If I have to narrate the story of my marriage, the entire story, well, then it might take a week or two for you to read. So making the long story short let me take you directly to its climax. It all began with a phone call; A phone call that was the root of all our differences.
“so.. wanna go out tomorrow?” it was the first thing he said after I picked up his call on the landline (In those days cellular phone was a luxury for only those who were willing to pay bills for their incoming calls too).
Mother was waiting nearby so I could not say anything that might seem “bad” to her prying ears. As suspicious as ever she sat by my side pretending to look at one of the fashionable fountain pens I had between my fingers.
“Yes, I was just doing the homework, it will be done by midnight.. I will hand it over to you tomorrow at college.” I answered him something totally irrelevant to what his question was.
“Huh? Oh.. ok.. see ya.” He hung up.
After answering to Mom’s inquiry about who was on the other side of the line and why couldn’t he do the homework himself, I returned to my study table with a grin. Message received. I was amazed at myself that I could, in such a short time, think of such a smart answer to escape from Mom’s suspicions, moreover it was an encoded message easy for him to decipher. I rock!
At midnight I sat beside the telephone which was, as luck would have it, in my bedroom. Having understood my message clearly he rang me exactly at midnight. My message to him was simple – homework will be done by midnight meant I will be awake and you can call me at midnight; while the latter part of what I said meant that in case you are unable to call we will meet tomorrow at college; and of course the affirmation in the beginning of my sentence meant yes, I will go out with you. Clever!
“Hey, where you planning to go tomorrow” I asked with a hushed voice just to avoid waking up my parents from the shrill of my voice.
“Somewhere cheap, don’t want a hole in my pocket.”
“Yeah sure, but how will you ever a handle a girlfriend if you flinch like this while taking a friend out once in a year, and do I have to remind you that I deserve this treat from you, after all I had won that bet.”
“whoa! whoa! Girlfriend? Who wants a girlfriend? I am going to marry the perfect bride that my Mom chooses for me.” He retorted.
“Oh, come on Adi, no one, I repeat no one believes in arranged marriages, they are a curse.”
“Really? So you wanna say your parents’ marriage is a curse?”
“No.. I mean..”
“It means you are the outcome of a curse,, no doubt in that.” He laughed hysterically.
“Phew! Okay, let me rephrase that.. IN TODAY’S GENERATION no one believes in arranged marriages.. I mean, how can you decide to spend your whole life with someone whom you have met just once or twice before marriage? Not to forget the physical proximities. How can such things happen with someone you had never known your whole life?”
“Huh? Don’t pressurize your tiny brain.. Just know that in a race we put our bet on the best pony. In a similar way, if you wanna marry, then marry the best person, most suitable to you and only an arranged marriage can conduct those PIs and GDs and select the best candidate.” He laughed after delivering his statement that really made sense.
In my defense, I spoke “Alright, you may get the best person, but that person may not be the best for you.. You may not be compatible with her.”
“Why? Of course they will have to pass the compatibility test in the PI we will be conducting.”
“But one day, in fact, one single interview is not enough to know a person. You can know their qualities and abilities but not their emotions and feelings.”
“Who cares about emotions? My Mom will handle that.”
“Then why don’t you let your Mom marry instead of you marrying her”
Maybe he was enraged or maybe because it was around 4:00am by then, he just said “Not Funny” and hung up.
After having a sleep of mere two hours, it was time to wake up and go to college. We bunked a class and met for his treat at a nearby chaat house.
Recalling about the debate of the previous night he brought up the topic again. “Well I was sleepy last night so here it goes- My Mom makes the best choices always. She is flawless in choosing and deciding.”
“Wake up and smell the coffee. You are marrying, you aren’t buying clothes.”
“Nothing can stop you from blabbering, right? I don’t understand why are you so pro love anyway? Most of the love marriages end in divorce, and you wanna know why? That’s because they have little respect left for each other since they would have known each other from years already.”
“It’s not disrespect. It’s just lack of formality, the freedom to be completely oneself with each other, the comfort to say anything and everything.”
“Well, there may not be any disrespect but there sure is distrust. They don’t trust the other with the company of anyone of the opposite sex.’’
