“Finally,” Mr. Asim shouted while searching for something in the newspaper at 9:00 AM in the morning. His eyes sparkled with joy as he fixatedly looked at a particular yellow box with brown border. He had found a suitable advertisement at last.
Mr. Asim was a man in his late sixties. White hairs had started showing up above his earlobes. His head had turned into a huge field with no bushes or shrubs in the middle. But lush green grass still grew all around that shiny field. To put it straight, he was bald with some remaining whitish-black hair all around his bald patch.
He tried to get up from the couch with a quick jump but slumped down on the cushion all over again. He crashed on the sofa due to the heavy weight of his pot belly. He was no more a young man who was lean and thin. He was a father with gold rimmed spectacles around his eyes. His tiny as elephant eyes peeped through the thick glasses and examined the matrimonial column of the newspaper. After days of search he had finally found a suitable bridegroom.
Mr. Asim again tried to rise. This time he balanced his weight by holding onto the sofa handle with a strong grip. He stood on his weak with arthritis feet and moved towards the kitchen.
He walked straight up to his wife and held the newspaper before her face. It blocked his wife Rumna’s vision. But she tightened her hold on the knife and went on making small round pieces of carrot for vegetable salad.
“What do you want now?” She asked in an irritated tone.
“I have found him at last.” Mr. Asim’s eyebrows danced on his forehead as he conveyed the great news.
“Whom?” Rumna asked without looking at him.
“A suitable bridegroom.” Asim continued, “This gentleman seems perfect for Diya. He is educated, handsome and earns well.”
“What’s his star sign?” Rumna inquired with an interested expression. She turned and looked at Asim’s face. Asim’s creased forehead signalled that he had forgotten the horoscope part.
“If everything falls into place, I think it can be managed.” Asim suggested. To him, matching of houses wasn’t exactly necessary to build a home together.
Rumna snatched the newspaper from Asim’s hand. “It’s not mentioned.”
She tugged at Asim’s full sleeved shirt with the other hand and urged him to follow her with quick movement of her eyes. She surely talked more with eyes than with her mouth.
Back into the room, she dialed the phone number printed on the matrimonial advertisement. She pressed the numbers one after another with her fingers and held the mobile phone against her ear.
An aged manly voice answered the phone call from the other side.
“We have seen an advertisement on today’s newspaper. Are you looking for a bride? Is it for your son?” Rumna questioned without breathing in between the sentences.
“Yes.” The aged man replied.
In next few minutes phone numbers were exchanged and noted down. Photographs were sent through mobile messages. Thoughts and views were shared. Finally, the most serious part arrived. It was time to match the natal charts.
Asim took out his phone from his trouser’s side pocket and with quick movements of his fingers opened a mobile application that dealt with matching of astrological charts. It was a perfect replacement of waiting relentlessly for hours at an astrologer’s office. There was no need to sit for hours with sweating palms for matching results. The compatibility result was quickly available in the age of technology. Asim inserted the names, times and date of births of both the bride and the groom in the set format of the website. Finally, he clicked on the calculate button. The application was too easy to use even for a man like Asim. Results appeared on the screen within a few seconds.
“MATCHED.” It read.
Asim threw his mobile on the bed and moved unsteadily towards Rumna. He threw over his arms across Rumna’s shoulder and embraced her tightly for a split second.
He stepped back and took the phone from his wife’s hand. “Congratulations! We are going to be relatives soon.” Asim conveyed his good wishes to the bridegroom’s father. The aged man reciprocated with a silent nod of his head.
While the final talks were on, Diya pressed her ear tightly against the closed wooden door of her parents’ room. Her heart started beating faster. She secretly and silently overheard the confidential conversation. Her marriage was getting fixed.
Diya heard a creaking sound. Her body became alert. With an agile move she stepped aside from the room’s door.
Asim and Rumna opened the door lock and came out silently. They didn’t smile. They simply walked towards the table in the dining room. Like every other day Rumna started serving food on the plates. She did everything quietly as a particular stressful thought made her feel uneasy. They had finally liked a bridegroom but whether the bridegroom would like their daughter Diya or not remained uncertain. They quickly finished their lunch and walked back to their room. They laid themselves on the bed and soon fell asleep.
Yet Diya moved from one side of her room to the other. She wanted to ask her parents and know the latest information regarding her marriage. For a moment, she wished she could simply go online and check the news update of her wedding plan on any search engine.
After a few hesitant steps towards her parents’ room she walked into the room. She walked in as softly as a deer. Asim’s snore reverberated in the air. She leaned forward on the table and opened the mobile. The screen light glowed. A new message had arrived in the message box. Diya’s heart skipped a beat as she read the message. The groom’s father said, or wrote, “My son wants to talk to the bride and see whether they are like-minded. Please ask your daughter to call him in this phone number.”
