Abu wanted us to have a family meeting over Sunday brunch. Amma delivered the message to my brother and me over the course of the previous week (my oldest brother wasn't invited--lucky him. I guess being the eldest has some perks. Blah), in order to make sure that we'd all be around. I imagine that my brother's initial reaction echoed my own “Oh no,” but my mother was quick to reassure me that it wasn’t a big deal, that abu just wanted to talk. The two of us confabbed about the reasons why abu would want to convene a family meeting and came pretty damn close to the truth.
So, we shouldn’t have been as shocked as we were when, earlier today, abu smacked us with an ultimatum as we happily brunched on omelets, bujiya, halwa and parhatas. He told us that if we didn’t prove to him that we’re serious about getting married by December, he and my mother would move to Pakistan.
Now, this ultimatum—so, so wrong at its very core—is also flawed. First of all, my father hasn’t lived in Pakistan since 1973. Even when we vacation there today, he starts becoming agitated after a week’s time, sighing about how he’s ready to return home. So, we can totally see that he’s bluffing. Secondly, everyone who knows my father knows that he would be in constant distress if there was an ocean between him and his children. It’s just the way he is. When we were growing up, our mother would tend to our childhood cuts, scrapes and illnesses because the sight of his children in pain was the only thing that could make this tall, intimidating giant of a man dissolve into tears. Third, a couple of my parents best friends are moving to India for good at the end of the year so, it’s very apparent to us that, instead of thinking logically and recognizing how ridiculous this ultimatum is, he’s becoming nostalgic and wistful about the motherland. Fourth, although he’s more or less healthy right now, my father does suffer from a couple of chronic conditions and the usual aches and pain that come with age and is very aware of his mortality. For this obvious reason, he wants to see us live as much as we can in his lifetime. Which is fair…and probably not a reason why his ultimatum is flawed…but I wanted to throw that out there as well.
Finally, my mother, would never allow for such a ridiculous ultimatum to stand. I am saddened that my readers don’t know my mother in real life, that they aren’t familiar with the strong, dependable, intelligent, dynamic, devoted, loving, funny and charming person she really is; that, instead, they are acquainted only with the slivers of personality about which I, in my moments of exasperation, annoyance and anger, blog. She recognizes this as a nonsensical situation and ultimately cares only about the happiness of her children (not without a few harmless attempts at manufacturing that happiness on her own) more than anyone else.
My brother spoke for us when he said we would entertain rishtas our parents found for us but it would be impossible for us to determine our compatibility with these people without a proper amount of time devoted to getting to know (ie dating) said individuals. And my readers will never guess what my mother’s response to this was (I say “never,” because you guys simply don’t know her). She said that she prefers we meet people on our own (without their meddling) because we know what we’re looking for in a mate, better than anyone else!
By the end of the meeting, my father reiterated the “I-need-to-see-something-positive-by-December-or-else-your-mother-and-I-are-moving-to-Paksitan” deadline, my mother said something about doing it on our own but not taking our sweet time, while my brother tried to explain to them that there it is virtually impossible to attach a timetable to the natural progressions of life.
I was uncharacteristically quiet(er than usual) during this family meeting because it raised questions for me that only I can answer. Am I ready for marriage? No, probably not. Am I ready for a committed relationship that will eventually lead to marriage? Yes, probably. Am I doing anything to meet a guy with whom I can have a committed relationship that will lead to marriage? Nope. Do I expect the perfect dude (for me) to randomly fall into my lap when I’m not in the least bit expecting him? Absolutely. Will it ever be that effortless? Never. Why am I not (seriously) putting myself out there? I don’t know. Do I feel totally exposed and vulnerable by blogging about this? Yes, definitely.
So, the two of us are going to revisit (um, ignore) the deadline as my brother continues meeting girls and I decide on exactly how I’m going to proceed (because I'm not a fan of dating...).