“My father is a retired Army Major. He is a man of principles. And, you are a person who flouts all rules. I’m pretty sure he will never agree for our marriage. Why don’t you meet him once? We’ll see that will happen?” said Shravani to her boyfriend, Anand.
Anand, in a confident tone, said, “It doesn’t matter much. Once he talks to me, he will be impressed. Do you want me to meet him and talk to him? He will definitely be impressed and will tell you that I’m the best one for you?”
Shravani immediately took her phone and called her father. She talked to him for a few minutes and came back with an unhappy expression on her face.
Anand wondered if her father did not even want to meet him.
Shravani said, “He is leaving to Ooty this afternoon. It’s his best friend’s daughter’s wedding. He’ll reach only after one week. But, he wants to talk to you. He asked me to arrange for a phone conversation with you. He said that he will ask only a few questions and will decide everything based on the answers you give to those questions.”
Anand laughed hysterically and said, “Is this some kind of examination? Why don’t we run away and get married today? I can’t wait anymore. I’m earning decently well and can take care of you. And, you are also well placed in a good job. I wonder if there is any other practical reason that might trouble our parents.”
Shravani said, “I can’t afford to run away. I love my parents. I wouldn’t do anything to hurt them. Even if takes time to impress them, I’ll wait. If you cannot wait, go and find another girl for yourself. I’ll be out of your life without any hassle.”
She started walking away angrily towards the door.
Anand pulled her back and said, “I’m sorry angel. Did I say that I will not wait for you? I’m worried your father might someone better. And, you will agree to marry that person because you do not want to hurt your parents. If that has to be happen, I will die.”
Shravani said, “Don’t worry. I can assure you of that. I will tell my parents that they have to give a nod to our relationship or I’ll stay single for the rest of my life. I’m pretty sure my mother cannot see me stay at her house for long. She is trying to find reasons to send me out since my college days.”
She continued, “I’ll call you in the noon tomorrow. I will arrange for a call with my father. You stay in front of the computer. I’ll stay on the call and ping you on Facebook if I think that he might not be happy with your answer. You might want to correct yourselves then and there to help make things better.”
Anand said, “Let me be myself. I want him to like me as I am. And, not the way you project me to be. Isn’t that cheating?”
Shravani said, “He has high benchmarks when it comes to today’s youth. He will definitely be depressed at your answers. So, let us go with my plan. I’m pretty sure he will find my version of answers better.”
Later that evening, Anand called Shravani and said, “We have a problem. I have to go to my friend’s town for this weekend. He said he needs my help for something. He needs some money for his sister’s wedding. I’m leaving for Coimbatore tomorrow morning. Can we reschedule our call? We can have it either today or the day after tomorrow.”
When her father,Jayaram, came to know about this, he was not happy with the turn of events. He said to Shravani, “If this guy cannot schedule a call properly, how is he going to plan the rest of his life with you? Anyway, let us have a call with him in few minutes, if it is alright for the businessman boy friend of yours.”
The call started as planned in a few minutes.
Shravani logged into Facebook from her home and Anand also logged into his account to receive updates. Shravani muted her phone line to avoid letting her father know that she is on the call.
Jayaram, Shravani’s father, started the call with a brief introduction of his illustrious career. Anand has already heard all this from Shravan umpteen times before.
Jayaram started with his set of questions. He asked, “You are traveling in a train with Shravani after your marriage. When you know that everybody else has slept, you go to Shravni’s berth and start having fun with her. Just then, you hear a girl crying for help. But, you have not much of clothes on you. Will you go to save the girl immediately or find your clothes first?”
Anand wanted to answer saying that he would never be in such a position as he would not have entertainment with his wife in the public. But Shravani asked him to answer something else. Following her instructions, he said, “I will wrap anything that comes to my sight and go and save the girl immediately. I will not be finicky about the clothes. If people question my intentions, I will tell them I came running from the restroom.”
Jayaram said, “Good. Thanks for the answer.”
He went on with his questions. He asked, “You get a new family as your new neighbors. And, you have many doubts about them. You wonder if they are terrorists. Will you go and report to cops about them on the basis of your doubts or would you do more investigation to find out about them.”
Anand wanted to say that he lives in a complex where they do adequate background check about possible residents and would rent out the place to fugitives. I would never live in such a place. He quickly typed htis answer to her. Shravani did not like the answer. But, he had to follow Shravani’s instructions. He said, “I would try to talk to other neighbors and find out if my apprehensions are correct. I would then approach the cops if all of us felt the same.”
After asking similar questions, Jayaram thanked Anand and told him to end the call. He said that he needed to talk to his daughter first.
Jayaram called Shravani and said, “What’s wrong with you?”
Shravani was confused. She said, “Did you not like him? I’m sorry. But, I’m not going to marry anyone else. I will stay single for the rest of my life.”
Jayaram said, “I’m talking about those answers. It was very obvious that those were your answers. I feel so embarrassed to know that I could not train my own daughter in all the important areas of life. I did not expect this from you.”
Shravani said, “Those were not my answers. How could I answer so fast and send them across to him?”
Jayaram said, “Stop bluffing. I know you more than anyone else in the world. I know how you would answer those questions. And, I like the original answers given by Anand. He is a smart boy and I have no issues about your marriage.”
Shravani was terribly confused. She did not expect this. She said, “How did you know his answers? What is happening here?”
Jayaram disconnected the call without responding to her questions by greeting her good night.
When Shravani demanded Anand, he said, “I’m sorry I hid the truth from you. I did not like the idea of sharing your answers. I thought I can impress him now. But, how will I ever live with the lie on my mind. It’s worse than cheating. So, I somehow got your father’s phone number and requested him to log into Facebook at the same time. I copied our communication to him during the call. He was pretty impressed with my answers, though.”
Shravani felt disappointed and disconnected. It took a few weeks for Anand to woo her back.