Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Suitable Boy

When I was 23, my mother started dangling photographs of eligible men under my nose.

According to her, I was an old maid and the earlier I settled down, the better.

All my talks on child marriages being a stigma to our society fell on deaf ears. She was hell bent on pushing me out of her house. My father, who was , and still is, the quiet sort, started dropping in on my office just to see if I fancied any of my buddies. My brother started calling regularly reminding me about my dotage and my mother took out an advertisement in the Times Of India.

What an embarrassment. Not only my family, now the entire country knew about my sorry state of affairs. At 23, I was not only unmarried, I did not even have a boyfriend. How pathetic.

My mother found a man who she thought would suit her daughter just fine. An only son of doting parents, a professional doing rather well in life. And most importantly, a man who belonged to the same Bengali community. Holy cow. It was a match made in heaven. I, who always stayed away from such narrow minded way of thinking, rebelled. How could I get married to a Bong? I grew up in Delhi and I loved everything about the Punjabis...even their vulgar display of wealth. Secretly I always entertained the thought of getting hitched to somebody like Shashi Kapoor.

When it came to matters of such mental anguish, I always ran to my cousin and her husband. They were my pillars of strength, my staunchest allies. They would surely rescue me from this predicament. "Give in gracefully" was their advice. Did I just say they were my allies?

After prolonged discussions and temper tantrums, draining conversations and staged walk-outs, I finally gave in. Fine. I would meet this suitable boy. But only this once. And if this did not work out, they would not bother me again. And also, I got to meet him first. I did not want them to coerce me into making a decision. Relieved, my parents gave in.

So, just before the summer set in in Delhi, when the weather was beautiful and romantic, one evening, I went to my cousin's house in East of Kailash to see this paragon of virtue. My father had vetoed my suggestion of meeting him in a coffee shop. As he threatened to disinherit me if I did not have any chaperone with me, I wordlessly gave in. You win some, you lose some. So on the appointed day, dressed in my designer outfits., professionally done up hair, I arrived at my cousin's door-step to meet the man of my mother's dreams.

Well, how do you know, in only a few hours whether this man you were meeting for the first time, would be your soul-mate? How do you select someone for you? Do you see his age? Do you see his qualification and work experience? Do you see whether he was polite to his elders and kind to dogs? Do you see if he has all his teeth and hair? How do you simply judge a man on the basis of one single meeting ?

As I sat, talking to a rather pleasant man of 28, wearing simple jeans and a T-shirt, polite to my cousins and playful with the family dog, a chemical engineer from IIT, working as a manager at Hindustan Levers, with all his hair and teeth intact, my mind went completely blank. What do I do? Do I say yes? But why should I ? I am only 23! Why shouldn't I ? After all I am 23! I was faced with the biggest dilemma of my life. Do I marry him? He had a nice smile. But is that a strong reason for marriage? He was articulate and seemed to like reading. He did seem caring, and there was some connection... But still...

I again turned to my cousins for their views on this. My brother-in-law, who had this ability to take down everything to the lowest common denominator sat down with his wisdom;
IIT grad. Means upper storey loaded.
Age 28. Means not too young to be reckless, not too old to be staid.
Polite and courteous. Means good family values.
Refusal to go to USA for parents as he is the only son. Means loyal to the core.
Staying away from parents in a different city. Means not too clingy and dependent.
Working in India's topmost (at that time) company for the last 7 years. Means stable and responsible and incredibly good work wise.
Just go for him with your eyes closed.

So that's when I took the biggest gamble of my life and plunged into holy matrimony. Since he lived in Bombay and I lived in Delhi, ours was a long distance courtship, wooing each other with cards like " Me here you there, no fair." We had a typical Bengali wedding with all the typical Bengali food. Our cousins told us later they had fun. All I remember was the endless amount of feet touching I had to do and the dramatic way I cried, clinging to my cousins, and the car, mentally singing "Main sasural nahi jaaoongi, doli rakhdo kaharo."

That was July 8, 1992. Yeah, yeah I know. Some of you were in diapers. It has been a long journey. It started almost as a business decision and ended up in love and respect for each other. When someone asks me what made me choose him as my husband I always say it was the smile and the dimple that did me in. But I know actually it was the IIT stamp.

Oh, I am so brand conscious.


Nona said...

Happy Anniversary!
:) "Give in gracefully"
:) "the man of my mother's dream"
:) "I'm so brand conscious"

I really loved the way your cousin broke it down into smaller pieces. Glad my wife doesn't have any "analytical" cousins!

