Make My Decision

Make My Decision

23 mins

One day after coming back from the office I told my mother that I had pain in my chest. My mother took me to our family doctor, who examined me and told us that it was just some gastric problem. While writing down the prescription he smiled at my mother and told her that she should get me married. I blushed and told him that now was not a good time, as I was waiting for a promotion. On our way back my mother and I started talking about me getting married. She told me that the doctor was correct and that we should start searching for a good girl. She asked me what type of girl I was interested in. I told her that she was the one who would spend more time with my wife, so she should find a girl of her choice for me.

The very next day my mother called me up in the office and told me that we had to go to my uncle’s house on the weekend to see a girl. I was very excited, especially after my mother told me that the girl was very beautiful. I went with my parents to my uncle’s house, and throughout the journey I just kept imagining what the girl would be like. We reached my uncle’s home right on time. We entered the house, and I saw that the girl and her parents and sister were already waiting for us.

My uncle introduced us to their family and gave a brief description about me to them. Out of shyness I couldn’t bring myself to look at the girl. Our parents started gossiping, and I finally got a chance to look at her. She was very pretty and was wearing a sari. She had long golden hair, deep brown eyes and perfect skin. The girl was totally flawless and was looking like an American doll dressed in an Indian outfit.

My aunt called the girl out of the room, and after some time the girl came back with a tea tray. She started serving everyone, and I was waiting for my turn. As soon she approached me I said no, but she persisted with a smile, and I took the teacup from the tray. She again smiled and kept the tray on the table and sat with her mother. Next came the question–answer session, and my parents started questioning the girl, and her parents stared questioning me. Some of the questions that her parents asked me were such that I felt as if it was a verification test by some government authority. But at least I came to know her name during this question–answer session – it was Parul.

But I was more worried about the answers that the girl was giving, as I was sure that my parents wouldn’t like some of the answers that she had given. When my mother asked her what her hobbies were, she replied shopping. I knew that this answer was surely not going to fetch her any marks. I wanted this girl to pass, but I had no way to help her out and tell her how to answer my parents’ questions. The next session was the ‘who is better’ session, and our parents started boasting about their families, their contacts, their relatives, who they knew and so on. This session ended in a cold war between our parents, and though they showed that they were impressed with each other, their body languages were saying something totally different. Then came the time to leave. On our way back my father asked me and my mother if we had liked the girl. I was too shy to tell him that I liked the girl and was ready to marry her, so I told them that I had no problems as long as they were fine with her, as they were more experienced and should therefore take the decision.

My mother replied that the girl was fine, but she didn’t like her father’s business. She also didn’t like the fact that they had not called us to their house. I didn’t say anything and kept on listening to my parents’ conversation silently. I could hear only good things about the girl but nothing good about her parents, her relatives and the family business.

We reached home, and the decision was obvious. The next day when I was getting ready for the office I heard my mother talking to my aunt over the phone. The conversion was the same, and my mother told my aunt that though the girl was good she didn’t like the family. I got dressed and started waiting at the dining table. My mother brought breakfast for me and pronounced her final verdict. I was quite unhappy with the decision, but I showed her that I was also of the same opinion that there was nothing special about the girl or the family.

On my way to the office I had a number of questions in my mind, and I felt that I should talk to my parents about the girl and try to change their minds, but I did not want to annoy or hurt them. So I convinced myself to go with their decision by thinking that my parents should be happy and that they should be the ones to take the decision because this decision would make them happy.

One evening I was sitting with my father, and the phone rang. My mother quickly picked up the phone, and I could see a big smile on her face. She was fixing an appointment with someone for the coming Sunday. After fixing the appointment she came to us and told us that we were going to see a girl on Sunday. She told us that the girl’s father was a retired military colonel, that he owned a big restaurant and blah, blah, blah. She didn’t tell us anything about the girl – something that I was interested in knowing.

