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Bull run

While my pessimism as regards men, may know no bounds, she reminds me that some markets are always booming! Viva manhood and the spirit of madness, then!

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Stubborn old maid

As with everything else, being pushed only makes me firmer in my place, even if I have an idea that I could change. This desperation connected with the marriage search is getting on my nerves again and once again I can feel my rebellious streak rising as I get ready to throw off the whole damn thing out. I can’t help it…it’s like being forced underwater and you can’t help struggling to get back to the surface to breathe air again.

Why should I be the one to willingly and ‘joyfully’ make the compromise?

What gives anyone the right to say that twenty-eight is too old and that I’ll get ‘left on the shelf’?

As I see it, I have a perfectly good life and I’d be insane to deliberately try and make it any less than it is by condemning myself to second-class citizen status for a man who demands much and appreciates so little. I have no chance of being happy in this situation or making anyone else happy either. And as for being left on the shelf, I’d much rather stay here than be carried away by a man who so obviously is less than me.

I seem to stand for a very tiny minority..if not all alone. Everywhere I see women making grave compromises to get into relationships with men who have very little respect for them to begin with and lose all of it the more the woman sacrifices. And alternately I keep slipping in the bogmire of insecure desperation of women who aren’t married and are getting frantic enough to stoop to such vileness as bitching, boyfriend-snatching and multi-man-managing. And finally of course the depression of women I won’t judge quite as harshly as they haven’t quite turned vamp as gotten resigned and succumbed to despair.

I’m not going to do that, by God I’m not. I’ve never been petty and I’m not going to turn that way now. It took a very, very bad experience for me to stop being needy and I’d be a fool to throw away the lessons and strength that came from there. And I’ve lived with my personal code of values through much weaker, more demanding times and not budged. I’ve never done anything that I need to be ashamed of and to date, I can look myself in the mirror with pride.

Enough of men have messed my life intentionally or otherwise. Now that I’ve found my freedom and my inner peace, damned if I’m going to let anyone take it away from me.

If that makes me a stubborn old maid, so be it.

Needle in the haystack

So the mommies starts to murmer on marriage again. Thus far I’ve managed to avoid the issue for awhile after having survived a torrent of eligible bachelors (EB) awhile back. Steadied it to a light drizzle and then just a few drips (hmph, all men are!). But now, the Magic Mummy radar senses a break in daughter’s otherwise jam-packed schedule and jumps in promptly to fill it up with more EBs.

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I sigh and lay down my wearied defenses and set out to interview prospects again. All the while ruminating on a thought that struck me in the shower last week (don’t all brilliant ideas come to you then? I also get some when I’m brushing my teeth in the morning).

We all know that an average girl child’s brain is injected with the marriage virus very early on in life and everything else we do in life from our choice of career, our grades, our dressing, personality, friends, social calendar are all supposed to be in preparation of the big M word. Why do men get married? Let’s see:

  1. Because they are in love (HAHAHAHA…alright I’ll shut my cynical self up a bit)
  2. Because they seek companionship (I don’t really believe it but I’m bored with the ‘man-hater’ title)
  3. Because they want free and regular sex (dare deny that one, anyone?)
  4. Because they want a housemaid/cook/nurse-for-ageing-parents (phooey to the US-returned types)
  5. Because their family wants them to get married (Yes, mama!)
  6. Because their ex- broke up with them and they want to show her up (with all due apologies to the women that are being now made miserable by my ex-es)
  7. Because….errr…umm….

Now let’s look at them. 1 and 2 are really rare and when those exist, the man has quickly turned around and married her in his early 20s itself. 3 and 4 are most common of all and if you don’t believe me, ask ANY woman who is being subjected to the marriage market….we’ve all met a few specimens. 5 and 6 get to be more and more hard to avoid as the years pass…both make their life’s major decisions based on someone else’s whims and words.

Where does that leave us then? With men who are certainly not interested in marriage and only feed us the lines hoping to impress us and get a little fun in the process. Or the No.s 3, 4, 5 and 6 and they’re hardly prime cuts as far as marriage prospects go, never mind their degrees and dollars.

(Click to see full comic on a new page)

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Oh and there’s always the specimen that doesn’t even know why he’s getting married. But then again, “I don’t know” is an answer I hear frequently. Oh men of intelligence and higher understanding, where art thou? *Sigh* And at the end of it, all I’ll have is a shiny needle.

