An arranged marriage is a marriage between two people who are not related by blood. It is a legal contract between two families.
Arranged Love or marriage
“Oh Thank God you’re home, I thought you were going to be late!”
“I always come home at this time Mom. What’s wrong?”
The girl was confused but too tired from a long day at work to worry about why her mother had whisked her off to her bedroom straight from the door rather than letting her into the living room.
“There are some people here to see you..” the mother was hesitant, eyeing her daughter nervously.
The girl visibly tensed, conflicting emotions chasing each other across her face. She looked at her equally tense mother.
“Mom you know I don’t like these awkward meetings, I’m no good at small talk! Besides, I don’t want to get married yet!”
“You’re 26, if we don’t start looking now, we’ll never find a good match! Arranged marriages take time.”
“I know I know, but it’s awkward! Knowing they’re here to judge me, to decide if I’m good enough for their son…”
“It goes both ways sweetheart, we’re judging right back!”
The girl laughed. Her mother was right after all. She glanced at herself in the mirror, self-consciously fidgeting with her hair. She wished she had more time to work on her appearance, but this would have to do.
“Ok, let’s do this,” she said with confidence that she really wasn’t feeling. Her heart beat just a little faster as she followed her mother to the front of the house and to the waiting guests…
Steps of arranged love:
Strangers on the Road
“I’m definitely going to be late today,” the girl worried as she scurried around her bedroom, trying to get ready as quickly as possible.
She grabbed the first ironed dress she could find in her closet and hastily put it on, hoping there wouldn’t be any traffic on the way to work. Her students weren’t exactly great at the whole patience thing and would probably disperse faster than a smoke cloud if she wasn’t there at 9 am on the dot.
She quickly checked her appearance in the mirror, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her ear and adjusting the dupatta around her neck.
“This is the dress I was wearing the day that lady came to see me,” the thought suddenly shot through her head, recalling that day to her mind. “I wonder if she called mom again…”
She quickly pushed the thought from her mind. No use fretting about that now, she chided herself, these things took time and it had only been a few weeks since that initial meeting. It could take anywhere from a week to a few months before anything definite came from it.
However, as she quickly gathered up a pile of term papers and headed out the door, she couldn’t help but go over that initial meeting in her head. The lady had been really nice, smiling and talking while sizing the girl up as a possible bride for her youngest son, while the girl smiled nervously and tried to not sound like a complete idiot.
The meeting had been less awkward than others of the sort the girl had sat through so there was that.
“I wonder what the son is like,” she thought as she climbed into her car. “I wonder what he looks like..”
The girl adjusted her rearview mirror, glanced at her wristwatch, and started her drive to work.
As she took a quick shortcut in an attempt to maybe not be so late to work, she barely noticed the silver car that passed her on the street. She didn’t notice the boy behind the wheel who turned around to look at her, or that he kept looking at her till she was out of sight…
“Well, how was it? How was he? What did he say?”
“It was nice N, he was nice..”
“What was he wearing?”
The girl’s brother laughed at the question.
“Of all the things you could ask me about the guy, you want to know what he was wearing first?”
“Fashion sense is important too! Says a lot about his personality!”
The girl’s brother laughed again.
“Whatever you say N.”
“Did you ask him all the questions on my list?”
“Of course I did!”
The girl grinned. In the absence of being able to meet and interrogate/talk to a prospective match yourself, it sure was nice to have an older brother willing to invite the guy out and interrogate him for you.
Still smiling to herself, the girl settled in to listen to her brother go over his meeting with the boy, not wanting to miss a single detail.
Girl meets Boy
“What about this one?” The girl asked anxiously, holding up a pink and white dress with a colorful dupatta.
“It looks really nice!” her sister assured her from the bed, where she sat amid a pile of discarded clothing.
The girl held the dress up to her chin and peered at herself in the mirror, trying to ignore the waves of panic rising in her belly. If this is what it felt like to have ‘butterflies in your stomach then she was glad she had never felt it before.
Today though? Today it felt like she had an entire colony of the buggers inside her, and all because the boy was coming to meet her for the first time. So yes, she was just a tad nervous.
After a few months of conversation between their families, a handful of meetings sans her, and an intricate screening process conducted by her father and brother, she and the boy were finally going to see, meet and talk to each other for the first time.
So yes, no pressure.
Exasperated, the girl tossed the dress onto the growing pile on her bed and went back to rummaging through her closet, searching for that elusive perfect outfit.
“Ok, they’re calling for you,” the girl’s sister-in-law announced, breezing into the room where the girl and her sister had been waiting tensely ever since the guests had arrived.
“I think I’m having a heart attack.”
“No, you’re not! You’re just stressed! Shake it off, come on they’re waiting!”
“Ok ok, let’s go. Wait, where exactly is he sitting? I don’t know what he looks like! How do I know which one is him and which ones are the brothers?”
“He’s sitting next to his dad at the end of the gray sofa, don’t worry, I’ll sit you down somewhere with a good view!”
“Ok stop stalling, it’s time for your big entrance!”
“Ok, now I’m hyperventilating again!”
The girl’s sister-in-law laughed, giving the girl a quick hug before ushering her out and gently steering her toward the sound of laughter and voices.
