Friday, August 3, 2007

Dreaded Words (Short Story-in progress)

Nandi knew eventually he had to get married. It wasn’t that he was opposed to the idea… it was more that he preferred to delay the decision as much as possible. He always had the perfect excuse for his parents. "But I'm going to school in a country far away from India. I have no money, and any girl I marry will require some level of stability, which I completely lack.”
But the day finally came when his father pronounced the dreadful words, “You are over thirty, son. Soon no woman will want you.”
So he reluctantly agreed to let his parents arrange a marriage for him. His father posted the picture on the internet marriage site and wrote his biography, which he showed at work to his American colleagues.
“There’s no way you will find a wife with a picture like that!” said Johanna, his best friend at work, who seemed more like his worst enemy at times. Johanna always found something in him to criticize--his hair, his clothes, the way he walked, the way he smelled... but in this case she was trying to be helpful. Johanna was a professional or artistic photographer, depending on her mood. She promised to help him in his search for a wife by taking a decent picture of him. First, she had to convince him he needed a new wardrobe.
“What’s wrong with what I wear?” he kept asking.
To which an exasperated Johanna finally replied, “Where should I begin?" She looked at him from head to toe. "Hawaiian shirts and Bermudas were the look of the 80's, but in case you haven't noticed, we are in a new millennium. We have been, for the last five years. And by the way, you should do something about your hair."
"What you mean, girl? My hair is already too short."
"That it is," she replied, "but it's also too grey."

Johanna took him to the mall that weekend and on Monday picture number one-pouty face, unevenly cut graying hair, baggy clothes and sandals, was replaced by pictures number two- trimmed dark hair, black crewneck shirt, khaki pants, black Italian shoes and a soft smile. And so the dating process began.