And then we start to talk <
I met Suneeta
a few more times after our first meeting
, in a more informal way. For the first time we met during her lunch break
. So she was more informally dressed. Blue Jeans
and a white cotton shirt. She looked very confident
; and not as homely and mature she looked when I first "saw her"
. We started on the right foot, it was easy to talk about most of the things, she didn't get very defensive or extra sweet very often; something I always expected someone in her place to be. The second time again we met on a weekday during her lunch break.
But I hated this half hour midday meeting idea. For once, of course, the sun is at its hottest in the afternoon, then Ghaziabad is more than one hour away on road from Delhi, and considering my lack of practice on left hand driving I commuted by DTC(Delhi Traffic Corporation) buses. Commuting in DTC buses is no easy task at midday, believe me, specially all that you're gonna get is about 1/2 an hour in a crowded cafetaria with the other person.
"What is it with your lunch breaks? Let's meet this Sunday and go out for some movie. I missed the Sweet November over there, it's playing at PVR1. My roommates saw it, they said its good. What do you say?", I ask her over Nirula's Pizza and Coke at Connaught Place.
"I can take half a day off someday, tommorow may be. Bring your helmet and meet me at my office, and we can go on my bike from here", She says. "Okay", I say, "But what's this with weekdays. I'm around only for 12 more days. Can't you waste one Sunday for me". "tch - it's not that. At home only papa knows I'm meeting you like this. If mummy gets to know, she'll dress me up in Saree and everything everyday, and keep suggesting how to talk, how to behave, and in the evening prod me about what all we talked about. And if Daadi2 gets to know, she'll just plain kill me."
I can understand her concern. At my home, for example, both my parents know about these meetings and every evening I go through a smooth brain washing session. "So she's a nice girl right?", my mother would ask in the evening and before I can answer she starts, "Well she looks good, and also cooks well. She also works so won't keep nagging for attention every evening. And she's also very fair, and looks so lovely. What do you think?", she'd target the final question at my father, who'd stop flipping TV channels for a moment and respond to her, "Oh she's very fine. She's Goddess Lakshmi. And her father is such a fine man. I've been inquiring about her family from few people, everyone says they are very nice people, very good family. We would be fortunate to get that girl married to our son.", and looks back at TV immediately without looking at me even once. "But final decision is yours", my mother tells me, "Take your time, but if everything goes fine, we can have engagement ceremony before you leave". They have probably even planned the ceremony and invited everyone secretly. I just keep playing Minesweeper on my Palm V all this while.
"Just that day itself when you came to see me", Suneeta continues, "Mummy came and sat with me and started talking about you. 'So what do you think, changa hai na3?'. Before I could answer she continued, 'he is good looking for sure, little darker in color than you but if wife is prettier than the husband, she always has the upper hand. What else do you think? Did you found him good?', and before I could say anything, she continued again, "And he also looks very smart, and he works for Cisco. Its a big company right? Yeah I've heard its a very big company, Mrs. Khanna told me yesterday its the biggest company in the world. He also has a car of his own. Some good car. Of his own. In India its so difficult to buy one's own car at such young age. And his parents are also fine right? His mother is such a nice lady, they said they don't need any dowry or anything, just you in plain clothes. Such a nice family. We probably did some very good deeds in our past lives to have come across such a good family. We'll be so lucky if this relation goes through. But final decision is yours. Take your time. Times have changed so much, in my time, no one asked my opinion. My father told me to get married to this man, and I said okay. If my father thinks he's good for me, he would be good. But we are of modern thoughts, your decision will be final. But it'll be good if you make your mind up soon, we'll need to have an engagement ceremony before he leaves....', I couldn't speak a single word in the entire conversation."
"What would you had said if she had let you? Yes or No?", I ask. Hoping so much she's already decided ... in the favor of this relation. She didn't answer, just coyly smiled and started looking the otherway. That's what a large number of girls of my generation here still do, shy off, once in a while. This most certainly means a 'Yes'. I think I fell in love with her right then and right there.
"Did you kiss her?", She asks me. "What? Whom? What? Kiss? Whom? No....", I startle and think very very fast and decide that at this moment its more intelligent to lie. I also wished I hadn't told her about Mabel; and she hadn't told me about that SOB. "Did you ... Kiss him?", I ask her and regret immediately because the kind of girl she is, she would most probably say yes. "...Yes, once, ... on the cheek. It was his birthday and he was very insistent for a long time, but only that once, and only a small peck, nothing else". I know this doesn't even count practically speaking, but I'm still just a little jealous of that bastard, and a little ashamed of my inability to be completely honest to this girl. Mainly because I don't know what her reactions would be.
We decided its best our meetings continue on weekdays. By now I'm sure I'll say 'yes' for her. She's fine in almost every respect that I can think of. All through the journey back home in the DTC bus I kept replaying the entire conversation in my head and kept in a way deciding that she's perfect for me in more ways than one. It's time I said yes and get formalities done and over with.
When I reach home, I notice that the my father is unnaturally silent and thinking about something rather seriously. My mother also looked extra busy in kitchen. I'm puzzled, I just go sit by my father and start to shuffle through the Newspaper.
"Rishi", my father says, "you should not meet that girl anymore. We should probably call this entire thing off". "Wha..? What do you mean? What happened?" I ask, all puzzled and confused. "I asked a few people from her office about the girl and I learnt that's she's not of a very good character. She had some sort of relation with someone from her office till a few months back. We can't bring such a girl in this house...". I'm so furious and worried and confused. Arguing with my father has never achieved anything for me ever ...
1 > PVR - "Priya Village Roadshow" is a rather expensive but a very popular multiplex movie theater in New Delhi.
2 > Hindi for Grandmother.
3 > "He is good isn't he?" - Trans from Punjabi.
>Arguing with my father has never achieved anything for me ever