“She looks cute Karthik.”
My mom was looking at a girl’s photo sent to us by our uncle. My grandma and sister followed suit and complemented the girl. It was 2 days since I arrived in India and my mother was keen not to send me alone to US that time.
“Amma please. I am not ready for this. ” I interrupted and got busy with my MacBook.
“Just go and meet her. Talk to her once. ” My mother started urging.
“I said I’m not ready for this.” I tried to act serious.
“Ready for what?”
“Arranged marriage.” Deranged marriage, I muttered slowly.
“Karthik seems to have a girl friend Sudha.” My grandma quipped.Thanks to movies.
I couldn’t help smiling. “I don’t have a girl friend. It is just that I am not ready for a committed relationship yet. Not just yet.”
“So when will you be ready?”
“I don’t know. May be an year or two?” My mom had a “what-do-I-do-with-this-kid” expression on her face. One expression which should be patented for such scenes because the moment I generally said anything negative, my mother’s face used to turn red.
“What is wrong with arranged marriages?” She asked. I was not against arranged marriages but it needs the right chord to be struck for a happy relationship. And how one defines this X-factor is personal and cannot be explained to others, especially parents.
“I cannot be happy with a girl who isn’t my type.”
“How are you so sure that this girl isn’t your type?” She was looking at the photo when she said that.
“You made this choice and I have better taste.” I said smiling. Teasing mothers is so much fun.
“Right. Tell this to your dad. He wants you to meet her in your cousin’s wedding this weekend.” She hit me hard that time. My jaw dropped. I tried to reason with her but ultimately I had to give up.
Railway station – Hyderabad
One advantage with the window seat in an AC compartment is that you can see the world outside and no one knows that you’re checking them out. I got bored of looking at book stalls and idly vendors and whooshed the curtains to close. The train was about to start any moment and people started moving hurriedly. One girl whom I had seen outside sometime ago walked in and sat in my opposite seat. Some elderly male accompanied her. Must be her father, I thought. The girl’s face was very gloomy and her father’s was tensed.
“Remember Sneha, everything happens for a reason. No more tears, okay?” I saw her nod her head.
“Your uncle will come to pick you up. Take care.” He patted her shoulder. So he wasn’t coming along.
“Text us if you need anything. We will arrange it. Please take your meal without fail. Bye.” He got down the train and Sneha was looking at him from the window pane. Her eyes were red and misty. Train started and she didn’t take her eyes off her dad until she could see him no more. The fantastic time you can feel your love for anybody is when you are saying your byes to them. I was pleased to see the scene and I smiled to myself. I saw her lift her eyes and look at me with all contempt for smiling at her. I wanted to tell her I was only happy to see their love but not her unhappiness. She picked up a book from her bag after some time and got engrossed in it. I traveled with her for the next 12 hours to my cousin’s place and it proved to be the best spent time in my life. I was “knowing” her. After all the best period in your love life is when you’re actually knowing the person. You won’t have a single regret when you look back to those times.
My cousin’s place – VKSP
“So you like a random girl who sat in your opposite seat in the train last night?” My cousin was amused to hear that. He had come to pick me up from the station and I showed Sneha to him.
“Her name is Sneha.” I told him for the nth time.
“I know her name. She is from my school.” I was happy to note that. I thought making friends with her would be easy and fun because we had common friends. I decided to tell my mom about her if I like her even more.
“You fell for her because she was crying to leave her dad?” He had a perplexed expression on his face.
“Because she is cute?”
“Because she reads and writes?”
“Does she really write?” I asked with my eyes wide open.
“Okay, You like her because she is an introvert unlike you?” he mocked.
“Because she didn’t respond when you tried to make a conversation?” What a curious chap, I thought to myself.
“Tell me what is it then?”
“All of the above and something more.”
“But why Sneha of all girls?”
“I really don’t know what’s so special about her. I just know she is special, that’s it.”
“Do you know she broke her engagement? ”
“I know she is disturbed for some reason. So this is it.”
“Do you know why it is ruined?”
“She didn’t tell me.”
“She won’t be able to. She is mute.”