It is said that marriages are made in heaven! When I look around at some of the couples I know, it has to be God who has put them together and keeps them together. Destiny really does have a role to play in our lives, sometimes upsetting every single premise that we have believed in. And thus unfolds this real life story.
April 7, 2000
It was 9 pm on a balmy Friday evening; Avni used her dial-up internet connection to log into her email account. With a ping, she saw a new message in her inbox. It was from Gaurav who had seen her profile on soulmate.com and had responded with a polite “I liked what I saw and would love to interact more” message. Right, this is how all the first emails went, she thought. She quickly checked out his profile on the website; it was as evasive as her own. She smiled to herself. Alright, let’s find out more about this guy!
With a sigh, Avni copy pasted her standard reply telling him a few details about herself and asking him some cursory questions. One more guy! She had been interacting with a few guys since 3 months when she had put up her profile on a mad whim on this newly started matrimonial website. It seemed like fun to meet with guys and who knows she might stumble upon a gem waiting to be discovered. But, it had become a boring exercise once the novelty had worn off!
She still could not get over her last meeting with a Gujju guy from US. One look at his blond locks and fake accent, and she wanted to run away. Then he started bragging about his Lexus back home and a big apartment, and her mind went in a tizzy, not with dreams of a lavish life in the US but because she felt a really bad headache coming on. Bhavin rambled on mistaking her bored look for one of interest. It was not too hard to know that she disliked the man sitting in front of her. She suddenly remembered that she had important work to do at office and offered to drop him off on the way in her beaten down Maruti 800. He accepted the offer. When she waved him bye, he asked to meet again for a movie in the evening. She declined with a vehemence and drove away. That was the end of her first boy seeing encounter.
All of 25 and out of B-School, Avni had a plum brand management job that she loved. She was a simple city girl with middle-class values. Her sister had recently married and lived in the same city, Ahmedabad. Her brother was away doing his MBA. She lived with her parents and her dog. Her father was in the Indian Civil Services. A fiercely independent girl, she was the strange combination of a shy, confident woman who almost knew what she wanted. Slim, of good height, Avni had sharp, attractive features and an easy smile.
Yes, now that she had been working for some years, her parents wanted to see her settled. She was dead against finding a groom that daddy dearest chose for her. Nothing wrong with that, but she wanted to be in love with the man she married. After all, she had always dreamed of a prince on a knight who would sweep her off her feet. Okay, she hadn’t dreamed of that! She was too practical. Yet she wanted someone who could make her heart flutter without pesky relatives breathing down her neck and deciding how many meetings she wanted before saying a yes!
This matrimonial website route was more of a casual experience than something extraordinary. She really did not know if it would culminate into something substantial.
So, she wrote a smallish reply to Gaurav telling him a few things about herself, her job, and her family. Gaurav got back to her next day continuing in the same vein. He was working in Hyderabad in a software company. He had been an IIT Delhi alumnus and did his MBA before beginning a job. Impressive! Education mattered to her. She knew the trouble with being an independent, intelligent woman in a traditional patriarchal society. She was not giggly or overtly silly like other girls. Not overbearing, she was never apologetic for her intelligence, her values or her thinking mind. Will she find a man who could take that day in and day out? And how will she find her Mr. Right? The whole process of doing fact finding was making her feel gloomy. Why couldn’t a proverbial bell ring from the heavens like in the movies for her to know that this was the right guy for her, she mused?
Gaurav and Avni shared their family profiles. Unlike her, Gaurav’s parents were of mixed lineage. She found that intriguing; her own parents had similar backgrounds and even shared surnames. What appealed right away to her was Gaurav’s honesty. He openly appreciated her work and the fact that she enjoyed working. That was good. Check!
Then they moved to hobbies. Music – he loved rock; she loved romantic Hindi ditties. Reading – she loved reading; he read only if a gun was put to his head. Movies – he was a fan of cheap comedies; she preferred sugary romances. They moved from non-controversial topics like family, hobbies, work to stereotypical ones like “What do you look for in a girl/guy?” Each was ready with their done-to-death replies. Avni said, “She wanted an intelligent understanding partner who would support her in her career as well as in life. Looks did not really matter to her.” Reality — She had dreamed of a 6 ft. tall partner who had the good looks of Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Tom Hanks rolled in one. If he could cook like Sanjeev Kapoor and be adept in household chores, she would rush and put the varmala around his neck. It would kill her if he was fat or picked his nose or farted in front of her. She wanted sense of humor, wit and intelligence, of course. Damn! That would mean marrying 10 guys!
Gaurav gave similar answers, “A nice, independent girl who was intelligent and modern in thoughts and could support him in the highs and lows of life.” Reality — He wanted someone who looked like Angelina Jolie and Madhubala, who could cook like his mother, be a tigress in bed and be a quiet, obliging life partner who acquiesced to his decisions. Only in my dreams!
To be continued…
P.S: This is inspired by my own story!
Read Part 2 here
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