Having a love-marriage can be tough! Specially so when you have an inherent desire to trot around with a tray of tea and biscuits for prospective in-laws, all coy and shy, head bent to almost touch your tummy and manners gracious enough to be grating
I SO missed out on the fun
I mean, since I was a kid, I had planned out exactly what I would say to prospective bride-hunters. I recited to myself the questions that I would ask them, the quips I would retort back with and the floundering-and-dropping-tea-on-the-MIL-in-case-I-didn’t-like-her cases. Clearly, I’m one person who thinks deeply about the future (going by another truth that at the tender age of 10, my biggest ambition in life was to be a mother! So there !).
Anyhow, I then met the BF and all my dreams went down the drain. No chai-nashta party for me *sob* . In fact, I was so unfortunate that I didn’t even receive a single marriage proposal!! I mean, it was like I was TOTALLY ineligible . No wonder I took my own route and hitched up with the BF. He’s a guy who wasn’t interested in looking out for a bride himself. I swear he would have stayed a bachelor if I’d let him go .
The above context gives an explanation (somewhat) of my Zero experience in the matter of Bride-Hunting. So what happens when me, the Clueless One is asked to conduct a Bride-Hunt myself?!
Okay, for starters, we are looking out for a bride for the BIL (who is LEAST interested in this topic and any prospective bride’s Bio-Data that we show him). Taking the new-fangled way out, I created a Shaadi.com profile for him and asked him to do the hunt himself. There! Doesn’t that give you an idea my problem-solving skills?? I’m fast, I confess. I catch on to a trend and make the best possible use of it
So whenever the MIL asked me for updates, I checked up with the BF and he replied back saying that he hasn’t found anyone interesting yet. The MIL believes it. I don’t. Frankly, I KNOW that he hasn’t checked his account in ages . But then, if a guy isn’t interested, then what’s the whole point in battering your head over bride-hunting for him , I say!! He’ll toe the line whenever he feels right. I’m not the one to push. Never
Does that give me some reprieve then??
The MIL, by virtue of being MIL is not the kinds to leave me alone. Though she knows my views about the process, she continues to question me about the updates on my hunt (which, truly speaking, I had abandoned ages ago ) . So this weekend, when her sister dropped by, I was asked to accompany the sister to a neighbors house. The aunt was interested in the neighbors daughter for her son. They are a fine family, the neighbors. I wished the aunt good luck. “Not so soon” , said she, “you are coming with me”.
ME??!! I whimpered?!! (the scream was in my head)
I turned to the MIL to moan my protest, but she brushed aside my protests as though swiping at cobwebs.
What about the kids? I protested.
I’ll look after them, she replied calmly.
What about evening tea?
I’ll make it, piped in the Nanny. I glared at her. Damn girl.Grrrr!!!
What about my beauty sleep? I begged.
What beauty? The MIL inquired.
(Okay, so I totally made up the last two lines. But what the hell. They sound fun )
Anyhow, crux of the matter was that at 5 pm sharp Sunday evening, me and the aunt strolled over to the neighbors house. I vowed to stay mum (tough task, that. But seriously, what could I talk about?)
A tiny background on the neighbor’s girl- She’s a doctor (Ayurvedic) same as the aunt’s son(Thats all I know about him). The girl’s parents have set up a clinic for her in their parking area. It’s a pretty big and smart clinic, with all amenities required for a practicing Ayurvedic doctor (including steam baths, massage tables and traction tables). Obviously, they are pretty well-off.
The girl’s mother opened the door , which directly led us to the clinic. She asked us to sit there while she went back in to call her daughter. Since the aunt was there for her son, I was a tad surprised to see her fidgeting. She looked nervous as hell and kept wiping her face with her hanky.
“Any problem?”, I asked.
“No”, said she.
