There are many things one hopes for. As a child I hoped to do well in my 10th and engineering entrance exams and get a job at the end of graduation. These were pretty deterministic dreams with a lot depending on ones efforts to study and do well.
As an adult I remember in the recent past hoping for a child. When we decided to have kids, every month was on tenterhooks. We hoped to be surprised and even a couple of months' wait seemed long and had us rushing to the doctors. When we were assured there was ' nothing wrong' and 'these things take time' we hoped. Again the hope had scientific backing and there was nothing to panic.
When K was searching for his new job last year, that was another phase of cautious hope fulness. We hoped he got a job soon. The failures disappointed us, but again we were hopeful that as he prepared and gave each interview with increasing confidence, it would be a matter of time.
There was another thing that I have hoped for a very long time. That my sister finds a life partner. Someone who would share her feelings and emotions and be a partner in the true sense of the term. This has been the most non-deterministic and the most fatalistic wish of all. Finding someone to spend an entire life time is daunting. Add to this our Indian culture which heavily involves parents, clans,.celestial bodies, 33 million or something dieties of the pantheon and most crucial the two people getting hitched - and you have a perfectly randomised lottery system.
I chose the person I had to marry ( I do not call marriages as love or arranged - cos all marriage have love and all marriages are arranged). Though it eliminated some variables it had a fair share of maneuvering. My sister had not found anyone she liked. So the onus came on my parents. Well meaning relatives, family friends, neighbours - the usual suspects came with prospective alliances. That did not work out. Though we are a very scientific family we had to accommodate "horror scope" matching if the other party were insistent on it. Some alliances fell through these cracks. Other times there were more tangible and rational reasons - educational qualifications not matching up, employment of one which might force the other to quit or relocate which might not be easy, sometimes physical attributes like weight, height, hair ( yeah important things them!) while at other times the would be "partners" did not like each other. Time went on. There was a steady flow of proposals and rejections. Scarcely did we realise that it had been nearly 5 years in our unsuccessful search.
We tried the Internet route. The newspaper route. There was a trickle. But no success. In the midst I had my two kids. Mom had to leave papa and sis to support me whenever the need arose. She was super pragmatic about it. She could not magic a marriage by just being around. She rather do something tangible. Last time when I went to India, I could see the desperation in my parents. Though Papa is a hugely scientific person, I saw him adhering to some advice from well meaning people and doing temple trips on on some days. Desperate times! We kept hoping. We took solace in words like ' she would definitely get married', ' she would find someone great who is destined for her ',' she would get someone by the end of such and such time' and so on. We hoped. I am an optimist. I hoped for the event one day. But this was not a deterministic algorithm. There were too many variables. Too many unknowns. Too many possibilities. Too many vagaries. Bad things happen to good people too. What if it was not a happily ever after for my baby sister?
Forced and frustrated many times I tried to convince her for alliances she did not have her heart into. I gave arguments like 'it's all an adjustment game end of the day', ' nothing really matters' and many such abominable platitudes. Acquaintances gave examples of girls who had gone for one criteria over another and having a failed marriage. There were snide comments that there was not enough 'effort' on our part to get her wedded. My parents were not compromising. But there were moments of frustration on their part too. It did not help that all her batch mates were married. It definitely did not help that cousins younger than her were getting married. But what could one do?
One could hope.
Mummy was totally dismissive when an alliance came and the mother of the boy said that the horoscopes had matched. *rolls eyes* Mummy was starting to UK in a day and gave the lady my sister's number. There had been many such calls and it was something like a business as usual step. Mummy started to the UK and one fine day I tried calling my sister and her number was engaged for a very long time. She later said that she had been talking to the guy. I gingerly asked how did go. To which her reply was ' as usual.' They had decided to meet over the next few weeks. She had had many such interactions. There was no reason to get our hopes up. After a couple of weeks when the boy's mom called saying that he really liked my sister - it was not a big surprise. There had been such instances before. The surprise was my sister had called a few minutes prior stating that she was OK to proceed with the alliance. Thus, the people who really were needed to make the decision had made the choice.
There were no parental pressures, no brain washing, no coercion. The adults had chosen. In fact the developments were so stunning that it seemed to be happening to someone else. All the sooth sayers' words, all those horror stories, all the happily ever after stories - nothing made sense. It was all a rumble. What shone to me was the WhatsApp status message my sister had kept for a very long time ' have a little faith'.