“Arun uncle’s son has just completed his MS from USA,” she told my mom, looking at me from the corner of her eye, implying something that I was too dumb to understand. “I also have his photo, handsome he is, you want to see, Priya?” she said, smiling very mischievously at me.
Why would I want to see his picture? Every family has that one aunty that plays cupid, or matchmaker or whatever you wanna call her. Pammi aunty, let’s call her. They are very proud, with an ego the size of Australia. If you reject the offer they bring, you have to face their wrath. My mother, the God fearing, simple lady that she is, asked for his photo.
The next day, as I was eating my upma, my favourite evening snack after I came home from college, my mom placed a photo on the dining table. When was the last time you saw a photo. I mean a photo-photo, not a jpeg, but a hard copy.
The picture was of a boy wearing a blue shirt and black pants standing in front of the bull (Wall Street, is it?)
He was stocky, even compared to the bull. He wore thick glasses, a testimony to years of burning the midnight oil.
“IIT graduate. Google engineer.” My mother salivated at the idea.
I didn’t want to meet him. I said yes only ‘cause I wanted to see how a date was. In our case, it was a date chaperoned by Pammi aunty. We took a table for 3 in CCD, India’s official dating arena. What did people do before CCD came into existence?
“What will you have, Priya?” he asked in a voice that was deep, confident, not cocky, but confident. Like he knew he wasn’t doing anything wrong. Like he hadn’t done anything wrong ever.
“What movies do you like?” he said sipping on his Café latte. He explained what the difference was between an Espresso, Cappuccino and a Café Latte.
“Dil wale dulhaniya le jaayenge” I said. Pammi aunty gave me a reassuring smile. Everything was going well. I was, for some reason very tense. This was supposed to be just a meeting.
“Have you seen inception?” he asked with genuine excitement. It was 2010 and this movie had just released. I had seen the trailer and it just bounced over my head. I nodded my head. His excitement dulled only to return when I told him that I liked Avataar.
He was my height, not too tall, not handsome, he wasn’t smooth. He was straight forward. He was wearing a shirt. I could see his chest hair, which I thought was very hot.
After he left, Pammi aunty asked me – So? What do you think?
I said yes.
Now, I think about it, I was so young and silly. Had it not been for Pammi aunty, I would have never met Devdutt. We would have never gotten married. And I would never be this happy.
Last December, I attended the wedding of a cousin in Udaipur. At a distance, there was Pammi aunty – talking to another aunty, smiling mischievously at her daughter. And I smiled.