I was busy tapping my feet when the mother came back in again and served us water. Funny, because we hadn’t even walked 50 yards to reach her place, but still. Its called Mehmaan Nawazi
The mother of the girl (henceforth referred to as MOTG) sat down with us and asked the aunt about me. The aunt gave the necessary details after which, the MOTG asked me about my kids. Okay now, there is one topic one should NEVER ask me, specially when one is least interested in it. That is, ask me about my babies. I happen to be one of those women who go off into an epic description of their children’s activities right from the time they get up from bed to the time I put them to sleep. Yes, I even talk about their potty habits. So if you are going to glaze out after about 15 minutes, better not ask the question in the first place!! A lesson which I’m sure, the MOTG learnt very well that day. Another reason I refused to stop talking was that, the aunt had surprisingly clamped up. She refused to utter a word. The MOTG didn’t know what to talk about. A rather uncomfortable silence preceded her question about my kids. Naturally I hung on to the topic as long as I could.
Just as the MOTG was ready to fall off her chair out of sheer boredom, her husband walked in.
So the said father, all upright and stern, looked at me questioningly. He knew the aunt, but had never seen me before. Once again, I was introduced to the gentleman.
“So, are you from Pune”, he asked.
“No, not really. My mom’s from Pune, but my Dad’s from Chennai, but they are now settled in Bangalore….”,
“So, you are not really from Pune?”, he clarified
“Err…umm…I was born here…so I guess…..”, I said lamely.
“Where were you before you came here”, he barked
“Bangalore”, I retorted.
“Why is your father in Bangalore and not Chennai?”
“He likes Bangalore”.
“What about your mom?”
“Guess she likes it too”
“What does your father do?”
“He’s a retired Colonel. But he’s into a lot of activities…”
“Which Sapper ?”
“What was his last posting?”
By now, I was sweating profusely! I mean, even my In-laws never asked me those many questions in one go. Moreover, I wasn’t the reason why we were there. Just when I was ready to give the old man a piece of my mind (I wanted to , but couldn’t. Of course!) , the aunt chipped in, “We’d like to see the girl , please”.
Oh well. Some other time maybe. I’m not the kinds who take to third degree interrogation lightly. I thought up of a hundred witty remarks to the old man’s questions. I didn’t reply to him with those though . Pity, because I still seem to be coming up with witty quips . Alas, I doubt we’ll be coming together again for me to use those lines.
Anyway, so this girl comes in with a tray with cups of tea and biscuits (I kid you not!) and I could just look on with envy!! I mean, I ALWAYS wanted to do that!! But the girl….I swear she was the sweetest little thing this side of the country . She wore specs but one look at her charming face and you forget that she has glasses on. I mean, the glasses suited her so well. Moreover, I had a real hard time believing she was a practicing doctor. She was so young and fragile
The girl sat down in a sofa. I looked at her and then looked down. She looked at me and then looked down. The aunt looked at her and looked down. The MOTG and the FOTG looked at us keenly. They didn’t look down.
That was me tapping my feet, albeit silently. I mean, I had NO idea what to do next. If the aunt had clamped up earlier, now she had gone into hiding in her shell. She totally disappeared into herself (she’s shy that way) and the parents of the girl continued to look at me.
“*Cough cough* Ahem. So what are your hobbies?”
Hobbies?? Gosh! Did I actually ask her that?! Hobbies? Really??
She looked a tad unnerved, but calmly replied, “I read when I get the time, but then, I don’t usually get the time to read. I’m rather busy with my practice”.
Point noted. Self-kick inflicted. Lesson learnt.
The MOTG and FOTG continued to stare.
“Err….umm…(Lightbulb) What are your expectations from the boy’s family?”, My palms felt a little damp then.
Here, I tried to look keen and interested. I must have passed , because before the girl could answer, her father quipped,
“We are looking for a decent family like ours. We have no sons. Everything that we have, belongs to our daughters. I have given them the best of education. Now it is up to the other parents to encourage her further in her pursuits”.
I almost applauded. I mean, it was well said, even though he spoke out of turn. I turned back to the girl.
