Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happily Every After?

Today 7.30 AM

In a room just for her

It was quite convenient that everyone had left the room to see the groom coming back to the mandap, while other relatives were busy in the other dressing room chit-chatting and telling each other how they had made their respective husbands buy their costly necklace or ear ring or any obscure piece of jewel on their body.

She was alone. All alone by herself. She saw herself in the mirror.

The light red color sari which was filled with chamki work did go well with her medium complexion. She was woken up early in the morning at around 5 AM like in the army camps and the beautician had started polishing her up. Her job was possibly the toughest in the whole arrangement as she had to show something that was probably non-existent or hidden. Perhaps that’s why even her scrooge like mother did not mind paying up the fat bill of 7500 Rs that she charged for those 2 hours of work. The last thing she wanted to hear was some groom's relatives grumping and complaining about the girl's complexion.

She had a mehendi in shape of a peacock which started from her arms and ended in her tiny fingers. She might have appreciated the work of art on any other day and even on any other person (although she might have felt jealous), but maybe not today. Even the 30 sovereign gold distributed equally on her body failed to accentuate her on one possible area.

Her face.

She felt like as if she had forgotten to smile. And then she thought about him. She wondered what he was doing now.

Yesterday 7.30 PM

His house

Actually it was a tough choice. He had to decide with his limited experience and knowledge. He had done it only very very few times before, but today he needed it. When he used to see it in the movies, he used to think "What a piece of crap", but today it appeared logical. No wonder they tell that art is inspired from life.

He had to choose between Bacardi rum or the Black label. He wondered if doing an inki-pinki-ponki between them would freak out the shop-boy. So finally he decided to go by instinct and logic. Since it was apparent that his life had plunged in darkness, he decided to make it darker with Black label. Logical eh?

After having bought 2 packets of Ruffles Lays and some mixture he did not care to read name about, he went to his room and locked himself up. His roommate was off for night shift and so he was alone. ALONE. He could do whatever he wanted and he was his master today. He remembered seeing an 80's English movie named "8 million ways to die" and wondered if it was all true. Were there really so many possibilities?

Throwing towel on reason, he decided to pursue his current mission.


Today 8 AM

Her younger sister accompanied her from the bride’s room and she was beaming with pride and happiness. Apparently her parents were happy as their freak show was going as planned and their ego was satisfied. The relatives were happy as they would be getting 2 square royal meals and something to gossip about for sometime. What about the girl's happiness hereafter? Who cares.

The place was filled with smoke because of the religious rites being performed. It was convenient for her in a way. Even if anyone would ask why her eyes were moist, she could shift the blame on the smoke. Another option was to say that she was feeling sad for missing her parents from today, although she had little doubt that she was lying enough to get a season ticket to hell. The groom was busy chanting the mantras and even his eyes seemed moist.

She may or perhaps may never know the real reason for his tears. Who knows if he too was victim of circumstances like her? Perhaps that why we humans should never invent a mind reading machine. If they ever prepared one and if it were to be out in the markets, imagine what kind of a catastrophe it could bring on us. No one would even pass an interview, no one would get elected, no one would get married (save a few) and murders could be on the rise.

Scary enough.

She had reasoned and argued with her parents that her choice was correct and that he was perfect. But it never seemed to reach their deaf ears. All they wanted was 'her welfare', 'her goodwill', 'family status', 'relative’s loose talk', 'her sister’s marriage later', ‘what will society say’. She had just one reason on her side and they had so many. The balance never seemed to be tilted in her favor. If she had decided to step out for good, she would be branded 'traitor', 'selfish' and every other thing in the lexicon that is available for making someone depressed. But when her parents state their reasons even if they are for their own, they are 'reasonable' and 'caring'.

Love was still a taboo subject in the second populous country on the face of earth where Vatsayana wrote Kamasutra and epics like ‘Ambikavati-Amaravathy’ were written and Taj Mahal was erected. Most parents in India physically live in the ipod age and their minds and egos are still left in the rock ages.

