As soon as I turned 26 years old, everyone including my mom and dad, thought that it was time for me to get married. And because I am not dating anyone, my parents have been on the lookout for rishtas for me. Recently, they found a guy who, according to them, is from a good family, is earning adequately, and is from the baniya community (just like me and my family are). All in all, this meant that he met my parents’ criteria for the ‘perfect guy’ for me.
As for me, a girl who believes that while all of these factors may be important, compatibility, both physical and mental is of paramount importance. I also wonder how one can gauge a person and his/ her character traits in just one meeting or two. I feel that this entire arrangement of a ‘rishta meeting’ completely sucks out the essence of a relationship or the beginning of one. That is my opinion, and when I shared it with my parents along with my refusal to meet this ‘perfect guy’, I was told that there was no other option and that I had to meet him. To avoid any drama, I finally gave in to their wish and agreed to meet him before making up my mind or jumping to any conclusion.
My parents shared Shrey’s* number with me two days before we were to meet, so that we could plan the time and place, and sort of break the ice before we actually met. I thought that was a good idea as this way, I’d have a slight idea about the kind of guy he was. Once our numbers were exchanged, he and I started texting. Over texts, he seemed sweet and well mannered.
Finally, the day had arrived when we were to meet. A very coy, sweet looking guy, Shrey got up and pulled out the chair for me to sit. We started chatting, and honestly, he seemed too good to be true. He had no airs about himself, no ego issues… He seemed so different from any guy that I had ever met before. He seemed to be very responsive, making an effort to converse with me and very sensitive and perceptive to the things I was saying.
While all this seemed wonderful, I had this gut feeling that something wasn’t right, but I kept brushing it away. I thought maybe I’m feeling this way because of my aversion towards rishta meetings. Instead of talking to each other about the cliche hobbies, passions, etc., I felt comfortable speaking to him about my life, who I really was, and my past experiences. Surprisingly, he seemed to be understanding me pretty well, as if he had felt all those things at some point. Then, in the middle of a flowing conversation, he suddenly told me that he had a confession to make. I was slightly taken aback, and asked him to tell me what that was. He told me that he had a boyfriend and that he hadn't yet mustered the courage to come out to his parents. He further apologised to me and told me how he had been forced into meeting me. Shocked, relieved and surprised at the same time, I told him that his secret was safe with me and shared my opinion on arranged marriages, to which he agreed. The rest of the meeting went wonderfully well as we had both lifted the burden off of each other’s chest.
What had started as an arranged marriage meeting didn't leave me with a partner in marriage, but something equally special, a new and amazing friend. That’s when I realised that some people enter your life in the quirkiest and craziest of ways. It has been over a year since Shrey and I have been friends, and I even had the chance to meet his boyfriend (who is oh-so adorable). My parents are still on their mission to find the ‘perfect guy’ for me!
*Names changed to protect privacy.
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