Sunday, 29 August 2010

1.

Remember the co-worker I had introduced to you a few entries ago? The attention-seeking, bride-hunting, incorrigible, sociopath who made me wonder if the male race is, by all means, a genetic failure? Yes, TT. That's who this post is about.


Turns out that I wasn't wrong and judgmental about him, after all.

On Monday, a rather depressed friend from the office on the first floor, came to my cubicle and asked for help. 'M, I know you have alot of pets at home. I rescued a squirrel that fell off the tree in my garden, and I have no idea how to save the little fellow.. could you tell me what I could do?'

After an hour of discussing details on how the poor little thing could be saved, he decided to book an appointment with the family vet. 'I don't think vets here are of any good', he said, sympathetically, 'but you're right. I'll give it a shot'.

Later that afternoon, TT who had been sitting in the opposite cubicle came over and asked if we could go to Kairali for lunch. Yes, I said. And hardly a few minutes later, we were speeding down street alleys to the Kairali at Koramangla.

Lunch was an unhurried affair. As on all work days, we did everything we could to stay outside, and keep ourselves from dying of boredom at our desks. But on the other hand, this made it imperative that we found something in common to talk about. And knowing that he'd talk about his bride-hunting, and not wanting to hear about his frantic search for a female slave companion, I stayed quiet. TT and I had nothing in common, except for the fact that we loved prawns and that there was already a plateful of it in front of us, which we were picking at with our forks.

Suddenly, he decided to break the silence, ' I didn't know that you liked squirrels, M'.

I looked up, and stared at his face, wondering if his passionate tone was honest. This was the most humane thing he had said to me in months. 'Well, yeah, I have squirrels at home, other animals too...'

'That's amazing,' he said.

'I didn't know you liked squirrels,' I started to say.

'I love them. But it's difficult. How do you manage to cook them at home?' he asked me.

Need I describe the look on my face?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

2.

Obviously, I ignored him the next day at work. But he moaned and whined all morning about how bored he was, so I asked him if he wanted to have some tea and ice-cream?


'Ice-cream? Are you mad? Do you know I hardly have time to find a wife?'.

Since I had become used to this conversation everyday, I insisted. 'What's wrong with you, TT? I mean, seriously. It's not like there's a shortage of women in Kerala, you know. You'll find someone soon. Anyway what's the deal with this urgency? Why the hurry to find a bride?'

I knew that this did not comfort him. In fact, I couldn't believe I was actually encouraging someone to do something that went against all my principles. But maybe, I thought, 'maybe' people like TT were different - after all, we all long to marry someone someday, settle down and have kids. Maybe some people found love differently, and didn't want to wait all their lives for 'the one'. So, for some strange reason, I found myself brimming with empathy and was willing to listen all day to his constant complaints about marriage.

Just as these thoughts randomly whizzed inside my head, he turned away from his desk and wrote down the details of another profile he had come across on the matrimonial site he had been logging onto everyday. Fair. Slim. Long Hair. Unemployed. Syrian Christian. 24 years old.

I smiled, and sat beside him. 'Why the hurry? Let's go have some tea'.

'No,' he sighed, ' You don't understand. I want to get married soon because I cannot wash plates. I also want someone to iron and wash my clothes everyday. I need someone to sweep the house and wipe the floors too'.

I don't exactly think the feeling that crept inside me was disgust, this time. I mean, it was more the kind of thing they say serial killers feel before they mince their victims with a hacksaw. It surely wasn't anywhere close to disgust - I think it was a crazy, maniacal rage. I was picturing myself impaling him the way they did in those Dracula movies in the early 80's.

'Oh, really. Why not just get domestic help instead', I said, coldly.

'Are you crazy? Why would I want to pay? This is a woman's duty', he explained, irritably.

This is the point in those serial killer movies, that they attack the victim. The minute he said that, I came to realize - that there truly is reason to want to murder someone, right then and there. I didn't say anything though. I guess, at this point, there was nothing I could think of to say. The only words that were at the tip of my tongue were profane, and the only thing I wanted to do was kill him.

After a while, he got up, packed his bag and came over to tell me that he was going to Kodaikanal. I told him to have fun, and asked curiously if he had a matrimonial date with some girl from Palakkad. I was hoping the answer was negative. For some reason, I found myself worrying for the women he had 'shortlisted'.

'Of course, not' he laughed, 'I'm going there because its raining heavily and there are alot of frogs'.

'Huh?'

'Arre.. to eat. I'm staying at the sterling hotel to hunt for frogs. You don't see frogs too often in Bangalore'.

'What? Are you insane? How will you catch frogs?' I felt nauseous.

' Easy. I'm just going to take a rock and smash the ones I find. If they don't die, I'm going to put them in hot water in my room'. With that, he left.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Milana

Everyone name their children after colours, grandfathers, Gods or Goddesses, but my cousin named her baby after her favourite pizza place.


'Why?' I asked her.

'Everyone's going to think of something lovely like food when they say her name', she smiled.

Weird, I thought. But totally uber cool.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Where are my kids, cars, whores and houses?

Seriously. What is it with Indian parents? It's almost as if once their kid turns twenty four, all they do is cry. Do they not realize that their children will one day use the grey matter they have been blessed with and rationalize the world around?


My parents and I seem to have swapped lives ever since I grew out of my teens. Now, it isn't me listening to songs from the 60's and moping about how life is unfair and how we are all heading towards nuclear Armageddon, it's my folks. Anything that has ever happened to me over the past five years - boyfriends, breakups, exam scores, jobs, illnesses, weight-loss, graduation - has just made my parents more cynical and upset about how their first daughter is growing up. For them, it would've all been better if I just stayed thirteen, when they could tell me what I was to do and I had to listen. Or it would've been better if they could boast of my exemplary achievements (which there are none).

