Candid, not Candied

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

What do I do?

At 28, I have a life that not many can even dream of. My parents have always given a lot of importance to education. And thus, when I expressed my wish to go abroad for higher studies to them; they left no stone unturned to fulfill my dream. Now, the life that I boast of consists a fulfilling career with a supporting, heavy paycheck that takes care of all the bills and also a few luxuries, doting parents and a long distance relationship that seems to be working just fine. 

Everything was routinely fine until half a year ago. I walked into the house after a long day of work; only to see my parents rummaging through haphazardly strewn papers and photographs. Only during the dinner time did I come to know that they were a set of horoscopes along with their respective photographs. My parents thought it was time for me to get married. Within no time, they started reading out the bio data of "prospective partners" one after the other. Over and again, they recited terms like "Investment banker", "Chartered Accountant", "Business Analyst at so and so". No doubt, education and career were important to them; so was physical appearance! There were about 30 faces smiling up at me from their glossy and matte finish. In my honest opinion, all of them were certified candies. But they weren't for me. 

Looking at my bored and forlorn expression, my parents dutifully chanted the names of my school and college friends, who had tied a knot one after another like they were roll numbered. Some of them were also tasting parenthood. I remember seeing their happy faces smiling at the lenses; many with their newly born and some with their recently possessed fiancĂ©(e) on Facebook. I was genuinely happy for them. Though I never thought I might need to fit in that shoe one day. 

I met him at a bar, when I was abroad completing my Masters. We met a couple of times before we decided to throw our inhibitions away and accept that we were meant for each other. Our relationship grew from friendship; and that is what kept us together for the 3 years that I was there and even today. I was skeptical at first. I was scared of being betrayed. After all, I was still an Indian when it came to relationships. I'm not forget-and move-on type. But this man was here to stay. He proved that by giving me a surprise visit last month. I had yet not figured out how to make this relation work. For the moment, I was enjoying being marinated in his love.

I moved in with him within 3 weeks of meeting him for the first time. We spent a magical time together. Though we had a tight schedule, we made it a point to spend quality time with each other. I lied to my parents about having Indian roommates. When they accidentally saw him when we were on Skype, I said he was my roommate's friend. The lecture that ensued then, was interminable. They never trusted Westerners. 

Time is running out for me. Parents grill me each day after work, to agree to meet my prospective partner's family and finalize. Dead photographs are still smiling under my nose every day. Calls from punditji haunt me. And parents are relentlessly pursuing this issue. Stress has started making an appearance on my physical self. 

How do I tell my orthodox parents about my life abroad? How do I confess to the delightful sin that I committed there? How do I convince them that "marriage with photographs" is not what I want? Being their only child, they have loaded their expectations on me. How do I say that I'm not their perfect child?

Just for a moment, I wish. I wish I could freeze the time when I was the happiest. The time when I was abroad. The time when I first met him at the bar and thought gay relationships do work.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Love that's brewing...


The situation

A boy and a girl were going to meet for the very first time in their life. The girl was anxious, nervous, happy with the fact that she is finally going to see the person she would be marrying in 19 more days! The boy was happy too, shy even, and feeling heady as he was to meet his would-be-bride-in19-days. And, he wasn't sure what was "romantic". Neither by words, nor by actions. So, in addition to being happy and shy, he was confused too. But, both were super excited and looking forward to the meeting event.  She was coming to pick him up from the bus depot. He had been travelling the night before.


The event (1) :: The bus depot

She came in a chauffeur-driven, swanky big car. She texted him. "Where are you?"

He replied, "I don't know.. but I guess we are in the city... I see a lot of buildings and shops etc. Where are you btw?"

She could no longer text. She speed dialed him. "Hey, hi! I have reached... how long will it take for you to get here?"

"This conductor says another 15 minutes. So I guess, you'll have to wait."

"Ok. fine. Just let me know where you..."

"Look, I forgot to charge my cell last night... I'll give you a call when I reach... ok?"

"What???! You knew you were travelling and you did not charge your cell? Oh! C'mon! How could you?"

"Seriously the battery is running low... I'll talk to you later?? Please? Bye"

"Alright, bye. But gimme a call, else I'll call you. Bye"

Finally, they did meet. He called her when he reached and they saw each other. Bells did not ring, birds did not sing. Violins did not play and the trees did not sway. It wasn't Bollywood. It was real life. Instead, infernal honks blared, dogs barked and rickshaw-wallahs haggled for a fair fare. Nevertheless, it was special.

"Hmmm.. you are not taller than me. I thought you were." he complimented. himself.

"That's why I didn't wear heels. Mind if we catch a cup of coffee before we go to my place?"

"No, sure... let's go?"

The event (2) :: At the restaurant

She : Let's just order for coffee? Mom's made proper proper breakfast at home...

He : No problem.

She : (silence)

He : (silence)

She : You are staring at me. You are embarrassing me!

He : No. I'm looking at you. You look so different in the snaps.

She : That's what everyone says!

By this time the coffee came and went, and he said "The coffee was YUCK!" She agreed, because it was.

The event (3) :: At the Men's wear shop

The salesman : Try this one, Sir!

He : Fine. Ray ban... do you like it?

She : Yeah.. if you like it then go ahead...

The cashier : That would be Rs. 4000, Sir!


(4 months after they got married)

She : You should take care of your glares... They cost a lot. Seriously, what was worth 4000 in it? Tell me. I don't see anything except the label "Ray Ban". They are so costly. Mine cost me only 1500. And look, there are good.

He : Yes, I know they were costly. You did not take me to a cheaper place!

She : Arre?! You said you wanted to buy right there. So I thought you will buy it there.. like there there.. that place itself.

He : I found it costly too. But I had to buy it anyway.

She : Why? We could have bought something elsewhere, no?

He : You were there with me.

She : I was there with you???! Lekin, I did not force you to buy! You bought it because it looked good on you.

He : Whoa! Look, I have this girl coming to pick me up in a biiig, shiny Honda City, with a driver, a jazzy cell phone in her hand, fighting elegantly with rickshaw-wallahs, throwing orders at the driver over the phone... I naturally thought you were a girl brought up in all luxuries, used to servants and brands and labels etc. You'd think I was a cheapskate if I didn't buy it because the price was HUUGE!

She : :O :O :O I had told you everything about me, no? I was not like that. I am not like that. I knew it! I knew I shouldn't have come in that car with a driver and all. But parents did not allow me to drive all the way in that horrendous place - full of dirty men and dogs and each one barking at another!! I knew this was what you'd think about me.  And did you know what I thought about you?

He : No, what?

She : I thought that since you have come from the States, you were running after labels and amounts that ran into thousands, just because comparing it with USD it would mean spending nothing. I also was devising ways to control your spending habit already.

It was time for him to be :O :O :O!!!

He : That's what we thought about each other?

She : I also thought you were rude. No make it crude. You told me the coffee was YUCK!

He : But it was! And you agreed too!

She : Yes, it was. I agreed and I still agree. But you could be a bit more courteous and say it was good, right? A little white lie wouldn't hurt.

He : I didn't know how to behave around a girl. You were my first, serious date.

She : You didn't/ don't know chivalry?

He : No, who's that??

She : Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!

And there, she knew the core reason for falling head over heels in love with him.

----------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------

Any guesses on who's the "He" and the "She", here?

Edited to add : He says the Ray Ban was for Rs. 4370 and not just Rs. 4000. So there, she put down the value of Ray Ban by Rs. 370. Hence, she apologizes. ;)


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