“No, Mom! This isn’t going to work!”
“Just give it a chance”
“No, mom I did give him a chance and this guy irritates the hell out of me.”
“Just meet him once.”
“No, I don’t have the time to meet a new guy every weekend…least of all this one.”
“Oh come on, don’t give me your stubbornness now.”
“Mom, not this weekend, not this guy…also, my coffee break is almost over, have to go…Bye!”
Juhi blew out a breath of relief and hung up the call with her mom. She was already feeling exhausted with frustration and it was only 3:30 PM. She was sitting in the office cafeteria with a cup of coffee in hand. She was growing tired of this vicious matrimony matchmaking cycle. She had met three different guys in the last three weekends, and she couldn’t see her future with any of them. They were all good guys, good family, good education and were quite secure financially as well. Still, there was something missing, she just did not feel right with any of them. She saw her friend, Richa approaching her out of the corner of her eye and tried to calm down into a more relaxed mood.
Richa came and sat next to Juhi at the table.
“So, is it safe to be around you? Five minutes ago, you looked like you will eat someone’s head off .”
She would have done exactly that had it been someone other than Richa, “Yeah it is certainly safe for you.”
“So who is the recipient of my sympathy this time?”
Juhi almost scowled but replied calmly, “MOM.”
Since Richa knew all too well about Juhi’s matrimonial hunt situation, she assumed it was a conversation of usual disagreement between the mother – daughter duo. Knowing her friend all too well, she knew the only way to calm down Juhi was to slowly raise the subject, “So what was it this time?”
“She wants me to go and meet some new guy this Saturday, as if I have nothing better to do.”
Richa knew Juhi had no big plans for the weekend, she very sweetly asked, “Oh, and do you?”
“Well now that you ask, yes I am going for a movie.”
“Fair point, give your mom some slack though, she worries for you.”
Juhi knew that to be true, calmed at the thought of love for her mom, “Yes I know.”
Richa continued, “Speaking of matrimonial hunt, give it some time”
Juhi gave her an exasperated look, “Apparently time is the last thing I have, as my mom keeps pointing out…the clock is ticking.” she continued her tirade, “Like If I don’t marry before a certain age, a bomb will explode.”
Richa totally empathised with Juhi’s predicament though she couldn’t fault Juhi’s mom for being concerned either. She knew if left to Juhi’s discretion, she will be happy all by herself throughout her life. Richa didn’t find anything wrong in the latter but she didn’t agree with Juhi’s reasoning on the same. She didn’t believe that her wonderful friend with a gem of a heart was meant to live alone. She kept her silence on this for Juhi’s sake. She couldn’t even fault Juhi on wanting time to know the person before agreeing to marry. Nothing wrong in a courting period.
Juhi admitted to Richa, “I cant just marry someone based on logical choice, I need to feel right I my heart about the person, which right now I don’t. It’s like my mom has a calendar with every weekend named after a guy. This isn’t even fair to the guy being considered”
Richa couldn’t agree more, to lighten the mood, she joked, “Yeah, your mom does seem to be on a roll. Where does she get the time to find all these guys anyway?”
Juhi laughed with sarcasm, “Oh she has built up a whole network of contacts, and she has a lot of our relative and friends jointly working on, ‘Operation Juhi’s Marriage’ 24×7.” With that they went their separate ways. Juhi spent the rest of her day stuck to her laptop and phone. Working was fun for her, she loved it. She didn’t even realised when it was time to go home.
She was lost in thoughts on her way to home. The crux of her problem was she needed to feel a level of connection with a person to be able to accept them as life partner. She had that with her previous boyfriend. Even though that was 4 years ago and she is over him now, she still needed the emotional connect to fall for someone. She didn’t understand how she was supposed to say yes or no for a guy based on logic alone. She failed to understand her mom’s rationalisation on this of “falling in love after marriage.”
If she was being honest with herself, she had felt that kind of connect with one of her friends, Sumit. She always felt a level of peace around him and she more than liked his company whenever they hung out together, but she had no idea what he thought of her. She did not want to mess up their friendship so she never raised this subject with him. Contrary to what her Mom thought, she did have plans for the weekend, lunch followed by a movie with Sumit. Smiling at the thought of meeting him soon, she opened the door and entered her home.
She did meet Sumit later that week over lunch. They talked and exchanged tid bits of their week. She was very happy and at peace that whole day. Not once was she frustrated or worried or angry about anything at all. She was so glad she chose sumit over some other random meeting. She was in her own happy island that whole weekend.
Sumit liked her from the minute he set his eyes on her. Not knowing how she felt, he didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by approaching the subject of ‘them’. He knew how frustrated she was about choosing the perfect match the arranged marriage way. He understood her need of wanting more time. All these guys she kept meeting failed to see how special she was to have given them her time. To him she had a gem of a heart and add her beauty to that and any guy she chose would be luckiest to be with her.
Juhi had stopped seeing guys her mom kept sending her way five months ago. It was when she realised the emotional connection she needed was missing in all of them. She loved her life, she was doing great at work, she was happy in her inner circle of friends and she looked forward to meeting Sumit every weekend. He had a special place in her heart, she trusted him like she never trusted others, and her relationship with him was developing beautifully. There was something about him that made her feel both peace and joy at the same time. She was waiting for him at a restaurant for lunch.
He smiled at her when he looked at her; he took a seat at the table. He was feeling nervous, for he planned on taking their relationship to the next level.
They talked about all types of things as usual, had their lunch. Then he discreetly passed her a gift wrapped box. He could see the joy on her face at the unexpected gift wrapped box. She loved getting surprized. “What’s this, it’s not my birthday!”
Smiling even more, he just said “Open it and find out yourself.”
Feeling excited she opened it, her heart and eyes brimming with adoration at the gesture, she was surprised to see what was inside the box.
It was a book she wanted to read since months but never got around to getting it herself. Its title read, ‘Option B’. She was even more surprised to find out what was attached to the bookmark in the book, it was a tiny brass object, a key.
Baffled to find a key, she looked up at him and asked, “A key? which lock does it belong to?”
Sumit tried to keep a straight face, but failing at the attempt he smiled widely and answered, “Metaphorically to my heart, but physically to the lock on my apartment’s door.”
Feeling utterly confused, “She asked Option B and a Key? Why this particular book?”
Sumit looked at the dumb look on her face, she was the smartest girl he knew, but could be the dumbest at times. He smiled adoringly at the innocence of her confused face. “Since you are clearly not ready for a direct option A of marriage, you need time to decide and clearly we are not just friends, for I am in love with you!” He himself needed to have it all out on the table as he needed to make her understand what she was getting into, he continued, “I am giving you an option B, move in with me, share my life without any pressures on your head…would you take this one step a time route with me?”
Juhi was so happy and she almost stopped listening after the “in love with you”, she was overjoyed at realizing that she was not in alone in this boat, he was always there on her side, feeling the same way.
Juhi was no longer confused she replied, “Yes, I love you too.”
“Ok, that’s relieving but, I take it you don’t want the key?”
“Oh the key, I forgot…Yes I accept the key.” She hugged him, she was feeling so happy. She had to ask him, “Why now? Why move in?”
He just smiled and answered, “I want you and only you in my life and I want to share it with you. I would marry you now, if you are willing. Since I know, you need time, I went with Option B.”
Juhi was glad he thought of that as Option A – marriage scared her to pieces, but Option B seemed acceptable at present.
She replied, “I am glad you did…super happy you did!”