I was very happily lost in the conversation when she asked, ‘Siddharth, what is marriage to you?’
Oh my god! I hadn’t expected this question within the first few minutes of our first meeting! I had actually never thought what “marriage” really was. Also, none of the girls I had met in the past had asked me this. I would have loved to skip the question if this was a game show. But alas, it wasn’t!
I cleared my throat before saying, ‘I think, in today’s world, marriage is a bond between two compatible individuals and families to help each other pursue their dreams and desires.’ She had no expression on her face and was listening intently. I thought she wanted to hear more, so I continued, ‘See, Shreya! I will not give a fancy answer to this. I am looking for a lifetime friend and companion who can sail through my ups and downs with me. I am an overambitious guy, so I would like her to support me in everything I want to do. On the other side, I will help her in everything. I am not that romantic and emotional, so I don’t think it as a hand-in-hand and made-for-each-other stuff.’
I gave an honest answer.
‘Okay, Mister Practical Banker! Good that you have been straight and honest,’ she said.
‘If you don’t mind, can I ask you the same question?’ I asked.
‘Definitely, Sid! You should. After all, it’s about a life-altering decision. Well . . . let me tell you, I am not as practical as I look. So, marriage to me is more than compatibility and helping each other in pursuing dreams. I think it’s an emotional bond between two people that gets them so close to each other that they feel like being one. There’s nothing like helping each other pursue their individual dreams, because once you’re in love and married, those dreams transform into one joint aspiration. That’s where your word “us” comes into play.’ Her smile was beatific.
I was dumbstruck after listening to her answer.
‘A bit heavy to digest, right? Did I scare you?’
‘Yeah, actually . . .’ I nodded with a slight smile and she nodded back.
‘Sid, I am sorry, but I think I would take your leave now,’ Shreya said and stood up. I wasn’t able to make out what had happened suddenly. My heartbeat climbed Everest’s height in a flash. I thought my take on marriage had led to my rejection this time.
‘I am sorry for leaving so abruptly, but my cab is waiting outside. I have to reach on time for the engagement. Otherwise my friend will kill me.’ Shreya smiled. Her words helped me get back my breath. I wasn’t rejected. I was still an eligible candidate.
‘Oh, sure, Shreya!’ I said and walked her out of the café.
‘Okay, Sid. Bye, take care,’ she said as we shook hands. Once again, I felt the divine touch. Shreya was looking so pretty in the ethnic attire that my heart wanted to say, ‘Can I join you for the rest of the evening?’ But I had to let her go. For now at least.