Gustav Freytag, the German playwright devised the Freytag’s Pyramid — a dramatic structure that explains the sequential steps a story follows.
Exposition: The setting is introduced, the mood or the atmosphere is set, backstory may be mentioned.
He stood in the open courtyard.
His tan loafers touched the freshly mopped marble floor. A large copper pot with hastily planted marigolds sat on one side, hiding the turmeric stains underneath.
I got a glimpse of him as I stood on the balcony surrounded by cousins and friends.
For those who are befuddled, this is the second stage in the arranged Indian marriage process.
This guy was here to see me — for a possible arranged marriage.
Soon, I will slip into the room with a tray of tea, my docile demeanor on display, and make small talk with a guy interested in marrying me if the two hundred people involved on both sides make the same determination.
It’s a setup. It’s a hookup. It’s society-approved flirting and by some masterful happenstance, maybe even love at first sight for a few. In India, an arranged marriage is a widely followed yet extremely strenuous activity similar to a competitive sport requiring thousands of units of patience each day to skillfully maneuver through the maze of interfering extended families.
We were to talk for a scented, cushiony, balmy, dreamy short time and decide to spend our lives together or not like each other at all and refuse the alliance — in which case, my family would find another suitable boy and we will again rearrange furniture, unfold more chairs in the drawing-room, and carry trays of steaming hot samosas and chai, and spend a whole afternoon nodding heads and communicating awkwardly.
This episode of “seeing a girl or a boy” for arranging a marriage between them happens to many Indian girls and boys when they are of ‘marriageable age’ and I was no anomaly.
Oh! Wait, but he was!