Once upon a time I turned 25. That has been the worst year of my life, by far. Indian girls will be able to guess the reason behind this, I’m sure. For those who don’t understand – that was the year I crossed my ‘expiry date’, the highest possible cut-off age set by society for Indian girls to get married. You might be able to imagine the kind of ‘fun’ I had at home around this time. In fact, if you go back to my blogs during this period, you will see that they all center around my apprehensions about arranged marriage, my dying dreams, my last desperate attempt at finding love or at least something remotely related to it and so on. There were so many incidents that made me cringe, cry, fume and give up back then. The same incidents make me laugh now. You are going to get a share of the fun right now because I’m about to tell you about the most wonderful proposal my family brought me – “the perfect boy from Punalur” in the words of my parents.
This amazing gentleman came into my life from the best matchmaker of all times – Kmatrimony.com. My parents kept sending this guy’s profile to me and as was my habit, I kept saying I wasn’t interested. They kept persisting saying this boy (boy??) seemed to them as ‘The One’, especially since he was my dad’s sister’s daughter’s colleague’s neighbour’s son. Since that was a foolproof logic and something I had no equally foolproof reply to, I gave in and agreed to talk to him over the phone.
Now before we get on with the story, let me tell you that while I had problems with my family forcing me to get married to some stranger, I was in no way interested in insulting the guy who was about to call me. I was going to talk to him as nicely as possible.
I got his call smack in the middle of my shift the next day. Since I told him that I was working till 9, he told me that he would give me a call again by 10.30pm. Although it was normally a time that I wouldn’t take calls from strangers, the prospect of spending the next morning talking to him instead of curling up inside my blanket was not a happy one. So I told him 10.30 was fine.
My idea was to have a formal and polite conversation for 10-15 minutes and say “good night”. Little did I know that the one calling me was a talker who, unlike me, could go on and on with a conversation even with a total stranger – in this case, me. At 11.30 I finally had to tell him that the warden was about to lock the balcony where I was sitting before I could hang up and breathe.
Anyway, what happened during the call is important. So let’s get on with that. The moment I said “Hello”, the first thing he said was “I love Insanereverie.” I was a little taken aback because that was the last thing I was expecting. But the fact that there was a new hit on my website was all that I could think of and it definitely made me go “Yay! Another reader!” in my mind. I certainly didn’t want him to know that I was desperate for more readers (like I am always). It will be easier if I write down important excerpts from the conversation. So here goes. Do I need to explain to you that < > means those were my thoughts and not things I said out loud?? 😀
Me: (Calm and polite) Oh! It’s good to know that you have read my blogs.
Him: I did a little bit of looking up when I got your name and stumbled upon your blogs. I must say, you write wonderfully. I went through so many of them, even the ones about your fear of arranged marriage and it felt really nice reading them. Good job!
Me: <A guy who likes my blogs??? That’s interesting.> Thanks a lot!
Him: You definitely have a follower now. I will surely be waiting for your next blog.
Me: Thanks again! <Yeeha!!>
With that pleasantry (a very pleasant pleasantry for that matter) out of the way, we moved on to some serious discussion on marriage. Like this gem right here.
Me: People keep talking about how girls should be experts in cooking when they get married. I hope you don’t have such dreams about your partner.
Him: Don’t you know cooking?
Me: As of now, not really. I would love to learn it though because I think it is important for anyone to know basic cooking at least for survival. But that’s not something I want to be known for and certainly not something I want to be married for. Hehehe… (I actually did the “Hehehe…”)
Him: Oh! See? I don’t expect you to be a wonderful cook or anything. But our kids should say that their mom is the best cook in the world.
Me: OUR KIDS???
Him: Yeah, our kids.
Me: < Wow! Here we are talking for the first time to see whether there is any point in talking a second time and he’s already at “our kids” calling me the best cook in the world. Wah!>
Talking about gems from our “discussion”, I don’t remember how exactly it came up; but somehow we came to my friends and how a lot of them were guys I was very close to and had been with me through good and bad times.
Him: <Awkward silence>
Me: I hope that is fine by you. Because I am not someone who would let go of my friends only because I’m getting married.
Him: No, no. That’s okay. It’s just that when you are at your most beautiful, that should only be for me! You understand right?
