He arrived a few minutes late, perhaps, to show that he was important.
But as people know, Sheru does not care.
Sheru ordered food. The waiter was quick. Sheru was impressed.
Sheru did not use fork and spoon. Sheru got up, went to the washroom, washed his hands, returned to the table, and went at the delicious korma.
Relatives accompanying Sheru to have a look at the boy, too, were surprised.
They tried to make the boy comfortable, but Sheru did not raise his head.
Sheru was at his best. Without paying the by-now anxious boy any attention, Sheru ordered rista, which was served soon.
Sheru had a hearty meal.
Sheru washed it down with lemon tea, and turned his attention to the boy for the first time.
“We have heard that you have not completed your graduation,” someone with Sheru asked the boy.
Usually, Kashmiris do not pose prospective grooms such questions. Qualifications do not matter much in this part of the world.
The husband-to-be must be earning a livelihood.
The boy in front of Sheru was earning a lot of money.
Frankly, Sheru was not at all interested in his educational qualifications.
“We do not want a lecture from him,” Sheru tried to persuade people sitting on his right and left.
No one delivers a lecture in Sheru’s presence.
Sheru okayed the boy. But the would-be groom and the would-be bride were not destined to live as husband and wife. As they say, marriages are made in heaven.
The girl’s relatives wrote ‘reject.’
Sheru thinks the family did not set a good precedent.
It is not enough for a boy to be earning a living.
To get a suitable match, he must also ensure that his bald head grows enough hair before marriage. He has to go to the beauty parlour to set his eyebrows right. He has to quit smoking, and in some cases, start smoking.
khuda ki panah. kya zamana aa gaya hai.
And above all, he must be qualified enough to impress the girl’s family.
Money matters, but not always.
Education matters as well.
Sheru asked one of the relatives what he actually meant by education.
“He must have a degree,” the relative answered.
Sheru thought it better to keep quiet.
What if a boy produces a fake degree?
A degree-holder cannot necessarily be educated.
But who cares.