Thursday, August 15, 2013

Change (Micro Fiction)

Mandeep did not flinch. Her daughter’s eyes flashed brilliantly with the light of angered betrayal. “You created my profile on a matrimonial website? Oh God, my friends will never let me live this down!”

“What are the odds bete, them finding you there or caring one way or the other? You are my child, too precious not to cover all the bases over!” her mother looked on calmly at the daughter’s puckered face, “Eeew Ma, its creepy, the whole idea!”

The two sat in bristling silence, their coffee mugs growing cold. “Look Mum, this is not something I have slotted into my life’s blueprint yet.” Mandeep nodded her head sagely, “I know and I am not about to force you into anything. Just trust that these things take time and if we are going to go the traditional way, there is something called the window of opportunity.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, if you had met someone at school!” Mandeep’s voice dipped.

“Hey,” the young voice went up a notch, “You told me to avoid entanglements in college! Focus on learning and growing was the theme song, remember?!”

The mother drew a long breath, “I still think there is a time for everything in life. It is just that the variables are so many with strangers, it frightens me!"

“Didn’t you and Papa meet through a newspaper ad?” Mandeep smiled wryly at her daughter’s question, responding with a laugh, “We’d be considered crazy in some cultures. Look how we jump into ‘till death do us part’ arrangements with people we had no idea existed until then.”

“They would call it certified lunacy Mum. What a tradition, entering nuptials believing we are ordained to do so over seven lives with that one specific person. What did Beeji call it? Sanjog ? Destiny?!”

Mandeep gathered the cold mugs, “Let me heat these up on the range, I don’t enjoy the taste of micro-ovened fluid!”

The daughter followed her maternal into their spacious and clean
kitchen. They stood over the steaming pan, the rain falling rhythmically outside, a perfect score for their whirlwind thoughts. Mandeep poured the last dreg and turned to her daughter, “Hear me out, all right. Patiently! This is not a belief I started out with but I choose to hold it today that marriage is foundational, the canon in fact of family life in society. I can’t imagine an ordered social structure without these islands of commitment. It is in fact what distinguished our species, something that is intrinsically good and long term, quite the antithesis of instant gratification.”

“It is a social contract mother!”

“Oh no, it is way beyond that and the wedding planners, believe you me. Our scriptures have called it a sacrament; a lifelong relationship within which the two partners get to evolve spiritually."

“You mean be real soul mates?”

“Not in the Archies cards and Valentine way, no. In fact, I am not sure one would want to marry a well-fitting glove or a Siamese twin or a band aid or even a mirror image. Soul mate in real terms translates into someone you do your soul’s work with!” Mandeep answered with the firmness of retrospective wisdom.

“Hmmm……so what has changed since?” the young voice took on an impatient edge.

“Your great grandmother was married off at 12 years of age; she bore her first son at fourteen; your grandmother never got to meet your grandfather, he sent his college friends as spies to check her out! Your Dad made sure we got to spend a decent amount of time together before tying the knot but this was only after our formal engagement. And here we are having this candid conversation on the metaphysics, epistemology and ethics of that thing called matrimony…if that isn’t change!”

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