Who am I?

I owe it to the lady who loved me since I was two. And I owe it to my mom who strangely enough thinks that my life and health will get better once I find someone to share it with. But my heart is still not keen on going on a let’s-find-Bhumika-a-groom-search in spite of these two ladies I absolutely love. I refuse to find love on the internet in a meat-shop. I know it’s worked for nearly all my friends who’ve tried it, but clicking on links and finding love depresses me. Especially because I only find sleaze-balls. Well, at least, they have some balls. Hayyo!

To cut a long story short, my mom and cousin (this is the good cousin; not to be mixed up with any of the bores I might have previously mentioned) took me to a marriage bureau.

So at the bureau there were these questions to be filled.
Caste – Hindu (that was easy)
Caste (this time with Brahmin options) – Smartha, Madhava, Iyer, Iyengar – Smartha on my mom’s side, so that was easy too.
Sub-caste – I had no clue and didn’t care so I left it blank.

So when we went to submit the forms, old Aunty from the bureau looked at me aghast – ‘What is your subcaste?’
I said ‘Oh, I left it blank’.
She repeated, ‘What is your subcaste?’
I looked helplessly at my mom and sister. Neither my cousin nor my mom remembered what subcaste we were. So the lady very helpfully gave us options – Babboorkamme, Muruknadu, Hoysala Karnataka…
My mom and cousin said Babboorkamme the same time I said Muruknadu.
Obviously, Aunty wasn’t pleased. She stood up. She looked at all the assembled peoples.
Audience Count:
Old Aunty – 1 numbers.
Old Uncle – I numbers.
Cousin – 1 numbers.
Stressed-out mom – 1 numbers.
Very-unlikely-‘to-be-bride’- 1 numbers.

So Aunty, completely outraged said, “What is this! You don’t know your sub-caste.”
My mom said, “We don’t mind a boy from any caste.”
Aunty said, “You may not mind; but the boys, they will mind.”
My cousin held my hand before I could snap never mind the boys.
Aunty decided to help us out. She started inquiring about our family line. My mom’s Muruknadu dad married his wife (my grandmother; there are whispers of her being his second wife; no, no, married after the first passed away – not like the soaps on TV before we all start getting excited and saying, ohoho) – a Babboorkamme.

I’m just going to say M and B from now on-typing it is too darned annoying.

Now M peoples speak Telugu; but B peoples speak Kannada. And in my family we speak Kannada.

So although we were M by lineage, our mother-tongue was Kannada.

That confused Aunty. So she tried closer home. ‘Your dad,’ she asked me, ‘what is he?’

Before my mom could answer, I said, ‘He’s a Bunt.’ (Bunts are a caste in Mangalore.)
‘What?’ And here, Aunty sat down again. In high dudgeon she said, ‘But you said you were Brahmins.’
My mom and cousin said in unison, ‘but we are Brahmins.’
And that’s the God’s truth, they are. In fact, an uncle of mine is an actual priest. He even has a mobile phone that interrupts him when he is doing his pooja (prayers) in the temple or at someone’s home!
Now I, I see myself as a global citizen in spite of never having traveled anywhere. (Oh shoot, scratch that, now I have.)

‘This is unheard of. What should I do, now?’ Aunty asked Uncle.
And here Uncle very gladly stepped in. ‘See, it’s like this. They say a thousand lies can make a marriage, but I say no, that is not true. So do not lie.’ (Here again cousin clutched my hand to prevent me from interrupting.) ‘And see, how it is you know, our society is very good – we are a patriarchal society. Totally male dominated, you know. It’s very good to be like that. So the man, you know, is the most important thing… In my own…’

I couldn’t take it anymore. ‘If it’s such a great problem, then please give us our money back and throw the form.’ And added just to create extra drama, ‘In this time and age, my God, ridiculous, I don’t believe this…’ (in classy British-English, always impresses the natives like Uncle Number 1) .

Now that money was mentioned, Aunty Number 2 decided that this moral/ethical/existential issue was actually a business one; so she sent Aunty Number 1 to telephone the manager.

Uncle was holding court minus all his courtiers still, ‘You know, marriage in any age, the male, you know…’

My mom snapped, ‘All this talk is because my daughter told the truth, how would anyone know anything if she hadn’t? And in this age, all everyone sees is that the boy and girl like each other and look like they want to spend their lives together. If they decide to, what can we do?’

I think she hit very close to home with that one, because Uncle (no longer feeling like number 1) quietly slunk away at that.

