Date 18: Drop Pati & Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky Arrange A ‘Family Date’ With Parents
- IWB Post
- August 22, 2016
…Of Usain Bolt and baingan ka bharta
“2 pm? But beta we have the Lithuanian team playing basketball at that time. I am rooting for Mindaugas Kuzminskas!”
“Dad, get out of Rio for once. This could be a meeting with the family of your future son-in-law, and you want to waste it by watching ‘he whose name can’t be pronounced’ play??”
“Arey jab se ye Olympic aaya hai, he is glued to the TV. Yesterday we had baingan ka bharta for dinner and your father couldn’t stop lecturing me on how we should eat more healthy food,” mom chips in.
“So what is wrong with it? Do you think Usain Bolt would have been able to win consecutive gold medals if he had baingan ka bharta every day for dinner?” dad is battle ready.
I decide to take the situation in my hands.
“Woah, stop talking about Rio and baingan ka bharta and listen to me. Aakash will be meeting us at the restaurant along with his family sharp at 2 pm. So you two better get ready,” I declare in a final voice before getting out of the room.
“Look at the irony, Sudha. Initially, we had to convince her so hard to go on dates, and now our little daughter is ordering us to go on a date with this photographer guy’s family. This is the total role reversal.”
“Akhir ladka kisne dhundha hai?” I hear mom say.
Is Aakash the ‘one’?
Now, sure you haven’t heard from me for a long time, and that’s because the last few weeks have passed in a daze. Since meeting Aakash at that café, I have discovered something that was missing from my life for a long time, happiness.
Since that day, we have gone out several times and unlike my experiences with the weirdos that I met before, Aakash has turned out to be the complete opposite.
Be it the conversations that we had or the time when we would laugh at our silly jokes, we were just happy to be around each other. It felt best when we would just gawk at each other (boy, he is handsome!) fingers entwined, in our mutual happy place.
“Our families should meet each other,” he had popped quietly one day.
During our initial outings, we had made the pact that first, we will know ourselves better before meeting each other’s family. And I must say, since my baraf ka gola date with Vishnu (I still kinda feel guilty while thinking about him) after meeting crazy Salman Khan fans and momma’s boys, the whole date thingy had turned into a nightmare. That’s why for me the happy-go-lucky Aakash is sanity.
We had fixed the family meeting on Sunday.
We are on our way
“We are almost there.” My folks sound excited.
“Yes, we are on our way too. See you at the restaurant.”
My WhatsApp chat with Aakash is interrupted by the voice of daddy dearest.
“I still stand by my statement that an MBA would have been a better option than a photographer.”
“Dad, we are not playing Kaun Banega Crorepati that we need to choose the right option. Love is not quite the same as mathematics.”
Dad grumbled about something unfathomable (probably missing the Lithuanian basketball match) before concentrating on driving.
“We also need to see the panchang and consult with pandit ji to fix the date of the ceremony,” mom says a tad bit thoughtfully.
“Yes, and we should also start buying diapers for the child and search a good play school,” I can’t check the sarcasm in my voice.
“I still say that that we could have scheduled the meeting after the Lithuanian match.”
I plug my earphones in.
“And here’s your mom!”
“Aaaiye samdhi ji, sudha ji!!”
Aakash’s father tries to bear-hug my dad, who is a bit too surprised.
To be honest, this over-enthusiasm doesn’t quite gel with me as well.
“Err…How are you, uncle?” I sound a bit too meek.
“Arey, no need to call me uncle, call me dad, and here’s your mom!” he points towards Aakssh’s mother who flashes a smile at me.
Mom (my original mom), who had met Mrs. Choudhary once before, happily goes on to chat with her.
“Why don’t we sit down, dad?” Aakash says merrily (unlike me, he doesn’t seem to be uncomfortable at all by this overt display of affection).
Just an errant thought, I guess. We settle down.
I didn’t see this coming
“You know dad, Drop Pati and I had a tough time trying to plan this meeting,” says Aakash, smiling at me.
“Of course beta, after all, you planned it. How it could go wrong?” aunty says almost gloatingly.
I look at Aakash. He seems to be savoring the compliment.
“To samdhi ji, I think next month would be the best. What do you think?”
To say that I am shocked would be an understatement.
“Err…Uncle, that’s too early,” I blurt out.
Aakash looks at me, but I can’t make out his expression.
“But don’t you have that conference next month?” dad asks.
I explain to everyone that I am scheduled to attend an architecture conference in Mauritius next month.
The reaction that I get is shocking.
Are we back to square one?
“But beta we are talking about marriage here.”
“Uncle I think it’s a bit too early, given the fact that this conference is really important for my career as an architect.”
“You can call him dad,” after saying these words, his mom exchanges a glance with Aakash. He doesn’t quite look in her eyes.
I don’t know what to say. We had come here to meet his family for the first time, and things didn’t go as planned. That’s alright since it takes time to be comfortable around some people. But I feel shocked to see Aakash remain silent and not speaking for me even once.
“C’mon Aakash, you know, how significant this conference is for me.”
“But then, anyways you are marrying, so what’s the need of all this?” his mother speaks.
They don’t want me to work after marriage! I feel a chill run through my spine.
Aakash is expressionless, not a word to contradict his parents.
I see mom and dad staring at me; disbelief is apparent in their eyes.
Sitting at the restaurant with my parents, two strangers and Aakash (I couldn’t recognize him anymore) I can’t help but think.
“Are we back to square one?”