Meira said...

Heartiest Congratulations :) finds a way and all that mumbo jumbo :D
And I'm curious...What prompted the dimpled man to choose you ?

SJ said...

Happy Anniversary!!! 1992 I wasn't in diapers- happy?! Bah don't worry about you being brand conscious- I married Jay only because he got me chocolates not any eclairs type, but Ferrero Rocher!! I was so sure this guy will not be stingy and I can cut his wallet anytime !!!

Swatantra said...


Congratulation!! Your post is delightful reading!!

Jaadi said...

Congratulations. Wishing you a long innings of togetherness and happiness

Lala said...

haha... great post... happy anniversary.. i'll look forward to the post where you describe all you did today... well, almost all of it. ;)... and one more thing... i wasn't in my diapers then... i was in pre school.

ZB said...

superb post. You know your posts have everything thats required in right quantity , something like yash chopra movies.lols


I was in 9th in 1992, and happily watching world cup cricket during my annual exams.!!!!!!!!

AnjuGandhi said...

many many happy returns of the day. may you be always happy, contented and peceful in all the days to come and may both of you make each other happy and continue having the desire to make other happy

Sakshi said...

Darn it took me 10 minutes to guess why everyone was saying congrats! Then I saw that today is July 8..sigh...I tell you the IIT stamped Husband didn't bring me that Math brain I always wanted. Whoa at least you are lucky that you just had to go and see a suitable boy only once in ur life?? have heard and read horror stories of other poor helpless people who went to the grind again and again.
Btw any plans of letting ur hubby make a guest post on ur blog to let us know what made him choose u?? I am sure it was not ur blog writing skills in 1992?? PS: I was not in diapers then as I was highly allergic to Pampers...:)

Sakshi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smita said...


This is such a sweet post :-)

Happy decade :-)

Pssst am an IIT Pass out too ;-) though just an MBA from there.

Smita said...

and yes that was a realy young age to get married in but alls well that ends well :)

Nithya Praveen said...

First time here....loved reading ur post.Hearty congratulations.

Vijay said...

There is no need to hurry up and marry an educated girl like you. You too should n't give in to pressures and then complain about it.

Ramakrishnan said...

Hi Aparna

IIT Brands are strong, reliable, brainy,skilful,articulate,confident,successful........
I too belong to the same Brand but considerably older but vintage model.

Happy Anniversary! Hope you had a great celebration !

Best Wishes Ram

Gymnast said...

Happy Anniversary!!

Oh...just how could you gamble like that? Teach me the trick.
I absolutely cannot jump into such a decision, though i know thats exactly what my parents want.

I absolutely have to know the man well before deciding on a lifetime with him.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!!Great post as usual....July 1992....I joined college in August 1992... ;-)

Ire said...

Brand conscious! LOlz amazing! I cam through Sujata's blog here. Awesome right up. I totally enjoyed it. I am blog rolling you!

Ire said...

Happy Anniversary!

Unknown said...

Happy anniversary!!

LOL @ Means upper storey loaded.

You are soooooooooo sweet. you know that? I wish I'd the chance to tell you personally how I loved this post at this stage of my life!!

1992? I was 7 yrs old!

Rush said...

i mist say u dont look as old in ur profile pic..thought u were a college goer.
Happy anniversary!!
liked the bit when ur cousin says "go ahead wit ur eyes closed"

Roshni said...

heheh! IIT does have that effect!

I also had an arranged marriage...I arranged it myself! :P

Anonymous said...

it was a delightful and engaging read and almost each paragragh gave a feel of a different topic altogether :). Happy anniversary.

Sharmistha Guha said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSAry..!!! Wishing you a day late...sorry!!

A warm and lovely post!! Loved it!!

Childhood Journeys said...

Happy Anniversary! Daroon likhecho!Khoob similar story. The story is pretty similar, only in my case I indeed fell in love with a punjabi and married him.

Wish you many more happy years ahead!

Hashir said...

this is the first time I have come to your blog... and i was totally engrossed. read all posts from first to last :), and loved them all.
Happy Anniversary... and have a great life ahead :D

Sharmila said...

Happy Anniv Aparna & wish you many more returns of the happy day and the amusing memories !
Never before have I had such a good read on a marraige anniversary. :-) Was smiling throughout.
To tell you the truth, I do wonder what happens to the loaded upper floors after marraige ... when even the most imp chore is blissfully forgotten ... or when I get a blank look in an emergency. :-)

Rachna said...

