Arguing with my father has never achieved anything for me ever<

"So what if she was seeing someone", I gather enough courage to talk to my father about my probable future wife; but knowing him well, I keep my volume and tone very modest. "People see people, things work out or don't. I don't care as long as she's not seeing anyone anymore. At least she's been honest to me. I think that's remarkable."

My father looked up from the Newspaper, lowered it in a marked fashion and folded it neatly. He's very good at it. One can't tell that the newspaper has already been read after he folds it back. He's also very good at squeezing toothpaste tubes. He can use a tube I'd give up on, for at least one more week successfully.

"When are you planning to get a haircut?", he plainly asks me. "You're turning into a Hippie."

I look at my mother helplessly. "What amma? I'll have to argue my way through even for an arranged marriage now?"

"Suno Jee (Listen)", my mother tells my father, "I think he's right. Its a good family and everything and whatever was her past is past. We should not think too much about it."

"What has come over this boy?", my father asks my mother, "When I was his age, I never dared to talk to my father about girls or my marriage; leave alone arguing over it." Then he looks at me and says, "It's not like its a love marriage or anything. What do you care? There are a zillion parents around who want to get their daughters married to you.". He starts reading his newspaper again. "I know you like that girl. We also like the girl and that family but when there are better options available you should do the wise thing."

"Amma, I didn't even want to do all this to start with. And I'm certainly not doing it again if that's what you have in mind. And what was all that talk about Goddess Lakshmi and whatnot." I tell my mother, all the while intending to tell it all to my father. "Anyway, It's fine. You don't want this thing to go through, fine. We tried it, it didn't work. I'm preponing my return. I'll catch the next flight back to my life."

My father lowered the newspaper again and looked straight at me. I feared another session on how good a son he was when he was my age and how shameless I have grown to be, all thanks to America. But he didn't say that. "Don't go yet beta (son)", he gently said, "don't go yet..."

I looked at him and noticed again how old he looks now. He's not the Superman I knew from my childhood, someone who could do anything and everything. Who, for most part of my life decided what streams of education I take and what TV shows I watch; Against whom I had no powers. He was not even the bitter critic he used to be of my sketching or writing, always telling me I'll amount to nothing if I don't stop wasting my time on useless hobbies. "Don't you ever miss us?" he asks.

I sit back down next to him. "I won't go ... I'm sorry papa ... and its okay about the marriage also. Just don't ask ..."

"It's alright. We'll bring Suneeta home", he says, looking back into the newspaper, he just hates to admit defeat; I would too if I was in his place. "I think you're right. I'm just a little old fashioned, I take my time to convince myself."

I wish I still had it in me to hug him and thank him like I used to when I was a kid and he caved in to all my small demands. My mother looks so happy, I think next thing she'll do is go visit Goddess Durga in the temple nearby and thank her. I think I'll join her.

"But I won't compromise on that haircut. I don't want to see a Gorilla every morning in my home. Get that head straightened soon", he says, still without looking up. I start to smile.


 >The Astrology factor: Continued saga of an Arranged Marriage

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