I think a part of it is some kind of social dilemma - Indians are all about being the best at everything and if they fail at it, their children have to achieve what they couldn't. So in short, your accomplishments aren't really accomplishments unless you have managed to live up to generations of expectations. In India life is a 'Vicious circle of Probability', a kind of fantasy tree that is planted and rarely grows. This is how it goes -

1950 - A man tried his best to become an engineer, but his father didn't let him live his dreams, he goes to option 2. i.e strive hard to make his son become a successful engineer.

1970 - So the son grows up, trying to become an engineer to please his father, but hates it and hates every moment of his life and swears that he's never going to let his children become engineers. His father tells him continuously that he's a failure.

1990 - Now the kids grow up, and are actually interested in engineering, but they take up a creative course because they want to please their father and fail to do so. So they spend the rest of their lives telling their children what decisions to make.

2010 - Kids these days don't listen anymore so they are born failures anyway.

Now all my parents do is point out minor successes of the children of people who hardly mattered in our lives. X has a job at the Bank. Y just gave birth. Z is earning ten times more than I am. They are so caught up in this web of pitting my accomplishments against the children of others, there is nothing I can do to make them think of me as a success - unless of course, I live up to their vision of the first child, and become a disturbed 'Child of Firsts' - the first to own a car, the first to earn the highest, the first to get married, the first to have children and so on.

What I'm trying to tell my parents constantly is that I'm fine, that I'm alright and they don't have to worry. But my mum clearly isn't convinced - ' You are 24 and not married as yet', she says. I'm thinking of a couple of fictitious triumphs to calm her down, but then again, I know this is a never-ending soap opera.

Wait, what is my mum looking up on the yellow pages now? Dear God, I hope there isn't another one of those prophetic cephalopods in my locality.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Waltz for Eva and Che

Eva -
I don't expect my love affairs to last for long

Never fool myself that my dreams will come true
Being used to travel I anticipate it
But all the same I hate it, wouldn't you?

Chorus:

Eva- So what happens now?
Che - Another suitcase in another hall
Eva - So what happens now?
Che- Take your picture off another wall
Eva- Where am I going to?
Che - You'll get by, you always have before
Eva - Where am I going to?

Time and time again I've said that I don't care
That I'm immune to gloom, that I'm hard through and through
But every time it matters all my words desert me
So anyone can hurt me, and they do

(chorus)

Call in three months time and I'll be fine, I know
Well maybe not that fine, but I'll survive anyhow
I won't recall the names and places of each sad occasion
But that's no consolation here and now.

Huevo - Don't ask anymore.


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They say some songs are a reflection of our lives. This is probably mine.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Matchfixing and reproduction - Indian Marriage for Dummies

I wish I could tell you that my life is full of nice, out-of-the-world experiences, but it isn't. What I can tell you about, though, is how oh-so-phony life can be sometimes.


Last Thursday, one of my co-workers, TT, walked into office looking rather flustered and annoyed. It was quite an obvious way of telling us that he was angry, and to keep to ourselves. He didn't smile all morning, he didn't plug in his headphones and start humming, he didn't join us for coffee, there were no phone calls, no bathroom interludes - he was behaving the way Indian heroes do when they get dumped before intermission. Was he ill? my other co-workers discussed. A bad date? A death in the family? warts in the wrong area? None of us had seen him that sad.

At four, I was throughly concerned. This wasn't normal, maybe I could help. You know, be the shoulder to lean on (not literally) and all that. Besides, I've always been good at advice -I love to get all Socratic and discuss the ways of the world. So I walked over to his desk, and tapped him lightly on the shoulder. 'Hey, TT, are you ok? Want to get some coffee or something?'.

He turned back and said, 'A thousand girls'.

Ok, obviously the moment he said that I laughed out loud. I mean, come on, that sounded so Kushwanth Singh. 'A thousand girls, TT? what? all of them last night?'.

But turns out it wasn't a joke at all. 'I have to get married in December', he explained, 'and I looked through a thousand photos of girls, but have only shortlisted three. There aren't enough girls in this country. I'm depressed'.

'You looked through pictures of a thousand girls? Like how crazy are you?'. I couldn't help saying that. Come on.

'No, M. I like December, its my favourite month. I have to get married this December. And I cannot find a girl. You don't understand'.

'So? you're like hunting for women online? Isn't that weird? How do you judge them from photographs? How did you just shortlist three?'. I was (by this time) more amused than ever.

Some are fat, he said, others are thin. He wanted someone curvy and intelligent, but not more intelligent than himself. He wanted his bride to be fair, because he was dark. He wanted her to be ambitious, but not enough to make him feel insecure. His woman shouldn't have short hair, should have clear skin, preferably different coloured eyes, should dress traditionally and should be willing to cook him meals and work and take care of his children.

'It's so hard, I have to find the right girl because I want to get a child which looks right, can you help me, M?', he looked at me so earnestly, I felt like slapping his face. What I wanted to say was 'You don't need a wife, you poisonous, psychotic beast. You need therapy'. But I knew that wasn't going to make a difference.

'Well, I'm sorry, Matchfixing isn't really my forte', I said, softly.

'I know, it's so hard. Imagine! A thousand profiles and only three girls worth my time.' he laughed. I couldn't understand which part of this demented, demonic master plan amused him, but obviously, I had to laugh too.

Ha, Ha, he laughed.

Ha, ha, I laughed.

But never before had a joke filled me with such disgust, nausea and dread.