My parents were relieved, that at last their youngest daughter was finally getting married. I reluctantly said yes to this boy. The Army boy had left, for he had just come on some official work, but his parents kept in touch with us through phone calls, discussing the date for our engagement ceremony etc. etc. It was decided that it would take place on the 24th of August 1980. As the day kept coming closer and closer, I got really worried and restless, I felt the classic shiver down my spine every time I thought about the boy and my marriage to him. I could not understand this fear building up inside me for no apparent reason. The boy was decent, his parents loved me, they were all well educated and cultured, yet why did I harbor such negative vibes, and felt something was not right, but I could not put my finger on it.
In the meantime, my parents went to Kanchivaram (a town famous for silk sarees), and bought all the wedding sarees for me as well as for others, they were busy buying all the necessary things required for the wedding, and people were informed about my engagement--- a big relief for them too as they were witness to almost all the alliances that had come my way, news has a way of spreading real fast.
I think one month must have passed, Oh! how quickly the month passed by, bringing me very close to my engagement day, making me dread every second of it.
At that point, I had lost all faith in life, I had no one who would understand what I felt, in fact even if I were to tell someone, they would just brush it off as pre-wedding jitters. There seemed to be no escape, I was fully trapped. How could I tell my parents that, I just didn’t feel right about this man?
The bell was not ringing for this man in my heart.
They would want to know the reason, and I really didn’t know why I should not marry him.
The Army gang, along with the boy, came again to our house to discuss the various details regarding the engagement etc. At that time the boy’s mother suggested maybe the two of us should be left alone, so that we could get to know each other better. (bless her). So we just started sharing a few things about each other, which was rather pleasant and nice, making me feel more confident about this man, and I chided myself for imagining the worst scenario for myself. He was really very good, with no airs, a really down to earth man. The more we talked, the more, I liked him, and all of a sudden, all my unfounded fears seemed to have vanished into thin air …. until, he suddenly said he had certain unhealthy habits and that, may be marriage would be just the thing to give him the incentive to get rid of them. He started telling me about his addiction to cigarettes, and also his the habit of drinking, albeit only in parties (which I was sure were pretty frequent). He attributed all these habits to being in the Army. Life could be quite tough sometimes, filled with boredom and lonliness, that’s what he said. I asked him whether he was a vegetarian, to which his answer was in the negative: he said he couldn’t do without eating non- veg, and then he described to me in detail how his father (who was a forest officer), his elder brother ( who was also in the Army ) and of course himself, would go hunting in the forest in a jeep at night times and kill some wild animal, make a fire right there and cook and eat the poor creature. He was so excited and seemed to be very proud of such adventures and accomplishments.
To me all these things sounded very barbaric and inhuman. I was shocked that I had said "yes" to such a person, for we were so very different from each other in every way. The prospect of leading an unsettled and nomadic life in the Army, facing frequent separation, relocation, leading a nomadic life, having children whose education and schooling would perforce be disrupted frequently, and all the other accompanying problems, was daunting. (I had somehow brainwashed myself that they were nothing). And to think, I would also have to live with his various vices (at least to my eyes), I somehow felt that things would not work out between the two of us. He would be better off with somebody who was used to the kind of life he had just portrayed to me, for I know some people may find it fascinating, thrilling and challenging. They might also like to accompany him on his trips to the jungle for hunting. As the saying goes: "One man’s food is another’s poison." Who was I to pass judgement?
All I could only say that this man was not for me and could have no place in my life. I somehow felt, that I didn’t want to be involved with a man with so many issues to be resolved, and marriage would not be a solution to his problems. For him to change, the change would have to come from within himself and not with the help of another person, and I did not want to make it my business to change him.
However, would I have the courage to speak about all this to my parents?
Why did I turn totally against him, for he was just being honest, nothing wrong in being honest, he was only confiding in me as a friend, and soon to become my companion?