I looked at my father with dumb disbelief.

‘Well, my son, have you nothing to say about this?’

‘Father, I do not want to sound ungrateful, but I am only 18 years of age. Am I not too young for marriage?’

He laughed, deep in his chest. ‘You will be 19 before your wedding day. Do I detect a certain reluctance?’

I looked at the floor.

‘My son, I had never cast eyes on your mother before our betrothal. We have had twenty-seven wonderful years. You have a handsome brother and a beautiful sister, who are very happy with their partners. The girl we chose will make you just as happy and it will do you no harm to be part of her family.’

‘Father tell me, who is this family? I presume it will also be beneficial for our own family.’

My father glared momentarily, then laughed again. ‘That the Sharfi family is very influential is a bonus, but my only thought was to ensure you have a good and beautiful wife and, therefore a long, happy marriage.’

‘Thank you Father. When can I see this paragon of beauty and goodness?’

‘Be patient. I will arrange the day of your betrothal very soon.’


The day was hot as my family arrived in four cars that were burnished and decorated for the occasion. As we walked formally into the opulent Sharfi mansion I felt stiff and awkward in my formal clothing.

The Sharfi family lined up on one side of the enormous ceremony room and I stood at the front of my relatives.

A large double door was opened, and my heart sank to the floor as a squat, fat girl with a large nose stepped forward.

She turned to Mr Sharfi. ‘Are we ready, Sir?’

He nodded. She indicated through the door and the vision that was Amithi stepped through.

Maybe I should have picked her up and swept her away, but I did not.

Two months later our fathers fell out over a bad business deal which bankrupted mine and Amithi was whisked away from me forever.

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    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    9 months ago

    Allan, I really enjoyed reading about the dynamics behind an arranged marriage. You reminded me of my numerous Indian girlfriends in Coventry, England of the 1970s. They were always chatting about their parents “attempting” to arrange marriages for them. Some flatly refused citing their age, educational goals and other circumstances. Intriguing subject! Great read and disturbing last line!
    Amithi was not as full of “boundlessness” as supposed!

    Nifemi Banigbe
    Nifemi Banigbe(@nifemi-banigbe)
    9 months ago

    This was such an interesting story, Allan! I found myself leaning into my computer as I read in anticipation of the ‘reveal’ of the bride. But wow, the last sentence came as an unexpected twist! Great job, I really enjoyed it!

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    9 months ago

    This was a great read, Allan. I was going to ask if you are as familiar with Indian culture as with many others, but in your comment to Margarida I see that you have no firsthand experience of it. Still, your description is very convincing, so you must have done a good job finding out about how things work. About 10 years ago, I got to know a young Indian couple who… Read more »

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    8 months ago

    Great story about fixed marriage, Allan. I feel so sad for both husband and wife who have gone through fixed marriage. It’s hard to marry a man or a woman who you didn’t know well or strangers. Well done.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Allan Neil
    8 months ago

    Yes, exactly. You’re welcome.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    8 months ago

    Such a sad twist to your story when your protagonist found himself enamoured by his arranged bride. It would have been lovely if they had defied their parents and run off together, but I guess they wouldn’t want to hurt their families. The needs of the many over the needs of the few type scenario.

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