Arranged Marriages

At the appointed time
He appeared in the hall way
Tall dark and handsome
Exactly meeting the description
In the matrimonial advertisement
She entered shyly all dressed up
With fresh flowers in her black
Well oiled long tresses wearing
A traditional silk embroidered sari
She sat on the chair across the room
Stealing coy glances from the corner
Of her dark eyes adorned with mascara

No words were exchanged until
She was sent inside to serve tea
A very traditional introduction
Looked upon as a kind of ritual in
The practice of arranged marriages
She returns with a tray of sweets
And walks towards her intended
His Mother promptly asks if she
Had prepared all of them even before
He has helped himself to any thing

The expression on the girls face changes
She casts a concerned look at the woman
Who could be her future mother-in-law
And announces quietly that they have a cook
O dear, thinks her Mother she has ruined
All her chances with this good looking boy
Why can she not rest her tongue a little
And just stay with a smile and coy looks
The boy diffuses the tension and asks
Polite questions about her place of work
Her Mother begins to wonder why the boy
Should be interested in her job as she belongs
To the generation who believes strongly that
It is the man's role to be the bread winner

The girl's father surveys the scene worriedly
And decides that it is time for him to intervene
He walks up to the young man and sits down
Right beside him -to emphasise his role as
The father of the bride should things work out
He encourages the boy to sample the sweets
And asks his daughter to check if the tea is ready
While she goes inside he praises her casually
Her Mother takes the cue and starts reciting
A kind of litany of her accomplishments
The room gets quieter as the tea is served
Some more pleasantries are exchanged and
The Boy and his family get up to leave
But not before his Mother thanks them adding
That as they have a few other proposals to review
The young lady would hear from them in day or two! !

by Sandra Martyres

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