If I thought my job was over, wooing and falling in love with Anastasia, I was mistaken. It had been 180 days approximately or 6 months that we were dating and in a relationship. She asked me one day “Joe when are you coming over home to meet mum and dad?” “I have to meet mum & dad?” I asked. “Yes, for my hand in marriage”. I realized that had to happen some day or the other, so the next step was to meet the parents, especially if I was serious about Anastasia and had the intention of marrying her, which I did… Okay, so now the focus was having ‘the talk’ with the father. No matter how much your girlfriend tells you that her dad is cool, you still wouldn’t want to relax one bit. Mothers and understanding and normally very accommodating, it’s the father that has all the tough q’s.
It helped that our families knew each other, so at least that way there were no formal introductions as such. Ana told me to wear the blue shirt, which she said looked really smart on me along with black pants, polished black shoes and yes a whole lot of other instructions of do’s and don’ts. Talk of easing the pressure a little bit. I told Ana “I’m only going to talk to your parents about us, not answer an exam” she replied “you do want to marry me right, so be a good boy and listen to me”. Girlfriends are really cute when they try to mother you, look after all the small details so that nothing goes wrong, Anastasia was no different, and she did know her parents better than I did.
It was at 5.30, that I was to go over to her place to meet mom and dad, well her mom and dad. On the way I had started practicing the correct words I would have to say to make them like me, so besides the Aunty & Uncle I would have to use initially to address them, maybe mom & dad would sound better as time went on. They would be my mom and dad too kind off, after I married their daughter right? I had the urge of calling up Ana and asking her if that was alright. I decided against it. We lived fairly close, just the next village; still it would make a good impression if I reached on time. I remembered Ana’s words “I will kill you, if you are late, its 5.30 and no excuses of traffic, leave home at 4.30 if you want, be here on time” Remembering the little things she said made me smile.
I reached exactly at 5.29, my watched showed. I rang the bell at 5.30. I heard Anastasia shout out from her bedroom I guess, “I’ll get the door”. Her face lit up when she saw me at the door; I carried a bouquet of flowers for her. She was surprised at the gesture, she smiled and asked “for me?” I nodded my head. She said thank you and looked at at her watch, it was sharp 5.30, she was impressed. I felt proud of myself.
“Come in” she said, as she called out “Mama, Papa, Joe is here”. I walked to the sofa nearest to the aquarium; water had a calming effect on my mind. In exactly 1 minute uncle and aunty walked into the living room, I got up and gave her dad a hug and her mom a warm embrace. Her mother was the coolest lady I had met, Anastasia must have got all her qualities from her mom but for her nose that seemed to resemble her dads. Anastasia’s presence in the same room made me all the more nervous though I tried to remain my confident self.
“Please have a seat son” said her dad (he called me son, now that’s nice to hear)
He continued; how’s Bangalore treating you? When did you come down? Met your dad last week at Sunday mass, was inquiring about you. He said you were expected one of these days.
“Yes Uncle, he mentioned to me. I came down yesterday and that’s when I asked Ana if you and aunty were at home and that I would like to visit the both of you. (Well played Joe!! I said to myself)
“You are welcome anytime son” this time Philomena aunty said. I smiled
As we continued the small talk about work, the football world cup which was going on those days. Uncle Mark and I seemed to get along very well. In between complimenting Aunty Philomena’s cookies and cake which she served, she said she had baked it herself. “It’s not every day you get to eat such nice crispy cookies, aunty you are simply the best! I love them”
“Yes aunty sends uncle to buy the ingredients from the market, so some credit to me too, young boy” uncle butted in… and we all laughed. “Don’t worry Joe, I have taught Ana to bake too, she bakes better than me now” aunty said and smiled. For a minute it didn’t register what she said. She continued surely Ana will bake some for you… won’t you dear? Ana smiled. Suddenly everyone was smiling around me and I had no idea what just happened. After a small pause her father turned towards me and said, Anastasia told us about the two of you, that you like each other and wish to get married. Is that right? Yes Uncle and we would like both our parent’s blessings before we can take any further steps ahead. We have been good friends and over time we have both realized that we love each other and would like to share the rest of our lives with one another. I assure you uncle & aunty that Anastasia will always remain, as happy as she is with you now. It’s not always in life we get to marry the love of our lives, and here you have two of us who want the same for each other. Uncle, Aunty, with your consent, I would like to ask your daughter Anastasia’s hand in marriage.
It suddenly felt like the room had turned very silent, even the fish has stopped swimming it seemed, after hearing what I had said. My hands turned cold. Her dad got up from the sofa, so did I, her mom and Anastasia followed, he slowly walked up to me and gave me hug and said “Welcome to the family Son”, he continued “I know there is no one more perfect for my little angel, I know u’ll keep her happy”, the mother came too and hugged me and said “Every time I looked into Anastasia’s eyes, I saw her a star twinkle and it had your name written all over it, I couldn’t be happier”. I walked up to Anastasia and embraced her, she did make my job easier, I whispered in her ears “thank you sweetheart” she whispered back “I told you my dad was cool” We sat back down, Ana came and sat next to me, putting her hand in mine. Her mom asked “so have you guys decided on a wedding date?” Anastasia jumped and said yes, 5th of January, its Joe’s birthday. Wonderful, her dad said.
What I thought would be the longest hour of my life was not so bad after all. I got up to leave, shook hands with Ana’s mum and dad and said “it was a pleasure to spend time with the future family” and walked towards the door, Anastasia walked with me out to the car. Before driving off I gave Ana a peck on the cheek, “thanks baby” waved out to now my extended family, mom and dad… and drove off.