Congratulations on your Anniversary! Fun reading your meeting with your future husband. I've realized that even with a love marriage, a marriage is always a chance taken :). Unless you live with a person, you just don't know them :).

My husband is from IIT, Delhi too! I guess all us girls in India are brand conscious ;)

Pls. go to the settings of your blog and remove this word verification thing, it's quite bugging.

Supriya Dutta said...

92 July, well no special "Teenage memory" as such.. :D

My mother now plays the same role as your mother played in the year 92. HOw i wish i had a "brother-in-law" and a sister to help me fight these traumatic situation of facing my mom's verbal blows.

But dnt u think ur being brand conscious takes a toll when you see that the branded guy doing mathematical calculation without making an extra move from his slumber... :)... :D

Belated happy anniversary...may you both be here for long to entertain the bloggers with facts represented in the most witty and humorous way...

के सी said...

Belated Happy Anniversary!

eye-in-sty-in said...

Congratulations! If u have an equally brand conscious sister, send her my way... lolz!

Kidding! Althought, thats the first thing that popped into my head! :D

Aparna said...

Nona, my brother in law is also from IIT and he was biased from the first.But he did make it easier for me to make up my mind.

Meira, the dimpled man fell for my charm, poise, wit, name it. Didnt know what hit him. Actually I think it was my sense of humour. His world was very boring at that time.

SJ, so how many Ferrero Rocher does he bring now after the Meena Kumari act?

Swatantra, thanks.

Jaadi, thank you very much.

Lala, thank you for your wishes. Even pre-schoolers are nothing but small babies.

ZillionBig, well at least somebody had some fun in '92. My year was too hectic. Yash Chopra? May be I should sell my stories now.

Anju, thank you very much for your warm wishes.

Aparna said...

@ Sakshi, thank god that was my one and only 'sitting.' But like all those traditional bahus, I did have to serve tea on a tray wearing a saree to his parents. That is a separate blog all together.
He has no intention of writing so let me tell you on his behalf that he fell for my charm, beauty,sex appeal, poise, and a wicked sense of humour.
His world was very drab and I brought in love laughter and happiness. Fot that he is eternally grateful to me.Suits me rather fine.

@ Smita, I know I was young. I dont think I would want my daughters to marry at that age. Thank you very much.

Sumandebray said...

Happy Anniversary...
Yea IIT is a brand that is still going strong... Our instituion was almost made to a IIT last year. Unfortunatley our leftist govt didn't let it happen..

But I would like to believe that it was his personality that won you over and not just where he studied
Great way of reliving the DAY
Happy Anniversary... once again

Aparna said...

@ Nithya Praveen, welcome and thank you.

@ Vijay Khaitan, thank you for writing in.

@R. Ramakrishnan, Vintage models are equally sought after. Yes IITians are rather special. They all seem to have the qualities that you have mentioned. They also seem to stick to each other. What did they feed you to be such loyalists?

@ Gymnast, my gamble seemed to have paid off. But believe me, when your time comes your intution will kick in and you will know.

@ Jyothi, thank you. All my cousins were also that age then and they all enjoyed my wedding.I was the one who was morose, tensed and over-wrought.

@Nikki, thank you. Hope you will keep visiting.

@ Purnima, thanks very much. Why at this stage of your life? You have to go for these 'sittings?'

@ Rush, thank you. A few years from now, my elder daughter will be in college. As far as looks are concerned, my mother still doesnt look her age. So lucky genes I guess.

@ Roshni, Hurrah to the IITs. Good for you, arranged marriages can be a real pain.

sujata sengupta said...

Heyyyyyyy!!! what crap you have written about not being able to decide on DG you were totally looked like"samne yeh kaun aaya dil mein hui hulchul..." So how were the celebrations last night?Ayushi's comment needs a blog post!

Aparna said...

@ Colourmesunshine, thank you.

@ SGD, thank you very much.Glad you liked the post.

@ A Childhood Journey, Thank you so much. You married a Punjabi? Lucky you! Are you also from Delhi?

@ Hashir Tufail, welcome to my blog. I am glad you appreciated my writing. I hope you will visit me once again.

@ Sharmila, thank you. I think the upper floor gets empty after marriage.

@ Rachna, you are right, marriages are a bit of a gamble, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.
I wii try to remove the word verification. A lot of people have complained about that.

