The title has nothing to do with the post except in the sense that it was playing in my head as I wrote this.
I have come a long way from the hysterical young woman who threw a tantrum every time someone hinted at marriage or said, ‘why don’t you speak to this eligible boy.’
No, I’m damn confident now. I even speak to proposal peoples very politely. Sometimes even share a witticism with them.
So I still get calls from that bureau that led to a minor existential crisis. And I do the screening. Because my parents are real pathetic when it comes to talking to guys/guy’s family.
It’s really reason enough not to get married. They get so tense, they get meek.
I, on the other hand, have become a champion at speaking to all manners of boys’ peoples. And on rare occasion the boys themselves and have said ‘No can do, sorry’, without so much as breaking rhythm in my typing – so to speak.
My screening process is very simple:
Gauge tone – Do they sound uppity and tight and proud?
If yes, then I put on the Brit accent and act like I cannot speak a word of Kannada and what are they doing wasting my time.
What is the first thing they ask about?
If it is horoscope, dump. Someone who sets such great store by the stars will never be a stellar companion.
If it is caste, then dump again. If they are so particular about sub-caste and caste they will never accept my gay/other community friends. And I cannot live without my friends.
If they ask about my job, but go on to talk about how much money the bozo son is making, then instant rejection. I believe The Beatles.
And if they insist on speaking to my parents?
No and no again – hello, I’m the one considering marriage.
Lastly, and in the rare cases we’ve come this far: How do they react when I ask them to mail me their son’s horoscope and photographs before I can mail mine.
9 out of 10 people will not do that.
Because they are the ‘Groom’s family.’
The first ever proposal happened when my dad was in hospital getting his brain tumour removed. I was running helter skelter like a headless chicken when the guy’s father called. He sounded very genuine and concerned when I told him that I was not in a state to talk about marriage or anything at all. He said he understood and that he’d send me his son’s photo and a horoscope just in case we want to see it. I liked the old man. I said sure and hung up and forgot all about it. The next day the photograph (a stamp sized photo of some homo sapien) arrived home. Two hours later while I was still in the hospital a lady called and told me she was the to-be-groom’s sister and she was wondering if I received the photo and also how I was coping at the hospital. In my vulnerable state, I found that to be extremely sweet and told her that I would get back to her.
A day later they called again and asked me if I had decided. I said I would need to speak to the guy first before deciding anything. She sounded shocked. She said, ‘We’ll come to your house and meet your parents first.’ I told her that made no logical sense as I was the one getting married and I needed to know how the guy was. She changed tacks and told me how the brother had built this beautiful house and how they were waiting for me or someone like me to come and decorate it. I burst out laughing. I said all that’s fine but I really need to speak to the guy first.
A week later they called again. They said they had booked a taxi and were planning on visiting us at home that very day. I was horrified! I told them we were still at the hospital running a few follow-up tests for my dad and it just wasn’t the right bloody time. I wasn’t very polite. But I also told her that she could visit my house anytime she wanted after I spoke to her brother and if I decided to marry him. That’s when she went on about tradition and how her parents feel that this sort of ‘forwardness’ is reprehensible. They would not understand. And they need to speak to my parents first. I said in that case, they can visit sometime later when we weren’t spending so much time at the hospital and that they can get their son with them so I can at least speak to him while they would be speaking to my parents.
She hung up on me. May be she sensed the irritation in my voice.
And then two weeks later I got a call from a strange number. I was out with my men. An irate woman on the other end of the line began the conversation like this:
To-be-groom’s mother: What have you decided then?
Me: About what? And who is this please?
TBGM: About marrying my son.
Me: Which son?
TBGM: My husband and my daughter have spoken to you before.
Me: Oh, that one. Yes, so can I speak to your son then?
TBGM: That’s not our tradition. We will not allow you to speak to my son until after the marriage is fixed.
Me: In that case, forget it, I’m not interested in marrying your son.
TBGM: Look at the way you talk! You wouldn’t even let us come and visit your parents in your house.
Me: If you are so keen on seeing my house, come by anytime. But if this is about marrying your son then you better get him too because I’m not marrying anyone without speaking to the man first.
TBGM: That’s not our tradition.
Me: In that case, like I said, forget it.
TBGM: Then return my son’s photo and horoscope.
TBGM: Yes, since you won’t marry him, you shouldn’t keep his snap/horoscope.
Me: I have no intention of keeping them. In fact, I threw it just last week.
TBGM: You did what?
Me: I threw your son’s details into a bin.
TBGM: How dare you do that?
Me: Oh, it’s nothing, really, it’s just our tradition.
And I hung up.
