When I was a little girl an old man in a dhoti often came to our home unannounced. He removed his shoes outside the door and squat cross legged on the living room carpet. He always carried a cloth bag around his shoulder and a small napkin with which he wiped his spectacles.
My mother was always happy to see him and no matter how tired she was, she ran to the kitchen to prepare hot snacks for him which was always served in steel utensils.
Snack over he extracted some photographs and horoscope from his crowded bag and got into serious discussion with my father. When it was time for him to leave, mother packed for him a customary parcel comprising some wheat flour, rice and pure ghee.
He was what they described in traditional Gujarati households- the brahman- and he was also the community match maker. He was well versed with the family histories and went from home to home carrying kundalis of prospective brides and grooms. The parents trusted his wisdom and unanimously submitted to his foresight.
That is how my older cousins and siblings got married.
Then one day, the brahman stopped coming home. My father was concerned. On investigation my father discovered that after a prolonged illness he had passed away in his sleep and his only son did not want to carry forward his father’s legacy.
My mother was distressed. “A home not visited by a brahman can never prosper…” she mourned. My father had bigger worries. He was unsure of hunting a groom for my older siblings without the brahman’s able guidance.
Contrary to my father’s anxiety the grooms came on their own when the time was right and all my older sisters today are happily married and proud parents/grandparents of boney children.