Uncle (insisting): Oh! Sharmaji, ab to ladki ko aane mein do din lagenge. Aisa kijiye aap aa jayiye ghar, ladki dekhne na sahi Saharanpur mein dost ke naate hi sahi.
Dad (reluctantly): Are Sir, aap ladki ko bula lo fir sab sath mein ho jayega!
Uncle (pretending): Aap is mind se na aayiye. Bas milne ke liye hi aajao.
Dad (modesty): Ab Sarkar ka hukum kisne tala hai aaj tak!
These consecutive expressions full of insistence, reluctance, pretention, and modesty made me to stand together with my childhood friend cum brother Deepank (virtual name) his first step of Marriage. I would like to call it as ‘Love at first Sight’, If bride/groom don’t like each other at first sight then second step become an imagination & things got stuck right where they were. Anyways, in our case bride was supposed to come there after two days so ‘Love at first Sight’ moment is far away. It was a mutual agreement that it would be an informal meet which was not supposed to have any relation with marriage proposal (as uncle said). But we called our aunt (buaji) for going to host’s place, my brother bought me a new jeans (as I have casual dress style), my brother shaved and joined us in that visit, we removed dust from car, We did all these unusual things for just another informal meet. When we reached to Uncle’s place he seemed to be more enthusiastic to know who is “Deepank” or his may be groom. As soon as his doubt got cleared regarding identification with clear indication of pointing index finger of my dad, he started focusing on identity named “Deepank”.
Then onwards, things got started with a warm welcome which was full of infinite number of dishes. I want to categorize the welcome food of that informal meet into three, four or better into five stages. Stage I: simple water, Stage II: Cold Drink and Fruits, Stage III: Dry Fruits, Stage IV: Snack (includes delicious homemade bread pizzas) and Coffee, Stage V: Tea. All things seem were very happening. Uncle was elaborating about the achievements of family, explaining us about the family members and we got more & more confused as we saw new faces of his joint family members. Really all things were very happening. We were being taken into different stages of welcome food. And all of sudden, I realized we two were looking totally stupid and out of box looking here and there for rescue & everyone is looking at box. Yes, me and my brother. Everyone was watching my brother with a gaze of would be groom and a sarcastic smirk. I was hating that moment. Bud suddenly, I started to realize that the experience was strange to me because it was happening first time. As soon as, I realized that feel, I started enjoying that strange experience and felt myself more comfortable as a boost-man for my brother, who was analyzing the situation in more deeper sense than mine because he was victim.
I realized that confirmation of the relation is dependent upon ‘Love at first sight’. That moment which had 5 stages of welcome food would not come back. So, I left the job of Boost-man and started to eat as much as I could. No doubt food was delicious. But we were there for different purpose. Situation became more fascinating when we were asked to meet the family members of may be bride. Every married woman of that family was smirking on us and wanted to comment in teasing manner. I wanted to comment back on their expression & tease them back but everyone was restricting himself/herself because it was our first informal meet. The best part is everybody knew that everybody was restricting the expressions to come out. Even though, I used to shoot few sentences for breaking the ice. Actually, I become restless if I remain silent for long duration.
Anyways, all things went well. That informal meet led to another informal meet and remained informal with solving a lot of purposes. Actually, everyone who was involved in this meet already knew that this informal meet have a vital role to play and is very specific in its aim. I really liked this strange experience or integral stage of Arrange Marriage and now I am waiting for the moment when my brother will get official right to see the may be bride in front of everyone. I remember the dialogue of my bro, ‘Sala, puri umar ladki ko dekha aur jab ladki ka baap kahe ki ladki ko dekho to samajh nahi aata kya dekhe’. I don’t know how to express but I loved that strange and awkward environment when you meet with those people whom you don’t know at all and talk infinitely in all those directions which proves that your family is culturally best or better to say it is rich in all fields.