Today’s Idiom – A penny for your thoughts.
I was smiling at everyone around me and sipping tea while feeling very self-conscious. This was my first time at such a social gathering and I was not very sure about the etiquette to be followed. My sister, Shilpa, had advised me to smile a lot and politely answer the questions thrown at me. I firmly resolved that I’d never allow my mother and sister to coax me into coming for another boy-meets-girl sessions. I did not believe in these pre-fixed arranged marriages where a man and woman are joined in holy matrimony and then expected to adjust, compromise and eventually fall in love with each other.
“What if I get married and later come to know that my wife is not the correct life partner for me”, I had argued with my mother.
“Ayyo, don’t worry. These days even in arranged marriages the boy and girl are allowed to meet a couple of times before they decide”, my mother had explained.
‘How am I supposed to get to know the girl in few meetings?’ I thought to myself as I politely took a samosa from the plate being offered by Mrs. Asha Shastri, my future mother-in-law, if this proposal culminates in marriage. Sitting directly opposite to me, was Mr. Balakrishna Shastri, a soon-to-be-retired professor teaching Economics in Poornaprajna College, Udipi. He was wearing a traditional white mundu and shirt. In fact everything about the Shastri household screamed orthodox and staunch Brahmin lifestyle. After the death of my father 25 years back, my mother had struggled to raise me and my sister by working in a private firm as an accountant. Although we had continued to live in Udipi after my dad’s demise, the strict discipline that is typically followed in any Brahmin house was relaxed in our home and as a result my sister’s and my upbringing was more unconventional and open-minded.
Few years back my sister had married a bank officer and she was well settled with a 2 year old daughter. And ever since my mother took voluntary retirement from her work, she took to searching a bride for me with a zealous pursuit that frightened me. It was fortunate that I was working for a software company in Bangalore and could visit my mother only couple of times in a month. I was sure that her persistent nagging to get married would have driven me crazy.
“A penny for your thoughts! You look nervous Sudhir. Are you alright”, my sister enquired.
“Yes, yes I’m fine but I do wish that they’d hurry up this whole process”, I replied wiping my brow with my kerchief.
I heard the sound of anklets and soft footfalls and involuntarily my heartbeats increased its pace.
Would I like this girl who has had a much more orthodox upbringing than me? Is she my future life-partner? I couldn’t help but ponder.
*mundu-a white garment worn around the waist by men.