Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When Love Was Arranged

“Life isn't weird: it's just the people in it.”
I distinctly remember that day when I travelled alone in a private bus for the first time. I was the first fourth grade girl to do that. My dad was away on his usual business trips and mom couldn’t get out of the bank due to ‘closing related activities’ if I remember right. And I had always wanted to travel alone. Dad had agreed but only after being promised that I would stay away from strangers.
Somehow ever since that school annual day I’ve lived my life with an aversion for strangers, which is remarkably ‘strange’ for a fashion photographer, who has to deal with weird people all day long. But that’s how I’ve been all my life. Some guys even used to think I’m a lesbian because I kept turning their offers down.
So it came as a big surprise when my good old daddy, came barging into my room on a Sunday morning an year back and said, ‘Honey. You should get married.’ 
“Dad but I don’t even have a boy friend.”
“Perfect. You were always a good a girl. I’ll find you the perfect guy.”
Not knowing how to react, I had simply given him the Indian nod – Diplomacy at its very best! I don’t know how many of you have noticed this but we Indians have this uncanny habit of nodding in the same manner, whether it’s a yes or a no, thereby giving the recipient the freedom to choose what’s best for him.
Dad’s words did haunt me for a couple of days.  What had he meant by ‘you were’? Did that mean I’m no longer a good girl? Or did he want me to stop being a good girl?
And why did ‘he’ have to find the ‘perfect guy’? Did he think I’m incapable of finding one myself?
After a while the apprehensions faded away, as I came to understand my inability to socialize. I had a talent for making the model pose the way I wanted her to, but beyond that I was a mannequin. Devoid of such activities that’s considered human. Such was my fame at the workplace that I still remember that morning when I had found a picture collage with myself, Kristen Stewart and Arjun Rampal on my desk. Initially I had assumed it to be a complement from someone in the office until Sudha pointed out clearly, what the creator had implied - Lack of expression.
A month after ‘Dad day’, men in white started bringing their families along to feed on my mom’s home-made biscuits and tea. I actually found it quite an enjoyable experience as I watched the marvel of photoshop first hand! From skin tones to height, everything was different from their cliché profiles ABCmatrimony site. When inquired one guy had casually replied that his friend was a ‘professional photographer.’
So these ‘professional photographers’ working for the National Geographic must be taking pictures of rats and then ‘professionally’ converting them to lions and leopards. How dare they walk into my home and insult my profession.
One particularly rainy day though, a shy guy walked in with his mother. The cute smile he bore was accompanied by a voice which introduced himself as Nithin - A travel writer by profession, a photographer by passion. I did not feel the world going bonkers around me but I must admit, the prospect of spending an entire life with this sweet smiling travel lover had seemed very attractive.
We slowly developed a habit of meeting up for lunch on weekends, whenever possible, and then travelling to quiet places in the city that I had no clue about. He was good and remarkably very quiet. Always doing the right things and it sometimes caused me some pain. The guy seemed so genuine and I knew all too well that I was just acting. I am not a good person. I enjoy the solitude, especially the peace associated with it. Given a choice I’d always read a novel and eating mom’s food on weekends. 
The acting continued and to the onlookers we had become the perfect couple. Kristen Stewart had found her Arjun Rampal.  Except for one minor glitch, it was a textbook relationship. The glitch, courtesy the engagement card which had Nanathaniel printed on it instead of Nithin, had given me a scare. The strange fact that I didn’t know the actual name of my fiancé! Nithin was his ‘pet’ name, as his sister Nita had described to me later that day. And Nita, not so remarkably, was actually Natasha.
Sera, another photographer at Vogue, had raised a very interesting topic during the lunch break after the cover-shoot for December’s edition.  According to her, I was living the perfect Indian woman’s dream - To have a ‘love cum arranged’ marriage.  Remarkably, very few in our country gets to marry the person he/she likes with the ‘blessings’ (that’s the word they use) of their parents. The phrase seemed pretty stupid to me. It is either love marriage or arranged marriage. Love, when you marry the person you like. Arranged, when you marry the person your parents like. If your parents allow you to marry the person you like, it’s simply love marriage. And if you love the guy your parent’s found, it’s still an arranged marriage. And Sera had completely neglected the fact that I wasn’t even sure if I was in love with Mr. Pet Name.
I got married today. In a little church with very few relatives to bother, just the way I had always wanted. (It had been my decision but I bet Nithin wanted that as well). The evening party was enjoyable as we had convinced some our friends to take photographs with higher ISO, thereby saving me from the unbearable ‘light’ that followed the bride on her wedding day.
Making love wasn’t all that scary either. Nithin had walked into his room, or rather our room, kissed me on the forehead and everything that followed was remarkably simple. All those Sunday afternoon novels had given me some apprehensions that weren’t necessarily justified, as I learned.
But somehow, as I lie on the bed staring at the blurry shadow the ceiling fan made while Nithin’s warm breath caressed my cheeks, doubts begin to rise in my heart. Was this love? Isn’t all this a little ‘too’ perfect? Would I be able to sustain this? Will Nithin EVER be angry? Has he had a lover before? Was I good?
“Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed.”
Wasn’t it Tolstoy who said that? Anna Karenina if I remember right.  Only time will reveal the truth in that statement.
And suddenly Nithin kissed my cheeks and said, “You know, I never imagined my first time to be this way.” For the first time that night I looked at him, straight in the eye, smiled and thought to myself , ‘One night and the poor thing has already started being honest.’ 

