This was weird!
By any standard of archaic Indian culture and tradition, this was not only weird; it was in direct violation of how things should be.
I had carefully combed and again tousled my hair which made it about the fifth time I had done so in the past 15 minutes. Around six shirts lay in a heap on my bed and three pairs of trousers were strewn in a menagerie of disarray, creating a cloth road from the bathroom door to the kitchen where I gone to check up on the stuffed turkey in the oven and chocolate cheesecake in the fridge.
It had to be perfect; every aspect of it.
They were coming to see me, asses me, see if I was fit to be married into their family. And for that, I would have to work hard, very hard. You see, inter-religious marriage still isn’t a very big thing where I come from.
I had invited them over to dinner and they had accepted. My parents would not make it today, their flight delayed by incessant rains, but these people hadn’t cancelled. They wanted to see me what for I was, without having to make small talk with my parents.
I just hoped my apartment, my cooking skills, my education and most importantly, that I was up to their expectations. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my love.
I had prepared a slightly burnt vegetable starter, tomato soup, a stuffed turkey and a hopefully delicious cheesecake for dessert. Ping! The turkey was done. The taste was delectable. They will love it, I assure myself.
As I start folding the rest of my discarded clothes and arrange my truckload of novels neatly on the living room shelf, the doorbell rings. I panic, hastening my chores and shouting, “one minute” in the general direction of the doorway.
“Don’t bother, it’s just me. Open up,” I hear the voice of the one who makes my heart flutter and skip a beat. “Coming,” I yell and open the door.
“I knew you wouldn’t be done, so I came to help out.”
“Thank you darling, you’re the best.”
As we joined forces to put the rest of my apartment into some semblance of a habitable environment, “What’s that weird smell?”
“What?” I ask.
“You don’t smell it? Really?”
And then it hit me. The acrid sting of rain-soaked clothes mingling with a hint of turkey and a waft of chocolate hit me just as I was about to retort with extreme prejudice. The metaphorical glass of illusion had shattered. And suddenly, I was panicking again.
“Damn, that’s strong.”
“Exactly!” came the even more stinging reply.
I ran to the bedroom to get my can of deodorant and proceeded to soak the house from balcony to verandah till I ran out of it. I sat down, a triumphant smile on my face. Done… and done.
And then there it was again, emerging from the thick barrier of deodorant, to assault me once more. Damn! Why wouldn’t it go away?
“Looks like your master plan’s a dud, huh?” sarcasm in the face of an emergency. Like that was going to help.
My partner ran down to the car and rushed back holding a can of Ambi Pur Air Effects Spring Air Freshener. “Try this maybe?”
I didn’t need to be told twice. And just as I finished gently dabbing the apartment with it, the doorbell rang. It was time. And I was ready; the apartment, smelling like the 1st of July, was too.
My love went to the door just as I finished straightening my clothes. Opening it wide, she said,
“Here is the man I want to marry!”