Secondly, a little dive into what qualifies as a "household like ours"... A Tamil Brahman (Tam-Bram) household like every other with its own set of idiosyncrasies! This is what transpires in a Tam Bram (Tamil Brahman) household as a girl comes of the "Marriageable" age... which starts at 21.. in the final year of college!
"Ahem I need more time"..
"What do you need more time for, he is well educated, kai naraya sambadhikaran (earns a hand full... that's it?) and comes from a good family background what more do you want?" or "she is beautiful, adaka odukama iruka ( I have no clue how to translate this.. but roughly means she is timid and shy?) and comes from a good family background what more do you want?"
"Maybe I should meet him/her?"
"Sure get engaged first"
Meanwhile somehow the girl has convinced her parents and the boy has put his foot down and they get to exchange emails and have that phone call.. amidst daily enquiry from parents "What did you talk? What do you think? How long did you talk today?". And then the girl and boy now want to meet! If you think that will buy some time, you are grossly mistaken!
Sure say the parents with all magnanimity ... and then the parents of the boy along with a couple of well meaning, loud talking relatives, their boisterous kids and a few other tag along's arrive along with the boy! The boy and his retinue are greeted, fed and filled and the "Pon pakara padalam" - (Girl meeting ordeal) is on the way! (In the background.. the girl and her parents have a tiff about what she should wear.
Some Tam Bram households have crossed this stage and now let the girl and boy meet without subjecting them to this mayhem.. however not for long. The very first meeting comes with a deadline.. "so when will you have an answer?"... ever tried responding to that with "When I am ready?" you are bound to hear a full length lecture on how the western world has spoilt these children!!
And if you do give your consent to marry some dude, your journey has just begun.. there is the engagement and the endless stream of relatives and friends with their free advice to endure! Everyone you meet.. Tam Bram or otherwise will prod/ tease/ mock/advice on the only topic that occurs to them now.. your wedding! It is almost as though the rest of the world ceases to exist now! Everyone will ask you ..if you are excited? If you talk to him/her every day/night? How many times in a day? If you visit each other every weekend? If you talk to the parents too? If you are learning cooking? If you are doing the wedding shopping? If you are going crazy? (no that last one is common knowledge right? So why ask?)
Well at least most brides have the good sense to hire a parlor to do hair and make up (unlike me) and don't have to endure dozens of relatives getting creative! And most parents have given up their struggle against their kids independence and just let them be! Not to mention in this day and age, there are a lot of cafes (and pubs) across the town that you can skunk off too. Besides, expectations have almost hit rock bottom... as long as you are not eloping with some guy off the street and have consented to marry the guy picked/ approved (even if he barely meets the approval guidelines) by your parents.. they let you get away with anything! Some parents are learning to live with even lower expectations, as long as they are invited to the wedding they will live with it! But my Tam-Bram household is yet to get there!
And once you are married the next question arrives.. "So any good news?" ... yeah right, I got hitched isn't that news enough? But no.. the next step is to now produce a bundle of joy.. and then the next.. and then they can start plotting your kids wedding!! And the journey goes on...