@ Priya, my jamaibabu is unique. He is very popular among his saalis as well as the moms. Both sides take his advice. Thank you very much for your wishes.

@ Kishore, thank you very much.

@ Eye-in-sty-in, unfortunately, all my sisters are married, that too to IITians. I think my family is brand concious. Are you from the same institute as well?

@ Suman, thank you very much. Where are you from? Jadavpur? My husband was very articulate and intelligent and that was what appealed to me..But IIT did shape his personality.

Unknown said...

Thankfuly, no sittings have happened. But suddenly everyone seems to have developed a one-track mind! hmmmmphh!

Shankar.Nash said...

Wow.. a nice way to remember not only the day of marriage.. but also the events that led to the marriage... nice post..

anyway.. Wishing you a very very happy anniversary... and for more happy years to come...

anamika said...

Hey Aparna!!

Congrats!! The moment you told me the year u got married i started calculating your age:D
Well i was little above my diaper age as I was in 1st grade that time:P

What i strange is that I went for love Marriage but what your brother in law did I did it myself .I mean the getting close to the lowest digit of the numerator.
My husband all of 23 and me too decided to get married this year.I married him as he was an IITian and is planning to go for PG a well,caring ,down to earth and only son who wouldn't like to settle abroad .
I guess its only identity which are different as in I replaced you with the same thoughts and got into holy matrimony this year.

Woh kehta hai na-History repeat itself.

Bhavya.B said...

Happy Anniversary. I reached your blog through Sujatha's.
You ended up marrying the same way most Indian girls do, "Brand conscious".

BK Chowla, said...

Happy wedding anniversary.17 yrs is not too long back.It must be sounding as if ..yesterday.Good decision and you seem quite happy.God bless.I personally beleive in destiny,you were destined to be happy with him.......his smile

Ajit Ray said...

Take home message - Mom's always right!

The Panorama said...

That was a really nice post. I enjoyed reading it. And happy anniversary:)

JD said...

:-) Brand conscious!! It's amazing how arranged marriages work in our country.. Would u prefer an arranged marriage fr ur daughter?
Wish u a very happy anniversary..

Indyeah said...

Hi here from Sujata's post:D
(though I have seen you on Ayesha's blog too I think:)))

this was such a sweet post:)

and the joys of arranged marriage described just so:))

Happy Wedding Anniversary:)
God bless you both!:)

Miss M said...

You know, you are me.
Only 17 years back. Seriously.

Because your story is similar to mine! My mother pestering me to get married as soon as possible. And even I run to my cousin and brother in law for advice whenever it comes to the marriage topic.

Only difference is that I refused to marry the guy. And he is STILL single. So baba explains to me that "maybe he's still single cos' he wants to marry you!"

Haha I love my parents for trying so hard to convince me! Actually they still continue to do so.

And if eventually I *do* get married to him, it'll make one hell of a story for our kids! :P

BTW, happy anniversary!!! :D

R. Ramesh said...

haah brand conscious! i never realised brand comes into the pix in marriages

Parita said...

Happy Anniversary dear!!

Smitha said...

Belated Happy Anniversary!

That was so sweet! I loved the way your cousin analysed it :)

And by the way, my husband is a Chemical Engg fro the IIT as well :)

Hopped over from your comment at my blog and loved what I read :)

Aparna said...

@ Sujata, You are becoming poetic, where DG starts and I end? This is like ardhanarishwar!!

@ Purnima, Give in gracefully when the time comes!!

@ Shankar.n thank you.

@ Anamika, hey liked your story. It was so similar to mine!

@ Bhavya. B, thank you.

@ B.K. Chowla, I too believe in destiny. Yes, our marriage was written in the starts.

Aparna said...

@ Ajit, haha, always knows best.

@ Panorama, hi. Thanks. I love your blog too.

@ JD, as long as my daughters are happy, I will be perfectly fine. Doesnt really matter if the marriage is arranged by the parents or by themselves.

@ Indyeah, I love your name. Yes I have seen you too at Ayesha's blog. I just love the way she writes.

@ Miss M, you will know who is the right one for you when the time comes. It is a huge step and you should take the plunge only when you are ready.

@ R. Ramesh, oh believe me IITs and IIms are huge brands in the marriage market. The parents are infact more conscious of it.

@ Parita, thank you.

@ Smitha, really? Which one? My husband is from KGP and he passed out quite some time back.

sangeeta said...

hey wishing you happy anniversary....this was a good , happy happy read.....i believe in destiny too.......

