My parents could not wait to
get rid of me see me settled in the name of marriage. The constant
nag of my parents made me break down like the soggy-runny-dal in the pressure cooker that they prepare in my hostel mess and I
finally gave them a green signal to hunt down for prospective grooms.
But they are having a hard time in the matrimonial search as I set my preferences sky-high, that they are impossible to be possessed by any one ordinary man. Only a vampire like Edward or a Greek God like Hercules might fit the bill. The longer I delay, the longer I can enjoy my single-hood and freedom.
My father pesters me to learn devotional songs and cook culinary dishes and be ready to showcase my prowess of complete home management plus entertainment package, to the groom’s family on the day of 'match-seeing'. Seriously, if the groom wants to listen to music, why can’t he buy a damn I-pod like I did? My dad is asking me to watch my weight and skip sweets till marriage. Even after having an account for six months in Bharathmatrimony.com I couldn't finalize on a match. My dad was cross at me saying registering there is nothing but a waste of money if I won’t relax my criteria and paid cash again to renew the account for another six months.
My mother spread the word like fire in our apartment, among her friends and our relatives. So all of them, milkman and watchman included, constantly ask her when they will be able to hear the wedding bells. She told the milkman to be ready with extra supply of milk as any day I might get married. Aunties who come to our home don’t leave without suggesting suitable boys they know, like of their sister’s brother-in-law’s cousin’s neighbour’s friend’s son. The hot topic of conversation for my mother to talk on phone is my marriage. She doesn't end the call without asking to suggest well-educated boys from good background and the person at the other end comes up with two or three boys about whom she jots down in her special ‘prospective matches book’. Oh yes! She is specially maintaining a book for noting down the bio-data of grooms. Near and dear ones enquire my mom about good news if any and my mom looks at me and sighs with a long face. I am sure all our relatives are beginning to wonder if I am a cursed spinster whose horoscope has doshas and shanis as they call us to offer suggestions to perform graha-shanthi -poojas and sympathetically offer advice that groom-hunt is a pious mission and that it will take atleast an year to finalize the match. I have begun to avoid relatives like plague.
Even the priest in the temple near-by knows that I have reached a marriageable age and he advised my mother to do Swarna Gauri Vratam which is supposed to confer heaven’s blessings to marry me off sooner without any obstacles.
Once or twice some nice guys did come my way.
Education, job, salary-Check. Looks,height,complexion-Check.
Caste, sub-caste-Check. Gothra, Nakshatra, Rasi- Check.
Family background- Check. Computer horoscope compatibility-Check.
The profile of one guy did manage to successfully cross all these filters. But then, there was another mega filter. My mother took the horoscope of that boy to an astrologer and he contemplated it with utmost seriousness and pronounced that we are not compatible according to some distant stars and planets and that troubles and hardships will constantly crop up claiming peace in our relationship. So that put an end to that prospective profile then-and-there.
Everything in our home is being linked up to my wedding even though it is atleast a year away. If the tailor is late to deliver my mother’s stitched clothes, she scolds her saying, ‘My daughter’s marriage will be fixed soon. What will she wear on the mandap if you won’t deliver stitched blouses on time like how you did now?’ Or if the servant-maid doesn't dust the ceiling properly she goes, ‘My daughter will be married soon. How can I trust you with decorating the aangan with mango leaves at the time of marriage? Will you clean the house in this same manner when the guests turn up for wedding?’ A couple of tiles of the marble flooring in our dining-hall broke open and so she urges dad everyday to get it repaired immediately, as according to her,at any time the groom's family might turn up for lunch to eat the dishes I made and assess my cooking skills. She got a huge discount in the jewellery shop after she said – ‘ If you be conjoos in reducing the price even by a few hundred rupees, how can you expect me to give you the order of designing wedding jewellery for my daughter. She will be married in a few weeks. You know, you have been our jewellers for years and I will trust no one else for such an auspicious purpose. So be considerate and give me a discount now’.
Once we went to a discount mela of saris in Kalanjali showroom to purchase saris for the wedding (which we already knew was a long time away). Seeing one expensive sari my mother exclaimed loudly, ‘This Kanjeevaram sari is so grand! This so will be the sari I will wear during your wedding!’ This the shopkeeper heard and guessed that my mom would be a promising customer and upturned his whole showroom patiently and painstakingly unfolded 100+ saris in front of us. My mom after a very long debate to choose what-and-what, finally decided upon two saris for her and one for me despite the shopkeeper constantly urging her to take more- what aunty ji? Your daughter’s wedding and you settle on only this! You both should deck in a new sari for every two hours for such an once-in-a-lifetime occasion!’
Later on, my mom already wore all those saris for parties and festivals ( Varalaxmi vratam, Gauri vratam, Ganesh chaturthi …..) without saving them for the wedding. Time and again she asked funds from my dad to buy expensive saris on the pretext of my wedding. But then, she kept them for herself and could not resist beyond a couple of days without wearing them! My mom and her fad for new saris!