A day in 2006
In fact, this is a story of a girl who lived with us indoors – we know about her, and her family almost as well as they know about themselves. We were looking for a dera, and providence sent us here. Two rooms, one of which is the size of a kitchen, were for us, the rest rooms were for them, in the ground floor. Since there is a single bathroom attached inside, we can not avoid each other’s company. The father, mom, son, a daughter, and a small girl of eight – who calls me a ‘chimpanzee uncle’ – from their first daughter whose husband has been to the gulf for obvious reasons.These lines wouldn’t have been written, had there not been a life changing incident. Not for us, but for the girl.
There came a proposal for her, which like almost all parents, they happily accepted. She has already completed her plus two, waiting for the result. The most amazing thing was that she did not say a single word in opposition. I was expecting a bellowing cry from her that she wants to complete her MA or, at least, BA before marriage, etc … but nothing happened of that sort. On the contrary, she was laughing while washing clothes yesterday when her bro made a funny remark that it was her last washing in their family. Today she is going to her hometown in the terai with her father and mom.
The fixing of her marriage was told to me by my cousin. He happened to hear the unavoidable talks next room – which is just a door’s distance. I teased him, “so lost another opportunity, I’d been telling you to marry her, and you didn’t care. Now, you lost her.” He retorted back, “so why didn’t u do then,…” I told him that I ‘d marry a foreigner only, and after all, I’d a generation gap with her age…Besides, her father is so naggingly talkative that no one would like to make him a father-in-law.
I heard her only brother, three years elder, somewhat not satisfied with the hurry the parents were in. “After all, it’s her life… etc” This guy is the only reasonable person in their family. Eight years younger to me, he is an energetic bread-and-other-things-winner for the family. Earns more than 25,000 from school and tuitions – an envious earning for a ‘kid’ of his age and profession. But he, too, could not go against his parents’ decision – another surprise.
I’ve nothing to do with her marriage, or whether she’ll get along with that Danthe or not. I can’t say that she is sad. She looks normal. Her middle sis has a querulous boy of three, and, still she is doing her Bachelor in Pharmacy – something I couldn’t do – bosses around everywhere, including her parents and that fool called her hubby.
No one can plan the future exactly – it’s only a guess – since everything in the world keeps on changing. Yet I find it odd that any educated girl from a Brahmin origin would be willing to marry a policeman – unless she is in love with one. Her to-be-hubby is a Sub Inspector. I suspect that her father, who is a sly person, is knowingly marrying her with a policeman working in the PM’s Office, for his own ‘practical’ reason – not for the girl. Once I’d heard him saying that what a person all wants is sex.It’s not even that I am undermining the boy or his profession. It’s the system of marriage, that I really hate.
The more I think upon it, I’m becoming surer of Chninua Achebe’s remark that ‘Marriage is a private Affair.’Meanwhile, perhaps, better for us, there seems another party in the offing!
(to be contd)