So V had met my folks.
But I was yet to meet his. This turned out to be a long drawn out saga.
Remember the trip to Bangalore on which I got proposed to? Well, although I was staying at V’s sister’s house, it turns out every Sunday they go to the parental home for lunch. So she asked V what to do with me, and he said “bring her along”.
In typical guy fashion, his plan had been to spring me on his parents. Or to slyly insert me into their consciousness before they had fully realise what hit them. Or to pass me off as a friend of his sister’s and not tell them.
Whatever it was, I was having none of it. I insisted on being made an honest woman of.
This, I admit in hindsight, was a mistake.
Having never met any of V’s family or close friends before I landed up in Bangalore, I had pretty much assumed they were all like him. In the case of his siblings and friends, this was the case. I assumed that because V and his siblings were like me and my sibling and cousins, his parents would be too.
V’s parents look and are conservative (though they sometimes reveal themselves to be openminded about the most surprising things). I later realised that he had never brought his girlfriends home, or at least, never introduced them as his girlfriend, even if his parents figured it out. This seems somewhat inexplicable to me but I guess there are many of you out there who will empathise. Although V and his siblings spend pretty much all Sunday at home with their parents, they rarely, if ever, have intimate chats about the details of their lives. They are the kind of people, hip young things like V and his sisters call “mom” and “dad” to other people but not to their faces.
With such a set-up, I am now forced to concede, a more subtle and gradual approach would have worked better.
The problem is that V was playing both sides of the fence. He had never given me any inkling that his parents would be less than accepting of me. I had had no preparation for what was to be my reception.
Maybe he didn’t see the need for preparation because just as I had assumed that all parents are like mine, he would have assumed that all parents are like his. But he had met my parents.
In fact, before I arrived in Bangalore he had told me that his mom had been giving him grief about getting married and he had told her that he would tell her who he had decided to marry. And then he had told he was going to marry someone from another religion and his mom had pretended to be cool about it.
This should have warned me, but love being blind, it didn’t. Instead of seeing it as a desperate attempt to prepare his parents for how different I was from what they would expect in a wife for their only son, I thought it was encouraging that he had told his mom he had decided who to marry. I guess it was. But there was a but.
The few hours I spent at V’s house were excruciating. His dad looked at me quizzically. His mom looked shellshocked and said a few forced words to me. She was cold and strange. V insisted in putting his arm behind me on the sofa and I began wishing he wouldn’t. I remember wishing my hair wasn’t in such an awkward stage.
It was culture shock on both sides. And not a good beginning.