Since I am on a sabbatical, I decided to train/teach. I was hoping for a few hours in a month just to reassure myself that I am alive and not altogether worthless. As it turned out, I am now officially, ‘Ma’am’ three days a week said in convent girls’ drawl, the exotic accents of foreign students, reverential tone that parents adopt, and other arbid ways of other arbid folk. I’ve never been one for ceremony. I want to tell my girls to call me Bhumika. No reason not to. If four year old Deepak and five month old Riya call me Bhumika, then surely 17-18 year-olds can. But my lecturers rolled their eyes, admonished me and said, ‘Enough. Go to class and teach quietly.’
Now that I am teaching and instructing the world, I thought I will extend it to men. Particularly eligible men out looking for mates. Specifically eligible Kannadiga men out looking for mates because they mostly tend to talk (if at all) any which way they please.
I don’t need a disclaimer. Most folk who read my blog are not half-wits. But I want this to be clear – it’s not sour grapes. It’s not ranting. All that implies a certain care and a concern for people and the situation. I am completely dispassionate about the entire binge.
So yes, here you are male, proclaiming to be straight, anywhere between 23 and 35 and thinking, I want a wife. Or your parents and siblings are thinking that.
You look at your over-possessive mom, at your fuss-pot sister, your braggart dad, and the rest of the illustrious family and figure that you just don’t have the balls to fall in love with a woman, convince your family to accept her as your wife.
So you say, I will let them decide for me. They know best. I will prove to the world that I am an ideal son.
Now they start hunting. If you are below 30 years of age and going ahead with the plan, stop reading now. You, a mere babe and suckling cannot be held responsible for having water on the brain. Life will all work out like a regional soap opera for you and everything will be fine. Good luck. Say hello to mundane normalcy and bye-bye to me.
If you are 30 and above, then pray tell me what in the blazes do you mean by asking your folk, particularly your sister(s), to check out the girl for you? Also, what sort of a sister does that? I have an older brother I love like the bloody dickens but if he ever tells me to speak matrimony to a girl I will die laughing. And if the younger cousins were to suggest that, I will tell them not to be fatheads and to take responsibility.
Responsibility. Aye, there’s the rub.
Arranged marriage. It’s all about shirking responsibility and placing blame.
The bride and groom blame the parents, the siblings, and the pet cat. The pet cat in high dudgeon fights with the neighbour’s dog. The parents and siblings blame the astrologer. The astrologer blames the doshas. The doshas coil as serpents over everyone’s heads and dissipate as the heads pray. In ripple effect, after the cat fights the dog, the dog dismembers a plant from the garden. The garden dies and we have global warming. But we say that’s because of the dog and the cat and what not. And thus everyone is happy. So it is of course appropriate that father/mother/sister/brother-in-law make that all-important call and describe the groom’s eligibility. My bad. Sorry.
So you are 30 and above. Employed. MNC. Call-center. BPO. Software Engineer. Own Business. Program Manager. Vice-President. Managing Director. Head. Lead.
I am impressed.
But of course, your folk are skilled in advertising and direct marketing. So they add, ‘Has been to the US/Canada/Australia.’
I sit down because the excitement is just too much.
Then they continue, ‘That is nothing, he earns 50,000 to one lakh a month.’
I am just a girl, you know, I promptly faint.
When I come to, they are still talking about your illustrious family. ‘Very rich family. Very high values. 3 plots in Basveshwarnagar, one in Girinagar, one more just like that, simply, in Mysore also. We stay in Malleshwaram. Own house only. Sisters/daughters all married. Settled in the US.’
I have never heard of a single sister who has not settled in the US of A. No wonder Sunnyvale looked like Indirabloodynagar. I can’t believe such good fortune. I beg them to let me speak to the groom. Please. Please. I plead. They agree.
Groom calls. He sounds terrible. He sounds old. He sounds uneducated. Uncouth. He sends me his pictures. He is not very good-looking. He’s dressed like the way my old uncle who passed away at the great age of 99 used to dress. In a ‘casual’ snap he’s wearing Hawaii chappals.
The sex appeal is so raw and magnetic, my voice when I say hello is unnaturally breathy. I simply cannot help myself.
The conversation that you start is a repetition of the conversation I had with your sister/father/brother-in-law. You say, ‘let me list my assets’ and do just that before I can protest.
Then you ask, ‘What are your assets?’
I am dying to be rich now, so rich that I impress the socks that you don’t wear off you. I want to make myself unforgettable, irresistible. I need to marry you. I cannot help it. The need combined with the sexual chemistry is so overpowering even through the telephone that I just blurt out, ‘My breasts.’
You play it cool and impress me so much more. You say, ‘I did not able to get you. Come again?’
I say, ‘Nevermind. Tell me about yourself.’
You say, ‘But what did you want to talk to me?’
A man who hates to talk. Can I get any more lucky? So I play it cool and show you that I am just like you. After sex, I pretty much roll over and light a cigarette or down a drink depending on how good or how bad the sex was. This post-coital conversation and all, seriously? But I digress.
‘Nothing specific. I thought we could just have a chat.’
‘Oh OK. What are your expectations from this marriage?’
My head’s screaming, You, darling, you. I want all of you, sweetie. Everything, darling. Just take me, take me, anywhichwayanywhichwayanywhichway. But I stop Scissor Sisters right there and answer, ‘Nothing really, I just need to be able to connect with the person. How about you?’
You get excited. Your voice is animated now as you say, ‘I want simple, sweet, understanding girl who will support me and my family.’
I say, ‘I am not simple.’
You grow quiet.
But the next thing you say is, ‘Which company are you working?’
I tell you I am on a sabbatical. You don’t sound pleased. ‘Oho. Now it is OK. I am OK if you are not working now. But later?’
And I think to myself that there will be no bigger fool than me if I let you, such an understanding, kind, generous man get away. So I hasten to please, ‘Yes, yes, I will work in the future.’
‘Good. Good. Money is important.’
I can’t believe I have so effortlessly met my soul-mate. It’s too good to be true. And I never trust things that are too good to be true.
The good fortune is too much for me so I say, ‘Okay. Nice talking to you. But I’m not sure this will work.’
You get angry. You get so angry that rivulets of fury heat up my phone. You cannot believe that a girl is ditching the eligible perfection that you are.
You say, ‘If you don’t mind, I will tell to you one thing. Don’t judge like this. See the whole. See not just the part. See the whole. And the part.’ And suddenly blasé at this quick retort you jauntily say, ‘Anywayz, I wish you all the best.’
I say thank you and cry myself to sleep that night.
The man even knew Gestalt!
Now children, post any comments, clarifications you might have. In the next class I might tell you how to actually talk to a person, especially a girl. Yes, huge stuff. Till then, pip-pip.