She didn’t find Mr Right in Mumbai so Sejal headed for Rajasthan…but would her dream man be there?
Rang Barse! I was off to Rajasthan for my first experience of Holi, the annual festival of colours in India. My search for a soul mate was not really advancing in Mumbai, despite a few blind dates and meeting marriage bureau counsellors in the first few weeks of me arriving in Mumbai from London, thus Holi was the perfect excuse to continue my adventure in a new city.
I arrived in Pushkar, a beautiful town three hours outside of Jaipur; a canvas of greenery, mountains, and clear blue skies. This was to be my first Holi in India but I had my own mental picture of Holi having watched old Bollywood movies…question is, would it be as fun in real life? It turned out to be even better! The Holi celebrations were a mass rave with a huge sound system pounding out techno music - I was immersed in every colour possible and could have easily been mistaken for a character from Avatar!
Once the merriments were done, we were off to Jaipur, my friend Yogi’s hometown, to explore the traditional route of meeting a ‘suitable boy’ via one of his family members. To get an insight into Jaipur’s classification of an extended family, I visited Sankotra Haveli, Yogi’s home, a palace inherited by his ancestors, accommodating twenty-one family members of three generations and decorated exquisitely, living up to its regal name. Jaipur’s very own Cilla Black – my friend’s grandmother, Nani, was on a mission to introduce me to a family friend, based in Delhi, whom she had known a while.
My experience in signing up to matrimonial sites finally came in use; I was expected to create my very own biodata along with a ‘nice’ photo of my myself, which would be emailed to the boy’s father for approval first. Once I had received the all-important email approval confirmation from the boy’s father, my next challenge was to gain approval from Nani Cupid herself. I was cross-examined on every aspect of my life, and quizzed on being able to adjust in India and look after a household of just men - the father and his two sons. Surprisingly enough Nani also held some modern views and was all for men and women of my age group looking at all the options. She told me ‘At the end of the day, if it does not work out at least we parents are not to blame!’
Gaining approval and being interrogated by so many members first was certainly testing but an email introduction from the guy himself soon followed -yet how was I to determine from just a basic introduction regarding education, work and caste whether it was enough for me to want to meet him? Since I had to take a trip to Delhi to see my family anyway, I decided to take a chance.
He suggested we meet in a beer garden in a Delhi shopping mall. Both he and his father come from an advertising and politics background. The nature of their fields had led them to have independent lives and whomever he choses to settle down with would be expected to also have her own direction in life. Marriage, for him was not a priority, but having a partner that can socially interrelate with people in his line of work would be a positive trait. I was impressed he had the guts to be so forthright in explaining why past relationships may have failed.
There may not have been an instant attraction but we agreed to remain friends. I respected his view on wanting to be with a self-made female rather than her purely ‘maintaining’ the home just because it is male-oriented. Unfortunately there are still families who strongly oppose this way of living in the belief that an educated woman’s position is purely for social standing.
Would I cross paths with such people along the way here? Time would tell.
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