Of Chiming Bells
Of Chiming Bells4 mins 138 4 mins 138
Disclaimer-This story of my life was when Arranged Marriages were the name of the game and a done thing in our generation. Today's people read at your own peril!
"Ding Dong…. the bells will chime in your heart", I remember, telling my BIL (Brother-in-law, to the uninitiated), when he had asked me about how to know that "SHE" is the one!!" Is that what happened with you?", this small innocuous question, took me back to the time, when I had first laid eyes on my to-be wife, his erstwhile sister.
I had by then, done the mandatory rounds of "seeing" the girls, found to be 'appropriate' by my parents and nothing had done the trick. The interminable evenings were as boring as watching the paint dry. To hear my mother say it, you would feel that I had committed the biggest crime ever, instead of just saying no to a girl; who incidentally did not make the Earth tilt for me or make me weak-kneed just by looking at her. How does one explain to a parent the all-important aspect of liking a girl? You know -she's the one – when the bells start ringing, when the world appears brighter, when you smile goofily at everything, even while doing numb skulling number-crunching work in the office!
The X-factor that I was looking for (trying to explain it is as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree) was just not there. What is this elusive "X" factor? I guess, its different strokes for different folks. For me; on closing my eyes, if I could visualize both of us, sitting in compatible silence 30 years hence, occasionally holding hands and smiling at each other in complete understanding; THAT was it!! For me, she had to press all the right buttons for it to work. I was ready to wait a lifetime to find my soulmate; notwithstanding my parents' pressure to marry. They in their wisdom thought that life was passing me by and soon "no eligible" girls would be left for me as all the good ones would have been snapped up by more sensible "boys". Undeterred I turned a blind eye to their cajoling looks every time I went home.
Life has a way of jolting you of your stupor when you least expect it. Here I was cruising through life as happy as a dog with two tails, ignoring my parents beseeching looks when they asked me to "see" yet another girl as a favour to them, for they could not refuse the persons who had brought the proposal; and so here we trooped again, en masse as a family for yet another "tea-and-poha" session and a hopeful look in my parents' eyes.
I still remember the faintly bored stance of mine and "oh-no- not- again" look on my face receiving the first hard kick in my abdomen on seeing the "girl" for the first time, and I jack-knifed to sit straight and look presentable. An amused smile on my mother's face told me that she had noted my reaction and was looking forward to the evening!
Whoosh! Went my heart, and suddenly, I found myself wanting to make a right 'impression '. Sitting by ourselves in a separate corner( thank God for small mercies!) , I was enthralled by her talk (which my dazed senses didn't register) and the hours just flew by!! Before I knew it, it was 9.30 at night and a gentle nudge from my mother made me aware that the family was waiting politely for both of us to join everyone so that we could make an exit and let them be!
What was it about her that had me so sure that she was THE one for me? Yes, she was (and still is) attractive, bright and intelligent but it was her joie-de-vivre as opposed to my reticent nature, her bubbly self and vivaciousness, her charm and confidence that was not deterred by my imposing silences that had my heart beating faster than a greyhound in a race. My reserved stodginess was offset by her effervescence, her light-hearted take on life was exactly what I was looking for! To put it simply, she made me laugh! She wanted to fly and soar over the ordinary and I knew I would love to be the wind under her wings, both to help her spread her wings and also to keep her moored with me.
So enthralled was I by her that I pestered my mother-quite unlike me - to give them an assertive answer as soon as we could. When they deterred and wanted some more time, I made a beeline the very next day to their place as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, to assuage any doubts they had of my career, prospects and our life together.
Well, as we are still together after almost 35 years, suffice it to say that my charm and conviction worked on her and her family and today, my dream of spending the rest of my life with my soul mate in happy ramblings and relaxed evenings is as much a reality as the Sun which rises in the East everyday.
Oh! And in case you are wondering, yes,the bells are still chiming!!