The two girls paused just outside the door.
“I think so..”
Smiling nervously, self-consciously clenching and unclenching her fingers, the girl followed her sister-in-law into the brightly lit room.
She could feel her heart pounding, sure that everyone could hear it. Her face flushed, and she tried to remember to smile and return everyone’s greetings as she took a few awkward steps.
Her eyes darted around the room, from one new face to the next as she took in the boy’s family.
Then she saw him. There, on the far end of the room, a nervous smile on his face was the boy.
He looked up, and their eyes met.
The boy, understandably, was nervous but hoped to God it didn’t show. The last thing he needed was to make a bad first impression, and as far as first impressions went, the first-meeting-with-possible-future-wife situation was pretty much the most important first impression in his life so far.
He nodded and smiled at the girl’s dad, willing himself to focus on the conversation instead of worrying.
He was still smiling when he heard the door open on the other end of the room and the rise in conversation that followed.
He looked up, and there she was.
Smiling self-consciously, nervously adjusting her dupatta, the girl took a few hesitant steps into the room before looking up.
Their eyes met, and for a split second the rest of the world went slightly out of focus.
The girl blinked, breaking the spell, and the boy quickly looked away, not wanting to get caught staring at her. From the corner of his eye, he could see the girl take a seat next to his mother, on the other side of the room and out of his line of vision.
Great. So much for meeting the girl. Now how was he supposed to look at her without twisting his head around and being super obvious?
“Damn it,” the girl thought as she nodded along to the conversation, “I can’t see him from here at all!”
She had only caught a glimpse of the boy when their eyes had met across the room and though it had been an intense moment, she had barely had time to take him in properly.
She was still trying to figure out how to steal another look at the boy when she heard someone calling her name.
“N why don’t you come here for a while? We haven’t gotten to talk to you at all!”
It was the boy’s brother, who just happened to be sitting right next to the boy himself.
Panicking, not sure what the proper response should be, the girl did the only thing she could do: she looked at her mom for help. The girl’s mother smiled and nodded.
The room wasn’t an exceptionally large one, but it felt like it took forever to walk across it to the small enclave of men on the other end. Her heartbeat thumped in her ears, almost deafening.
Relieved that she managed to make it across the room without tripping over her own feet, the girl sat down next to her father, smack dab in front of the boy.
Breath in. Breath out. Relax. Look up.
Yes or No?
The tea things had finally been cleared away, heels had been kicked off and collars had been loosened as the family sat around the living room, everyone giving their own 2 cents about the boy and his family.
The girl smiled to herself, remembering the endearing way the boy’s brother had managed to break her away from the woman and seat her right across from the boy. True she hadn’t actually talked to the boy himself (that would have been scandalous!), but she had watched him converse and interact with her father and brother, she had noted his easy smile and his respectful demeanor, and she had blushed at the covert glances he had sent her way.
Listening to everyone happily discussing the evening, she realized that she wasn’t alone in her positive thoughts. They all seemed to have loved the boy.
The girl was still smiling to herself when her father turned to her and asked her the all-important question.
“What did you think of him N?”
“I thought he was nice, they were all nice.”
“Are you ok with us saying yes?”
The room was quiet, all eyes on the girl. This was probably the most important decision she would ever have to make in her adult life, and she knew it. What she also knew though was that she trusted her father’s judgment and he would not be willing to give her away in marriage unless he really liked the boy and family in question.
She turned to her father and felt herself blush.
“Are you nervous?”
“I’m trying not to be so don’t remind me!”
“What’s the fun in being the bride’s best friend if you don’t get to tease her?”
“I’m not the bride yet, today’s just the engagement!”
“Honey, you became the bride the moment your parents said yes to his parents.”
“Oh don’t stress so much! I’m just bugging you! You look amazing! You’ll knock his socks off!”
The girl smiled at her friend. “Thank you!”
“Now stop pacing and sit down. I’m going to go see if your mom needs any help with the arrangements. They’ll be here soon!”
“You know, I’m really getting tired of all these grand entrances I have to keep making,” the girl lamented.
“Get used to it, there’s still a lot more to come!” Her friend laughed, glancing at the clock as she did so.
The girl had a vague feeling of de java as she paced the floor, waiting for her sister-in-law to come to get her.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes, I think so..”
“Ok, deep breath and smile!”
The girl entered the brightly lit living room, hoping she didn’t look as nervous as she felt.
The women surrounded her, full of kind words and smiles as they steered her towards the empty space next to the boy. Her heartbeat quickened as she took her place, stealing a shy glance at the boy beside her.
This was their second ‘meeting’.
The warmth of their family surrounded them, cameras flashed, and laughter and chatter filled the room as the two sat side by side, too conscious of propriety to talk to each other, but at the same time very aware of their closeness.
After a while, the boy’s mother came and sat beside the girl, ring in hand and a smile on her face. With lovely words of blessing, she put the ring on the girl’s finger while the girl’s mother followed suit, placing a ring on the boy’s finger. The small gathering of family and friends erupted in celebrations, congratulations being given and accepted by all.
The girl and the boy were officially engaged.