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When I look back now, I am struck by the hilariousness of groom searching for my daughter, who it turned out, had a very clear vision of what she wanted.
Photo by Vitaliy Lyubezhanin on Unsplash
“Mother, I have been thinking, I would like to have a Church marriage” announced my daughter one fine morning. Just a few days back I had had a serious talk with her, and she agreed that this was the right time to think about marriage.
Now my daughter likes to have drama in life and her announcement had the effect that fulfilled her wildest dreams.
One of my husband’s cousin who was visiting promptly ran out of the room crying, my brother in law started teasing my daughter, my husband was muttering she is still small, my niece started planning her dresses and my mother in law was calling me from her room and she sounded furious.
So the first thing to do was to appease my MIL.
“Tell her she should not marry out of religion or caste . It is not done.”
“She is not. Why did you think so?”
“She is talking of church wedding…”
“And Aaji you can wear skirt or long gown” added my niece adding fat to the fire.
Luckily MIL took it in a lighter vein and leaving my husband to explain that my daughter was just taking nonsense, I went to search for the cousin and found her sobbing with her face in a pillow.
Between her sobs she explained that she was very sensitive and the thought of the little girl whom she had seen growing up getting married was overwhelming and she broke down.
The cause of all this drama was calmly sipping her coffee after a verbal match with her uncle.
“Well have you found a boy for you?”
“No, but Church weddings are so lovely!”
“Alright” I said.
And over the next few days she thought she would like a Bengali wedding (because of the sweets), a Malayali wedding (the boys are so cute), a Punjabi wedding (for the dancing) and many more, and I was wondering whether she was mature enough to get married.
“Does she understand what marriage involves? The responsibility, living in a new family…!” asked my husband angrily.
“Would you like to talk with her about this?” I asked him politely.
“No. How can I? You talk.” he said shunning the responsibility.
So then we had a very awkward talk where I asked her if she understood about physical intimacy and she asked me if I meant sex and yes she knew about it. “Everything is available on Youtube, Mom!” After which I threw all shame to the winds and asked if she had practical experience.
She simply walked out of the room. So that ended our mature talk on marriages.
I turned my thoughts to the other members who were keeping me busy.
My MIL would keep on whispering in my ears at odd times to tell her (my daughter) that she should not marry out of caste or religion.
And if my niece or my daughter heard it they would start arguing how wrong it was and how our ideas were old.
Finally I persuaded my daughter that she should not make such announcements and if she wants, she should just discuss these things with me.
So there was peace for few days.
By this time my daughter had started a new job and on getting her first pay, and she declared, “Mother we are going to bear the expenses on my marriage.”
“And who is we?”
“My husband and I. Now I am earning. So you need not spend money on my wedding.”
“So you are planning a quiet wedding in Court with no reception? Yes, I am coming!” The last was to my MIL who was calling me.
“Tell her she should have a traditional wedding! No other choice.”
“Of course not.” My daughter said. I want a big wedding with mehendi for 2 days and Sangeet for 2 days and then a big reception.”
“Isn’t it a bit too much?” I asked.
“No. Because we will have to call everyone. See there are my school friends and college friends and NCC friends and then there are your friends and…”
“True.” said I.
“Everyone in our family is an artist. So we can’t leave anyone so Sangeet has to be for at least 2 days if we decide to give everyone a chance.”
“You will have to marry a millionaire if you want such a big function. Do you know how much money you would need?”
And I told her how they calculate per head in any hotel or hall.
After 2 days she announced, “I think Mehendi and Sangeet are overrated. We should have a simple wedding with our best and dear ones.”
“And we are not going to invite people we don’t like.” added my niece.
And then both of them started making a list of people who would not be invited for the wedding.
At night before going to bed my MIL called me and told me that we cannot not invite the relatives. All have to be invited. After all it is the first wedding in our family.
Finally it was decided that the wedding would be traditional and the cost would be borne by the parents and it would be my duty to see that the people she does not like have little interaction with her.
“I am going to bear the cost of my marriage and will invite only the people I like!” declared my niece. Which brought about a fresh bout of tears from the same cousin who was again visiting.
Now came the next step. Enrolling her name in a marriage bureau or a matrimony site.
“You can do it online.” Advised the cousin who had experience. “These are better ones. They offer good choices.” And she reeled off few names.
We went through some of the popular ones and selected 2 which were cheap.
And spent one day uploading the information amongst laughter, tears, arguments and debates and went to bed each one carrying a headache.
Because of the information we had to upload.
In the beginning it was the usual, name age, education, jobs, future plans expectations, family etc.
Then came the physical description and the first argument
“Why do they want to know how tall I am or am I fair and how is my hair? I am going to mail the site and ask them to remove the skin colour column from this.”
