‘Mom, are you positive about this alliance?’
‘About whom, son?’
‘Me and Akanksha? I mean, she’s so dumb…’
‘What? Why so?’
‘Didn’t you look at her yesterday? How she was so nervous, and remained mutely silent until the end of the party. When I cut the cake, I offered a piece to everyone, even to Mehra aunty, but she was the one who stepped back. What kind of behavior was that maa? Am I an untouchable?’
‘She’s not dumb, son. She’s typically traditional, shy and sweet, full of dignity! I used to be the same before marriage, and she’s no different…’
‘But maa, times have changed…’
‘Son, for some people, times are still the same, and Mehra’s are one of them. Don’t you notice the simplicity in their clothing and lifestyle? Despite owning a billion dollar multinational-corporation, they’re so down to earth and homely people…’
‘I don’t think I’m ready for this marriage business, maa!’
‘Shrey! Don’t you dare do anything absurd now. Your father’s reputation is on the stake and moreover, Mehra’s are like a family. You can’t disappoint so many people just because you want an ultra-modern girl for yourself!’
‘And mom, you cannot impose this marriage upon me, like anything, literally anything!’ Shrey almost shouted and Mr. Chauhan entered the hall.
‘What’s going on? And how are you talking to your mother?’
‘I’m sorry dad, sorry maa.’ Shrey shut up immediately.
‘Dad, can I say something?’ Shrey broke the ice after a few minutes of deep silence.
‘Of course, but first, let me have my word, son’ Mr Chauhan sat down on the couch and signaled Shrey to sit in the front chair. He quietly hopped in.
‘Son, first of all, I’m sorry…’ Mr Chauhan folded his hands.
‘Let me finish, son! I never wanted to announce your marriage in such a way. But yesterday, while returning back from Spain, Mr. Mehra talked to me about his expansion plans of future. I enthusiastically said that I also wanted to invest and become a share-holder. Mr. Mehra caught the tone and put forward the proposal of his daughter’s marriage with you. I couldn’t say anything at that moment. I just told him that I cannot confirm anything without talking to you, but yesterday in that hustle-bustle, I simply got no chance to talk to you, and since I gave a word to Mr. Mehra, that if the news of collaboration of our industries will hit the market, it will hit along with the alliance news, so I had to break it to everyone yesterday. Now is the time that I got to talk to you, so tell me one thing son, frankly…do you love someone else?’
Shrey was quiet for a moment. He still couldn’t understand that how his father could take such a major decision of his life, without even asking him.
‘No, dad. I don’t…’
‘Good, do you like Akanksha?’
‘Come’on son! Be a man…’
‘I haven’t talked to her, I don’t know her then how can I like her?’
‘You’ve got a point there, young man!’
‘But dad, what if I don’t like her at all? Ever?’
‘That is also thought about, son. If you don’t think you guys can stay together, then we’ll support your decision. I talked about this to Mr. Mehra also, he also said that his daughter may also oppose such sudden news, so we decided to give you guys 6 months, to know each other, and in those 6 months, if you still don’t feel like staying together, we’ll call it off. We’re not pressurizing you at all for this alliance. We totally understand how huge marriage is, when it comes to taking the responsibility. And if you don’t feel like getting married at this age, then we can delay it to next year too. Whatever you want son, whatever…’ saying this Mr Chauhan saw the time in his newly bought Rolex watch and got up from the soft and fluffy couch. Shrey was dumbstruck. His life was rolling in the hands of two oldies who were more interested in making money than caring about the lives of their kids.
‘Shrey…’ Anjali called him from kitchen.
‘Beta, Mrs. Mehra called up. They’re coming home tonight, for dinner. Akanksha will also be coming. So get ready and dress up smartly! You’re going to meet your future wife for the first time, after all…’ Anjali chuckled.
‘Future WIFE! Yeah, why not?’ Shrey banged the door of his room shut.