Welcome to the world of Indian marriages.

The first thing every parent wonders when told about love is that it is infatuation. And even if not the immediate question raised is ‘It will wean over with time’. As if arranged marriage comes with some kind of bond where groom pledges never to ditch the girl.

She wondered if like in those old hindi movies where the hero would appear out of nowhere and drag the heroine out from a forced marriage, he would come on a horse or maybe disguise himself and sit smiling next to her. As she sat near the groom, she slowly turned her head to see his face.

It was not him.

Yesterday 8 PM

There were almost 90 channels on his cable connection and no channel appealed to him. He could not listen to one song and could not watch one scene. The rest were all mega serial shit that he never gave a damn about. Either way they would show 'love triumph above all odds' stuff which would only add fuel to the fire in his heart.

Why do they make movies like that where after the entire struggle the couple remain happy ever after? How many happen that way? Even if they do, what are the other consequences? What happens after marriage is the same as it happens everywhere and anywhere between any couple. No one cares a damn if an arranged marriage goes haywire. Why point out failed love marriages?

He failed to understand what was wrong with him. He was intelligent, smart, decent-looking, earning well. It was the same stuff they were searching for their lovely daughter. Infact he had additional qualification of loving her and caring for her better than they could have ever imagined. Yet he lacked in one important criterion. He was from a different section of society. Seemed as if having born to his parents belonging to this section of society was all his crime.

It’s like a vortex where we get trapped and no way seems out. No one gives a damn if they stay happy later. What matters is NOW. What matters is 'what will all our relatives say', 'what will the society say' as if they share all our emotional burdens. He could not blame her or himself and it was not right as well. They had tried their best. It was just that they were one of the few pairs who revolted against a huge system.

The Black label seemed to be doing what it was intended to do in first place. Make him asleep. He did not want to wake up tomorrow to remember that it was her marriage and that he was not next to her.

He rested his head on the pillow nearby and plunged into deep sleep. A sleep where he could imagine anything. A sleep where there were no boundaries, no limitations, no one to reason any logic, no one to care about.

A dream and a parallel universe where there were no parents or relatives who boasted and talked of status, caste, creed, color or anything obscure. He was alone....alone with her.

"Boy or a girl?"


"Why not a boy?"

"I am a boy. So shouldn’t you have a girl.?"

"Hello....I am a girl.

"Yeah. I want one like you."

"Why do you need another when you have me with you?"

They laugh at their silly joke and smile and hug each other.

P.S: Inspired from too many real incidents…past, present and future

P.S1: தமிழ் படிக்க தெரிஞ்சவங்க கொஞ்சம் இங்கே போங்க

Friday, May 23, 2008

Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa

We all feel sleepy in the afternoon. And when you add the fact that our Indian food is so amazingly designed to be heavy, you cant resist feeling sleepy.

Worse, I had a presentation today morning for which I had to slog yesterday night and I had only 2 hours of sleep. My eyes were super-duper red like Vijaykanth and I was barely able to look at the monitor. 2 huge mugs of coffee failed to keep my eyes open.

As luck would have it, many of my clients left in the afternoon and I was left alone. Wondering what to do, I opened my favorite site...YOU-TUBE. I closed my eyes and decided to enter anything that would come to my mind first. I typed Kabhi haan Kabhi Naa and found this song. Its amazing that even though it has been years since I listened to this song, I remembered its lyrics and also the shot angles. SRK looks so young and innocent and if I remember correctly Suchitra Krishnamurthy used to appear in Sunrise ads.

The initial music sounds like the old song "Dilbar mere Kab tak mujhe". Kumar Sanu ruled Bollywood in this period and Jatin-Lalit were in prime form. Hmmm....well...to let one secret out, this was our gang's theme song for their respective school crushes :-).

For more nostalgia, click here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can we leave?

She: Darling. How is this color? (Shows a saree)

He: You like it?

She: You tell me if you like it first.

