After her last three misadventures, Nishigandha should really have been prepared for this one. As it turned out, this one didn't even progress to a formal meeting of the interested parties!
The first contact was made by Mr. Sharma, father of the hopeful groom. He owned a business in advertising and after handing it over to his eligible son, was now leading a comfortable retired life. He appeared to a liberal minded man. He suggested that Nishi get to know his son, Arun and if they clicked, then the parents could come into the picture. What a nice thought!
With optimism, Nishi sent an introductory mail to Arun. He replied back and their communication was on.
"What do you like to do to unwind and relax?" asked Nishi.
"I like to read. I'm into spirituality and mysticism". said he
"Really? Thats interesting" said Nishi
"Yes. I attend discourses and seminars. Last weekend, I went to see this holy man. He lives in a slum, having renounced the world. I waited three hours outside his hut and when I finally saw him, I wanted to ask him so many things. But I remained silent."
Nishi was taken aback. Not that she thought being interested in spirituality was wrong. But in her experience, her peers and contemporaries rarely showed this level of interest. She was also a little worried. From spirituality, it was just a hop, skip and a jump to ritualism - which she abhorred.
"I should tell you that I take a skeptical view of god men. I believe in God and respect all faiths. In fact, my brother is married to a Christian. We're totally fine with that."
The reply to this mail stopped the progress of this alliance in its tracks!
"I must admit I am not comfortable with your views. I think it is not good to have two different faiths in one family. I have certain beliefs and opinions and don't feel like I have to compromise on them. I will be constantly paranoid about the influence, a member of another faith, will have on my children. I'm sure they will try to convert them into another faith."
Was this man for real?! Seemingly well educated, erudite and liberal minded. Yet he believed in 'holy / god men' having no problem waiting three hours in a slum to meet one. His political views on religion were fundamentalist to say the least. Well he could take his views and just buzz off!
Introspecting on the matter later, Nishi wondered if she was the exception. Did most of her generation think like this Arun character? Was SHE the misfit? And if she was, what next? Marriage, people said, was a compromise. Should she compromise her beliefs and values to attain the state of matrimony? But if she did, she would not remain herself. Nishigandha would become the sort of person that she hated. And self loathing was the worst punishment in the world.
"I think I'll just be me. Wait and watch. There are more fish in the sea!"
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