Just as an arranged marriage needs dollops of love to thrive, a love marriage may sometimes need some ‘arrangement’ for it to even come to fruition! Here is an interesting take on the eternal question – Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage?
(This is a contest entry)
A smartly dressed young man rings the doorbell. The sound brings an elegant woman with a kind face to the door. As she opens it to her visitor, both faces light up at each other’s sight.
Prema : Arrey, Akhil, what a pleasant surprise! Come on in. Are you alone?
Akhil : Yes, I am. There was something I needed to discuss with you personally. (He enters the modestly but tastefully done up drawing room and takes a seat. Prema takes a place facing him)
Prema : (quizzical yet smiling) Ok, that sounds serious! Especially coming from a bindaas banda like you. Anyway, before you say anything, tell me, do you want some thanda? How about tea? Oh, I made some banana cake, too, woh khayega?
Akhil : Yes, but later, perhaps. After we have discussed this important matter at hand, and if you agree with what I am about to propose, we will definitely need something meetha. But if you don’t agree… (he lets his voice trail off)
Prema : (raises her eyebrows) Wow! In that case, I had better shut up and let you do all the talking, shouldn’t I? (She smiles)
Akhil : (with a mock-serious face) Even though I don’t want this to appear as the famous mausi-Jai scene from Sholay, I really have no other option, unfortunately. So here goes – Prema Vishwanath Iyer, I come to you with a marriage proposal on behalf of my best friend, philosopher and guide in the entire world – Dinesh Bhaskar Singh, who, as you know, is affectionately called Dibs by everyone who knows him.
Prema : (speechless out of shock) What….errr….?
Akhil : Well, I decided I couldn’t let you both dribble this ball endlessly, like you two seem to be doing for 6 months now! I arranged for this thing to start. Hence, I must arrange for it to reach its logical conclusion, too.
Prema : (still surprised) Arrange?
Akhil : Of course. You see, I still remember quite vividly the day I initiated Dibs to Facebook. I had just returned from my residency at Tata Memorial so he and I had decided to celebrate with our favourite friend, Jack Daniel. Once we both were nicely sloshed, Dibs was up to his old tricks – he wanted to know everything about all the girls I had met in Mumbai. Always trying to push me to settle down, that man! This time, of course, I had decided that I would turn the spotlight on him instead, and all the girlfriends from his past! He hummed and hawed, but I was going to have none of that!
Prema : (smiling) So it was you who pushed him into the big bad world of Facebook?
Akhil : (triumphantly) I absolutely did! I told him that everyone was on Facebook – even grandmas! Why was he being such a fuddy-duddy? And then I told him that it was the best way to look up his school and college chums. And, yes, crushes, too!
Prema : What did he say?
Akhil : He fell for it, obviously! Oh, pump in a few drinks into a lonely man and you can make him do things!
Prema : And that’s how you found me?
Akhil : Correct! His first and mightiest college crush!
Prema : (suddenly turning red) So Dibs and me bumping into each other for the first time at Lodhi Gardens that morning wasn’t just a chance encounter? And he told me that he was a stickler for morning walks – never missed them rain, shine or cold!
Akhil : (laughs loudly) “Chance”, sure, but with a lot of pre-planning. From your profile page, we noticed that you lived in Jorbagh, and that walking and exercising were your hobbies and interests. We figured you must come to Lodhi Gardens for walks every morning! You could say, we put two-and-two together, and prayed that it would add to four!
Prema : Such stalking connivers! I would have avoided Dibs like the plague had I known what you both were up to! (she smiles, amused)
Akhil : Oh, I doubt that! He told me that in college you had as much of a crush on him as he had on you! You recognized him right away when you saw him at the park, didn’t you?
Prema : (smiles and blushes slightly) That crazy man told you that? Well, I am not going to comment at all!
Akhil : Look at it this way. It was in your fate – I just helped push it along! And look at the brighter side, if the two of you get together for good, Dibs will never have a reason to ever be on Facebook again!
Prema : Interesting reason!
Akhil : There are better reasons, let me assure you!
Prema : (feigning surprise) There are? I wonder what they could be!
Akhil : Well, for one, someone now tells him what to wear and what to avoid – thank goodness for that! Our eyes had started to pain always seeing him in un-ironed kurta pyjamas, rumpled pants, terrible hair! How did you manage to make him take care of how he looks and dresses up? Did you just set fire to all this crazy clothes?
Prema : (laughs) I have my ways. I bet he thinks dressing up like a human being is a small price to pay to keep my company!
Akhil : And it doesn’t just stop there, of course. Yesterday, when I got home after lunch with some friends, I saw him playing a cricket match with the neighbourhood kids! He was having so much fun!
Prema : That sounds wonderful!
Akhil : He cooks, he sings, he enjoys doing things again. Two years ago, I never even thought we would be where we are today. He was a broken man. You gave him wings. You gave him a reason to smile. (His voice crumbles) You gave him…his life back.
Prema : (her eyes moistening) As he did – to me. After Shankar died five years ago, what were Sakshi and I left with? It was the same when he lost Smita.
Akhil : (reaches out his hands and clasps Prema’s) We have all lost irreplaceable pieces of our lives. In those months and years of despair, we never thought life would heal. The pain seemed too overwhelming to bear. The sorrow too large to cast away. The grey all too encompassing. And yet…
Prema : And yet…Time helps clear the fog. And when it lifts slowly, you sometimes see someone who can bring colour back into your life. You learn to smile again. You learn to feel again. And you realize how wrong you were – Life is not over yet. There are still miles to go. But the journey looks exciting because you have a companion to make it with.
Akhil : (quivering) All I can do is thank you for giving Dibs back to me.
Prema : (controlling her tears) And thank you for giving me Dibs, Akhil.
Akhil : (clearing his throat, suddenly speaking very formally) And yet, as hopelessly shy and old-fashioned as you both are, neither of you will take the next step! It becomes my duty to formally arrange this rishta between our families. So, I ask again, my beautiful Prema Vishwanath Iyer. Will you accept Dinesh Bhaskar Singh as your husband, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, with unwavering trust on the people who care for you and utter disregard to what society might do or say, till death does you apart?
Prema : (smiling through tears) Yes, mere buddhu ladke. Yes!
Akhil : (leaps off his seat in joy) Yippee! I have achieved what even Jai of Sholay was not able to with Mausi! You have made me the happiest man in the world. Or maybe I should say, the second happiest man – Dibs will undoubtedly take top honours!
Prema : You are such a clown! (They both reach out and hug each other)
Akhil : (still gushing) So, what would you like me to address you as from now on? Mummy? Mum? How about Mateshwari?
Prema : (laughing) Stop it! (Pauses to think) Apne baap ko Dibs bulata hai, but how about you call me Amma, just like Sakshi does!
Akhil : (taking a bow) Amma, your wish is my command. Whatever my future sister calls you, works for me, too!
Prema : (mock raps him on his head) Poora joker hai! Now, where is that father of yours? Don’t tell me that that 60-year-old teenager is sitting and blushing in the car outside!
Akhil : Arrey bhai, arranged marriage hai, so what if it’s the son arranging his dad’s and future mom’s? You shall meet the groom in due course, pehle kuch meetha ho jaye! Didn’t you say you had some banana cake?
So, the debate continues on what is better – Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage! I hope you are watching the enjoyable new serial unfold on Sony Entertainment Television every Monday to Thursday at 8.30 pm! For more details, check out their Facebook page at – http://www.facebook.com/LoveYaArrange!