We went to a nearby restaurant and started waiting for the family. The girl and her family reached the restaurant right on time, and their punctuality impressed my father a lot. The girl was fair and tall but not that good looking. Her mother and father were very well dressed up, and her father’s moustache made him resemble the colonel on one of the TV shows. We greeted the family and ordered for some snacks. The sessions started again, but there was a small twist this time. The girl’s father told us that we could sit separately and talk to each other.

As I was now a bit experienced (ahem!), I had thought of a few questions that I wanted to ask this girl. We both sat in front of each other and introduced ourselves. Her name was Priya. I asked her if she would like to order something. She smiled and told me that before I ask her anything she wanted to tell me something about herself and the conditions she had for marriage. She told me that she wore high-powered spectacles, without which she couldn’t see anything. The next thing she told me was that she would like to take care of her husband’s finances without any interference. The next condition was that if she were not able to adjust in the family she would like to live separately with her husband.

She made my day! I didn’t like her physical appearance at all, and neither did I like her behaviour, so I had a perfect reason to say no to her. During our meeting I kept saying yes to all her conditions and even told her that I liked her and that if everything went well we would surely meet again. My father called me when it was time to leave. On our way back home I told my parents about the whole conversation, and my parents were clearly annoyed. My father told my mother that she should straightaway tell them that the answer was no and went on to add that he didn’t like such families. My mother asked me what my opinion was, and my reply was the same – that she should take the decision for me, as the girl would have to spend more time in the house than me. But inside, I was very happy.

Days passed by, and this time my father called me up in my office and told me that we would see a girl in the evening, and so I should reach home early. I went to my boss and told him that I would leave early that day. He asked me why, and I told him the reason. He smiled at me and gave me all sorts of tips on how to rate a girl, which girl to marry and so on.

The venue was again a restaurant near our home. On our way to the restaurant my father told me that the girl’s father was a big caterer. He also praised the family’s culture and traditions. We reached the restaurant right on time and started waiting for the girl and her family. I was standing outside and saw a car stop in front of the restaurant and a family stepping out of it. I could clearly make out that this was the girl’s family. This time the girl’s family was almost half an hour late.

I went back to my parents and informed them about the family’s arrival. The girl entered the restaurant accompanied by her parents and her aunt. The first thing I noticed was that neither had she combed her hair nor was she properly dressed. It seemed as if she had been forcefully brought to the restaurant. My parents greeted their family, and we all sat at the table. We ordered for some snacks and then started the sessions. I noticed that the girl kept whispering something in her aunt’s ears, after which her aunt would hold her hand to calm her down.

The girl’s father asked the girl and me to sit separately and talk to each other. We both walked to a nearby seat, and I started the conversation by asking her what her name was. She told me that her name was Riya, and then I observed that she was not at all dressed up; she hadn’t even waxed her arms. I straightaway asked her if there was a problem and if she was really interested in getting married. Our first conversion had started something like a fight. The girl replied that I could say no to my parents if I was not interested, and I told her that she should say no because it seemed that she was not interested.

We went back to join our parents, and after the question–answer session we decided to leave. My father told the girl’s father that he would give them our answer in a day or two. On our way back home I told my parents that the girl had told me that she was in love in with someone else and that her parents were against this marriage. I also told my father that he could take the decision on my behalf, as he could judge the circumstances better than me. My father was extremely annoyed, and immediately after reaching home he called up the girl’s father and told him exactly what I had told him. I could hear the heated discussion between them. After keeping the phone down, my father called me and asked me if I was telling the truth, as the girl had told a completely different story to her parents. The girl’s father was ready to meet us again and clear any misunderstanding between us. But I managed to convince my father that I was telling the truth by reminding him about the girl’s outfit, her body language and her attitude, and my father was totally convinced. The journey of selecting a girl for me was still on.

