Chapter 2-Meeting Mr.Right

Needless to say there was a cold war at home but this time the intensity was high. I could feel it from the mundane household chores being done with disinterest. Both amma and appa became stoic. Appa expressed his displeasure by walking away from me whenever I tried talking to him. Amma, who always reacted hyper whenever such a thing happened, chose to distance herself from me. A few of our relatives stayed at our place so that they could add more fuel to the fire. Marriage or no marriage, they wanted entertainment.

“You don’t have to worry anymore. No one is talking,” Ramya said over breakfast.

Normally I took these things in my stride, but this time I could sense trouble in my paradise. This was making me anxious and worried. My father would want to have it his way and push for my marriage with greater determination. Though I didn’t want any of them to go through this, I also knew I could never lead life the way they wanted me to. My motto in life was simple, ‘Keep yourself happy. Only then, can you make others happy.’ What is wrong if a woman wants to work and be independent? I couldn’t accept the double standards existing around me. Optimistic, I convinced myself that the situation was to my advantage. It was just a matter of time before things would fall into place. I had one more month, or two weeks to be precise, for my final year exams. After that it should be easy to implement my plan to run away with my degree certificate and branch towards city life to make it on my own.

With such exhausting thoughts, I got ready to go to college. Though I was not feeling up to it, I knew I had to go somewhere, away from home, for some time, to make me feel better. Being the last semester of our final year, no classes were conducted. So, I was attending college for the heck of it. Most of the students spent time yapping. Nothing of it got into my head. My thoughts were oscillating between the atmosphere at home and my future. The bell at the end of the day automatically made me walk past the college gate.

My way home was always through the fields, a short cut. On one side were large, expansive paddy fields waiting to be harvested, and on the other, huge groves of various fruits occupied the place.

While I was walking on the elevated path between the field and the grove, I was expecting Aadhi, my boyfriend, to pull me to him. He didn’t disappoint and soon he was dragging me while looking around to make sure no one was looking. We moved to a secluded spot under a huge mango tree which had for months been our meeting point. Aadhi placed his head on my lap as soon as I sat down on the leaves I had spread out on the uneven muddy place. A brawny guy, he was six feet tall. If India were the size of Valayapuri he would easily be Mr. India. He couldn’t charm you with his brains or wit. I don’t think he knew who the president of our country was. One can’t hold a conversation with him about the local body elections. Any day he preferred talking about his body. Then why did I fall for him? I acted in haste and was repenting at leisure. It was my first lesson in life. ‘Appearances are deceptive’ and never fall prey to sweet talks. He would encourage me to pursue my dreams so much that I thought he was a shoulder to lean on when things were not going right. By the time reality hit me, I realized we were poles apart. I couldn’t get out of the relationship because Aadhi knew my plans and there was always the fear of the information being leaked to my parents. His family, like my family, for generations together had been into agriculture. They were quite well off. So anybody would be prompted to ask, ‘Then where is the hitch?’ Well there is something called legacy, which, in our case, was our family feud. His forefathers fought with mine, so did his grandfather and then it was continued by our respective fathers. Nothing to disturb the legacy, it was intact. I got to know this when Aadhi’s sister, who happened to be my college mate, came to my house once to borrow my notes.

“Don’t encourage that girl to visit us again,” appa always made things clear with his one liners, and added nothing more. I probed into the matter by interrogating one of my relatives, who was more than happy to throw light on the matter.

As for my family members, none of them except Ramya had a clue about Aadhi and me. I didn’t venture telling appa, fearing hell would break loose. It was very difficult to conceal our relationship in this place given the fact that someone or the other knew either Aadhi or me. One of the ways I adopted to keep it under wraps was by making sure our meetings were brief and in places where no one could see us. Somehow, luckily till date we had managed to escape prying eyes. I would meet Aadhi only when my parents were going out. Today I overhead appa telling amma that he was going to the field to supervise and amma informing him that she was going with our neighbor to the temple. Hence we got this time together. Every time I drove a groom away, we would laugh over it as I gave him a verbatim report. On an otherwise normal day, I was thrilled discussing these things, but today I could barely manage to talk.

“What is the matter? I have never seen you so serious. Come on…tell me. So, what did you do this time? Any issues, I am always there my dear.”

Even though they were meant to comfort me, beyond a point it was irritating hearing the same words, ‘I am there…I am here…,’ when there was no meaning to them. I knew, after marriage Aadhi would want me to serve him food every night, press his feet or maybe he would beat me for not wiping the phlegm of our children. “I am worried,” I replied.

“About what?”

“No one is talking to me at home.”

“So, what is new about it?”

“This time it is different. I don’t think I can bring them back to their normal mood unless I get married.”

“Okay, I will talk to them. I will see that we are married. You can stop going to that boring college of yours. Be at home and just relax.”He hugged me first and then held my hand tightly and kissed me on my cheeks with force. I hated the way Aadhi kissed me because every time he caught me, it really hurt. As if his kiss was not bad enough, it was accompanied by a sound like a rat nibbling some masala vadas in the dark. One of these days I was planning to tell him that even if it meant insulting a few rats for no fault of theirs. However, I refrained from telling him because I didn’t want to hurt him. But his kiss was making it impossible to be an angel.

“What happened? You don’t want this?” Aadhi was surprised when I pushed him away.