The mummy returns

Even after my own parents throw up their hands in despair at my marital status (or the lack of it) and stop bugging me, there are others who will persist, good intentions intact. The results are sometimes howl-a-rious. See here:

Surrogate momma: What happened to that boy in Bangalore?

Me: Who, Dee? He’s still in Bangalore.

Surrogate momma: You should marry him!

Me: NOoooo!!!!

Surrogate momma: I think you like him!

Me: I do! That’s why we are friends.

Surrogate momma: So tell him that you like him!

Me: Why? He already knows.

Surrogate momma: No, you tell him “I like you”. Then he’ll say “I love you” back. And then you can get married!

Oh dear, who will tell her that saying “I like you” to a man is likely to have the exact opposite effect and send him running miles away from you. And what’s more….that he probably thinks that the very mention of the word ‘marriage’ is adequate basis for certification to an institution (the asylum type, not the marriage type!)

Then there’s always my dear friend-turned-mother-hen (Mother Goose, silly goose?) whose number one goal in life these days is to land a husband. Which objective she pursues with single-minded dedication. Except she does it by trying to convince me (?) to get married. First thing in the morning she buzzes…

Mother Hen: So, why don’t you call X?

Me: Now? Why?

Mother Hen: Why not? Yeh kal kal karte karte train nikal jaayegi!

Me: No, I managed to get it on time. That’s how I got here.

Mother Hen: No stupid woman. You better hook the guy or you’ll lose him.

Me: Darling, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we broke up ages ago.

Mother Hen: So? You know how men are!

Me: I do?

Mother Hen: Yeah, full of themselves, never willing to admit they were wrong. So you go back and call him!

Me: And say what?

Mother Hen: That you want to meet.

Me: But I don’t want to meet!

Mother Hen: Settle down, woman. It’s high time. You’ll be much happier.

Me: I am happy right now. We should go man-hunting for you.

Mother Hen: I think I’m not the settling down type.

Me: Then why do you want to get married?

Mother Hen: So I have someone I can come home to.

Me: What’s wrong with your TV?

Mother Hen: That’s not enough.

Me: Oh for…! Why don’t you call Y then?

Mother Hen: No way! I don’t want to go back to him.

Me: My point, precisely.

Mother Hen: Arre, but thats different. I think X is perfect.

Me: Then you get married to him!

Mother Hen: Me? No way, can’t stand him!

Presumably this is the ‘It’s a crummy job but someone’s gotta do it so go hook him!’ school of thought. I steal quietly away to my boring-but-blissfully single existance away from mummies and their bandages for my supposedly ailing heart.

The upside of marriage

So I was talking to this friend of mine who is travelling. In between our usual banter, I noticed his unfortunate tendency to slip into allusions to sex. My innocent (!) request for chocolates was termed kinky! I concluded that he was sex-starved and hastened to advise him to,

Get back and get it SOON!

But no sooner had the words left my mouth did I realise that it was easier said than done….lady love after all wasn’t his travelling companion. So deeply dejected, I concluded that,

At least one time marriage is better than being single is when you get to travel AND have sex – any time you like, free of cost, without guides/travelogues/middle men and legally!

Happily ever after – 2

Sometimes I think the only reason women have a problem at all, is because of the fairytales that are fed to us as children, all ending predictably in

..and they lived happily ever after.

So who knows what “happily ever after” really means? I’m just finding out. Nope, I haven’t run off and gotten secretly hitched (not as yet). But after the rush of husband-hunting and weddings, I’m getting a earful of what the other side of ‘wedded bliss’ really looks like.

So friends, forgive me my transgressions while I take a sneak peek into your versions of ‘happily ever after’ (and for those who take offence….no more entertaining snippets from my love-life for you!!!)

Bringing up the lead, is my wicked friend Sensorcaine. Please note that reactions to her announcement of getting hitched were met by varied reactions from her friends…..one guffawed, another checked her calendar to see if it was April and I fell off my chair (literally). All of us tried (in vain) to tell the angelic-faced sweet man about the creature he was marrying. Ah, but men never listen…not even the sweet ones. Now, four years later…here’s Mrs. and Mr.Sensorcaine in their state of ‘Nappily ever after’.

Okay, I won’t be cynical. There’s always the Barbie and Ken couple who’ve settled down to a nice home in the suburbs. He works hard, she cooks, cleans and bakes hard (no, soft spongy cakes actually). They cootchie-coo and wear colour co-ordinated black tee and kurti to the Roger Waters concert. Oh and they bought each other matching iPods as wedding gifts. Sappily ever after does happen after all.