One evening my father called me up and told me that one of his college friends had suggested a girl for me. This time we had to go to the girl’s house. The next day being an off day for me we fixed the meeting over the phone and went to the girl’s house. We reached a big house, and the girl’s father was waiting for us outside the house. We went into their house and found that the house was extremely luxurious. My parents starting talking with the girl’s parents, and the same sessions started.

I was very happy when the girl’s father said, ‘Radha, please get some tea and snacks’. Now I knew that the girl’s name was Radha. I was very excited till a fat, dark woman entered the room with a tray of tea and some snacks in her hands. She was the maid. I started dreaming about what the girl would look like. A number of strange thoughts came to my mind – that the girl would be very beautiful, as she is taking so much time to get ready; that maybe the girl had run away from the house, and that was why she had not come out to meet us; that maybe this time they just wanted to meet us and would call us to meet their daughter some other time; and so on. Then I saw a thin boy, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, with a face that made him look like a big mountain mouse, entering the room with a girl.

The girl’s father said to her, ‘Sheetal, please meet our friends Mr and Mrs Gulati and their son, Ashish’. She said namaste to all of us with folded hands. My mother asked the girl to sit beside her. The girl was so shy that it seemed as if a calf was sitting next to a tiger! My mother asked her, ‘So, what is your qualification?’ She murmured something, and kept her head towards the ground the whole time. I was unable to see her face until the girl’s father asked us to sit and talk in a separate room. She started walking towards the room that was next to the room in which my parents were sitting.

I felt that someone was following us, and I looked back – it was her brother. The three of us sat in the room, and this time her brother started the conversation. He asked me where I worked, what my hobbies were, if I had ever been abroad and so on. Then it was my turn, and I asked the girl what her qualification was, but the reply came from her brother that she was a graduate. Then I asked her what her hobbies were, and again the reply was from her brother, who told me that she liked cooking and stitching and was very fond of cleaning the house. Now I was losing my cool, and I asked her what her plans after marriage were. There was a big silence, and her brother tried to divert the topic by asking me some questions. That was it for me. I said that we should go back to our parents. I saw that my parents were waiting for me and were ready to leave. My father told the girl’s parents that he would discuss with the family and let them know the answer.

The decision was made when we were driving back home. This time my father didn’t ask me if I liked the girl but said to me, ‘Now we have found the right match for you. The family is good, and the girl simple. What else do we need? She will be a prefect homemaker as well’. This did not make me happy at all, as this girl was too much of a homebody and was too shy for me, and I wanted a girl to be at least a little modern, but I replied, ‘I am ready to marry the girl of your choice because you know the best’.

Somehow my mother was not quite impressed with the girl and told my father that we should see a few more girls and then take a decision. My father was a bit annoyed with this statement but agreed after an argument with my mother.

The second phase of searching for a girl for me had started, and this time the show was being directed by my mother. Every now and then I would to see her chatting on the phone and discussing about different girls. She started going to see girls for me all by herself, and in the evening she would discuss the girls that she had met with me and my father. But the answer was always no, and the search continued, until finally my mother told my father that we should wait for a year or so and then get me married.

Now came the final phase of selecting a girl for me, and my father decided to take out an advertisement in the matrimonial section of a newspaper. He drafted an advertisement himself and got it printed in the newspaper. After the advertisement was published our phone wouldn’t stop ringing, and my mother almost became a telephone operator, receiving the calls, answering the questions, telling the details of the boy and taking the required information about the girl. Within one week we had a bag full of matrimonial CVs of various girls.

The choice was becoming tougher and tougher, and the data bank was become bigger and bigger, until finally my father stepped in and shortlisted three girls – Mona, Mitul and Meenashi. All three girls came from altogether different cultures and families and were quite different from each other in their status and education. Phase three, or the final phase, had started, and we were very close to finalising the girl for me.