“No… I am sorry, not today. I want to talk to you, Aadhi!! At the start of our relationship you promised me that I could study as much as I wanted to, didn’t you? Then why do you keep backing out when you know about my plans?”

“Of course, of course! I was just joking. You don’t trust me? But I also don’t understand why you are so adamant about working when all of us are well to do. Come on yaar…Someday you have to look after our kids, right?”

“Aadhi!!!” I pondered for a moment whether I should continue since Aadhi was not capable of seeing other people’s perspective. I chose my words when I decided to continue talking. “From the very beginning I have made it very clear to you ample number of times that I want to study and work in the city to create an identity for myself. That is my world. In fact, our relationship started on that note. I have lived on those dreams ever since my childhood. There is no point studying when it is not put to use. I can’t live here as a typical housewife. By any chance if my father agrees to our marriage, then I know I would have to be here all my life sacrificing my ambition.”

“I think you need some rest. Go home and take rest. You are looking dull.”Aadhi always chose an easy way out whenever I demanded an explanation from him or tried explaining things to him.

“Okay,” I readily agreed when he let me go.

Sometimes I didn’t know why I argued with him when I knew that, one, Aadhi was stubborn; two, though he would pretend to agree, he would revert to his conservative self; three, he was a very confusing man; and four, I was slowly in the process of removing him from my life. My only tension was I didn’t want him to screw up things before my plans were implemented. Then I would be stuck here for the rest of my life. While walking back home I wondered if I had revealed too much.

As if all the twists and turns that had happened till now were not enough, there was breaking news waiting for me when I reached home. Behind the front gate of our house, my dad, mom and a dozen people we knew were standing to confront me. They had formed a semicircle, to corner me I guess. I looked at each of them and then lastly at appa.

“Someone is coming to see you tomorrow, and that alliance is final. I have decided he is going to be my son-in-law,” my father announced so that the whole world could hearThis was exactly what I was dreading. That was one more of his one liners, similar to ‘aaj kuch toofani karte hain.’


“Just agree to whatever they say for the time being. We will then decide what should be done. Why do you worry when your antics have worked so well till date?”Ramya tried to make me feel better when the two of us were alone.

“And what if they don’t work this time?” It was one of the few times the pessimist in me surfaced.

“Well then you can comfort yourself with one thing.”

“And what is that?”

“He is a techie. He hops from one place to another!!!”

“I don’t care whether he is a techie or a monkey!! I am not marrying that guy!” I was still angry, angry to the extent of wanting to break everything and shout on top of my voice. I was doubtful about my antics this time, may be because I was shaken up by the manner in which my father announced his decision. I was totally blank about how I was going to handle the guy this time. My brains were tired, too tired of thinking about so many things. I hated myself for giving up so easily.

When the groom arrived with his people, it was the same old story. I walked to the hall with my head bent and sat down on a rug that was as warm as a preheated oven. I was on the verge of tears and felt that I would breakdown any minute.

“Let them talk,” the elders had decided.

Curtains were drawn and the oldies took their place behind the curtains of ‘my lucky room,’ where I used to drive men away. Adamant about not looking up, I sat on the floor with my chin on my knee, waiting for him to initiate the conversation. But I didn’t hear anything from the stranger in the room. I knew he was with me in the room, but as I was hell bent about not looking up, I didn’t know what he was up to. As minutes elapsed, our silence prolonged. There were no signs of his breaking the silence. Feeling restless, I looked up to find his back facing me. He was looking at the array of family photos that were nailed on the wall. Having photos hung everywhere except your neck was typical of households over here. I didn’t know how long I had to put up with sitting in the room idly.

“What are you doing here? Everyone is waiting for you outside.”

Drawn into my thoughts, I hadn’t realized the stranger was not there in my room until Ramya aroused me. I didn’t express how glad I was, seeing her after that eerie silence of a few minutes back.

“Come out fast! From whatever little I can make out I don’t think things are in your favour. They are going to make an announcement.”

Frantic on hearing Ramya’s news, I hurriedly got up to know what was going on.

As I was about to push the curtains aside to make my way, my mother came in and hugged me tightly. Barely an inch from the entrance of my room, I was given the news I had worked hard to avoid. “Congrats! Finally you are engaged. It seems he has also been refusing marriage for quite some time. His parents liked you. So we have decided to get you both married. Together you will make a great pair.”

I was shocked beyond words. My jaw literally dropped!

“When you both were talking inside the room we formalized this engagement. Everyone is happy with this union.”

“Amma…Amma…listen…listen to me…Amma…,”I tried to catch her attention but couldn’t as Ramya and Amma shrieked in joy, drowning my voice. They kept jumping and repeatedly hugging me in excitement.

When people around me were soaking in merriment I parted the curtains slightly hoping to spot the mystery guy and signal that I wanted to talk to him when no one was watching us. To my dismay I couldn’t spot him.

‘Oh god!!Who is he? And what is he going to be like?’

About The Author
Deepa Iyyer is a housewife and this is her first shot at writing. She is happy to have discovered the story telling side in her and hopes to write few more. Reading was a hobby inculcated by her mother though she regrets not continuing it after her school days. Influenced by movies she has tried infusing that in her first novel. She loves Indian food, especially the tangy ones even in international cuisines. Her other interest is music and anything related to art which is beautiful to look at. An introvert by nature sometimes she does love to be around people and observe them.



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