Elaine was a romantic young woman who yearned for a loving relationship. She wanted, not necessarily, a permanent loving relationship leading to marriage, but a beautiful romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Elaine dated different men, but none of the dates led to romances.
As actual romances continued to elude her, Elaine found herself taking refuge in books of romantic poetry and prose. In the make-believe world of poetry and novels, the protagonists enjoyed heartfelt romantic relationships, sometimes leading to marriage, but more often than not, the relationships ended before heroes and heroines were able to marry. Elaine enjoyed romances vicariously through her books.
Elaine read two romantic pieces in particular which interested her. They were stories written in poetic form. One day when Elaine was visiting her best friend Barbara, who was also searching for romance as Elaine was, and who also enjoyed her romances vicariously through books, she told Barbara about the two romantic pieces she was reading.
“In the first one," Elaine said to Barbara, “the hero and the heroine did marry. This one is called 'A Young Man’s Search for Love and Romance in India.' and is goes like this,' Elaine said to Barbara. She proceeded to tell her the story.
Tom was on a journey far and wide to begin a search to find a bride. Going to India was a possibility. It is a country where people go to find spirituality. India is Asia’s largest democracy but its customs make it a theocracy. Indian girls are university-educated, but whether they have autonomy is to be debated. They might want to choose their husbands freely but many marriages are still arranged by family. India has a large film industry called Bollywood. It is the same as the American Hollywood. Bollywood performers marry whom they choose. Tom wanted to find a pretty and talented girl who would amuse. Arriving in India, he found a variety of sights and sounds. He intended to take his time and make the rounds. Mumbai is a city of appalling contrasts. Its population includes the wealthy and the poverty-stricken outcasts. In Bollywood, he found a theatre performance of dancing and singing girls. They had voices like nightingales and heaved their bodies in a variety of swirls. One beautiful girl was a treat for the eye. As he watched her perform, he let out a breath and a sigh. After the show, the girls mingled with the audience. Unlike girls whose marriages are arranged, they were free to choose husbands or be single. Tom went to seek out a beautiful girl and started a conversation with her. It turned out that her family was very modern and approved of her being a performer. After his initial conversation, Tom found her both talented and intelligent. She carried her body in a way that was poised and elegant. Tom and Nalina liked each other and wanted their relationship to continue. Was this the girl whom Tom would want to marry? They had common interests in the arts and writing. Nalini’s laughter and enthusiasm were most inviting. Tom and Nalini’s relationship progressed, and I leave you to imagine the rest. Her parents were lovely people and treated Tom as more than a guest in their house. In India, in Mumbai, in Bollywood, Tom had found a wife. They were both talented individuals and in could settle for life in Undia.