‘I will ask Grandpa to start looking for boys’, said my father nonchalantly, as if it was not a big deal. Boys here meant, prospective grooms for me. Yikes!!! The thought itself sent shivers down my spine. I tried to avoid the awkwardness by rushing into the kitchen, not realizing that me going into the kitchen would invariably attract more attention than divert it.
My mum casually follows me inside and states, “We have to start searching Nammu. We are not asking you to get married tomorrow. But, these things take time.”. “Aaahh, amma”, I blurted in frustration and stomped out of the room. People who know me well will vouch for the fact that there is no sight funnier in this world than watching me stomp. Thus, the seriousness of my disapproval was lost. After a brief period of silence, my dad walks into the room with a smile and before he can say anything remotely associated with marriage, I say, “Papa, let me enjoy my life. I do not want to be married till I am 25. I want to settle in my career and do different things. Please!”. God knows how, but my eavesdropping mum enters the scene and interrupts my carefully planned,emotionally stirring monologue, “Nammu, do not be childish. We won’t marry you till you are 24. Not later than that. You know what happened with A and B.” Suddenly sighting a loophole in her statement, I latched on to the words ‘don’t be childish’ and carefully wrapped a theory around it. ‘I don’t know how to cook’, ‘I am stubborn’, ‘I am short tempered’ etc etc. I belittled myself like I have never done and still, it was not enough. My dad was amused, my mum was not. In a last ditch effort, I said, “You don’t love me”. I know, its pathetic and overly sentimental but, trust me, it works. At least it used to when I was younger and cuter. Now, it looked silly and I realized I needed to sharpen my acting chops. But, I digress. So, the conversation seemed to have hit a roadblock and the scorching heat was not helping.
After a sumptuous lunch, things sort of cooled down. My mum and aunt, out of nowhere just asked me, “so what kind of guy do you want to get married to”. Uhmm, if it were left to me, Robert Pattinson. But, seriously, how do you answer a question like that and that too when asked by your parents/relatives. My folks are pretty cool. I can talk to them about anything and I do. We had a very open upbringing, but somehow the topic of marriage is still seeped in tradition and culture and that is one department, you should not mess with. So I muttered some garbage collaborated from the numerous rom-coms I have seen and my mum seemed to be nodding in approval. So, I asked her, “Mum, is it okay if he’s from another caste?”. Silence. The kind that can tear through metal. ‘Why are you asking that?’, enquired mum. ‘Hmm, just normally ma’, I tried to sound as relaxed as possible. “Is something going on?”, she said. “No, mumma”.”You have a boyfriend Nammu”, my mum said with a smile. I had dug a grave for myself. You cannot talk yourself out of a conversation like this, except for saying something like ‘I am gay’. I moved uncomfortably in my seat, but the damage had been done. Both mum and dad started teasing me and soon, it became hard not to laugh. My parents, of all the people, were nudging me about boyfriend et all. Suddenly, the clouds of marriage seemed to be dispersing and sensing a golden opportunity, I said, “Mum, till my next birthday, no marriage talk please” and guess what they said 😀
PS: I have the coolest set of parents ever !! And they have a pretty cool daughter too 😉