And of course there’s also the newly-weds at office. There’s been a spate of weddings among my colleagues, all within a month of each other. As they all troop back, tanned from the beach-resort-honeymoons, laden with jewellery (women) and a few extra kilos (eat, beta!), my cynical self wonders just how long the blissful smiles are going to last. For the timebeing however, we are greeted by their bleary-eyed, blushing faces in the mornings with an occasional sigh from the married-longer ones. The mood right now is definitely ‘Chappily ever after’ 😉

Then there’s my dear high-strung/Ice maiden friend who’s succumbed to the matrimonial overtures of Mr.FastTrack. At the wedding he told me, “Her life’s going to go spinning like she doesn’t know. Life with me, tends to be that way.” Ah, my poor friend. I couldn’t tell him a perfect match would mean an equally volatile temperament, could I? We don’t rat on our friends, we shield our eyes and watch for the fireworks resulting from Snappily ever after.

Then again, who can tell how the adventures of an otherwise demure, sweet girl will turn out? I give you…‘Mad-cappily ever after’

Suffice to say, I’m just glad everyone isn’t ending up like my poor classmate who found her husband cheating on her 2 months into the marriage. Instead of settling for Crappily ever after, she turned to divorce. Better for the guy too, methinx, remembering a certain Ms.Bobbit.

Happily ever after

A friend and occasional blogger tells us about an arbit conversation that she had with her husband on the breeding habits of towels. Khee khee khee.

“What are all the towels doing behind the door?” I asked him.
“Breeding,” came the prompt reply.
“Breeding?” Quite used to getting such answers by now, I thought quickly, “I see, but how do they breed when there’s only one towel to begin with?”

Then this morning P on our daily morning update call says that her new husband (oh, stop laughing when I say that…they’ve been married 2 months, doesn’t that make him a ‘new’ husband and her, a ‘new’ wife?)..coming back, she informs me that new husband isn’t well and has been ordered (by her) to stay in bed today.

Ah, over-working?

I cluck sympathetically

No, over-eating.

She says firmly.

So is this what “happily ever after” looks like?

Living on the LOC

This is what the stars have to say for me today:

The analytical side of your brain is about to do battle with the emotional side of your brain. Which side do you think will win? This prizefight won’t be bloody, but it will have a conclusive winner. The losing side will have to face a few unpleasant facts, and the victor won’t have much time to gloat. Luckily, you’ll be surrounded by fun people and exciting events for the next few days — these factors will help make your realization all but painless.

It is times like this that make me believe in astrology and remember why I was once a tarot reader. Last night I had a post forming in my mind, as clearly as I can see the words appearing on the screen now as I type them. And this astrological prediction sums up the situation as non-specifically as possible.

I’m living on the edge. No, I don’t mean the sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll sort. I mean I’m living on borderlines….the line of control so to speak and each side is trying to pull me over to its side.

On one hand is the life I live as regards my family. My…let’s just call it ‘good Tamizh family’. That encompasses all the dilemmas of super-progressive thinking in terms of equal opportunity, confidence-building etc that I’ve been given while also the super-pressures of being religious, ritualistic, ‘family sort’, decent middle-class girl with utmost decorum and morals.

On the other side is the life I live, as regards my friends, my hobbies and a whole lot of other factors I can’t detail. If I’m a good Tamizh girl (not by choice but by extreme compulsion) in the first case, I’m a confident (if not over-abrasive) citizen of the Universe of Cool.

Thus far, I’ve managed to keep them both apart, with some difficulty but still successfully. It is getting to me…I swear it is.

A fortnight ago I met three women whose prime concern (and indeed a reason for concern since one of them is drifting into depression) is finding a husband. I laughed at it and thanked the powers-that-be for not letting it matter so much to me.

Last week I met someone who lives with her decade-older-boyfriend ‘in sin’ as my family would put it and I really envied her for the sheer freedom of being able to do something that breaks the shackles.

I’ve been dating a lot. I’ve had boyfriends, flings…and oh, everything I could want at any point of time and there still is a world to know about. My family of course remains blissfully unaware of several of these since I maintain the adage of ‘What they don’t know doesn’t hurt them.’