By this time Aunty returned. ‘You swear you know all Brahmin traditions?’ she queried.
I said, ‘Yes, I do. I actually know very little of Bunt customs.’
She quickly shushed me. I’m pretty sure she clutched my hand too. It was a great day for hand clutching. ‘Don’t mention that word here. We’ll all pretend you are a Brahmin, I’ll say B in the form. Don’t say anything about being a you-know-what even when the boys come to marry you. Some boys and their families, you know, no? They will not be…ayyo, this is such trouble.’

I said, ‘Don’t worry, Aunty, I have no intention of marrying any man who can’t handle the truth.’

(It sounds superb in Kannada as well.)

After my kick-ass dialogue, Aunties 1 and 2 thawed towards me. They both spontaneously blessed me. ‘Hope you find a really good boy, ma, very fast. What do we know? We only want people to be happy. Hope you are very happy.’

And the parting shot, ‘And when the boys come, don’t tell them you are a you-know-what and that you registered here with us.’

And thusly marriages are made in India. In 2010. Blessed be. Amen. 

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About Bhumika's Boudoir

I love to laugh, and end up being a part of high drama and stormy emotion even when I don't pursue it. Being creative, and communicating with people get me going. I enjoy all the good things in life especially those that are slightly risque, and apologise little, if ever, for all that I do. Literature is a passion and so is music.
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14 Responses to Who am I?

  1. Kirti says:

    wow – and this is just the beginning! neat post da – my enthusiasm (or lack thereof) is down a few notches…..all the best with playing the game though!

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  2. Kirti, thank you, why is your enthusiasm down? Why? And who are you? Did you not read what Uncle said? It's a happy male-dominated world 😀 And thank you, but so not looking forward to the rest of these matches!

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  3. I can't resist sharing a few "pearls of wisdom" the supposedly "well-traveled", "cosmopolitan", "great army general" father of my other half said to me recently – this was his "advice" on how to make a marriage work:1. "Women must suppress their personalities."2. "The woman must put in 200% effort, the man does not do that."3. "The woman must cater to the male ego."4. "Women must be submissive."5. "According to our Indian tradition, the d-i-l must live in her in-laws' house.As a dutiful Indian boy, the other half told me that I ought to 1. quit my job 2. Move in with his parents (while he gallivants around the country), failing which, option 3.File for divorce.No prizes for guessing what I chose. The "man" (who actually thinks he needs to prove that constantly in a marriage) cannot handle the "independent, convent-educated, smart working girl" HE liked me for being in the first place. It is rather like buying a doberman and then wanting it to be a pomeranian, don't you think?Like you so rightly said, if a man cannot handle the truth, and love you for exactly who you are, dump his sorry arse and his chauvinistic family and move on. Would be best if I could go back in time and not marry the cretin in the first place!(Sorry for the long rant, but this post really struck a chord with me!)

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  4. BB, all I can say is that I am so proud of you. Hugs. Also, Pomeranian? That's the only breed of dog I totally can't stand. (And I LOVE dogs). The no-balls, masquerading as stud-boys, deserve a witless, whiny, moody, annoying bitch anyway. A role we won't ever fit into. So that's good riddance, really.

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  5. Marvin Grey says:

    Well atleast you know you are Brahmin. I cannot trace my caste lines to anywhere. Most people at my new job (started from first this month) want to know which part of General Category I come in! Many thought I was Brahmin until I bit into really nice chicken ham Sub. Thankfully, there is no sub category in General. I was about to write and ask why no blogs. Looks like you have been busy 🙂

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  6. MG, I know all Brahmin traditions even the nonsensical ones. And I love chicken and general meat. There are days when I absolutely must have meat. 😀 So you see I'm not something they can easily classify and forget about. Just like you. :)Oh and I was about to write and tell you that finally I had rum and raisins. You are right. 😀

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  7. MG, and good luck with the new job! 🙂

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  8. shoba says:

    Bhumika, Came here from Praveen's blog.I am a B married to a Tamil Iyer,my sis is a B married to a Madhava and the other sis is married to some other sub caste that I don't know. Seriously,( rolling eyes),in this era… all that aunts and uncles still care about is sub-sub-caste. Maybe, they will start having quizzes along with the forms , asking you to recite shlokas next.. 🙂

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  9. Welcome to the boudoir, Shoba. It's a scary world that we live in, isn't it? 🙂

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  10. Aman says:

    You are detailing, that is good 🙂

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  11. P. says:

    It's worse in places where they are too "forward" for arranged marriages. I have a lady in my office, who's trying the whole online dating route to try and snag someone good. While it makes for good stories and laughs around the water cooler, it is hell on the poor girl. One of the reasons why I thank life for how mine turned out. 🙂

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  12. Aman, too much. Thank you. :)P, I know. Blessed be. 🙂

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  13. Pingback: Kashmir | Bhumika's Boudoir

  14. Pingback: This is the Kannadiga Brahmin joke | Bhumika's Boudoir

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