Rishta: A marriage proposal
Namaste: Hindi word for Hello
Beta: Hindi word used to refer to son or daughter
Maa: Hindi word for Mother
Baba: Hindi word for Father
I sit on the edge of my bed, staring at the top of the dresser. My makeup is scattered — tubes of lipstick open, brushes scattered, and my foundation with no cap in sight — arranged astray.
I wasn’t usually like this — disheveled and a nervous wreck. But today was a special day. Today could be the single deciding day of my fate. My hands trembled in anticipation, and my palms started to sweat. My dad’s friend’s son was coming to visit. To visit me specifically. This was my third rishta this week, the third guy coming to meet me and potentially ask for my hand in marriage. I was freshly 19, and a young girl like me shouldn’t wait any longer to get married. That’s what Maa had always told me.
“Kiran!” Maa shouted from a few rooms down. I jumped up, knocking my foundation down as a result, making it crash open and spill all over my ruby-red mat. I shook my head in disappointment but continued on my way because I couldn’t be late. Being late is bad manners, Maa had taught me.
I picked up my pace in the hallway as I walked into the kitchen towards the tray. Maa had left snacks for me on the counter. Cashew biscuits, chips, and barfi on some of our finest china plates.
I picked up the tray and made my way to the living room, where he and his parents would be waiting. They’d be waiting for me to grace their presence so that they could assess and analyze my every move to take mental notes of what to gossip about and pick apart later.
I walked slowly, looking down and consciously slowing down my steps just like Maa had shown me. I set the tray down on the table and finally looked up to see my potential suitor.
He smiled at me, and I noticed that the skin around his brown eyes crinkled as he did. His brown eyes were so beautiful, like freshly roasted chai.