This is a piece of fiction written for the (Sony Entertainment Television’s the “Love Marriage ya Arranged Marriage” IndiBlogger contest- Check out - https://www.facebook.com/LoveYaArrange
The vaadhiyar was chanting the mantras at a ferocious pace looking at his watch, probably he had to head to another hall, another muhurtam and another marriage. Meenakshi was dressed in the traditional red silk saree, Anand was looking dapper in his pattu-veshti and angavastram. The parents of the bride and the groom looked happy and there was a glow of happiness and contentment all around. The usual galatta of a Tam-Brahm kalyanam, the kids running about, the mamis decked in their finery trading tips on losing weight, the hunt for a prospective U.S.-return mapillai everything was synchronised to perfection.
Then why the bloody hell was I feeling like Simbhu in the introductory sequence of 'Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya' or Prateik Babbar in 'Ek Deewana Tha'. Childhood and College:
Anand was my best friend right since class five when he had moved to our apartment complex in Mylapore. We studied at P.S. Senior Higher Secondary School and college was at Vivekananda; life seemed complete with the blessings of Kapaleeshwarar and we thought Madras or Chennai was the whole world for us!Hired on Campus:
It was a remarkable quirk of fate or the strength of our friendship that the two of us got placed on-campus in a K.P.O. - one of the largest in the world head-quartered out of Seattle with branches in places ranging from Colombo to Manila and Sydney to Nairobi.Pehli Nazar main Pyar ho Gaya:
It was the first day of work and there she stood right in front of me breaking my twenty-year old heart into smithereens - Meenakshi - another fresher annd campus recruit - she was from Ethiraj College and had studied Literature! As all of us freshers went through the rituals of induction, corporate etiquette and a hundred other training things compacted into a three week program.
The training went well and the three of us Anand, Meenakshi and myself bonded well. At the end of the training program the three of us were assigned to a team. Each team within the firm worked using code-names we were never supposed to reveal the actual name of the client for whom you worked. Everything was coded - so you had teams named - FAST, Skywalkers, Big Fish...
The three of us were put into Team FAST and eneded up working for one of the largest accounting and auditing firms in the world.On the floor:
Work started in full earnest, there was no day, no night, working for American clients meant you slept in the mornings and afternoons and slaved through the nights, but no complaints great food, good pay and a great atmosphere! Three years went by in a flash.Three years:
All through these years the three of us stuck together through thick and thin, even when others from our batch quit we stuck to our company the company that chose us! I never realized that Anand had a soft corner for Meenakshi as well; it came out during Anand's birthday bash. Meenakshi had gone to Trivandrum to attend a wedding in her family and it was just me and Anand. Bottled up emotions:
Between the two of us we had managed to finish a Seagrams 100-pipers and 2 Fosters' each. And then Anand said - 'Matchan - do you know something, promise - don't tell this to anyone!' And then the birthday boy puked on me ruining my denim! It was crazy the two of us on the beach with Anand puking away to glory and me not knowing whether to cry or laugh!Anand or Meena:
It was weird, because before Meenakshi had left for the wedding I had penned all my emotions in one long letter and given it to her asking her to read and revert. When Meena returned to work she went up to Anand and said - 'Anand why did you have to tell this through him (pointing at me). You could have told me directly?'
And then it struck me - I had not signed the letter with my name!!!!! Blistering barnacles and thundering typhoons - three years to pen a love-letter and this idiot does not have the guts or memory to sign his name. As usual she had believed that it was Anand who wanted to convey his feelings through me. Their love story started on the premise of a lie and a poem - a beautiful lie written by me.
Things moved at a feverish pace and the marriage got fixed and now I stand before them in the kalyana mandapam. The Kashi yatra is over and the groom has been welcomed in - Meenu stands staring at me in a weird way! I look at her and smile as well.
I notice a tug on my veshti and look down to see a small girl about seven years old with a note in her hand, she gives it to me. I open the note - in it written in Meenakshi's clear and crisp writing was a single query - 'Did you write the bloody letter you fool? Anand said this to me just before heading out for the kashi-yatra!"
I did not know what to say as - Anand suddenly came up to me took my hand and led me up to the homa-kundam and gave my hand to Meenakshi - "Matchan - sorry da - I realized that Meenakshi loves you - the poet not me!"
There was utter chaos in the hall as someone shouted 'Abacharam yenna nadakaruudhu inge?' - "What the hell is happening here!"Friendship reigns and Love prevails:
In that one instant friendship redeemed itself and tue love prevailed as Meenakshi's Appa looked at Meenakshi and she said with tears in her eyes sorry Appa - I am in love with him and planted a kiss on my lips in the hall!
The mama who shouted 'Abacharam' earlier said 'Nassama pochu - Ivalke kalyanatha paniveyungo!' - "Blazes - get these two married!"Getimellam:
In all this confusion Anand pushed the thali - mangalsutra in my hands and I tied it around Meenakshi's neck!
Thus goes the story of my arranged-love marriage!