However, in my other avatar (and here’s where it gets to be really Jekyll and Hyde-like), I’m the dutiful prospective bride, doing the whole arranged marriage routine…int he modern way after all! So forget about the chai-serving routine, we meet in coffee shops, we talk on the phone and on email. And a few such interactions later, we decide whether to spend the rest of our lives together or not. It hasn’t changed. I won’t go into the right and wrong of it. Suffice to say, different systems work for different people, it certainly worked for my parents so I’m not going to judge its efficiency.

I just don’t know if it will work for me. I’m unsure at times, of how to behave in either case. I’m living a dual life that has gotten more seasoned with practice.

The fact is when I date a guy, I’m not sure whether I should be thinking of committment, especially since its obvious he isn’t. And then when I meet a prospective husband I don’t know if its right for me to be wanting to actually enjoy the date and laugh and have fun with him. It just doesn’t seem proper. On a date, I try to steer clear of the ‘boring family topics’ and make light of the M-issue…which isn’t lying incidently, because I do see the humour in the situation. On a ‘meeting’, I nimbly avoid all references to my implied ‘wild life’ (since I am a Mumbai girl after all, hence it follows I must be wanton and wild…or have the urge to at least).

It leaves me worn out. To be fair, I know its just a matter of knowing what I want and the person on the other side is more often than not, fortright with whether they intend to give that to me or not. But I’m not always sure. I’m always petrified that I’ll miss a cue and start being the ‘prospective bride’ with a date or the ‘fun girl’ with a matrimonial prospect. I suspect that has happened already more than once, and I have succeeded in scaring off the man in question. When that happens, I find I have relief mixed with regret for another man over and done with.

I don’t seem to be able to share this with anyone. Everyone else has made up their minds one way or the other. Prospective bride or sought-after date.

I want to be both. I want it all. Oh, well….you can’t be both Indian and Pakistani, can you? (with no political implications whatsoever except that the two aren’t reconcilable) And no one can live on the Line of Control for too long. The bullets are bound to get to you someday.

One way or the other, it looks like I’ll be choosing my nationality pretty soon. Passport office, here I come!

Gift shopping

I spent a good three hours last Sunday on a wedding gift. Why, oh, why do people get married? It is such a task getting them wedding gifts. I mean, it is difficult enough trying to buy one person a gift. Now double that number, make it two sets of dislikes, idiosyncrasies, wishes et al. Garnish that with the whole cosy-giggly-apprehensive-“getting hitched & settling down balanced with kissing freedom goodbye/kissing one person for the rest of my life” feeling and what are you left with? A whole list of no-nos when it comes to gifts and practically zilch ideas.

What happens when you put a shop-o-phobic into such a situation? Plenty of wasted time, furious muttering and one insipid post..that’s what happens. I don’t conform to the typical female obsession for shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against new things. I love everything bright and shiny and new. I just wish I could pick them out of thin air and not do the routine of trudging through stores, window-shopping, bargain-hunting, price comparing, trying and the works. Personally I prefer shopping alone. That way no one can talk me out of my penchant for loud colours and weird curios. And by the time someone gets to pass judgement it is too late. My life is my own and all that jazz.

But what to do when shopping for someone else? Make that some-people else. I discarded books, perfumes, music and such things as being too ‘one-person-personal’. Little statuettes of gods and godesses seem to be the order of the day but I can’t bear to propagate religion any more than required. Ah….the ghost of idealism stands in my way, yet again. Should I settle for the bane of every intelligent, creative-thinking person’s existance and gift them shiny stainless steel vessels wrapped in pink paper? Yeaaaarrrrrrghhhh…..I’m not that far gone (but I probably will be soon, at the rate at which people are jumping into matrimony)

Wandering through the lifestyle markets that have become so hip I was struck by the amount of trash that get turned out. I mean, who on earth would use a ‘matted-silver-finish’ dustbin? Or a gilded box with ugly enamel to hold tissues in a car? Probably nobody. But plenty of people still buy them.

While on gift-buying, ever notice how difficult it is to buy birthday/Christmas/Diwali/any occasion gifts? I follow a regular cycle now. I think, I frown, I ‘idea-te’, then I discard all ideas and drop into the nearest bookstore. When it comes down to it, nothing beats a good book for a gift. Yes, I know that not everyone likes reading. But I believe that there is a book for every person, every moment, every mood. All I need to do is find it. Easier said than done. But a tangible, manageable task that….did I mention extremely satisfactory as well?

