Giving Away Daughter Life was simple when I was just a mom for 2 decades. It meant school fees, assignments, tests, texts, books, later on more books in college, tutorials, projects and finally a job. I heaved a sigh.....the worst was behind us. We worked hard to make a living like many others unmindful of the changes around. Life evolved. Scooter gave way to new car, a home, new appliances and EMIs never stopped coming I never knew when I greyed, the elders aged and friends moved away, some beyond recognition, kids around grew up, many flew nest and parents stayed in their old homes awaiting for Skype chats with children in distant lands halfway around the globe, and I plan for a secure future.... Evenings meant rustling up a simple meal after a hard day, some prime time TV, fiddling with WhatsApp and Facebook, our virtual friend in the new age. Weekends meant more work.... extra cooking and clean up, stocking up larder, doing laundry, banking, and only to flop exhausted by Sunday noon. City weekend evenings mean mall hopping, our only indulgence with no parks, beaches, open grounds or green meadows to gaze upon open starry skies. All we got is the smog, endless traffic and neon lights. So entertainment is confined to air conditioned malls, PVR cinema, aimlessly checking discounts or offers, clicking random selfies, at times cheating on diet sneaking up the fast food meal of coke, fries, burger, gazing at the lit fountains, seeking 2 minutes of happiness before yet another week. Just as someone asked.....what's up aren't you getting daughter married. I mumble something vague feeling embarrassed not having thought about it before. Very soon things changed. One fine day daddy dear decided to take on the responsibility of a suitable alliance. And how do we do that in modern times and technology?? Confusing as it was, matrimonials came to the rescue. Wanted beautiful, tall, fair, slim, homely, shapely, qualified, working /non working /NRI/ matching stars, caste, status.... accompanied with exhaustive exchange of profile pictures. Soon we had a prolific collection of guys photographed at work and play, by the beach, hills, work stations parties and poolside. How does one make out a guy lakeside, beneath the hat, sunglasses and fishing line, is the right choice?? Mind boggling exercise. We plodded with verification and testimonials, and finally gods above seem to smile upon and a catch dawned on the horizon. Rounds of chai pe charcha, kharcha and trips followed by some fine tuning by elders, relatives, friends and foes alike pitching in to clinch the alliance. Next a fresh batch of work appeared. House needed renovation suitably and respectably, so fresh coat of paint aided by some few pieces of furniture, curtains and upholstery, additional mattresses, some crockery and untensils. Purchases piled and so did the bills. Someone said jewellery-minimum100 sovereigns is the going rate. A family in the backyard offered both jewellery and car. Bridal trousseau and jewellery, assembled, beauticians, caterers, decorator, photographer videographer, mithaiwalla, florist, maids- every service enlisted. Whoever said less is more. In fact everything was a little overboard ... you never know was the bottom line.....and hubby threw a fit every time the bills appeared. Someone wanted an event manager, choreographer and musical band, it's the latest. Soon mehndi, hen party, dance, music all followed in good measure keeping up the cheer and good spirits. The choreographer ruthlessly got old uncles, aunts, grand elders, children tiny tots to groove, sparing none in his enthusiasm. Every one took to the dance floor, trifle embarrassed, unused to public performance. Amidst all as expected skirmishes, grudges and grouses surfaced often. The grand old uncle complained he wasn't invited ceremoniously enough. We apologise profusely for the lapse. Senior aunt said she wasn't attended upon sufficiently, while bhabhi found the sari gifted to be dated stuff. Sorry. Some elders were irked for not having been consulted for the wedding discussions. Another unpardonable lapse. Sister in law trashed the dahi vada and payasams alike, not up to the mark, she could have suggested better cooks. Ought to be, since we hadn't considered taking suggestions. Again sorry. Mami sniggered the bridal sari was too expensive only if we had solicited her excellent guidance. We smiled on embarrassedly and let it pass. What??... only two payasams someone gasped- we had four for our's. Uncle complained his name didn't appear on the wedding card. We rushed with firefighting, ironing arguments, mollify bruised egos, soothing tempers, till we frazzle ours. And finally the Day dawned. Overbearing photographers, videographers captured dias fiercely and every one else was unceremoniously pushed away, audience barely able see the marriage proceedings, Zealous uncles aunts elders took centre stage amidst noise, commotion of clicking cameras, smartphones and flash lights nadaswaram prevailing in the background............ and we sailed through. Wink blink .....it was soon over and we give away our daughter. Am I happy? I don't know........I glimpse at my husband. He's looking into bank notification pings of bills debited.... may be relieved finally the madness is all over. Next morning guests leave, the awnings, twinking lights and festoons are taken down, coconut fronds pulled off the gateway, and flowers swept away and life was back to usual. Looking back it was some fun while it lasted...... I am not too sure. Some things you never know.