Sukanya wanted a normal family. The ones which you read about in books or see at your friend’s. But no, not for her the privilege of having a normal family. It was not that her father was having an affair ot that her mother was busy with her kitty parties. Neither was her family dysfunctional.
She belonged to a Tamil Iyer family, a family renowned for their adherence to traditions. A family wherein the girls were taught classical singing and Sanskrit even before they could speak without a lisp. And a family where girls were married as soon as they finished their graduation.( The search for the groom would start as soon as the girl turned 18 though)
In such a family her parents had been an exception. They had decided not to have any more children, saying that this girl child was enough for them, they played with her when she was a toddler, gave her the best of education and when she said that she wanted to be a Doctor, stood by her.
So what was abnormal you say?
She longed for a dissent, why you did that, why are you late to come home, why do you have to talk to that guy, why are you wearing such a short skirt etcs. Nothing like that ever happened with her.
The day she came late from college, her mother would be waiting with her favorite food and utter words like,; ‘are you tired, kanna, shall I give a head massage’. ( She would have loved to hear something like-WHY ARE YOU LATE)
The day her classmate dropped her, it was ‘Who is the handsome guy?’. She would have loved to hear something like WHO IS THAT? ARE YOU HAVING AN AFFAIR.
Sighhhh, not for her those privileges. She was sick and tired of her conceding parents.
And now that she was 21, her parents wanted her to find a mate. No they were not against her doing Post graduation but ‘Darling you need a partner in life’, was their argument. And so now whenever she was feeling good and hummed a tune, her mother would give a smile and ask ‘SO did you meet anybody?’ As if guys were available in a market and you could just pick whichever you liked.
Any guy dropping her home, would be invited to come inside and would be fed ( like a goat is fed before being slaughtered, she thought) and his family history dug.
Any phone call by a male classmate and her mom would give her sly smiles. UFF she was fed up of the behaviour of her parents.
Presently she was on a bus travelling to a village as part of her curricula. She was required to put in at least 8 hours a week working in the rural parts of the state. Lost in her thoughts she had not noticed that the person next to her was a ‘foreigner’. British to be exact. ‘Excuse me’, can you guide me to..’ he said the name of the village where she too was going. ‘Hey I too am going there, you can get down with me’.
Now Paul had come to discover India. In some days Sukanya and he became friends and would often meet. It was not long before he told her that he liked her. Not only did he like her but he wanted to marry her too.
That weekend, she took Paul home. Her parents were a bit reserved. After he left, they pounced on her with ‘We wanted you to settle down but not to this beef eating foreigner.’
‘Sukanya did you not meet a single Indian’
‘An Indian would do even if he is a non Brahmin’
‘What did you see in that man; looks like a white cockroach to me’
And so on
And Sukanya beamed, it seemed so normal.