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"I can't get married just because you had me when you were my age,” said Pranitha.

“You are so beautiful and you are old enough,” said her mother innocently. 

“That isn’t a reason,” said Pranitha. Her mother stared at her but she did not flinch.

"I gave you all the time in the world to find yourself a guy to love,” said her mother.  

"You wouldn't even know what love is!” said Pranitha in exasperation.  

"Who said I don't know what love is?” asked Lakshmi calmly.

"Don't tell me you loved someone,” said Pranitha sarcastically. She looked at her mother grin and said, "You're kidding". 

"It was about a year before I got married,” began her mother. Pranitha pulled up a chair and turned it around as she sat with a curious grin on her face. She couldn’t ignore this. 

"I was at my uncle's place in the village. We visited his friend, the postmaster,” her mother continued as she spoke reminiscing her seemingly fond memory. She was blushing. "My aunt and the postmaster's wife were having a very boring conversation when her son came in the house. He pulled his collar backwards stylishly and kept snapping his fingers as he took off his shoes and whistled a random tune. He was sweaty and looked tired but he was handsome. He ruffled his hair and checked me out like a celluloid hero. He didn't smile but kept looking at me. I wasn’t disinterested anymore,” she said. 

"What happened then?” asked Pranitha. 

"I knew that this was the man I had to be married to,” she said.

"That's it? Hair, snapping fingers and a whistle?” asked Pranitha. 

"With the right person, that is all you need,” she said fondly.  

"Go on,” said Pranitha as her mom began to blush. The doorbell rang and Pranitha walked to the door, cursing the timing. 

Her father stood at the door and smiled at her. "You are home so soon,” he said kindly.

Pranitha watched awkwardly as her father stepped in. The man was half bald and he was not in shape. Her mom had loved a handsome man but had to marry her father. She turned to the kitchen to look at her mom. She was not visible from where she stood. She wanted to go back and hear the rest of her story but she couldn't when her father was here. The truth would be catastrophic. Her father was a good man and a kind husband.

Just as she watched him, he ran his fingers over what was left of his hair and eyed the kitchen. He was looking to see if her mother was watching him. He pulled his collar stylishly, snapped his fingers and began to whistle a tune. Pranitha watched open-mouthed as her mother came from the kitchen with coffee. She had washed her face, adjusted her hair and changed her clothes in a matter of a minute. It then hit her. Her mother did not have an arranged marriage. 


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