Monday, September 22, 2008

A failed gambit

Matangi was furious when her parents persisted with proceeding further in finalising her marriage with Raghav.It is true Raghav met all the requirements that parents of a bride would look for. Highly qualified, he was already holding a middle level position in a multinational bank. He was tall and handsome with good features. He belonged to a decent and affluent family with a large house in a posh colony. He had a flat of his own and a medium sized car. But Matangi would not listen to their persuasions. It all happened like this.Raghav had come to her house with his parents and sisters to meet her. After the initial pleasantries, he expressed a wish to take her to a hotel and talk to her for them to know each other better. This was agreed to and they decided to meet the next day at a hotel he frequently went.
The trouble started then. Raghav straight away from the word go started telling her what he expected of his wife to be and wanted her to know what his likes and dislikes are. He was not chivalrous in giving her an opportunity to talk about herself or made any attempt to know what her interests were. He kept talking about himself interspersed repeatedly with the phrase ”I hope you follow.”Matangi developed an instant dislike for him and his boorish behaviour. She did not talk much. At the end when he asked her whether she had anything to ask of him, she replied in the negative. Thinking that he made a favourable impression on her, he dropped her at her home with the parting remark ” You are very quiet. I like you immensely for this reason. I have an aversion for girls who talk much.” She made known her total dislike to her parents and requested them to look for someone else. They were not convinced and felt Matangi was being foolish with wrong assumptions
. She knew that her father was domineering with an adamant streak in him. When he proceeded to discuss further with Raghav’s parents, she decided to devise her own way of getting out of this alliance. She spoke to her colleague and good friend Sanjeev to help her get out of this proposal. She knew that Raghav frequented the hotel on Saturday evenings. She requested Sanjeev to pose as her fiancé on Saturday evening at the hotel and to behave as if he was in deep love with her before the young man whom her parents were hell bent to marry her with.Sanjeev readily agreed..
They chose a corner close to the table where Raghav had taken her earlier. Dressed to kill, she was at her charming best. She had taken thoughtfully a bouquet of roses that she kept on the table. They ordered snacks and coffee and waited for Raghav to appear. She sat facing Raghav’s table with Sanjeev’s back to it. When she saw him entering along with his buddies, she signalled Sanjeev “He is entering. Hold my hands and keep talking animatedly. You should appear to be moon struck.”
Even as he promptly clasped her hands with his, she giggled loudly at the inane things Sanjeev was muttering and thus attracted Raghav’s attention. Raghav appeared shocked with his face turning red in colour and did not shift his gaze on her. He did not appear to be listening to the conversations of his friends.Matangi gave the impression that she had not noticed him and snuggled closer to Sanjeev jabbing his chest with her hands. When she saw Raghav getting up abruptly and moving towards her, she buried her face on the menu card. He stood near her for a fraction of a few seconds facing both of them and left in a huff.Matangi was visibly happy as she said “Take off your hands, Sanjeev, my one day lover. I think he will no more pester my parents seeking my hand. Thanks, buddy, for your help.”
It was around 9AM next day when she heard the doorbell and her father opening the door. Soon she heard her mom hurrying towards the hall and the excited conversations that followed. She heard her mom calling,”Matangi, Come here to see who have all come.” Wondering who would disturb her thus early on a Sunday morning, she proceeded to the hall. She was aghast at seeing Raghav and Sanjeev seated side by side in the sofa talking to her dad. There was a smug smile at the former’s face as if questioning her “What will you do now?”Sanjeev stood up with a sheepish grin and exclaimed “Sorry, Matangi, our game was up. You see Raghav is my first cousin and he knows that I am engaged to another girl with the marriage fixed for next month.”
She loudly swore”shit” and went angrily inside her room.It is another matter Sanjeev came in and convinced her that Raghav was a fine fellow and that he had acted on someone’s advice to pose tough on the first meeting with her. He told her “He is a jolly fellow and I won’t be surprised if he were not a henpecked husband if that was what she was wanting.” Raghav followed him and said “Matangi, Sorry, I spoke only about me last time. Tell me a lot about you, your interests and hobbies?” Her parents heard peals of laughter coming from Matangi’s room.

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