My fifth wedding anniversary is round the corner, so of late I have been reminiscing of -- life post marriage, the wedding and preceding preparations, those last few months at my home back in Hyderabad, and how can I forget -- the search for Mr. Right!
Mine is an arranged marriage, and the couple of years that went into finding the right guy, are certainly among the most eventful ones of my life; snippets below:
The embarrassing – in our community, typically the two families wouldn’t be acquainted prior to the proposal, so one ritual as part of the engagement ceremony/function is “odkhan vidhi” (odkhan means introduction) wherein the emcee introduces every member of the bride and the groom’s families on the stage. The idea is that the two families get to know one another. Since we are big joint families, it warrants this process rather than people just mingling and acquainting themselves.
So if you happen to be in college, the emcee gives a special shout out when introducing you, calling you as “umeedvaar” (literal translation meaning ‘candidate’ – for? – marriage, obviously!). While the emcee makes the announcement with overenthusiasm befitting that of declaring candidature for a leading political party’s upcoming election, you would be left wishing you had Harry’s invisibility cloak!
After all of this, you can’t even console yourself saying the most embarrassing moment of life is done with, since -- remember I just mentioned big, joint families -- meaning lots of cousins and therefore J
The irritating – at one of my cousin’s reception, the elders sabotaged my pani-puri gorging spree to arrange a ‘friendly, casual chat’ with some ‘prospect’. I was pretty miffed but since it was suggested by my cousin’s in-laws and I didn’t want to get her into trouble by creating a scene, I gave in.
I somehow smiled through the chat and my mind was occupied with the pani-puris all through, except at the start when I did a double take on seeing him wearing an ochre colored suit and a diamond pendant the size of a walnut!
The disgusting – After seeing my profile on the matrimonial site, one guy’s mom called my Dad and asked for more pics, specifically -- 2 in western wear, 1 in saree, and 1 in salwar kameez.
The presumptuous uncle who referred to his son as “CA” Jignesh Shah every time he took his name, asked my Dad if I had done my MBA in English medium.
The amusing – Some profiles and pics on the matrimonial site are such gems they make you take a pause from cursing the whole arranged marriage process to indulge in some LOL moments. The ones I still remember:
One guy’s pic was taken in a studio complete with a pose of leaning on a side stand; what stood out for me was that he had paired his ethnic outfit with sunglasses, indoors. I call out to my siblings/cousins and huddled up in front of the laptop, everyone shares their reactions:
My youngest cousin instantly starts singing – gore gore mukhde pe kaala chashma, while my brother wisely comments that the studio lighting must be too glaring so he’s just being practical.
My sister adds drily, “Or maybe he’s trying to convey how he is the perfect blend of traditional and modern, just as everyone expects of the bride-to-be.”
Another guy had written in his introduction something like – “I am a person with multiple talents and it’s hard to describe me in few lines. So meet me to know me” – followed by some 7-8 exclamation marks.
The adventurous – While relatives were the only source to make enquiries in arranged marriage proposals in the pre-Internet era, nowadays one does a full-fledged online research using Google, FB, and LinkedIn etc. My friend and I took it up a notch further:
The guy (let’s call him X) whose rishta had come for me, had done his MBA in the same B-school and batch as one of the new joinees on our floor. So my friend cooked up some random story and tried to extract info from him if he knew X etc. Imagine our luck, of some 350+ batch size, X turned out to be our colleague’s roommate! While my friend never mentioned my name, obviously the two would have later spoken and our colleague would have figured out what we were up to. #facepalm
With such an eventful run-up, when my marriage was finally fixed, everything fell in place so fast and without any hassle, that it feels as if it was just meant to be! We met/spoke for the first time on Friday evening and Sunday morning we were engagedJ
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