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Love and marriage are bound by no rules, contrary to public perception. Here is a warm story about choosing love.
One of the top 5 entries for September’s Muse of the Month writing theme, with the cue “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me” taken from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
“She is quite a catch, you know,” Malini said blithely, in between sips of tea. “Nimi, I meant, for someone like Ravi, who is just a graduate and not good-looking either. We used to tease boys who had fair girlfriends. Langur ki mooh mein angoor* , we would tell them, remember?”
Rashmi listened to her old friend in silence. Malini had always been the one to relish gossip. The fact that her niece Nimisha happened to be married to Rashmi’s nephew gave her more fodder.
“Not that I am undermining Ravi, mind you,” she added, realizing that Rashmi might disapprove of her comment on Ravi. “He is a hardworking chap, I have heard. But Nimi is much above him in so many ways – looks, career, qualifications…”
Malini stopped conscientiously just as she was about to wonder out aloud what Nimi had seen in Ravi to marry him.
After her departure, Rashmi sat thinking about the newlyweds. Ravi was a quiet, diligent boy whose fate had not given him his due. He had not seemed interested in marriage, dismissing many matches that Rashmi herself had forwarded. Was he really searching for a golden goose all these years? Did he somehow snare Nimi to make up for all that he himself lacked, or desired? Girls could be stupid, Rashmi knew, even the ones with high degrees.
Nimisha Saxena came from a family of opulent doctors. She had completed her schooling with flying colours and all expected her to follow in her parents’ footsteps. But young Nimi had other plans. Much to her family’s surprise and dismay, she had taken up commerce, diametrically opposite to a medical career. She had then proceeded towards securing a degree in business administration from a prestigious B-school. Her career with a prominent multinational company had taken off impressively, and at present, Nimi was heading the marketing department.
Ravi, her husband, was working as a medical representative with a pharmaceutical company.
Rashmi wondered, just as Malini had done some time back, how the twain had met. Perhaps she would get a chance to ask Ravi or Nimi herself when the couple arrived for dinner that evening.
It was a successful dinner and the food was much appreciated. Rashmi was glad to see Nimi’s enthusiasm about cooking and learnt from Ravi that she was quite a ‘masterchef’ herself at home. Nimi had blushed copiously at the compliment.
She was looking resplendent in a blue chiffon saree with hardly any make-up or jewelry on. Rashmi recalled Malini speaking grandly about the ‘tons of jewelry’ the Saxenas had gifted their only daughter. Somehow Nimi was turning out quite different from what Rashmi had envisaged her to be.
As the men sat discussing politics and cricket, the ladies went over to the balcony with their dessert bowls.
Seated on a comfortable chair, Rashmi broached playfully the topic of how the couple had first met.
“We met over an email, at a wedding portal,” Nimi laughed, seeing a look of bewilderment cross Rashmi’s face.
“But such an accomplished, beautiful girl like you,” Rashmi stuttered out. “Why did you have to go through a wedding portal? There must have been a number of suitors lining up outside your parents’ home.”
“You are just exaggerating, aunty,” Nimi smiled. “Even if they were, I would not have wanted my parents to get stressed over them. I wanted to arrange my own match, and then let my parents ponder over it. Of course, I would never go against their wishes, but I had to make sure that I was responsible behind my own marital life.”
Nimi paused as if on retrospection.
“I feel marriage is not all about matching looks to looks, wealth to wealth, or even degree to degree. It is the person that matters. Besides, you can’t fall in ‘love at first sight’ on the web, you know.”
“The first time I spoke to Ravi, nothing clicked, except his honesty and sincerity that stayed with me even after the call ended. After getting to know him better I realized that here was a person who was fiercely protective about his family, who wanted to excel in life, and was ready to fall down and struggle, and not give up. I knew he would treat me like a queen in his own way.”
“It never occurred to you that your wealth and looks would hinder people’s judgment?” Rashmi asked evasively.
Nimi looked a bit surprised. As she mused over Rashmi’s question, realization dawned upon her.
“What did you think, aunty?” Nimi let out an impish smile. “You can’t ensnare someone who is a free soul and has learnt all her lessons from life itself, you know.”
She then wrapped her arm around the older woman and they went inside the house, to the men that they had chosen, happily.
Pic credit: Katerha (Used under a CC license)
*Hindi idiom – a prize for the undeserving.
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