I never intended to make my parents happy <

She's sitting across the table from me, my probable future wife. Like almost every other person my age in this country today, I hate the idea of an arranged marriage, so does she - and right now, probably more than I do.

I'm on vacation from my job and life in California and visiting home for a month. After endless discussions and a complicated thought process I finally gave into my parents' constant wish to get me married.

All I know about her so far is that she's 3 years younger than me, she completed her post graduate degree in Computers last year and she works for a multinational IT Company in Noida. Also that her family is so and so, her father does this and this, before the fateful partition of India, the forefathers of this family used to live in same village as my forefathers etc. My parents think that the latter attributes are the most important ones and I should keep them in mind before deciding anything.

This is our first meeting. Everyone gathered and had some formal exchanges for about an hour, and then we both were left alone to talk in private and get to know each other a little more. Apparently half an hour should be sufficient for this.

So here we are, me in a navy blue suit, blue and white striped tie; she's wearing a white/pink saree and light jewelry, and its evident she doesn't wear that very often, I imagine her leaving for office in jeans and T-shirts every morning, lazing around home in shorts and a tank top maybe. But not today. "Aaj Ladke Wale Dekhne Aa Rahe Hain*, wear a saree", her mother might have told her in the morning. Should be tough on her, Sunday is the only day off she gets in a week they told me. I'd hate to be in her place right now. Well - I'm hating to be in my place right now as well, so I guess we are not very different, both of us.

I hate to admit it, but this feeling, that we both have a common discomfort right now is making me feel quite comfortable sitting with her here right now; and well - she's pretty good looking on that. In fact that's one reason I agreed to at least "just see her" in the first place, its funny that my father believes if I "just see" any one of the girls he wants me to see, I'd say yes. I want him to know I'm not that pathetic so a part of me wants to say no to this relation, but then its silly trying to prove this point.

And, well - she's pretty simply dressed and has only a hint of makeup. That's good. That's always good. I like that. But wait a minute, her mother would had asked her to dress and makeup to the nines for sure, Punjabi mothers are infamous for pressing on that. So she probably rebelled a bit and got her way with dressing, hmmm ... so she's not really very docile. "Hey !!", a voice from within me yells at me - "did you want that? a brainless life partner?". 'Certainly not !!'. This thing is so tough, arranged marriage.

She's sitting across the table from me, my probable future wife and probably measuring me as much as I'm trying to measure her. And it hits me, a sudden realization - what if I say 'yes' to this relation, and she says 'no'? She is not really a docile dark damsel from a village, she's not the kind of girl my mother was when she was her age. This girl has a mind of her own. And it occurs to me that I should make sure my act is together. She should not get an impression that I'm some sort of a typical US dude. This thing is tough, its probably the toughest thing I've done since I broke up with Mabel ... now I had to think of her, didn't I?

Now I'm at the same time angry, sad, indecisive, uncomfortable and under performance pressure. Well, I can't help but smile.

* : (loose translation from Hindi) People from Probable Groom's side would be visiting today.

>And then we start to talk

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