The first girl whom we decided to meet was Meenashi. My father had to go out of town for some official work, so my mother and I decided to meet this girl. We fixed an appointment with her family and decided to meet them in a nearby restaurant. My mother had already briefed me about the girl. On our way to the restaurant my mother told me not to take a decision yet, as we still had to see two more girls. We sat in the restaurant and started waiting for the girl’s family. After some time we saw a family entering the restaurant, and from the way the girl was dressed we could easily make out that this was the family we had come to meet.

They walked up to us, and we introduced ourselves to them. The girl’s mother told me that the girl’s father had died in an accident a few years back and that the girl’s brother took care of the house. Since I was very attached to my father, something in my heart went out to the girl when I heard about her father. We found the family to be polite and traditional. The girl’s mother asked me to take the girl out to the garden. I guided the girl towards the garden. She was fair, with small black eyes and thick, curly hair. She told me that she was not very educated but that she would become a good homemaker. She also told me that she knew that she was not the kind of girl I was looking for but that she would definitely try to keep me happy in any way she could.

She was right. She was not the kind of girl I was looking for, but there are very few people in this world who love you selflessly, and so I felt that I was unable to say no to this girl. I could see the feelings she had for me in her eyes. We walked back into the restaurant, and I kept thinking about what the girl had said to me. After the meeting ended, my mother didn’t ask me whether I liked the girl or not. When I asked her what her opinion was, she replied that she would visit their house and then take the decision. The next day my mother went to their house, and when she came back I could see that she was rather upset. She told me that the girl’s family was not as good as we had thought and that the girl was also not good looking without make-up. So I knew the answer was a big no. I felt bad about the girl but was completely helpless, as I was not the one who was going to finalise the girl.

The hunt for the girl was still on, and one morning, while I was half asleep, I saw an old woman peeping into my room. But when I opened my eyes she suddenly disappeared. My mother came to me with some tea and told me to get dressed. She told me that one of the girls we had shortlisted had come with her family to see me and our house. I quickly got ready and went to the living room, where they were sitting. They were discussing something, but as soon as I entered the room, there was complete silence. I greeted them as I sat down. The girl’s brother was in his early forties and kept quite throughout the meeting. I told them that I was getting late for office and left them with my parents.

The same evening when I reached home my mother handed me a glass of water and showed me the photograph of a girl. She told me that this was the girl who had come with her family to our house in the morning. She immediately picked up the phone and called the girl’s mother and fixed up an appointment to meet at her brother’s house.

We went to see the girl on Sunday, and after travelling for three hours through bumpy roads with nothing to eat, we reached our destination. The place was like a village, and the girl’s brother’s house was above the nursing home which he ran. We were greeted very well, in a rather traditional manner. I was sitting in their living room, waiting for the girl. Then the girl entered with some sweets in her hands. She was tall, skinny and fair and had long black hair. She was wearing traditional clothes and didn’t look at me even once.

After some time her brother asked us to go to a different room and talk to each other. I followed the girl as she went into one of the bedrooms. She asked me to sit on the bed, while she sat on the chair. I asked her if she had any questions for me, and she asked me obvious questions like if I smoked or drank. I asked her if she knew how to cook roasted potatoes, and she replied that she was a very good cook. I told her that I would like to continue living with my parents after marriage, as I was their only son. She replied that she did not mind.

I got up and went back to where my parents were sitting. After a few minutes I saw this girl peeping through the window and smiling. She was with some other girls whom I hadn’t seen earlier. After some time we decided to leave, and on our way back the same conversation started between my mother and my father. They wanted to see the last girl, Mona, before finalising a girl for me.

The next day we went to Mona’s house, which was in one of the posh areas of the city. We parked our car outside their huge mansion. We saw almost eight or ten imported cars parked inside the house. The gatekeeper took us inside the house and made us sit in a large living room, which was equipped with the latest electronic gadgets and had a number of priceless antiques as well. We were highly impressed after seeing the house. Then the girl’s mother and father came out and greeted us. Mona’s father had a big business in Mumbai, and her mother was a tall, fair and plump Kashmiri woman. They seemed to be religious, rich and highly cultured people.