PS: I wanted to write about love and relationship from a girl's perspective. Hope I've done justice. Your comments on how to improve would be very helpful. This article was written as a part of Indiblogger's Love Marriage ya Arranged marriage competition in association with Sony Entertainment Television.
PPS: If you want to read the story from Deborah's perspective click here.


Soumya Mohanty said...

Honestly, I well writen but, I am finding it difficult to connect, may be because, that very 'phase' is yet critic about it, i need to feel it. :)

aDs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aDs said...

Good write-up man... I liked it. But i thought it was a little fast... maybe you could have included more details.. And yea, i guess it was hard to write from a girls point of view. Kudos to the effort. and do write more. :)

Nevin said...

@soumya, thanks for reading. You are too lively a person to really understand how our protagonist like.
@Amal: Thanks man. I keep my articles below 1000 words if I can. And hence the speed. There's another part to this story. Maybe after reading that you'll like the pace. Thanks for reading :)

Shrijith Nair said...

Nicely done Nev.. :)

Nevin said...

Thank you Shirijit etta. You actually made me write this. I never used to take part in these competitions.

frangipani said...

Nice attempt. It must've been tough to write from a GIRL's perspective. You've described the different phases briefly, & it encompasses that which is required, however, there's a lack of flow, the different phases just break in- not smoothly. Also, the end isn't all that clear to me. Would be glad if u could touch up on that. Overall, a different n challenging effort attempted well!

Nevin said...

@Frangipani (nice name)Thanks for those honest comments. Will definitely work on it. I kinda like to leave the reader confused if i can and hence the very 'odd' ending. And Nithin's perspective is gonna come out soon. I hope you'll read that as well.

Saurabh Chawla said...

nice post :) all the best :) Here have a look at this one whenever you get time ......

Radha said...

Nice one, one of the few posts in this topic which make sense.

Neenu said...

A very interesting post! You have done a good job Nevin!:) I just thought it was unfair to make the girl look like a cold and heartless character while Nithin seems to be a nice guy ;) Waiting to read Nithin's perspective of the story! :)

Nevin said...

Thank you Saurabh. I had already gone through your post :)
@Radha: You just made my day :)
@Neenu: Thank you so much. You still don't know what Nithin's like. And I didn't want my lead character to the normal, ever 'bublee' female protagonists that we are used to. ;)

Confused Soul said...

I think it was well-written and made so much sense.. :)
All the best :)

Nevin said...

Thank you so much 'Confused soul'

Amitha Murali said...

Good job nevin... but i did feel it a little emotionless.. u know as someone has commented before, a difficulty to connect.. other than that your writing wise and story wise its very good.. nice imagination.


Nevin said...

Thanks for reading Amitha :) I wanted the lead role to be different. I know it must be hard to put urself in Deby's shoes!

Nirvana said...

Well written, with good doses of humour - so yes, the post was completely readable. There was, however, a detached feel to the whole thing - or maybe its just that I hyperventilate at the drop of a hat ......
But a good read !!

Nevin said...

@nirvana : Thanks for reading. One needs valuable feedback like ur to improve. Will definitely work on it.

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