Rukmini walked towards her son's house. She lived with her son. Janaki was B.E from Eswari Engineering College. A fair bespectacled girl who could sing in 6 octaves and an employee of Sathyam Software. She had been class first and college first for the past 10 years. Everything from DOTE admissions to campus interviews clicked for her in the first attempt. They had advertised in "The Hindu" classified only last week (while it was Janaki's first advertisement, it was Chitra's 3rd advertisement in matrimonials) and they had got an agreeable response for Janaki very soon. The boy, Sundaram, was a rich industrialist's son. He had worked in Pune for 2 years before moving to Bangalore 3 years before. He also wore spectacles, but that was okay he was going to be promoted to a Project Manager soon. Rukmini was happy at the prospect and then she thought of Chitra. "Contrast this with Chitra" she said to herself sadly and angrily. Varadarajan, Rukmini's husband, sat in front of the house talking heatedly with Guru Moorthi. She didn't like the looks of it. Varadarajan was saying " oye.... Om-namo-bhagavathe-vasudavaya was not in the original version of Bhagavad Gita. I do not know why Sankara Bashyam of Vishnu Sahasranamam decided to include it". To which Guru Morrthi angrily replied "when Adi-Sankara visited Govindacharya in the 6th century...". Rukmini decided to hear no more. She was completely bored by their discussion. Varadarajan and Guru Moorthi were friends for 30 years. They had never agreed on any topic and fought on issues from Indian cricket team selection to Jayalalitha. She wondered how they managed to still be friends. They couldn't live without each other. Men confused her. She would never talk with her friends if they disagreed with her on a single issue. This argument meant Guru Murthi would stay until coffee time. She did not have decoction for an extra person. She wished the her husband would concede defeat and end the argument soon.
She changed her saree, took her bag and decided to leave to her daughter's house. Her intuition said Janaki's alliance would click. According to Rukmini, the only weakness in Janaki's repertoire was that she wore specs. But the groom wore specs too. So, she said to herself "it wouldn't be problem". Chitra was the problem, as she had been for 5 years. She had to go to her daughter's house with all the prasadams and somehow make this one click. On her way out she said to her husband " Neither Adi-Sankara, Ramanujar, Sachin Tendulkar nor Jayalalitha will lose a minute's sleep because of your arguments. But if you are not there in your daughter's house before 4:00, you may lose your leg". She was in her daughter, Vasantha's house in 10 minutes. She asked her daughter, Vasantha, if the soji-bajji's were all done. "No tiffin for the groom," said her daughter. "The boy does not want to eat anything it seems. He does not even want his parents to eat anything. They feel it is indecent to eat this way when visiting a girl's house. The boy's mother specifically said this". Rukmini sighed "Modern World" as Chitra entered the house after a chat with her friend. Before Rukmini opened her mouth Chitra (and much to the relief of Lord.Sathyanarayana) said "Okay Patti... this time I will wear a Saree". Chitra was a complex person. She had done M.Com. She worked in a Auditor's Office for sometime and then got a job in a private bank and has been working there for 3 years. When she was in 11th Std, her brother begged her not to take Commerce group. At that time she thought, she knew everything. She refused to listen to anybody and took Commerce group. Then later she changed her mind and thought M.Com and not C.A, was what she wanted to do and once again, she went against everybody's wishes and joined M.Com. Her brother repeatedly said " You dont have long term vision Chitra. A M.Com will make you un-marketible for good alliances. Everybody wants professionally qualified brides these days. Nobody looks for beautiful girls or girls who know classical music anymore. If you are not professionally qualified, you will marry an average person and lead an average life. Everybody around you will be visiting various countries and enjoying life, even me. while your biggest joy will be that your husband bought a Pulsar Bike. Is this what you want? This decision could cost you a good life.". She didn't listen then. Now, ofcourse she secretly regretted her decisions. Her friends had all been married and were working in U.S, U.K and Australia. Her close childhood friend now worked for Microsoft, was happily married and she had seen 7 countries so far. Her brother had been right -- as he always was. Looking back she couldn't remember why she thought Commerce in 11th std or M.Com was right for her. Why didn't she do C.A? she asked herself. She had secretly confided to her mother " yes! I don't think people know what they are doing when they are in school. I should have listened to my brother". But that didn't dampen her spirits. She said to herself "one mistake will not kill a person". If I am not professionally educated, at least I will find someone who is very well educated. And so she rejected anybody whose education did not meet her expectations. No matter if they came loaded with gold, she did not care. Money did not mean anything to her. Rukmini was bewildered by her principles. Chitra did not want a person, who owned two houses or looked after 27 acres of agricultural land. She wanted an educated person. A PhD perhaps. Much to the consternation of many, especially her Grand Ma, She rejected Lawyers, Bankers etc. She decided she will develop her own proper vision as her brother had suggested, even if it was too late. It is tough when one develops late realization, but she decided to grit it out, no matter what. Thank god! her father supported her. "Being an M.Com does not mean, I will be condemned to an average life. I will get a good alliance" she said, as she waited for Mr.Right.