Me: <No! WTF does that even mean???>
Keep the next two exchanges handy for reference later. You might need it when you start wondering “Was that what she said?”
There was the inevitable discussion on us working in two different states.
Me: I wouldn’t mind trying for a transfer to Bangalore after a while. But right now it’s hardly 2 months since I joined this place and they recruited me specifically for this role in this location. I don’t think it will be ethical to get out in just 2-3 months. So I will need a little time.
Him: I have already bought an apartment here. So if we are married, you will need to move here.
Me: As I said, if things work out, I will need a little time to move.
There was also a discussion of how preferences in physical appearance of partner play an important role in an arranged marriage.
Me: Well, you should know that I am a pretty lean person and people keep talking about it as if it is a bad thing. I have never felt so and I feel good about the way I look. But yeah, people do have preferences and I won’t blame anyone for that. So in case you like girls who are plump, you are in for a shock.
Him: Oh no, nothing like that!
I hung up thinking that even with some mind-blowingly atrocious ‘dreams’ he had about his partner like the ones that made their way into the excerpts, I handled the call well and hadn’t given a chance for my parents to start off another round of the “You have brought us shame” routine. That was until I got a frantic call from my dad three days later. Given the hysteria he went into, I thought at first that something really bad had happened to my mom. It was only after he could talk without trembling that I heard the question he had been repeatedly asking me “What the hell do you write on the Internet???” My first thought yet again was “Another reader! More hits on my blog!” But that thought was only for a split-second. Because I could tell that this reader was far from happy with my writing skills. I kept trying to explain to him that it was not a secret of any kind that I was doing behind anyone’s back, but a blog page on a public domain that anyone including my parents were free to read. But my dad was shouting and screaming about how there were unforgivably wrong topics like a blog about my ex-boyfriend and a few posts about my apprehensions about arranged marriage and how these brought shame to the family.
When I could take the baseless screaming no more, I finally asked him why my blog that I had maintained for years was suddenly a problem. That was when I realized just how much of a sweetheart the groom-not-to-be from Punalur was. Apparently, after giving me compliment after compliment on my blog, and even commenting on my blog the day after he spoke to me saying how wonderful my latest blog was, he went ahead and told his parents that he wasn’t very happy with me since I was the kind of girl who wrote too many inappropriate things on a blog page that is seen by everyone. So his parents sat down and went through all my blogs. They then made their neighbour, who had brought them my proposal, go through all my blogs. She then made my dad’s sister’s daughter, her colleague who told her of me, go through all my blogs. My cousin finally called up my parents and told them that I was doing the unimaginable crime of writing about things that could very well be the deal breaker for any guy who would want to marry me. My parents then sat and read through all my blogs, at the end of which process, instead of being minutely proud of their daughter’s writing skills, chose to take it as a personal attack that I had launched to take revenge on them for ever thinking of getting me married. Oh and yeah! The sweetheart from Punalur helped me further more by twisting my words and telling his parents that I said I was not ready to move to Bangalore ever and that I was not a good-looking girl by normal standards. His expert conclusion was that I was trying to get out of the alliance by saying all that and writing whatever I had written.
I was shocked, to say the least, and tried explaining to my dad that it was all a lie and that was absolutely not what I said. But my dad, at the time like a typical desi dad whose ultimate aim in life was getting me married somehow, chose not to believe me and instead go by the words of a perfect stranger. You know what happened after that? My dad stopped talking to me completely, refusing to take my calls, not even looking at me when I was home and treating me as the daughter who brought him shame. And he snapped out of it only a year later, that too because Hari and I decided to get married.
It is all a joke now. But the kind of trauma it put me through back then was unbearable. And all because one guy thought that he had to talk bad about me to convince his parents that he wasn’t interested in proceeding with the proposal. I have absolutely no problem with my parents going through my blog because they came to know about it from him. It was never a secret and how they dealt with it was their problem. But to speak so nicely about it to me and then use the very same thing against me, spiced up with twisted words, showed me how lucky how I was to not be married to him. If I did get married to him, today I would be either in a prison for having killed this jackass or in a mental institution having lost my mind totally, listening to his pretentious, intolerably cheesy and brain-dead bullshit all day and all night. Good riddance, my groom-not-to-be!
P.S. Let me add the links of the ‘controversial’ posts everyone was fuming about. Just for a reference.