Then came the questions which tried to find out about the prospective brides habits and ideas.
So we had to answer. And it started from How many time you clean your room? When do you take a bath? and progressed to Do you want children? How many? When ? Do you believe in a weekend marriage or monthly marriage?
Half the time we were laughing at the absurdity of the questions and half the time I was feeling appalled at the necessity of having such queries.
Finally it was done and then started the process of selecting the prospective groom.
Depending on the information we had loaded, the site would suggest compatible (20/25 points matching) boys and then we could go through their information and decide whether we want to go further or not.
As my daughter was working, my niece would sit with me and reject most of the boys. The reasons were he looks like my friend’s brother or my teacher or our neighbour. So no. He does know how to take a photo. His colour sense is soo bad. What? Him? How can you even consider him? He has taken his photo in front of a washroom! I don’t like his shirt!!
What! Him? I mean how can you?
And after we had selected a few approved by my niece and presented to my daughter, she would reject them after reading the profile.
He has funny ideas.
His name is same as my cousin. I might call him bhaiyya by mistake!
He doesn’t believe in immunisation!
I don’t want to marry someone from that city!
In frustration if I would try to convince her, she would go “If you like him then you marry him!” And if I was enough irritated I would reply, “I would, but am already married in case you have forgotten.” And then we would go on to have that useless frustrating debate which occurs between a mother and her daughter and ends in headaches.
In between, my mother in law’s friends would suggest prospective groom. “You are going for a wedding next week. You will find a boy there.” suggested one friend.
One interfering lady came one day and said to my MIL, “My daughter in law’s sister in law’s friend has cousin who lives in a rented house. And the owner has a son who would be perfect for your daughter. The family is nice. The boy has a well paying job and he is the only son. So no chance of having to share property. He has no siblings so no fights. This is the address. You can go day after tomorrow. I told them you are coming.”
And though we did not want to go because the ideas were not correct, we were emotionally blackmailed by my MIL to at least visit. “You can always say no,” she said.
So after calling them we went to visit the prospective family.
After welcoming us and directing us to sit, there was silence. No one spoke. So I looked at my husband and he started. “Where is your son?”
“When will he return?”
And it went on for 2 minutes while my husband tried to extract information.
The four adults sitting there kept staring at us. But never initiated the conversation.
We would give information about our family, but they never reciprocated unless asked specifically.
Since we were ladki wale I was keeping quiet and trying not to catch my husband eye or I would have burst into laughter.
So I looked around.
After 1/2 an hour we said goodbyes and left. We went back without speaking a word. And on reaching home, my husband said, I am not going to do this again. And I am not going to marry my daughter in such a family.
So we called my Mil and she asked so how was the family. And I told her.
“The curtains were white with red flowers on them. The furniture was wooden but comfortable. The tiles were light blue. Length wise there were 18 tiles and breadth there were 12. The tiles appeared to be 10 inches by 10 inches.”
“But what about the boy?”
“He was not there and the parents were not ready to give any information about him.”
“So what did you do?”
“We told them it is not to be.”
By this time we had shortlisted a few boys. After initial involvement by us where we called the parents and showed our interest and asked them to share phone number of the boy if he us interested, we left the rest to our daughter.
And then we would ask after 15 days about the progress.
It took 5 boys being rejected by my daughter for me to realize that my daughter was working on a system where she would initially ask level one questions and after few days would go to next level. If none of her points were not accepted, she would say no. And I realised how mature she was. She was very clear about what she wanted and also where she would compromise and where she would not.
I promised (and I kept it) that I would never force her and never argue if she says no even to the most eligible (according to me). But as 6 months had passed by his time I was getting worried and in frustration asked her if she wants to get married or not. I mean should I spend money again to register next year also?
Then I again shortlisted a boy and after praising him asked her to consider and she said ok.
And then again began the first level second level process and it went for a long time.
In the end I said do you want to take the next step of meeting face to face? And after dithering and raising my BP she finally agreed .
And then things progressed rapidly.
We (the parents) met them, saw their home, talked and waited with awkward silences while those two spent time having dinner breakfast and lunch.
“One gets an idea a person after you watch him talking with waiters and also how he bahaves with you around his friends.” My daughter had explained to me before we went to meet the boy.
And in our days, you went out only after your marriage was fixed!! How times have changed!
So my daughter and the boy spent time together getting to know each other. After we returned they texted and talked.
And then they took 15 days before coming to a decision. And I would ask her at least 10 times a day “Toh main ye rishta pakka samjhu?” (Should I consider this marriage fixed now?) And finally the rishta was pakka!
And now for next step. Where to marry? How to marry? Whom to call? Book the hall. Purchasing….Arguing…!
And I sat tearing my hair! Why did I persuade my daughter to get married?!
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