So is it Love or Arranged Marriage?(Short story)

Megha sipped her latte and looked out of the window. She was dreading the conversation with Baba. He had given her an ultimatum. “Megha I do not want to pressurize you but you need to understand our situation as well. We are not coercing you into marrying Aditya. We are just asking you to meet him. That too in an informal setup. You choose the place. Coffee Day, a shopping mall, any restaurant of your choice or the park. We do understand times have changed and we do not expect you to say a Yes immediately. Take your time. Only when you feel comfortable we will go ahead. If there is anything that makes you feel uneasy, we will decline beta. Your happiness is what matters”Megha was 25, a smart young girl; she worked for an IT company- loved music, bollywood movies and shopping. She liked spending time with her friends. Though she was an easy going girl, she was crystal clear about her goals in life, what she wanted to achieve professionally and her plans for marriage, the kind of man she was looking for to be her life partner.Nowadays most of the people ended up in love marriages. They found their own spouse and declared their intention to marry, the parents worked up the details and the wedding was fixed. In India though, there were still many who took the arranged marriage route, the spurt in online marriage portals was witness to this – that arranged marriages were not a thing of the past.Megha had hoped she would take the love marriage path. She found it weird to meet a guy fixed up by her parents, relatives or some match making portal. Have a formal conversation with him and then say yes/no. How would she know he was the one for her? What if he was just faking it? No one would show their true colors obviously when they knew the purpose of the meeting? How difficult was it to fake it for a few times and once married the true face would be uncovered. That’s what scared her to bits, what if he was wearing a mask? Somehow she did not find the right guy in her friends circle or office colleagues; there were many friends but no one special. They continued to remain good friends, she still waited for Mr Charming, the sight of whom would make her heart skip a beat.Of course her Baba would not wait that long, he had started looking for a suitable alliance. She kept giving excuses and tried to avoid meeting guys on one pretext or the other. 2-3 proposals had not seen the light of the day because of her refusal to meet the guys. Then came Aditya’s proposal through Baba’s cousin sister. It was a very good proposal, Tai knew the family personally and she vouched for the guy, Baba did not want to lose this proposal because of Megha’s passive behavior, hence the need to have a firm discussion with her.She reached home and to her relief Baba was not yet home. Aai sat watching her daily Marathi soap. She sense Megha’s restlessness and switched off the TV. “Come bala come and sit with me. Are you worried because of the conversation Baba had the other night? Don’t take him wrong bala you know how much he loves you and he’s doing this for your good. I hear young girls like you these days give a lot of thought before making this big decision and it’s fair enough. In my times’ it was so different. I was just 20 in my final year of graduation when your Baba came to see me. It was a good proposal, good family background; Baba had a job in a bank. Nana Mai were very happy. There is an age difference of 10 years between both of us , were not allowed to meet and we din’t have mobile phones like you people to chat .Today after being married to your baba for 28 years I can say that I found true love. He encouraged me to study after marriage, he insisted I complete my education, after Swati and you started going to school he is one who urged me to start taking tuitions. Keep yourself occupied. I don’t want you to be known as Swati or Megha’s Aai or wife of Mr Deshmukh. Create your own identity. When I look back I think your baba is the best thing to happen to me. I had my fears before marriage but I am happy I took this step. Look at your sister Swati she too was apprehensive marrying Harish. She felt she don’t know him enough and was scared about how life will work out. She took the plunge and how happy she is today. There are a lot of differences between them, she is an introvert and Harish is totally the opposite, their likes are also different but they have embraced each other’s differences”. Megha remembered how jittery Swati was when the proposal came but today she was a happy woman. Arranged marriage had worked out for her. At the same moment she also remembered her school friend Pooja who had married her college sweetheart after a whirlwind romance but the fairy tale came crashing down in a year. Life was so different as husband wife, keeping the same set of expectations as before had not worked out. They had decided to stay separately for a while as they really needed a break from the constant fights. Megha couldn’t fathom how a couple who was so much in love could now turn adversaries.She went to her room; she needed some time to herself to sort out her thoughts. Looking at all these people around her- her Aai, sister, Pooja and so many more people, she realized they all faced good and bad times in their marriage. Love marriage was no guarantee to a lifetime of happiness nor was arranged marriage about jumping into something with your eyes blindfolded.  At the end of the day, don’t we choose our own destiny? Though we marry with the belief that this is for a lifetime, if this is not working out, we would, of course make an attempt to set it right.  If that doesn’t work we should be brave to take the next step – whatever is deemed fit in those circumstances. If not, more than anyone else we would be doing injustice to ourselves. We owe that much to ourselves. Our happiness is our responsibility.The #WomanInHer had her answers now, It did not really matter how she married, whether it was love or arranged. She would take her time to choose and marry she knew she had to take charge of her happiness and only she could do it. She could not foresee what life would dole out but, if life took a u-turn she knew she would take charge and take care of her interests.She went to Baba’s room with an air of confidence; there was a lot to talk about.


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