It was a risk she knew she had to take; procrastination was not going to do any good to her, him and their families. The whole situation was in her hands, she could turn it the way she wanted by a mere yes, or a no.

All through her life, she had seen her friends falling in love, getting married to those guys and living a happy life. No she was not the least bit jealous of them, but she too had dreamt of a prince charming who would come into her life, sweep her off her feet; that she too would be in love before she got married, thus having a ‘love marriage’ and not an arranged one as things were happening now.

She could always tell Milan that she did not want to marry him, that she wanted to wait for some more time, to know if love would find her, rather than compromising and settling down for an arranged marriage. Simultaneously she wondered why a guy like him, born and brought up in the US of A, want to marry someone like her, how come he did not have any girlfriend whom he wanted to marry. There was a report in the newspaper that many NRIs have two families, one – the legitimate first wife who would be living with him in the country of his residence, and the second – the illegitimate whom he would marry for the dowry he can rake in. She quickly dismissed her ill-thoughts about Milan, strange as it may sound, she felt like she already knew him, from some other place, from another life, from another page in the book of time, and she admonished herself for having thought that Milan could turn out to be a cheat.

It was today, the official deadline set by her parents to announce a decision. She was bordering on telling them that she did not want to take this relationship further, when suddenly her friend Priya telephoned her to say that she had seen Milan at a florists’ place 2 lanes down Asha’s house. For a moment she wondered if it was her Lord giving her hints to help her come to the right decision.

Later when her mom called, she told her that Yes she would be willing to take this new relationship further, as long as Milan and his family agreed to a few conditions she laid out. She could her mom scribbling down as Asha read the mental list of conditions she had prepared.

·         There will be absolutely no give and take of costly gifts;
·         She should be allowed to work even after their marriage;
·         The marriage would take place in Guruvayur temple in Kerala;
·         She should not be forced to change her surname after their marriage.
·         That the wedding would be a fairly simple and far from being an extravagant one.

Asha suspected her mother tried to suppress a chuckle as she was telling that she wouldn’t change her name post marriage. Her mother told her she would call her back later after finding out if these conditions were okay for Milan and his family.

It was after she took the decision that Asha thought about her job; what would she do about it? How could she quit? Was there another option for her other than to quit?

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