“Are you crazy? You have a flight to catch tomorrow night. This is not the time to be doing this,” said Kaila my roommate and buddy of 4 years. Kaila and I have been associated with each other since our engineering days in IIT Kharagpur. I being the impulsive kinds always looked up to her for advice. But not today. “If I don’t do this bus journey now, I may just lose Abhi forever. My onsite project is for 6 months and in this period I fear his parents would change his mind”, I said as I packed my last bag.
Things weren’t that easy. Abhi and my parents’ didn’t seem to see eye to eye. We were not from different religious backgrounds. Nor were we from different communities. Yet there were issues. Each set of parents looked at the other with suspicion, with a sense of animosity of having trapped their child. No amount of convincing seemed to work.
Now with me leaving for my first onsite project to San Francisco for 6 months, I feared the worst. If anything had to be done, I “Amrita” had to do it now. I decided to take the bull by its horns- to meet my prospective in-laws and put forth my last case. This meant travelling 270 kms from Calcutta to Jamshedpur by road, just a day before I was to catch my flight out of India. I didn’t inform Abhi, lest he stressed over it.
The bus reached pretty early at 4 AM. I quickly freshened up at the bus stand, pinned my dupatta in place and rubbed the creases off my kurta so that I looked presentable. I waited till 7 AM and took a rickshaw to their home. What was I going to say and what was I going to do there, I did not know.
I saw Abhi’s father Mr. Ramvilas Sinha reading the morning paper in his lawn. He slowly lifted his head, when he heard the click of the gate. Abhi’s mom peeped from inside. Momentarily all our eyes exchanged glances, each wondering what was going to happen. Mr. Sinha broke the silence and said, “Come in first”.
I took a deep breath and stepped into their elegantly maintained drawing room. They both sat stiff with eyes transfixed on me. It was my turn to say something. I found myself frozen, but I had to do this. “I am leaving tonight to San Francisco. I may be gone for 6 months”, I told them. I got no response, just a look that said, “Why was she here, the one who trapped our son?” I continued, “I am not as per your expectations. I cannot cook and nor do I know what it is to take care of a home. But I love your son and want to marry him and have babies with him”, I blurted out.
What the heck was I saying? I saw their jaws drop when they heard these words tumble out of my mouth. I had just jeopardized my love life. You don’t talk about babies to prospective in- laws, especially when they already have a negative impression about you. I couldn’t say more. I fumbled other things about work etc… and quickly left their home before they could say anything to me. I must have probably stayed for 10 minutes in all.
I took the 10 AM bus back to Calcutta. I reached on time to quickly wind up and reach the airport to catch my flight. My phone rang. I froze. It was my parents from Bangalore. “Amrita, have a safe journey. We got a call from Abhi’s parents and they have invited us over this weekend. All sounds good. They want the marriage as soon as possible.” I couldn’t believe my ears. I could hear the beep of another incoming call. I glanced at my screen it was Abhi. “Hello… Amrita, where are you? You went to meet my parents??????? You didn’t even tell me????? How did you manage to do that? Will miss you come back soon.”
My onsite concluded in 4 months and I came back to a gala wedding with Abhi. As I sat one cool afternoon chatting up with my new set of parents-in-law after the wedding, I casually asked them what made them say yes, despite all the rubbish I had blurted out on that day. They said, “You must have been madly in love with our son to come all the way here to meet us, and speak your heart out. It spoke a lot about you.
I smiled and thought how love could make you do and say crazy things. But it was finally worth it, isn’t it?