dad spoke. ‘Son I have been thinking, why don’t you get married, its the ripe age to do so’. RIPE? Did I hear that right? I mean the only thing that ripes is mangoes, yeh marriage age kab se hone laga. Dad continued ‘Ek rishta aaya hai, acche log hai, ladki mba hai, aur humare samaj ke bhi hai’ he continued on and on and on, and I was like Oh! Ho! Inhone toh intezamaat bhi kar rakha hai, bass ab toh katna baaki hai. Dads spoke again ‘toh tum tyaar ho na’. Confused as usual I fumbled ‘Yes’!
In the older times, families met over tea so that the boy and girl meet. In the newer times, the potential bride and the bakra met at Cafe Coffee Day. So there I was seated at one table, sipping Irish coffee and waiting to meet my would be wife. It wasn’t as if I was alone, my own kin surrounded the surrounding tables, yet I was made to believe that I had the right of refusal.
Which obviously was not the case, and the coffee shop and the buzz inside was a very clear indicator of it. Slowly her family and mine occupied the entire coffee shop, and we both become the center of attraction, quite literally.
“Aap ka favourite hero kaun hai”? George Clooney I answered, Oh! humara favourite toh Salman Khan hai, and Ladies & Gentleman to me that was the worst way to break the ice. I murmured silently. She spoke again after the stereotype rapid fire, ‘aapki koi girlfriend hai kya’? “Kaash hoti” atleast yeh drama toh nahi karna padta.
No! I said quietly. This conversation was going nowhere, I thought. This time it was my turn, kuch khaaye I said. She politely declined, aaj humara vrat hai, On a Wednesday? Why? I inquisitively asked. Aise hi, hum soche the aapse baat ban jaayegi toh bhog chadha kar ann khaayenge, and with that folks, that small irrelevant already murdered chicken, stuffed in that bread looked a distant dream for an extremely bored me.
Sensing our jittery behaviour, the bride’s dad threw his car keys at me and said ‘why dont you guys go on a drive and talk’? Wow! Yeh sahi idea tha, purane zamaane mein ladka ladki ghar ke garden mein ghumte the, aaj kal gaadi mein.
‘Wow!’ I love this song. Ouch! I don’t. I said to myself. By the end of the so called drive, where I encountered more red lights than green ones, the only good thing was that I drove an Audi Q7.
‘Toh kya socha hai beta’ dad asked. Pata nahi, hum dono ke beech kuch common nahi hai I said. My sister replied ‘Bro opposites attract’, mom shouted from the kitchen ‘acchi baat hai, dheere dheere ek doosre ko jaanoge aur pyaar ho jaayega’. As I said earlier the ‘halal’ was pre planned already, my nod was just a formality now. Little did I fathom then, that the suitable bachelor would land up in such rough waters.