This is inspired from a friend’s own verbal account of his arranged marriage. Just for fun. 🙂
Amit was a happy young man and he knew it. The degree from IIT Delhi hung on his office wall right next to the one from Harvard, like some sort of prize jewel (which in Amit’s eyes, it was). And what an office! The interior design would cause competitors to turn red, then green, faster than a set of traffic lights. The landscaping was out of the world. His office lawn had almost been sabotaged twice by those same competitors. Losers. Amit was minting money and everyone knew it. Today, he was going back to a place he was familiar with but wasn’t. The market. The marriage market.
Amit loved markets. That’s where he made his money, after all. But marriage? Now there was a thought that was scary, breathtaking. Women had never really entered his picture of life. They were sort of unimportant. No, no, he wasn’t sexist, far from it. He was too sophisticated and driven for sexism, racism or any of those unwashed -isms. He respected only human ability and he really didn’t give a damn what package that ability came in. He met women at work, respected the ones who were good at their job and came home. He just didn’t see them as, well, women.
Romance? Meh. Scary stuff. Kind of like his first job interview. He remembered every goddamned minute of it. Murder, it was. Real murder. But he got through and did well and all that jazz. Maybe his love life would work well too, through some foggy logic of it’s own. Over to mom and pop. He was a good son, Amit.
And that’s how he found himself in a room with Amrita and a bunch of older people looking at the two of them like they were a newly discovered alien species.
Amrita. Now there was a corking young woman. Spiffing. By the time she was 26, she’d slaved through one of the most competitive exams in the world, received a free ride scholarship, done a PhD in the US and landed a job that paid her more per month than what her father used to make in a couple of years. Reviews? Killer. Like rave. Both looks wise and performance wise. Yeah, she was a corking woman. But then, she was unmarried. Not for long, her parents decided. This sort of a girl couldn’t be allowed to stay unmarried for too long, they thought. It was just not respectable. They wanted to find her a nice guy and then head off to Haridwar. For a vacation, of course, not to die.
And that’s how SHE found herself with a clueless Amit in his best suit, with his best perfume on and a bunch of older people staring at them. Conversation was spotty. They were quiet aliens.
“Hey”, said Amit
“Hey”, said Amrita
Then they sipped their colas. Nice and cool. Much easier than convo with a stranger who they’d probably have to spend the rest of their lives with.
“Aww, they click so well!”, said Amrita’s wise old father’s sister’s cousin’s brother’s wife.
Amit’s wise old father’s brother’s cousin’s sister’s husband nodded his agreement.
Amrita opened her mouth to say something but was cut short by Amit’s mother. Cooking was the topic. Could Amrita cook?
Amrita, of course, was far more used to stewing errant executives than innocent vegetables. But yes, she could. Although, yeah, she did prefer home delivery pizza. Mediterranean cuisine. Very healthy.
Amit resisted the temptation to snort. Amateur, he thought. He was, after all, the cook extraordinaire. The guy to beat. His Harvard buddies used to call him Pizza man, because Pizza Hut would taste like toxic waste once anyone got the taste of Amit’s pizzas in their mouth. Yep, that good. But then again, what kind of mother was going to mention that her only son was a good cook? Such a girly thing. Embarrassing, really. A nice wifey would make a man out of him.
And just like that, the marriage was sealed. Time to bring in the astrologers.
Amit was a bit bewildered by the speed of the process but decided not to worry about it. Better concentrate on the upcoming board meeting. At least it was something he knew about.
Amrita was bewildered too and did worry about it. But then, her parents had given her so much freedom, such a great education, such luxuries. Better be a good daughter now and obey them. Parents know best after all.
The astrologers decided, in their wisdom, that the marriage HAD to be held on a Sunday night. This piece of auspiciousness almost ended the relationship, because both Amit and Amrita had mental heart attacks. “My board meeting!”, he thought. “My performance appraisal!”, she thought. With a few phone calls and emails and white lies, disaster was averted.
They were wedded in pomp and style, booked on a flight to Timbuktu (for the honeymoon) and left with the simple task of living together happily ever after.
Timbuktu was fun, but returning “home” was murder. Gender roles were clearly delineated. Amit was in charge of the kitchen and the garden and if Amrita didn’t like it, she could suck her thumb. It turned out that she did like it and Pizza Hut lost a valuable customer. Amit was happy to be able to cook again. Amrita was happy to be able to not cook. Did they live happily ever after?
Sometimes they fought. Like really loud. Over trivial stuff. Sometimes the in-laws would come over and it would be bedlam. Sometimes Amrita would push the toothpaste tube from the top and Amit’s mood would be soured for the rest of the day. Or sometimes, Amit would spoil her neatly laid out cupboard and she’d have a bad day. But on the whole, they became like old slippers. Maybe a bit worn around the edges. Maybe a bit beat-up. But nicely complementary. Not a real fairytale, but then you can’t have everything. Can you?