“It’s not distrust, dear. It’s their love for each other that result in possessiveness and jealousy.”
“And this thing called Love dies soon after marriage. Don’t you know that? Lovers change after marriage. Their priorities change. Everything seems sweet until the doomsday arrives. He will start treating you like shit from the very next day. That’s why I say, date as many girls as you can but take home the girl your Mom chooses for you.’’
“Now that’s cheap talk. Girls aren’t playthings. If they date some guy it means they care for him.” I snapped back with anger.
“Cool down! All girls aren’t like you- One Love kinda. They will date many but finally take home someone with the cash.’’ He said that with a smirk.
“Phew! True love happens only once, so does marriage. And one should always marry someone they love. That’s what I know. So love marriage suits us all the best. And that concludes this debate of ours.”
“Ya sure, and what if the person, whom you love, loves someone else, and that someone else loves some other person, and that person loves another and so on.. Then the whole world will run after one another with Varmaala’s in their hands” He laughed and went to the counter to pay our bills.
What he said took a moment in my head to settle down with a meaning. Well, it did make sense, if no one in the world loved back the person who loved them and instead loved someone else then there will be complete chaos.
I went near him and replied with a sad face. “If such a thing happens with me, I guess I won’t marry anyone”.
“Exactly! And if there are more stupid girls like you in this world then the world will surely be a bachelor party and instead of population explosion, we humans will be extinct” He answered with a content, maybe thinking that the discussion is over and he won.
“Well, they always say marry the person who loves you and not the one you love, so I guess, I will marry the one who will love me and it will still be a love marriage” This time I wore a smile on my face.
“Sweetheart! The guy who loves you must be loved by yet another girl and he would also want to marry her applying your funda.”
“Oh shut up, there has to be couples who love each other and no one else.”
“And what about those who aren’t loved back? Or they haven’t developed that feeling called love for anyone?”
I was quiet, unable to admit that my logical explanations were actually illogical.
He spoke, “So, I guess no love marriage for them?”
“So, that’s it dear,, couple who love each other, and people who are loved will get the privilege of a love marriage. Others will have to go for arranged marriages.”
“Or can remain single forever?” I interposed expectantly.
“Yes.. true.. it depends on their choices whether they want to go for an arranged marriage as their parents and grandparents wish for or they want to wait for love or enjoy being single and career oriented forever.” He replied elaborately with a tranquil smile.
“Hmn..” I agreed. We walked silently for some time till we reached the college campus.
“So, do I deserve a vote of thanks for the treat?” He said brushing his hair with his hands.
But I was preoccupied with thoughts already to listen to him. All I replied was- “But don’t they say that there is always someone made for you in some corner of the earth?”
“What? You are still there?” He laughed but controlled his laughter as soon as he realized I was in no mood to leave without getting an answer.
“Well, ya it may be true that someone somewhere is made for you and only you. But the world’s a big place dear. It’s difficult to search each and every corner” He grinned. I was all ears so he continued, “Umm.. I guess in arranged marriages too the other person was actually made for you and that’s why you guys met and got married, although not coincidentally.”
“Hmn,,” I agreed “But…”
But before I could complete my query he answered as if understanding my question even before I uttered the words. “Since there are fewer women than men, some guys have to remain single. And some people do not try harder nor wait for their true love so they either end up having a failed marriage or a marriage with compromises or being single. The parents of some may not agree with their choices so again there are such marriages. And some people, by default, do not have the right person for them maybe because they are not good enough” He ended his speech with a loud laugh.
I smiled too. I couldn’t disagree with him anymore. We both had our reasons explained now. I had my silly queries answered too.
Years have passed after that long debate of ours and I still smile recalling each and every explanation of ours. Want to know what kind of marriages we both had?
Well, we ended up being together. When my parents were looking for a groom for me I realized I loved Adi and no one else. I told him it was only he with whom I could be happy and remain forever. The next day his parents were at our doorstep. Both families agreed and the wedding was planned.
We have a 10-year old daughter now. And when she asks us if ours was a love marriage, I say it was.While he still disagrees and says it was arranged by our parents. J