There are many things we chase in life. Some chase money, some chase fame, some chase the perfect body, some even chase the all elusive happiness. There most certainly is one chase, however, that binds all humanity and that is the quest for the perfect “match”. The one person in the entire Universe who is responsible for our well being, whose world revolves around us, who is totally and wholly responsible for making us feel like we are not alone in this world.
In every other chase, we run alone. But in this one, we have an entire team – parents, friends of parents, friends, parents of friends, uncles, aunts and neighbours, running alongside us, cheering for us right until we find that “soulmate” or until they perceive us to be way over the hill to find one. Every person in my life has at some point in time, pointed out the “perfect boy” (note how all we single folk are referred to as boys & girls).
Most often than not, in India, we are in the chase before we even realize that we are in it, thrust into it quite early on by the “well meaning” all and sundry in our lives. I was all of 20 when my cousin Shantavi was getting married in Bombay. She was someone who everyone had written off as over the hill, set in her ways and too headstrong for any man to take on. She even had an older unmarried sister, Veena. Being close to them both, this was one wedding that I wouldn’t miss for anything. All the aunts clucking and nodding their heads in sympathy for Veena, while expressing absolute amazement at Shantavi’s “good fortune”, topped with the sarcastic, witty and extremely hilarious reaction to the entire situation by the two sisters… this was one wedding that would be memorable for too many reasons.
As excited as I was, I went and bought myself a beautiful black and gold Kanjeevaram sari to wear to the occasion. I was very pleased with what I saw in the mirror when I draped myself in it. All the puppy fat melted away, I thought I looked like the sexiest girl ever to wear a sari. I walked into the wedding hall confidently strutting my stuff. I was very pleased to notice that people took notice of me. So many people came up to me to talk to me. Everyone was interested to know what I was studying. Many smiled with relish that I was due to complete my B.Com. in a few months. I was mighty pleased that so many people were interested to know about me. Much later my mother told me that a proposal for marriage had already come my way.
Here I was thinking that I looked charming in my first appearance in a sari. In actuality, I was announcing that I was officially in the chase and the best part… I didn’t even know it!!.