Far away, in the little rural village of Vijayapura, just outside of Bangalore in India, the night is only just beginning. And it’s raining cats and dogs! Monsoon season.
But Sandeep couldn’t be more excited.
Tonight, he finally gets to meet… her! To find out who she is! He has been waiting for this moment for too long.
He’s wearing his best smart-casual outfit – a new pair of dark, skinny jeans and the blazer that was a hand-me-down from Uncle Rashid on the occasion of his graduation. Grey rayon with the lapelled collar and single button. The fit isn’t bad (tailor had to take in the sleeves a little because Uncle Rashid likes his food…) But it’s proving to be a bit stuffy in this crazy humid heat. Then again, maybe that’s just because he’s nervous…
All that he has been told is that his soon-to-be-wife is nearing her 21st birthday and originally comes from Mysore. And that her personality will suit him well. But looks are important too (if he’s got to spend the rest of his life with her) and, well, the parents don’t always have the right ideas about these things…
Ma has gone crazy again, as she always does! Papadums. Naan bread and roti. Pilau rice by the rickshaw load. At least three kinds of curry. Kebabs. And kheer and coconut cake for later. No-one’s going hungry here tonight! Just as well – Sandeep is famished – he hasn’t managed to eat much today.
There’s commotion in the hallway and Papa’s voice can be heard, chattering excitedly. Sounds like Mausa Girish is there too. All the Khatris and all the Patels…
Who’s that? Who just entered the room? Who is that?!
“Sandeep, please let me be introducing Samaira…”
Samaira. What a nice name! In a distant corner of Sandeep’s mind, he recalls that Samaira means “enchanting”, which doesn’t quite describe this…
What a beautiful girl! She’s suddenly just standing there, in the middle of father’s crowded living room, and it’s like everyone else just goes out of focus! She is wearing a splendid saree – green and gold, with a floral pattern all around the edge. Her hair is in a twisted braid and her eyes dark kohl. Sandeep’s heart is racing, the smile on his face impossible to hide.
But I’ve seen this girl before, he thinks to himself. It was a long time ago.
She is simply captivating! For once, he is speechless!
They spend the next hour talking with each other. Both very shy at first, asking lots of questions, but soon there are giggles. And more giggles. And the surprises keep coming… she knew Sandeep’s old friend, Ravi, who was also studying at the business school… she also likes taking her 2-wheeler out on the dirt roads past the rice fields…
But, how did Papa know… where did Ma… how did they… where was…???
Whenever they had told him that they would find the perfect bride, he had never been totally convinced they would get it right.
Christians, even those from Western cultures, can know the benefits of a pre-arranged marriage too. Think about it.
You have a trustworthy Father, who knows you well and can put you in contact with somebody you might never have thought of (or known existed), from a suitable “social circle” (e.g. has Jesus as her personal Saviour), having already sussed everything there is to know about her situation, and then personally guarantee that the two of you will be “good together”.
The difference here is that there is never any family, status or financial agenda. Just your absolute happiness.
Nothing gives Him more pleasure.