Rohit said...

heh heh..nice post.I totally loved the drill down analysis done by your cousin..Happy Anniversary! keep going:)

Urmi said...

My heartiest congratulations to you.Very beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

"happy annivarsary"
finally the man of your mother's dreams is your man now:)
so nicely written..loved this post to core..n the last line :oh yeah i am brand conscious" was ULTIMATE!!!
dont mind, but i mentally calculated your age;))

sHiNiNg sUrYa :-) said...

Happy Belated Anniversary!!!
Happy to know about the feelings of a 23 years old :) and most importantly the DECIDING factors.

Shayari said...

Hi Aparna,

Hopped in from Einstein's blog. Loved this post of yours. Happy Anniverssary!

"Draining conversations, staged walkouts" sounds so very familiar:P

NG said...

wowww... verrry nice post
i just lovve the way ur write

happpy anniversary :)

Amitabha said...

That was a wonderful post. Happy belated Anniversary. I chanced upon your blog from Piya Mukherjee's blog ....
Really interesting posts ....

Sujata said...

"I'm so brand conscious"

I love it! Such an intersting style. I can say I had a similar experience not to long ago!

Aparna said...

@ Sangeeta, welcome to my blog. Thank you.

@ Rohit, thank you. Isn't my cousin great? Most intelligent.

@ Babli, thank you.

@ Wishes galore,I hope your calculations are all wrong and you found out that I am all of 30.Thank you very much for reading.

@ Shinning Surya,hehe, yeah the all important deciding factor.

@ Shayari, thank you for dropping by. Hopefully you will come back again.

@ Neha, thanks. You write pretty terrific too and I read each of your posts.

@Amitabha Ghosh, thank you for dropping by.

@ Suajata, thank you very much.

pradipwritenow said...

Wish you a very happy anniversary. IIT Ka tempo high hai, ask your husband he knows this. I am from the same institute long back.

indicaspecies said...

" and respect for each other.." Hope and wish it remains that way always. Congratulations on the anniversary!

Manish Raj said...

Hi Aparna

Well I reached your blog through your comment.

You have a wonderful style of writing. Liked your post. Adding you in my favorites.

Happy Anniversary.

Deeps said...

That was such a wonderful post,Aparna. Its my first time here and its so nice to you better this way. So you are from Delhi too??

BTW,a belated happy anniversary to you and yours. May God bless you two with many more years of togetherness :)
Will surely be back to read you more often :)

Kavi said...

Happy anniversary !! Brand conscious are you !! :)

Delightful read !

Kavita Saharia said...

Aparna ....belated HAPPY ANNIVERSARY WISHES.....i wish i was in diapers..weekly heena application on hair is not an easy job....i loved your story...

Aparna said...

Thank you @ Pradeep Biswas
@ Indicaspecies
@Manish Raj
@ Deeps
@ Kavita

I thank all of you for wishing me a Happy Anniversary and for appreciating my post.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Sorry for the delay, but belated Happy Anniversary. Lovely post, took me into the heart of an intelligent self-chosen arranged marriage. Since I am the opposite - impulsively self-chosen love marriage - it was nice to read your take.

Brands have lasting values, it seems!

ani_aset said...

I liked the honest description here :)

sayrem said...


I was in my diapers:)

Onkar said...

Your posts are always great to read. Happy anniversary.

LifenSpice said...

My first time here. Loved reading your posts. Belated wishes to you guys!

Anonymous said...

Oh Lord!! What a bold confession! How I respect you for that!!
Loved the post :D

maidinmalaysia said...

let me say happy anniv.
before i say rofl at your punch line

Mr Happy said...

:):):):):):) thori kanjoosi dikha di smileys mein but it was a real treat to read, i read the whole blog without blinking my eye :P,

thora brand consicous to hona mangta boss afterall at that time globalization just started;)

nsiyer said...

Happy Anniversary, though belated. Hilarious and I liked the usage' husband of my mother's dreams'.
That's too good to hold my laughter. You write very well, Aparna. Kudos.

Anrosh said...

..made a good read..happy anniversary. now i am curious to know how does a man feel if they get a wife with the iit stamp --

Sandhya Iyer said...

Lovely post! You make the whole idea of meeting a guy so much fun! A good job in alleviating the fears attached of getting packed off!

Destiny's child... said...

Loved this post...I guess a woman's instinct on matters like these, is always right! :)