He: Yeah. Looks kind of good.

She: Ok. We will see another one.

He: What? You don’t like this?

She: You know something? You have got a horrible color sense.

He: Wow. That’s very comforting.

She: How can you like that color? Look at it. It’s orange with green border.

He: So what? It would go nice with your color.

She: You know why I asked you? Because always seem to like colors which I don’t go good with me.

He: Well. Even the army selection test for color blindness seems better now.

She: (after 20 minutes of saree checking) Honey. Are you bored?

he: Oh....actually no. I am enjoying this whole attention thing?

She: What attention thing?

He: Look around dear. I am the only male in this whole shop. So every other female is staring at me. What say?

She: (pointing to a guy at a corner) What about him?

He: Let me guess. Isn’t he paid to be here?

She: And him? (another guy at another corner)

He: He robs me. Because he is the friggin owner. He collects money from me and gets to be with all the hot chicks in the shop and the ones who come here to shop. What do you call that?

She: So you think that the chicks in this shop are hot?

He: (realizing that its gone other way) Well..you see....I was presenting you his perspective.

She: And that is?

He: Like...he finds these chicks hot. Obviously you know my taste in woman.

She: You like Tanushree Datta and Devayani.

He: I NEVER liked Devayani. I mean who in the world finds Devayani hot...except of course her husband?

She: Your friend said that you had a notebook with her photo in the front.

He: I also had a notebook with Ajit’s photo on it. What does that prove?

She: Hee hee...which means you think Tanushree is hot?

He: Tense Tense dear.

She: What tense?

He: Use past tense. It is THOUGHT and not THINK. That was when I was single.

She: Hmmm. So you like this color? (shows another saree)

He: (looking bored) Don’t bother. Either way you won’t like it.

She: You seem so fruity. Why is that?

He: We have been here for what...like 2 hours? How many sarees have you selected? Let me guess.....how about zero?

She: We women take time. Haven’t you gone out with your mom to buy saree?

He: That fate was reserved for my poor dad. He would practically look like a sheep walking to the slaughter house when accompanying her to the saree shop.

She: Hmmm...so you feel the same way?

He: No No. I am talking about my dad. It’s ok. Do you realize that as of now we men are the weaker sex and not you?

She: Why is that?

He: See around. You will find so many shops that sell stuff for women. Saree shops, Cosmetic shops, beauty parlors, Chudidaar shops. Brands like L’oreal and Garnier which are like stuff that only Ambanis and Birlas can afford. In addition to that you can wear jeans and T-shirt also which seemed to the only thing that we men could tag along with.

She: So what is that my poor husband is trying to prove?

He: That you have so many choices and we have none. The only thing you have spared us are the useless and step-and-trip dhotis and devadas kurtas.

She: You forgot something. We have a version of Dhoti and we call it skirt and I think you must be living in mars because you forgot that we also wear Kurtis.

He: Hmmm…lucky you. So you like this?

She: Actually I like that one (points to another saree which a women nearby is examining)

He: Tell me something? Why do you women always seem to pick clothes that some other women seem to like?

She: That is totally false. Its’ not like that.

He: Ok. Let me refresh your memory cells. Remember what happened one month before? You almost grabbed the saree that the women next to us selected and went to counter. The women looked at you as if she was witnessing us landing from spaceship. Thank god that they had a spare saree of the same color and they gave one to her.

She: See. The matter was resolved.

He: Imagine if they had run out of stocks. Then we would have had a tug-of-war with that woman and her poor husband on one side of the saree and you and me on the other.

She: I know we would win. My husband is strongest.

He: You seem to like me now. Wait a minute....is this saree costly? That’s why you are hitting on me?

She: Nothing that you can’t afford (whispers price in his ears).

He: (looking bewildered) ok. It’s ok if it makes you happy. Can we go now to the counter?

She: You forgot something.

He: What now?

She: I have to collect another to go to my friend Shamili's Bday.

He almost faints as she walks to select another saree.