Then this happened. A lady called me before my herpes attack. I divide time based on the illness at the time these days. I was in a shop. She spoke good English, sounded very nice. So I told her I was busy and that I had to call back. She said, ‘Fine. But I better tell you my son is a divorcee and if you don’t mind that, call me.’ I said I would. And I did. She was lovely. She was charming and clever and fun. And she even said that I ought to speak to her son.
The next morning after a bout of terrible insomnia I was rudely awakened by my phone ringing at 7 am. A strange number.
I answered the call to hear – ‘Not booted yet?’
I just stopped myself from saying what the fuck, man and settled for a croaky pardon.
Turned out it was the lady’s son. And he started speaking. And speaking. And speaking. And speaking. About his life with his ex-wife. How terrible it all was. How much she made him suffer, and all that sort of thing.
It got really icky when he spoke about her mood swings during her pregnancy and how later they had to medically terminate the pregnancy. Technical term? MTP.
And after an hour of this, he asked me, ‘So what do you think?’
I said, ‘Oh how you must have suffered!’ Of course he didn’t get the sarcasm.
He agreed and went on to tell me how really he had suffered in spite of being such a wonderful husband to her. And how he did Vipasana to attain peace in his life. And how he now owes it to himself and his parents to be a ‘su puth’ ‘good son’.
And then he said, ‘If we marry, will you help me become a good son? Tell me what you think.’
I said, ‘Tell you what, go read my blog, consider it a homework assignment. And then if you still feel like talking to me, we’ll talk. And I will tell you exactly what I think.’
His famous last words to me?
Then this happened last evening.
By now I’m too busy breathing and not eating and following a Satvik diet and hoping the RA flare ups will reduce with just pain-killers. But they do not. And so it feels like I am back where I started. Two years ago I was ill just like this. Unable to work, to write, to sleep, to do anything. And now I’m wondering whatever next.
And this lady called. Spoke about her son. I was desperate to get out of the conversation so when she said her son has a Bachelor’s degree I grabbed at it and said, ‘So sorry, but I really want someone who has done a Masters.’ And then her voice had so much hurt in it as she said, ‘But my son is intelligent. He couldn’t study further because he was looking after us and getting his sisters educated and married. They are very well-educated.’
Call me a sap but I felt very small. So I immediately apologised to her and asked her if she’d be okay if I spoke with her son. She agreed. And today the son called. He spoke only in Kannada. And I couldn’t speak at all because of the pain and the acute discomfort of having to talk about relationships in a language I normally don’t use for that.
He said it had been very long since he attended college so his English is not good and he’ll try to understand my Kannada.
I asked his age and when he said he was 38, I said, sorry that’s just not the age I’m comfortable with.
And apologised again.
And hung up.
So I thought I should give dating sites a try. I’m anyway bored and Facebook is only so absorbing. And I created a profile.
Bloke1: What are you doing up at this late hour?
Me: I’m trying to write.
B1: Do you write erotica?
B1: Great. I want to brainstorm with someone and come up with great erotic content. I had a friend who used to write. But we lost touch. Would you be interested in working with me on this? Usually MILF stuff.
Me: Sorry. I don’t partner with anyone when it comes to writing.
B1: But have you ever tried it? Are you even a writer?
Me: Sweetie, you are borderline boring, right now.
B1: Oh so you are a fake writer. You should be ashamed.
Me: Is that a come-back?
B1: This is not a contest, there is no need to come-back. You have proved that you are not only boring but you also cannot write.
Me: Okay then, just sod off, please, and excuse the French.
B1: You know you have esteem issues, I wish you luck…
And I blocked him.
Moving on to Bloke2
Bloke2 and I had a nice, interesting conversation about this and that, and travelling. And then he asked me to add him on Facebook. So I did. (Darlings if you are getting alarmed here, I have excellent Privacy settings. Also, I am no longer friends and you know, you can’t find me on FB.) And since I thought the UI of the dating site was pathetic, I added him on my gtalk. (This conversation has been edited because it was unbelievably long and twisted and convoluted.)
B2: You have a very cute friend.
Me: Ummm, who would that be?
B2: This is how I am…
Me: What? Man with a roving eye?
B2: Well, I’m no yogi. Sorry, if I offended you.
Me: No, I’m mildly miffed that you would check out my friends so soon after I added you. It’s just not good manners.
B2: I am the judge of my manners. You are judging me too harshly. I think I’m not the one for you.
Me: Whoa! We were just talking. I was only testing the waters.
B2: Well, you must not test.
B2: Anyway, I wanted to let you know it won’t work between us and so I showed you.
Me: Okay. Please go to bed.
B2: It really worked.
Me: I won’t even ask what. Good night.
B2: Because you know.
I deleted my profile.
In conclusion, there are absolutely no real men. I’m married to or have other strong relationships with the few real men that are there.
A real marriage?
God, no, really. But thank you for thinking about it.
And I give you this gorgeous ear-worm because…