Author: Manpreet Brar
Image: Rozan Snoek
In pursuing her dream of my wedding, my mom shows me a picture of a person and starts selling this possible suiter. I look at her, annoyed, and tell her: ‘Eh no, that’s not the one.’ Please stop. The next day I decide to visit my great-aunt. When I come in, there is already one cup of Indian tea, chaa, waiting for me. I take a sip and before I can take in the soothing sensations of the cardamom and cloves, my aunt asks: ‘Isn't it time for you to get married? Your sister has been married for a long time.’ Here we go again: ‘Yes, will you find me a partner?’ With a curious look she asks what I am looking for in a man. I know the old-school division of roles between men and women in her mind.
However, I decide to tease her. ‘Well, he has to make roti, make tasty chaa and have studied, preferably social studies or humanities.’ She looks at me and while she bursts out laughing, I say: ‘And he must certainly clean the house.’ Her smile disappears and she looks at me insistently as she puts her hand on my arm: ‘I get it and it's hard to find the one, Manpreet. I can look for a suitable partner for you in our community, but the requirements you pose are not easy. There might be another way. I promise you it works, and have you ever caught me in a lie?’ I'm startled by her serious face and pull my arm away from under the warmth of her hand. I might believe in her old tricks, and I indeed never caught her in a lie. ‘Hmm. . . what should I do?’, I ask her a bit hesitantly. With an intense look in her eyes and clenching jaws, she says: ‘Tonight, the full moon will occur, and you will surround your bed with six pomegranates, and from each, you will eat one seed.’ I watch her wide-eyed and burst out laughing: ‘That is the saying “the way to the heart, goes through the stomach”, taken very literally, huh’. I finish the last sip of my tea and tell her it's time to go. Crazy old woman.
That evening when I get home, my roommates are watching, or rather drooling over the romance between Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. I decide to skip this Hill and go to bed. Annoyed, I shove my face into my pillow. I sigh and in one quick movement I sit up in bed. Enough. After slaughtering six pomegranates, I surround my bed with the fruits. What am I doing? I take one seed out of each and eat them, one by one. While falling asleep, I hear a hissing noise and smell cardamom. Swirls of pink mist arise and fill my room. Out of the mist, I recognise a human figure, with perfect brown hair, nice cheekbones and wait; is he holding a social studies degree and a cup of chaa? The smoke disappears and I can clearly see: that’s not the one.