“Well, it is indeed important for in-laws to support a DIL’s career. I have supporting in-laws who have helped me a lot and took care of my kids and my extended work timings and blah…blah…blah…..”
“Yaaaaawwwnn”, went the aunt. Discreet she was not
The FOTG turned to me and asked,
“What’s the boy’s name?”
“Z*****”, I replied.
“What does he do these days?”
I looked at the aunt. She kept looking down.
The aunt finally gave her inputs. (Thank God!) The FOTG snapped a few more questions, and the aunt replied as quickly as she could. I swear, I wasn’t the only one feeling the heat . Once the aunt was done, there was this uncomfortable silence again. We ALL were looking down, wondering what to say next. All, except the FOTG, whose eagle eyes were keenly scanning the expressions on the aunt’s face and mine. Spooky!!
“Want to see the clinic?” the FOTG barked suddenly.
The aunt and I literally jumped at his words.
“Sure”, I smiled weakly.
So he led us to the cabin and the traction room and the massage room and the steam bath. The latter was our last stop. The old man opened up the steam bath lid. I half expected him to order me inside. He didn’t. On hind-sight, it wouldn’t have been that bad. I’d LOVE to have a steam bath once
“Do you know how much this costs?” he barked again.
“Umm no, not really.”
“Take a guess”
“Huh? Actually, I’ve never bought furniture before……so I…..”
“Furniture? ” He looked blank. Obviously. Since the steam bath was made of wood, I put two and two together and decided this kind of stuff is made in furniture show-rooms. Apparently not. As was evident from the old man’s confused look.
“He he…I was just joking” I said.
That line nearly got me killed. The three of them glared at me hard. And I mean REAL pierce-my-heart-and-see-me-bleed hard.
Cheery family this. Not!!
“How much” I finally caved.
“Fifty thousand”, he boomed proudly.
This time, I made the right noises of approval. He nodded his approval at my approval. Finally, we were getting on the right track of communication
Once done with the steam bath, we trooped back to the main cabin. It was really well done. There was this shelf full of jars of ayurvedic pills and tree barks and stuff that looked like fungus. Impressive! The place also had a very pleasant smell of Multani mitti, sandalwood and camphor. It was pleasant all right. The MOTG handed the aunt and me little jars of pain-relief balm that her daughter had made personally. The aunt I can understand, but me?? Seeing the tiny jar in my hand made me give up my slouch and straighten my back for a change. I know now why she got the impression I needed it
And oh, as we were bidding goodbye at the door, the FOTG comes up to me and hands me a packet.
“This is for you. Try it”.
I thanked him profusely and headed back home. On the way, I turned the packet over. It said FACE PACK.
Yes people, I have horribly pimply skin and the kind FOTG bothered to notice and provide a solution. How kind!! I’m still not sure how I feel about this
Anyhow, the aunt loved the girl (as expected) and there will be a next meeting with the girl’s family when the aunt’s daughter comes from Dubai next week. I sincerely hope this match gets through. I would have snapped her up pronto for the BIL myself, but then, they wanted only guys who were doctors!! Alas, its our loss.
I’ve gained a little experienced in Bride-hunting now . I mean, I can recognize the signs, when to keep quiet, when to talk and what to ask. I’ve learned that its not always the bride’s family that is apprehensive. The grooms side could be equally apprehensive too. I’ve learned that educated daughters are their father’s pride and joy and that the parents are right in expecting the best for the apple of their eyes. I’ve learned that sometimes, the boy’s family considers themselves extremely lucky just to have a well-educated daughter-in-law. I’ve learned that though matches are made in heaven, it is how we treat each other that makes those matches happen. I’ve learned that the boy’s family is not always in a position to pick and choose. Sometimes, the girls side are just that much better than them.
Best of all, I’ve learned that I’ve now grown up. After this, now this.
I feel ancient. Maybe its a good thing .
(But I still miss my popsicle )
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