Another day and another prospective alliance came my way : the boy was the son of an Acharyan (A theological/ spiritual preceptor – A guru ) in our ancestral hometown of Srirangam near Trichy. He was an engineer and was very fair and good looking ( that’s the way my dad would describe him in any case). He literally fell headlong for me the moment he set eyes on me. He made it very clear to my father also how he felt about me. He succeeded in convincing his orthodox parents also and things were moving forward too quickly for my liking. But I did not like him, and I was worried that somehow I would be forced to say "yes". The very thought of going to live with his ultra orthodox family even for one single day was horrifying for me. I would be compelled to wear a 9 yard saree in the orthodox madisar fashion and follow all the "aachaarams" (Rituals) and various other arcane rules of behaviour and conduct set by their highly conservative society, befitting his exalted position as the Acharyan (Guru) .
In the meantime the boy started communicating with my father through letters and phone calls, how he was looking forward to becoming a part of our family, that we need not worry about his orthodox family,as he planned to set up a separate establishment once married, and visit them only occasionally, that he would take good care of me and blah blah………..
His letters kept coming and I was really irritated by his persistence, and because of him my father started telling my mother how she was not training me also in our orthodox Iyengar way of life, for unless I was properly tutored in these matters, I would always shun such practices which our forebears in their infinite wisdom had designed scientifically for our benefit only. My mother and I therefore got into a secret pact never to let my father see, any more of the letters that the boy from Srirangam was shooting off. Fortunately also, the boy’s father had lots of demands up his sleeves which my father did not like and so there I was once again saved from the fire, but not before a little bit of frying in the pan. You simply cannot imagine how horrifying each experience was when you don’t know with whom you might end up for the rest of your life.After several more prospective alliances, and every alliance going nowhere, it was the turn of an Army officer to come my way. You will not believe it if I told you that by now I had seen and been seen by about 300 boys in just 4 years time. It sounds implausible, but not so if you were resident in Madras in those days.
Let me clear the air here a little bit to say that my father was not such a hateful person as portrayed by me. It was just that the circumstances were different, and it was quite the norm to have dominating fathers in most households those days. I must do justice to him for the various other aspects of him as a good father, a good husband and a good man in another blog on an other day.
The Army boy and his parents did come on the appointed day, saw me and liked me very much. I also did not really dislike him. These Army folks exude a certain charm that is difficult to resist. Other men can learn a few things from them, like how to treat a Lady, and to be polite and dignified with elders etc. Of course everything is fine with them as long as they don’t get drunk and misbehave in public, or even in private.
Well, getting back to my story, my father had convinced me that all Army people need not be tarred with the same brush. He then brainwashed me to think of a wonderful life filled with parties and various activities that would interest me, and all the wonderful and exotic places in the far corners of India I would get to see and so on. Of course, deep in his heart he knew that only part of it was true, and so did I:not everything would be as rosy and cosy as portrayed by him. My poor father, he was so sincere in his efforts, sometimes I was really moved by his sincerity and his determination to get things done, come what may. This waiting for the so called 'Mr. Right' can't go on and on, somewhere, someone has to put a stop. Accepting things the way they were, and looking realistically at the world around me was the best option. The boy was good, in every sense, except for being in the Army, which was minor issue, one should always look for the positives in life and move forward.
Somehow I sensed a change coming over me: rather reluctantly, I braced myself to look forward to a so called funfilled life in the army.
I know you people would want to know everything right now, but it would be too long for a blog, so I have to try and keep it short and crisp, and share my experiences in parts without boring all of you too.
Does my story so far sound weird, well watch out for more weirdness to come......