Then the same scenario got repeated, and the girl entered with a tray of tea and some biscuits. She was tall and fair but not very beautiful. She served all of us and told us about her hobbies, qualifications, achievements, career and so on. After some time the girl’s family moved out of the room, and we felt very awkward. After waiting for a few minutes we also walked out and drove back to our house.

The minute we reached our house we heard the phone ringing, and it was Mona’s father. He wanted to know that why we had left the house without discussing the proposal. My mother told them that the girl seemed to be taller than the boy, and this was the only reason they could see against the match. Mona’s father immediately asked if he could come to our house, which surprised all of us, but somehow we agreed.

The family came in a big, black, imported car, and after some time Mona’s father asked Mona and me to take our shoes off and stand next to each other. He showed to everyone that I was taller than Mona. He asked my father to comfortably think for a few days and then decide. After a few days my mother and father agreed that she was the right girl for me and called up her parents to say yes. I was happy with the decision, and the same night I got a phone call from Mona. We chatted for almost five hours, and there was nothing which we didn’t discuss.

The next day my father called up Mona’s father and fixed the date for the first ritual. Mona and I started having long telephonic chats in the night, which would never have ended if it weren’t for my mother’s scolding. A few days before the ceremony Mona’s father called us up and asked us to postpone the ceremony because he had some urgent work. My father was extremely upset and told Mona’s father that he would decide the date later. My parents discussed what should be done. The conclusion they reached was that because Mona’s family was very rich, even after the marriage they would try to dictate their terms and conditions to our family. My father asked me what I wanted, and as usual, my reply was the same – that they were the best judge and that they should decide for me, though I wanted to marry Mona, as I knew that after marriage I would be well taken care of. Mona called me up, but I didn’t have any answers to her questions. Mona’s father came to our house, and my father told him that our families did not match culturally. Now I knew that this was a finished story.

I still remember that it was Monday, and the ceremony was to take place on Friday. And it did take place on Friday, as my parents had decided to finalise the second girl, Mitul. Mitul’s brother came on Friday, and we had the ceremony as planned. They gave us some gifts and sweets. In the evening when they left, my parents and I started discussing the ceremony, the girl and the family. My parents were not pleased about the entire thing, and they expressed their concern and told me that it was probably a bad decision. The main reasons behind this were the cultural differences we had, the educational gap between the two families and last, but not the least, the misunderstanding caused by the interference of the relatives.

The next ceremony took place a few weeks later, and there was more of dissatisfaction between our families. After a few more ceremonies I got married to Mitul. Time passed by and instead of the gap getting filled, it only widened. Both the families were not happy with each other, which led to the relationship between me and my wife becoming strained. The reason for this was that we knew that we had taken the decision in a hurry, and we should have taken a number of other factors into account before taking such a decision.

My parents were not at all happy with Mitul, and neither was she happy in our family. This had become a topic of discussion among our relatives. We would get a number of phone calls from our relatives asking about Mitul, which would always end up in fault-finding. I was the only person who always tried to get everyone to get along, as I wanted to see my family happy. I even lied a number of times to my parents and to my wife and used every resort possible to get everyone closer together, but the more I tried, the wider the gap became. Finally I came to the conclusion that the gap couldn’t ever be bridged, and I just accepted the situation.

The lesson I learnt was that a decision pertaining to us should be taken by us alone. And if we ask others to take the decision for us, then none of us can ever be happy. You know your motives, the results you want and your priorities, so you are the best person to take a decision for yourself. This goes not only for marriage but a number of other aspects of our lives as well. My not taking a decision resulted in dissatisfaction in our lives. I wanted to make everyone happy, but in the end no one was happy.

The lesson I learnt helped me in future, as from then on I have always taken my own decisions, on the basis of what I felt was right. Though some decisions did not give me the results that I wanted, I was happy that I had taken those decisions, as I knew that I was the only one responsible for my decisions.

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