In Search of a Bridegroom
My daughter had just completed her BE course and joined a software company. She had barely left for office when my wife started haranguing me. Her grievance was that I had not yet commenced search for a suitable husband for my daughter. 'I have been talking about this since she completed her 3rd year in the college, but you have been wasting time' she said. I pacified her and promised swift action in the matter.
I consulted my old friend Raghu. He told me 'It is simple. All you have to do is to insert an advertisement in one of the National newspapers. You will be flooded with offers'. My wife was in ecstasy. Goaded by her, I sat down to prepare a draft for the advertisement. All that we need, I said, was a good boy who would take care of our daughter for all time to come. My wife was clear- the boy should be employed in USA, H1B visa, green card holder and all that. Further, he should be tall and very fair, handsome, a tea-totaller and have no encumbrances whatsoever. It would be preferable if he was working in California, she said. The climate would not be of extremes and so we could spend days there without difficulty! With such rigid specifications, I asked her, how could she expect suitors for our daughter who is not an 'apsara' by any standard. But it was not possible to argue with her on the issue.
In the event, I went ahead with the placement of advertisement. There was a suggestion from the advertisers that at a discount of 25%, the same advertisement could be repeated a week later. Of course, I made light of it, for I was sure that my daughter would be flooded with offers! Well, the D-day arrived and I was all excitement. I read and reread the matrimonial column till I was sure there was no mistake in the actual print. Soon some responses were received, though not exactly matching with our specs. We began short-listing, an exercise that lasted several hours. My wife rejected without hesitation those cases where the family was perceived to be big in her view. I protested 'we are also not a small family'. Needless to say, her opinion prevailed in the end.
I took the horoscopes to the Astrologer for consultations. He rather ruthlessly cut down many of them. They had the planets in wrong positions or the boys were born under wrong stars! Not a single H1B visa boy, to our great disappointment! All that I was left with were five cases, out of which two were considered to be of good matching and the others so-so. The Astrologer asked me not to worry at all and added in good measure that my daughter would sooner or later get a husband who would be earning in dollars! No doubt I was in cloud nine on this assurance.
Hurrying home, I had another round of discussions with the wife. I wrote to the parents about our readiness to proceed further. Time passed, but there was nothing to cheer about. In one of the cases, the boy's father wanted to know my financial status, whether I was owning the flat, whether I had any of my children or relatives settled in USA and so on. But at the end, he was polite enough to inform me that the horoscopes did not match. It was much later that I realized how convenient a weapon the horoscope could be when it came to rejection of an alliance! It seems to be a universally accepted formula that saves embarrassment for both the parties in any given situation! I was told that in this computerized era, all you have to do is to feed the horoscope of one partner and you get a matching one in no time!
Finally, we did succeed in reaching the stage of exchange of photographs. It was a difficult proposition getting my daughter properly photographed for the occasion. It looks specialists have now sprung up even for this kind of activity. A date was at last to be fixed for the boy and girl to see each other. But this time, my daughter was up in arms. Bowing to her wishes, the meeting was arranged in a hotel instead of in the house. Yet with all that, the alliance did not go through.
I am now busy replying to 'Brides wanted' columns and contacting marriage bureaus including dotcoms that have mushroomed all over! The wife has now softened up. The one person who is least disturbed is the daughter! For her the immediate priority is her career and she is happy that the pressure on her is off, albeit temporarily.
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Narayanan Krishna Kayen
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