After many random profiles being pushed my way, and after many more straight NOs, the manhunt had come to a subtle standstill. Ma was going to be back in Zambia for a month or two and she herself, called it a break. "If anyone calls about alliances, don't let me know. I need a break from all this!" So, the manhunt was officially getting to everybody. And who was the happiest person to hear the word "break?" Yes yes, I couldn't have been happier. Things were back to normal. I felt like I had my life back! Umm, ok not really..but I was just relieved!
Things were going good. My Aunt from Chennai and her son were going to visit us for 2 weeks. It had been a long time since we spent time with them. We were all looking forward to it. Ma was so excited that she preponed her return from Zambia by a couple of weeks, so she could be here when her sister was around.
I was also having the perfect time personally. I was in Hyderabad for 3 weeks. My best friend from school was getting married in Hyd, so I extended my business trip so I could see her on her big day! It was a brilliant wedding! And my time in Hyd was wonderful - several night outs, drunken nights, good dinners, midnight chais, early morning chais under flyovers, etc. I was having the time of my life.
I got back to Delhi a couple of days after my cousin and Aunt had arrived. Ma was going to come the following week. So while my Aunt was here, she was curious to know what was happening on the manhunt front. There we go again, I thought.
I took her through some profiles. We were actually having fun looking through profiles - making fun of some :P We were being mean, but all in good humour. We came across two profiles; they seemed pretty good. One of them, we came to know, was an alliance one of my other Aunts in Hyderabad had suggested when I last when I was in Hyd. She also mentioned it to Ma, who said she'd come to India and see. So we decided to take that one forward and email the person, for more details on family, and about the boy.
So much for the short-lived break from the manhunt. Ma was back and she seemed like she never was on a break. My aunt and her just went all hammer and tongs! Horoscopes were exchanged, now I had to tell them if I liked the picture enough to talk to the guy. And I did. He was a smart looking fella, so I thought, what the heck, let me go for it and have a conversation.
It was a Sunday, my Aunt and cousin had left after a brilliant two weeks. Late afternoon, I got a call from the boy. He sounded nice, and was easy to talk to. He mostly spoke in good English and Hindi (given that he's Tamilian, it was a big deal for me). We talked about our jobs, basic stuff in life, a couple of hobbies, etc. Our conversation went on for an hour and half!! That was a chat that went beyond expectation for me in terms of time and quality. I felt like I was talking to a friend. He seemed very easy going. So it was all good for starters. On the third day of talking to the boy, he told me he had to tell me something. "I'm a guy who really enjoys his drink." "That's cool," I said. "Cool? Sure? you're cool with it?" "Sure, I am." He went on to say that he'd have a good night's sleep that night. :) Then I thought that was my moment too..."While we're on the subject, I enjoy my drink too," I said. And that was that. We went on to talk about how we could drink together. He asked me when was the last time I got sloshed, if I drank responsibly or not, etc. I was ecstatic. Not just because he drinks. No. Because it's a great deal if the person you're considering spending your entire life with is at peace with how you like to enjoy in life. And it's a greater and more beautiful deal if that person can enjoy the same way with you. We went on to talk a little over three whole weeks before we decided to meet.
July 3 - we were going to meet in Hyderabad and decide if we wanted to take it forward. Wow! Things were moving really fast. To be real honest, I was kinda convinced that this was the guy - but I didn't want to decide or even think so before meeting him once. Even he wanted to meet me in person before deciding on what to do next.
I was going to Bangalore for a friend's engagement and the very next day was going to be judgement day for me. So much for enjoying other people's happy days. This was one engagement where I was nervous beyond understanding for my own reasons. I told myself to be calm and not get worked up until the morning of July 3. So at the engagement, I drank my vodka and mojito, and other things and left the rest to the good old spirits! :)