I once got a bouquet of purple orchids for my birthday. They looked amazing and I got plenty ragged by my friends that night over ‘my new admirer’. Some time later, I dated the same guy and mentioned this to him. He gaped at me and said…”Uh…so?” I said “Well, purple orchids are supposed to mean ‘I await your favors'” To which he coughed and said “I didn’t know that. I barely knew you then and I didn’t know what else to get so I thought of flowers and these were the best looking” *Crash* (the sound of shattered illusions) Oh well, didn’t someone say it is the thought that counts? Ah well, at least someone thought of me, even if the thoughts were different from what I thought.

One of my best gift ideas if I say so myself (yes, I do say so!) was to a friend on her 18th birthday. I didn’t have a big budget and she didn’t have a wide circle of friends who remembered her birthday. So….how to make the lady feel special…was the question. Here’s what she got: A birthday rhyme every hour on the hour, extolling her virtues (and several flaws phrased in mean, witty verses). And after she tolerated my hollering, she got to dip into a guadily wrapped box (plastic covered with tinsel paper) and pull out one thing. Through the day she retreived chocolates, junk jewellery, a cassette, popcorn, a comic book, a stuffed toy and all other kinds of rubbish….she loved it. So yes, I conform to the rules of womanhood (refer to Dr.Gray who says that women go ape over multiple small-value gifts rather than one expensive one)

Ah well…..such moments remind me of what a pleasure it is to give to the people you care for. Of course it is a bit of a pain if the people you care for are male and have no hobbies. Hand me another belt or wallet, please. Yawwwwn…

It is lovely to surprise people though. Sometimes the only thing my gifts get out of people are a laugh. Which is good. What better gift can you give someone than a smile? Lots of things I suppose but I’m not playing Santa Claus.

Don’t even ask what I finally ended up buying for the soon-to-be-weds. Suffice to say, I didn’t give up hunting till I found what I wanted. But this may be the very last time I landed the ‘right gift’. I’m running out of ideas!!!!Stainless steel utensil market, here I come!

On the sacred knot

So what really happens after? After romance and pursuit and seduction and proposal and marriage, what next? How does ‘happily ever after’ look?

I seem to have gotten preachy recently. And I have zero experience in such matters after all. Hence for a change, I will put aside my wild theories and replay other people’s experiences (with a few nasty comments on the side…what the hell, I am a story-teller!)

Two of my friends are getting married (to each other!). I call them the Barbie n’ Ken couple because they are just so flawless plastic-picture perfect. Of course I’m being catty….they’re a great couple…..oh forget it, let me just get on with the story! I wonder how they’re going to sustain this marriage, especially the ‘quality time’ and ‘bonding’ and all those things self-help books propound. Ken doll is on board a ship for a large part of the year while Barbie works for a BPO and we all know these beings work on a different time-cycle than us lesser mortals….I wonder when they’ll have the time to get hitched. Anytime now I expect to receive a wedding card that reads …

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Sailor-Ken and BPO-Barbie.

Be there on time or be a missed-it-when-I-blinked guest!

Then again, I think of another couple I knew, both call center employees on different time schedules. Apparently they used to wave to each other from buses. Naice, romance flourishes across time and distances.

One of my classmates married his long-time girlfriend from college. She works in Pune while he graces the island city. According to him, he feels ‘even less married’ than earlier since they meet on the weekend (just like teenage sweethearts….how sweet, the romance will live on….*violin music*)

Dinner with an old buddy last month proved to be a delightful experience (as it always is)! She was full of stories about married life. She said “I call him BICYCLE”. “Why?” I inquired incredulously. I never saw anyone who looked less like a handlebar strapped to a frame on wheels. “Because” she said “I ride him and he’s got tyres” Whew….so marriage hasn’t rid her of her sense of humour, what a relief!

Here’s what an older-and-much-married-and-hence-wiser friend has to say about the sacred knot. “Lay down the rules on the first night itself. You’ll never be able to change him later. Everything thereafter will be compared to the first few weeks. That said, sometimes its just easier to get it over with than having to listen to how this relationship isn’t working” This, from the female half of one of the most sorted-out couples I know.

From soon-to-be-hitched to newly-wed to ‘celebrating-a-decade-together-and-still-alive’….I’ll refrain from any more jibes. The only thing that keeps running through my head these days is

Marriage is finding that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

Since most people annoy me, but not that much, I think I’ll settle for a boring and peaceful existence *Meow*

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