“ I told you in advance that when we arrange marriage interview for our elder daughter, the younger one should not be allowed to come there. Now you can regret at leisure.” Raghavendra shouted in frustration.
“ How could I dream such a thing would happen? In fact our elder daughter looks more traditional than the second one. Probably they could not see clearly.” Chamundeswari gave vent to her anger.
This conversation was taking place in the front room of a middle class family.
Pavani who was sitting near the door was unhappy. At the age of nineteen, this fair complexioned girl with her youthful looks was so attractive that people would be impressed instantly.
Her dress sense and makeup added to her beauty.
She wore a pink dress with blue upper cloth, pink ear rings and a blue hair band .
With her trimmed eyebrows, mascara touched eyes and cheeks highlighted with blush, she proved that dress sense was an art in itself.
But now, she looked depressed.
She was sitting with her head bent down as if guilt- struck. Now and then she turned her looks towards her elder sister sitting on the other side of the door.
“ No use regretting the past. Think of the next step. The bridegroom people were ready to accept the younger one as their daughter in law for just twenty five thousand as dowry.” The worldly paternal uncle looked at Pavani.
Aravinda turned her head away. Her face turned red with this insult.
Aravinda was brownish in complexion. Those who observed her way of speaking , smile and behaviour would find her attractive.
Her hair was made into a plait. She wore cage shaped ear rings and was dressed in a biscuit coloured silk saree and looked simple.
She did her graduation with science as major and earned a degree in education. She was working as a teacher.
Pavani, her sister was in the final year of her graduation.
Aravinda would adjust herself to the middle class limitations where as Pavani would fight to the end to get what she wanted.
“ We can not think of the younger one’s marriage until we celebrate our elder daughter’s marriage.” Said Chamundeswari accepting the present situation.
“ We will try our best to fix an alliance for Aravinda. If we are lucky we can perform both the marriages at a time. If it is not possible…” Raghavendra left the sentence unfinished.
“ Now a days we need not follow the old traditions. For that matter even Aravinda would not object to her sister getting married earlier than herself. It is a very good alliance.The bridegroom is good looking and is well employed. If we miss this one, later on we may not get such a good match for Pavani.” Chamundeswari’s brother said meaningfully.
“You need not postpone Pavani’s marriage for my sake. If she is willing, go ahead and get her married.” Pavani said.
“ My daughter is golden hearted. Who ever marries her would be lucky. If these people do not like her, it is their “ she was about to say ‘misfortune’ but checked herself and said ,
“ our younger daughter is fortunate .They are ready to accept her as their daughter in law. Why not? The girl looks like icecream .“ Chamundeswari cracked her fingers to drive away evil eye from Pavani.
Pavani left the place in a huff. Aravinda too walked slowly into the kitchen.
Their uncle was nonplussed.
“ First find out whether this boy is okay for your second daughter.” Raghavendra said weakly.
“ Why not? Pavani is not so naive as to reject such good alliance which could be settled just for twenty five thousand rupees dowry .” Chamundeswari made it sure her daughter heard her comment.
Then she asked Pavani in a cajoling tone “ your sister says she has no objection if we perform your wedding prior to her marriage. Why don’t you speak up?”
“ If they are willing why should I accept?” Pavani gave vent to her anger.
“ It is not so. They are willing and ready to adjust with less dowry because you are beautiful. If we reject this, your father would have to run from pillar to post to get another suitable boy for you.” The mother tried to reason with her.
“ Ammaa! My wedding should be planned according to my wish and with the boy of my choice. Don’t force me.” Pavani said in a no nonsense tone.
The parents hoped that thinking about it for some time might change her decision.
The very next day evening an unexpected storm raged in the house. Pavani brought her would be husband home. He was working as a medical representative and belonged to their caste. She made it clear she would marry him whether they were willing or not.
“ She looked like an innocent girl but proved herself to be adamant.” Chamundeswari wailed.
“ In a way it is good. Now the question of dowry will not arise.” Thought Raghavendra.
Aravinda had no regrets that she was not so bold as her sister but silently appreciated her sister’s attitude.
The next day the middleman came to enquire whether they were willing to give their second daughter in marriage to that boy.
The parents explained to him that their second daughter’s wedding was already fixed and if the boy was prepared to accept their first daughter they would be willing to pay more by way of dowry.
The middleman came back with the good news that the boy was willing to the proposal.
Chamundeswari was overwhelmed with joy and said “ I told you. My daughter is lucky. Where ever she stepped there would be prosperity.”
“You are going to perform the marriages of both your daughters at the same time. You are really fortunate.” Chamundeswari’s brother congratulated his brother in law.
Pavani embraced her sister and said “ now I am really happy. I was worried that I might get married first.”
Aravinda turned to the middleman and said calmly but firmly ” convey them that I am not willing to get married to him. “
“ I can’t believe it” the middleman was more shocked than surprised to hear this.
“ Do you understand what you are saying? “ Aravinda’s uncle intervened.
“ Can we get such a good match in future? We were feeling happy that they obliged us and now you are rejecting this alliance..” Chamundeswari was in tears.
“ My dear daughter ! I won’t force you if you are against this proposal. But tell me the reason…the boy is good looking and has a good job..” Raghavendra asked.
“ More than education, job and good looks, one’s character is more important dad! He came to see me and felt that my sister was more beautiful. So they tempted you that that they were willing to accept less dowry for my sister. Now that you have informed them that her marriage is already fixed with another boy, he is ready to take the extra dowry you offer, and accept me as his future wife. I prefer to remain unmarried rather than accept this alliance.” Aravinda said firmly and walked into the house.
The elders saw the truth in her words and became introspective .