“Mr Kumar, they’re here!”
They heard shuffling noises from within and a moment later the flustered Kumar appeared at the doorway.
“Come in, come in. Sorry to have kept you waiting.” he wet his lips nervously as the boy’s parents had tightly pursed their lips.
Leading them inside, he called out to his wife, “Meena, ask Priya to get ready quickly.”
The custom began.
The tall, bespectacled boy wore a crisp full sleeved shirt and a pair of freshly laundered pants. He sat in between his parents who looked around the room critically.
The maid served hot snacks and tea. They ate in silence. Kumar fidgeted in his chair, and kept wringing his hands. He stole glances at the broker, whose smile was fixed.
“So,” the boy’s mother began, “how long should we wait for your princess to get ready?”
Kumar stumbled out of his chair. “Er — she’s ready, I’ll ask her to come out.”
Twenty minutes of Q&A, a vocal test and a walking test later, “Well, we’ll let you know in a couple of days.” Saying so, the mother walked off. Her husband and son followed mutely.
The broker followed them, and Kumar heard them quietly whispering at the entrance. And then, they were gone.
The broker lingered. “Don’t worry, Mr. Kumar. They like your daughter very much. They will call you tomorrow to finish off the deal.”
Kumar’s face lit up for the first time in weeks. “That’s so good to hear! Here.” He shoved five thousand rupees into the broker’s hands. “Have this as a bonus.”
“Thank you so much, Mr. Kumar. You’re so kind. Call me when you’re ready to marry off your second daughter as well.”