It was a Wednesday morning. A little ray of sunshine peeped through the red curtains of Diya’s bedroom. Everything was still except for the occasional ruffling of sheets as Diya turned in her sleep.
Suddenly her phone came to life with the song “Munbe va, en anbae va..”. Diya buried her face deep into the pillow and groaned. “Who is calling me at this unGodly hour?” she muttered under her breath. “Perhaps it’s a dream and the sound will stop if I close my eyes..”, she thought. It did stop. But before she could resume her dream, the phone sang again. Looked like whoever it was, didn’t want to give up. “That should be appa..forgetting again it was morning in the US. I should buy him a watch that shows both our timezones”, she thought in her sleep.
And with a deep sigh, she grabbed the phone and rammed it to her ears before Shreya Goshal could start her “Naana..” again. “You forgot again that it’s morning here, appa” , she moaned, still shuffling under her bed covers. “Er..Hello, can I talk to Diya?”, a soft voice inquired. It belonged to a guy’s. Clearly that wasn’t her appa. Diya sat up immediately. Only now she remembered to look at the number displayed on her Iphone 5S screen. ‘Hmm, unknown number. That’s weird’, Diya thought. “Hello?”, the guy’s voice inquired again. “Yeah, this is she. I’m sorry, who’s this?”, she replied stifling a yawn. ‘Should have slept early’, she thought, at the back of her mind.
“Uhh..My name’s Ravi. I..er..My dad’s name is Dinesh. Umm…did your dad inform you about me?”, asked the voice again. .”I have no idea..did my dad do what now?”, she was still groggy. ‘What does he want? Why does he speak about his family names to me?!’, Diya was confused. “Uh..er..I mean, did your dad let you know that I will call you?”, he asked again.
‘Oh, waitaminute! Appa did mention someone named Dinesh some days back‘, Diya realized. It all came back to her. “Another TamilMatrimony member. I should give dad a piece of my mind”, grumbled Diya silently. “Oh yeah, my dad did tell me that you would call sometime.”, she said, as she crossed her legs and sat down comfortably on the bed. ‘Now was Dinesh the son’s name or the father’s name?’, Diya pondered hard.
It was not her mistake. Her dad had taken the permanent role of cupid, and was shooting arrows at every member in the matrimonial website. Every day he would speak about one guy or the other. Thanks to his efforts, a month back, one other “prospective groom” had contacted her but that didn’t work out.
Coming to the conclusion that the name “Dinesh” seemed more modern than Ravi, Diya spoke up, “I’m sorry Dinesh..I just got up..”, she said taking a shot through the dark. “Oh..sorry. And I’m Ravi.. My dad’s DineshKumar. Shall I call back later? “, his voice was apologetic and he spoke fast. Diya felt embarrassed about the name mess up. “Oh I’m sorry Ravi..And it’s ok, we can talk. It’s..just..I don’t usually wake up this early…I think it should be around 5 am here”, she glanced at the elephant clock her friend had gifted, on the bedside table. The numbers 7.15 was blinking in bold red as if mocking at her. She bit her lip. “Er..ok, It’s 7.15, but..I..”, stuttered Diya. She distinctly heard a chuckle at the other end.
“Should I call back later?”, Ravi broke in. ‘Why does he keep asking me that!‘, Diya thought. “No go on. So, are you in CA too?”, she inquired. “Nope. I am from New York. I forgot about our time difference. So when do you have to go to work?”, he asked. Oh work! It completely skipped her mind. “I usually leave at 8am, sometimes 8.30. I guess it depends..”, she answered, getting comfortable on her bed. “So..where do you work? Is it in Programming? Did you go to school in SFO itself?”, Ravi went on. “Now this feels like a job interview!”, Diya laughed. “Oh..should I call back later?”, Ravi asked immediately. The same question again. It was sweet how nervous he was, Diya thought with a smile. “No really, continue. I was just kidding. And yes, for everything. How about you?”, Diya felt it was about time she knew something about him.
“I am a software engineer as well. Working for SysXC. So..I haven’t talked to girls before this..”, began Ravi. “Comeon really? You expect me to believe that?”, asked Diya. “No I mean..through TamilMatrimony, I mean. Have you done this before?”, Ravi went on. “Hmm, well,..”, Diya hesitated. She didn’t know whether to tell the truth and be asked details on how it ended, or just lie and start afresh. “I take it, you have spoken to other guys before me,” laughed Ravi. “Well..yeah. But somehow the chemistry wasn’t there”, she finished hurriedly, worried that he would ask more details.
Ravi seemed to be silent. “Hello?”, Diya inquired wondering whether he was still there. “Yeah I am here. Just wondering..I have never scored well in Chemistry myself. I am a Mechanical Engineer you see…”, he went on with a laugh. Diya was beginning to like the sound of his laugh.
And as she listened, Diya reached for her laptop and brought up the mail her dad sent recently. Ah, there’s the member ID, now to match the sound to the face, she thought. As Ravi spoke about his work history, she listened with a hmm, hmm, at the right places, but all the while, searching for his profile in the matrimonial website. “Aha!! finally!”, the words came out even before she could stop. She kicked herself, “I was..I mean, I was searching for my earphones, just found them”, she gave an explanation to Ravi, who she felt, was probably surprised at her outburst.
“Hmmm. So do you like my photo?”, he inquired. Diya jumped as if she saw a frog on her bed. He is a smart one now, she thought with a smile. He did look nice. Oh, hell, he was handsome as a rockstar, but one can never trust these photos, she felt. “Well..that depends”, Diya answered smugly. “On what?”, Ravi inquired with a laugh. “On whether you have seen my photo and what you think”, she finished. “Hahaha..well, I guess you will know when you know”, he replied. ‘What the hell does that mean?!’, Diya thought with a frown on her face. “Oh, I got to go now, I have a meeting in 5 min. Just saw the pop up in Outlook. Shall I call you in the evening?”, Ravi inquired. “Huh..ok.yeah..sure”, Diya replied slowly. She wondered how at the end of the conversation she felt nervous and he seemed to be bold..’It didn’t seem that way in the beginning,’ she mused. “It’s probably the ‘pheelings‘”, her colleagues all joked at lunch. She knew it was going to be a looooong day.
Every time “Munbe vaa” sounded on her phone, she jumped to answer it. Somehow the song seems apt today..she mused. Evening came, and Diya got all dressed up. ‘I know it doesn’t matter, but still you feel good, you see’, was her explanation to her bemused roommate. And finally, the expected call. “I should have said afternoon instead of evening..Did today seem to move slower than ever for you?”, Ravi blurted, as soon as she answered. Diya caught herself smiling as she nodded her head, this way and that…
It’s been 6 years since “the call” happened. Diya recalled that her evening call went on till the next afternoon. Even after 6 years, she could still remember that day. She had a big smile plastered on her lips reminiscing those moments, that she completely forgot her friend had asked her something. Her friend had a quizzical expression on her face. “Diya, back to earth! I asked you, is yours an arranged marriage or love marriage?”, her friend asked again. Diya caught Ravi’s eyes across the room. His eyes twinkled as he said, “Love marriage”.