“India, the country of 1.252 billion people as on 2016, yet not a single match for me, not a single person for me to fall in love with, not a single person I can spend the rest of my life with. Why is it so difficult to love in this country? Sometimes you don’t get your kind of match and even if at times you do, there is this social barrier, state barrier, language barrier, religious barrier and last but not the least caste barrier. Yes, it’s true, caste system still exists in this fast developing nation. Don’t believe me? Google honor killings in India. I may have missed a few more barriers, I don’t mind if you can add to the list.
Being alone, loveless, and unhappy because my match belongs to another caste, it is not just my story, but one out of every 50 Indian has suffered in a love relationship due to social restraints….”
He looked vaguely at his computer screen, he was supposed to submit a report on ‘Honor Killing in India,’ but this was appearing more of a tale of failed romance. What was wrong with him? Why was he getting more and more depressed every day? Fine, shit happens, he failed once again, the shark of media once again failed in his relationship. So what…this doesn’t mean the end of the world, or does it? He asked himself. He hated being back to the same old lonely apartment, following the same routine, warming his dinner in the microwave cooked by his maid, turning on the TV and just watching some random show.
There was no point delving into the past, thinking why he failed this time? What exactly went wrong when everything was so picture perfect? His ex-girlfriend was an entrepreneur with her own startup, independent, beautiful, dynamic and smart. They had minimum complications and no hidden secrets, at least from his side. Maybe this is where things went wrong, he should have been more tactful. He looked at his TV screen mechanically with his mind wandering to a nowhere land.
Not So Far Away…. Same City
She was watching the same old rom-com chick flick for the umpteenth time, the reason being simple, she wanted to release her stress. Her family wanted her to marry this bloke (Brit lawyer) whom she despised. The guy had asked or rather ordered her to give up her job after marriage and dedicate herself entirely to his family which meant him and him alone.
Father’s reprimands, sisters’ condemnation, and mother’s implications left her unaffected and unfazed. She just cannot be some rich lawyer’s handmaid, she put forward her logic to which her sisters furiously replied, “You think we all are handmaids of our husbands,” father accused her of being a rebellious and extra liberal, but her mother listened to everything silently because she knew Zoya will not change her mind, and she admired her for that!
She turned on the TV in anger and there he was, Mr. Nair aka Shekhar Nair, salt to her wounds!! Just the thing she needed at this time, he was the perfect element to add salt to her bleeding wounds without being aware of it. Yes, he was the biggest problem of her life and he had no idea about it. She angrily punched the remote buttons to switch the channel. MTV, yes, this is it, she was back to her la land of music and romance sans Mr. Bakhtawar, yes the bloke from Birmingham or so she liked to call him.
Zoya was a content developer working in one of the renowned international firms. Her job was of creating e-books, sounds creative but unfortunately it was not. Much to her distaste, it was a very mechanical and tedious profession but the package was attractive so she had to stick around plus there was news of her promotion as well. Single at 28 has its own pros and cons, pros being, she was much desired by opposite sex and cons obviously, extremely envied by those of the same sex except a few.
She decided to give Mr. Bakhtawar a piece of her mind, she logged into the matrimonial site where her sister had her registered her profile with a very phony introduction and a phonier description of the partner she was looking for. First thing, she changed her introduction and suddenly she transformed from a typical desi docile girl to an independent, straightforward, unorthodox individual. She removed her picture, and the description of the guy was just a one liner, ‘Seeing is Believing.’
After changing the content of her profile, she clicked on an e-mail from someone in London, she responded to his reply saying,
“Dear Mr. Bakhtawar,
Under no condition, I will say “Yes, I do,” in front of the qadi (Muslim marriage priest) so stay away and don’t make a fool of yourself. If ever in my life, I plan to marry, you wouldn’t be my choice even if you are the last man alive. I am independent, liberal and have worked very hard to reach this stage, I am not going to throw it away for some ‘Brown Sahab.’
Go on tell my parents I am a rebel, I really don’t care a fig about your opinion and judgments.
Yesss!!! She hugged herself after pressing the send button but before she could realize that Mr. Bakhtawar was from Manchester and not London, it was too late. She panicked for a moment but then shrugged off thinking never mind one more proposal rejected, big deal!