With This Ring, I Marry You

Salim, the young Bangladeshi site supervisor who oversaw the building of our home, came over this morning to do some minor repairs, and he brought along a piece of good news.

“Sir, I am engaged.”

“Yes, I gave a ring.”

“Last week.”

Geez, now that was fast.

So I asked him, “Who is this girl?”

“I have her picture, in my dorm, next time I bring and show you.”

“But you haven’t met her right?”

“No problem lah sir, my mother likes her, says she good girl, I am ok.”

“I sent money to my mother and she bought the ring.”

And that was the engagement ceremony.

So, I found out, her name is Jorna, a 19-year-old college student from his hometown outside Dhaka, and she has at least six siblings.

And I just had to ask, “I thought you didn’t want to get married?”

“My mother said if I say ‘no’ again this time, she will give up and stop looking for a wife for me.”

“Is she beautiful?”

He smiled, and said, “Ok lah.”

And then he added, “In my country, we just do what our parents want, no problem lah.”

“So when is the wedding?”

“One more year, because my work permit just renewed.”

“Is she nice?”

“Yes, my mother says she good girl.”

No wonder he had been smiling the last few times I saw him.

A request I can’t refuse: Salim wanted a few pictures of him at our home, to show his wife-to-be what he has done.

At six cents per minute for long distance calls, he phones her everyday, a few times a day.

In fact, this morning, while waiting for another worker, he was on the phone with her, telling her what he was up, that he knows a famous photographer, who may go to their wedding.

Salim said he will go back next August for the wedding ceremony and stay for about three months before returning to Singapore again.

And then, he will try to go back every six months to see his bride.

“Maybe sometimes she come for holiday here.”

The wedding will have about 500 guests, he added.

He is happy, I can tell.

Salim during the early stage of construction of our place.