Diya’s eyes glittered with joy and a smile spread on her lips with excitement. She didn’t have any pen and paper with her. So, she quickly memorised the number by softly repeating it in her lips a couple of times. Then, she slowly walked out of the room just the same way she had walked in.
Back in her room, she sat by the window. She was a girl in her early twenties. She still liked to dream and believe that her dreams would be fulfilled someday. Life had not disillusioned her as yet.
She typed the groom’s number on her mobile screen with her fingers. But she couldn’t dial it. She wasn’t sure about it. Instead she opened the message section and starting typing with rapid movement of her fingertips. She wrote, “Your dad wanted us to talk.”
Within a few minutes Diya’s phone starting ringing. She picked up the phone.
“May I know who am I talking to?” A male voice asked from the other side.
“I am Diya. May I know your name?” Diya asked very slowly.
“I am Arup.” He continued, “By the way, you seem terrified of me.” The guy smiled.
“What do you want to talk about?” Diya directly went to the topic.
“Let’s talk about our likes maybe. I like watching TV serials.” Arup tried to lighten up the mood.
“What? You watch serials?” A faint smile appeared on Diya’s lips.
“Yes. It’s great to watch melodrama. They are indeed mood lifting. Don’t you watch them?” He asked in an inquisitive tone.
“No.” A broad smile spread on Diya’s lips. She continued, “I would rather play games on my mobile phone.”
“Nice one. What games do you like to play? Dressing or cooking games I presume?” Arup smiled as he spoke.
“I like playing action games. I prefer fighting with opponents and winning against odds.” She spoke firmly.
“Okay. Very well. We both have unique tastes and temperaments. We are perfect together.” Arup’s loud laugh resounded in his room.
“We are perfect together? But we hardly know each other?” Diya asked a couple of questions with bated breath.
No answer came from the other side. She could only hear a noisy sound from the other side of the phone. The phone connection had got cut.
Diya pretended to be sad with a crying expression on her face and in the very next moment laughed noisily. She suddenly thought how easy finding love in a marital alliance was. No need to wait for ages to be proposed. It was like finding love through a couple of phone calls. She breathed a sigh of relief as she knew in her contented heart that she liked the bridegroom.
In the evening, new glossy cups and dishes were taken out. Rumna laid a shiny golden table cloth on the tea table. Diya was finally told that the bridegroom would visit their house that day itself. He and his family wanted to meet Diya. She pretended to be surprised by lifting her eyebrows in amazement. But the next moment she lightly nodded her head like an obedient girl.
Diya dashed into her room. She adorned herself in a beautiful saree and matching jewellery. She kept smiling continuously.
Back in the living room, Diya heard the ringing of the door bell. Diya’s parents rushed towards the gate and quickly opened it for the grand entry of their chosen bridegroom. A man in suit came in. He had a thick moustache above his lips. His hoarse voice echoed, “Good evening.”
Diya’s face suddenly turned pale. It wasn’t the same voice she had heard on phone that afternoon. Who did she talk to and enjoyed having a conversation with? Creases appeared on her forehead. She could hardly pronounce any words of greeting to the bridegroom. She stared blankly at his face.
In no time Diya saw another person walking inside through the door. His face looked exactly similar to the man in suit. But this man looked much younger in shirt and trousers. He quietly looked at her from behind the groom. “How are you?” The known voice uttered with a smile on his face.
Diya walked up to the young man by almost moving her groom aside with her arm. “Who are you? Why did you talk to me this afternoon? I wanted to talk to the bridegroom.” Diya spoke in a loud tone.
“I told you I am Arup.” He answered. “But I didn’t know I was talking to you. I had no idea that you wanted to talk to my twin brother Ajay.”
Diya lightly hit on his forearm and fumed in anger. “You have made things so confusing for me.”
Everyone stared at Diya and Arup perplexedly as they went on with their conversation. Ajay heaved a sigh of despair as he saw the couple in front of him laughing with smiles on their faces. They were too lost in their own world to notice amazed looks in Asim and Rumna’s faces.
Ajay’s face turned pale and gloomy. He curved his lips downwards as if he was feeling a little sad. He had lost a suitable bride. He got on his feet as he knew it was time for him to leave.
Suddenly, Asim, the bride’s father, caught Ajay’s arm to stop Ajay from leaving.
Asim suggested with dancing eyebrows, “Diya has already selected your brother Arup.” He continued, “But you can meet Aarti and see whether you two like each other or not. Arati is Diya’s identical twin. She is my younger daughter.”
Ajay rolled his eyes in amazement.
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