It was a fine afternoon. Our home was filled with the aroma of homemade sweet dishes. We were waiting eagerly for the doorbell to ring. A prospective groom was coming to see my cousin sister with his family. At around 5 pm the doorbell did ring and we sprang up from our respective positions to welcome them. With wide smiles we greeted them. We made sure every tooth of us was visible. We were given enough training on how to behave in their presence.

Groom was dressed nicely and was looking really handsome. The parents were normal like any pair of Indian grooms parents. We knew there won’t be a primary introduction as they already knew about my sister from my papa’s colleague.

Aunt, that is my sister’s mother, was more tensed than her daughter. Her constant smile made it more obvious. After some time didi was called. She with a chunri on her head entered with a tray with three cups of tea. The elderly woman smiled a sweet smile and asked her to sit.

Now started the real show.

“ Beta in which year did you appear for your madhyamik exam? “ said the father.

“ 2002”, replied my confused sister.

What can be on his mind? My sister is pursuing her Ph.D. now and this man wants to know the year she was in 10th standard. Months later it occurred to me that maybe he wanted to calculate her age.

At that time he did not give more time to brood over the question.  He fired the next one.

“ I know you are doing your Ph.D. in history. So, do you love history?”

No, she loves physics. Happy?

Sister smiled which meant yes.

What the hell? What answer did he expect?

“ Do you like to cook?”

“yes sometimes”, replied my sister.

The mother of groom put a very nice question next.

“ Do you like to cook for your family?”

Again pause.

No dear she likes to cook for the guy next door.

The interview continued while the three cartoons ate all the lip-smacking sweets. Before they left the mother gave a thousand rupee note to my sister. “ beta shagun hai, rakhlo”, she said.

My aunt ran to stop her. She was trained not to take any money and stand shyly but my sister took it and walked away. She went upstairs without looking back. There was pin-drop silence in the room. I broke the silence the next moment. It was not my fault. The kurkure inside my mouth made cracking noise.

-Anonymously

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