What Really Happened At My First “Arranged Marriage” Meeting...
I was dating someone when a “rishta” came for me. I had been shrugging it off for a while because my parents weren’t aware of my patch up with my boyfriend - whom I had broken up with awhile back. All these years they had been telling me to figure it out with him, but we were too young to make any big decisions, especially - marriage. That’s why when we got together after our breakup, I decided to take it slow and not tell my parents about it for a while.
So, when this rishta came through some close relatives, there was not much of a chance for me to say no. He lived in New York, while his parents were from Jaipur - he was visiting them for a short while. Basically, he left from Jaipur for Delhi and had come to the city a bit early especially to meet me before he left. Just imagine the pressure!
I was very apprehensive and my boyfriend was fully aware about this situation - and I, myself knew that it was just an obligation that I had to fulfill. With that thought, I left to see him.
We had planned to meet at one of those fancy hotels in the city to keep things discreet. The planning was done on WhatsApp with his mum. I reached the hotel on time and to my surprise he was not alone, his parents had decided to come join the party too. I was on my own and there were these three people waiting to interview me!
I was nervous, but the one thing my dad told me and I will always remember is “When you go to meet a guy, you have nothing to lose - so go with an open mind and enjoy the conversation you have with this new person.” That’s what was playing on my mind when I sat down there after the initial awkward introductions. They were really warm and made me feel at ease.
We got some coffee, and the Q & A round started. Sarthak was sitting across of me, while his mother decided to bombard me with questions she wanted to ask her potential bahu.
Now, don’t judge me, but I made my own bio-data - because if at all that was being considered, it had to have all my credentials the way I wanted them to be portrayed. There, she started cross checking all the glorious statements I had made so excitedly in the bio-data. “You like cooking, you had mentioned. What do you enjoy the most?”, “You have done some modelling before, do you plan to continue that?”, “Aapne Classical Dancing practice kari hai, abhi bhi kartey ho?” Phew… While the father and son were just smiling and nodding their head, I was almost gloating about all my victories in life. As time passed by I realised I was not so tense anymore - I was calm and they had made me comfortable despite of everything they asked me.
After about an hour, I noticed time was passing by quickly, and I hadn’t got any alone time with Sarthak. I mean, when my parents would ask me so eagerly, “how was the boy?” I would have to give suitable answers, right? And also, this person inside of me wanted to really see the possibility of finding “the one” in case things didn’t work out with my boyfriend. I know it sounds quite mean, but honestly, If I was doing this - I wanted this rendezvous to break the typical stereotype about a rishta meeting! At least I would have some more interesting stories to share!
I asked his mom, “If it’s alright, can I talk to Sarthak alone for a bit?”. They were startled, obviously, but agreed - so he and I went away to a table close by and started chatting about life. My throat was bad so I decided to order some fancy smoked tea and he got himself some black coffee.
For me, it wasn’t too tough to start the conversations now that I passed the test in front of his parents. We spoke for a while, about general stuff, about our hobbies, our five year plan, our life skills. The chatterbox that I am, I kept throwing all these questions at him and he very patiently answered them - and so did I. We didn’t realise but it had been about an hour already! It was time for him to leave. I was having a good time, but it was too short to make any statements.
He paid the bill and we went towards the parents. His parents very sweetly stood there with me and got a picture clicked. I was just so dazed and overwhelmed that I didn’t even understand what was going on!
Sarthak left on the note - “let’s keep in touch” and that’s how it ended. While he and I were chatting, the parents had already informed the middle person concerned that they were ready to take this a step forward - and I was left wondering about the possibility of this in a hypothetical situation if my boyfriend didn’t exist!
Currently, Sarthak is married to a gorgeous girl and he is very happy in life. The ironic thing about this is the similarity between her and me. Also, shortly after him and I met, me and my boyfriend also parted ways. Maybe things would have worked out differently if I had met him in some other time and space...
*Names changed to protect privacy.
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Published on Mar 20, 2016