The boy who was supposed to visit her, Srikanth, was a PhD in Micro Electronics from University of Pennsylvania. He worked for IBM's Research Lab in New York. His only condition was he wanted to talk to the girl, understand her as best as he could in the 1 or 2 hours given to them and then decide. He knew he couldn't find out everything in 2 hours, but what he wanted out of a girl, he thought he could find out in 2 hours. He said "if I can't find out about a person in 2 hours, I wont find out anything new in 20 months". Chitra always requested to talk with any prospective alliance (much to Rukmini's irritation) in any case so this was nothing new for her. It was 6:00 PM. Chitra and Srikanth were talking for close to 2 hours now. Rukmini was convinced Chitra would ruin everything by talking about her stupid philosohphy and ideas. "He is so welll educated and he has consented to come and see her even if she is not qualified at all. How dare she ask so many questions. The girl has no sense", thought Rukmini. Varadarajan had finally torn himself from Guru Moorthi and had entered 5 minutes after Chitra and Srikanth starting talking in a separate room. Rukmini had given him a cold glare when he entered. His daughter too had refused to give him his evening dose of coffee. He felt a little guilty. Now the families had exhausted all small-talk about weather, mega serials, movies, cricket etc. The boy's father had become silent 25 minutes ago. He was now only saying "uhms and aahs" to Varadarajan's comments on Alwars and Divya Desams. Varadarajan was getting a feeling they weren't that interested in God. Rukmini had dialled Lord.Sathyaranarayana's number 2000 times since the boy and girl started talking. It was busy tone up there. Finally they finished talking. Both of them came out and after 5 minutes they got ready to leave. The boy's family left saying they would call soon and tell their decision. It was 7:30 PM. Time to rush to Srinivasan's house for Janaki's alliance visit. Nobody even asked Chitra what they had talked for so long.
Sundaram, the boy who was supposed to meet Janaki, had not seen the girl's photo or knew anything about Janaki. Janaki meanwhile had seen Sundaram''s photo in Yahoo Photos a dozen times. She liked his smile. He had a dimple. For Sundaram, however, all this happened in a rush. His mother had told him the previous night that they were going to visit a girl the next day. When he asked her for details, his mother said " you can find out all the details when you see her tomorrow". Sundaram's family arrived at 8:00 PM sharp. They were always punctual. After the greeting and formalities, Janaki was asked to come to the living room, where everybody sat. Janaki had refused to wear contact lenses. "This is me grand ma" she had said. "I am person who wears glasses. I will not present myself any other way". Janaki was self-confident. Unlike Chitra, she was used to success. Janaki felt Chitra was too shy and lacked self-confidence. She never undertsood why. She had the "The world is mine" attitude. You could even say she was even a touch arrogant of her success. Sundaram looked at her and did not say a word. Janaki looked at him and did not say a word. Sundaram's mom wanted to hear Janaki sing and so she bgean to sing "Marugelaraa", which happened to be Sundaram's favorite song. At that time Chitra's father's cell phone rang. It was Srikanth's father calling to convey their decision. "So Soon??!!!" thought Rukmini. Chitra's father attended the call, kept it down and continued listening to Janaki sing without saying a word. Everybody's (except Sundaram's and his parents') eyes were on Chitra's father. But his face did not show anything. When Janaki finished her song, Sundaram's mother was beaming. She was surprised that Janaki's voice did not falter when it went to high-pitch. Then Varadarajan asked Sundaram if he would like to talk to the Janaki. Sundaram, looked embarassed, adjusted his 200$ designer made prescription glasses and politely replied "No". "He looked smart in glasses," thought Janaki. Janaki had no such preference of talking with the boy. Rukmini could feel magic in the air. " Clicked for Janaki in the first attempt again..she thought". As soon as the boy's family left, everybody rushed towards Chitra's father and asked him what was the call about. He looked at Chitra and said seriously " did you want to marry the boy ?". She didn't care now but she said sharply " yes! I wanted to". Her father then looked into her eyes and said "well.. then ..he wants to marry you too!!!!" and smiled. Rukmini could not believe her ears. Her joy did not have any bounds. She immediately thanked Sathyanarayana, who too was quite releived. For half an hour they talked and rejoiced the good news.
The phone rang again. This time it was Sundaram's mother. For Rukmini it would be two hits on the same day. Varadarajan finished talking, kept the phone down and said, " They do not want to proceed with this alliance. The boy wants a girl who does not wear eye glasses"