This time it was a glass. The last time it had been a stuffed toy. Down, the glass went. Right on the back of a black ant leisurely plodding home outside the biscuit tin.
Reena refused to get married ‘just like that’. She made sure the family got that straight. The suggestion itself was absurd. How could she marry a random stranger who would come decked up with neat manners on the five visits scheduled before the ceremony? What if he produced a collection of whips, a cellar of wine and a dozen smuggled guns on the marital bed? She wanted to get married lost in the eyes of her man, reminiscing the multitude of moments spent with him and fantasizing about the ones to come. The only problem was: she was yet to find him.
“You cannot force-find a guy to love.” Disha would laugh. “Unless you are considering the neighbour I saw peeping at you from behind the pillar today.”
Reena huffed and puffed. All very well for Disha to snigger. She had her own private man, her escape route from the drudgeries of the world.
Disha’s fiancée used to be her colleague at work. From the bespectacled girl lost in her books to one who was willing to initiate her family to the concept of ‘love marriage’, she had come a long way. Sometimes, though she said so herself, it seemed like such an achievement.
“It cannot be denied, Disha.” Reena said to her over coffee one evening. “When you get married next month, it will be a homecoming. You will get to set up the home you have dreamt of, put colour to the dreams you have seen together.” She paused. “When I do, it will be an exercise. Filled with apprehensions and insecurities.”
“You sound like the induction program I had at work.” Disha giggled. “Why don’t you think of it as a beautiful getting-to-know-each-other phase? Yes, I have the familiarity. But you have the curiosity. Every day can be a delight.”
“Or a wreck.”
As it turned out, Reena’s husband was a fantastic cook. Unlike her expectations of him sticking to the screen when any dratted country played a sport, he would venture into the kitchen and take her through delightful new recipes. They would talk long hours of shared loves – for music, jalebi and Archies comic strips. Reena discovered his love for a crisp blue shirt on Monday mornings. As for the home and the dreams she had wanted to build, her husband, minus a disinterested expression, would walk her through alleyways of wonder.
Disha had to ‘induct’ her man to the Bengali goodness of Durga Puja. The chicken rolls and onion rings, the jhalmudi and the communal greeting session on Dussehra day. In turn, he would pull her leg about dragging him to a chick flick or subjecting him to a third straight meal of dal chawal. For the two of them, marriage brought in contentment. The smile that comes with the early morning sun lighting up your room and the goodness of co-existence.
Years down the line, the two friends laze around, watching rushes of Sony Entertainment Television’s new show. While Disha’s husband had gone to buy a supply of friendship bands for their teenage daughter, Reena’s man was on the way to pick her up for home. Though the past years had had a fair share of tribulations for the both of them, their spouses had never ceased to be supportive. Their marriages were as real as the next couple’s but the damp squibs usually gave way to sunnier times. All in a good-breakfasting, arguing, convincing and understanding day’s work.
The show, by the by, is called “Love Marriage ya Arranged Marriage?”. The question in big, prominent letters.
Disha looks at Reena with a twinkle in her eyes. “What do you have to say to that?”
“I think,” winks Reena, “that with spouses like ours, it really doesn’t matter!”