Euphemistically speaking

October 14, 2008 at 9:42 pm 1 comment

You know, as if the sad looks, the long sighs, the vacant stares (looking at me, beyond me, through me… as though trying to look into my very brain, to figure out what I am thinking) were not enough, of late, I’ve become hyper-aware of the euphemisms that have crept into conversations I have been having with people.

Not all people though, only my parents, some of my older relatives, and those of my acquaintances that Helen Fielding refers very insightfully to as the ‘smug marrieds’ (but of course, from Bridget Jones’s Diary. Really now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time and have still not figured out that I think of ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ as the holy book for us singletons- yet another catchword from the book-and I pepper my posts quite liberally with language borrowed from it, then you’ve not been a very observant/ smart blog-reader, have you? But I digress…)

So, these days, I’ve been spending time thinking up answers to my dad’s not infrequent “Bete, iraada kya hai” (Hindi- ‘Child, what are your intentions?’) The first time he asked me this question I asked, quite innocently, in a very Bambi-like manner, “Iraada? About what?” but upon hearing his snorts of disgruntlement (at having to explain what he thought was a straightforward question) I very quickly realized that this was nothing but yet another veiled reference to my inaction in the getting married department. Now I just have fun with my poor dad.

My dad’s probably the biggest fan of this blog and I wouldn’t put it past him to have it on an RSS feed subscription! So, it is with some regret and trepidation that I divulge all the funny answers I have come up with to his regular “Bete, iraada kya hai”s. I have fought the urge to say “Appa, mera iraada hai China se Aksai Chin waapis chheenne ka!” or “Appa, it is my intention to run the Boston Marathon” or “To finish half a litre of Ben and Jerry’s low-fat yoghurt in fudge brownie flavor.” [I realize that the latter two are mutually exclusive, but the iraada springs eternal.] But mostly my intention is only to not let the phone conversation dwindle or else, inevitably, “Bete, iraada kya hai?” is likely to raise its insistent, annoying, answer-less head!

My mom has a different style. She is about as subtle as a Tomahawak missile. Her euphemisms are less euphemistic and more in the range of the anvil the roadrunner keeps dropping on Wily.E. Coyote’s head (HOW he manages that without even having any arms god alone knows!) She will often say things like “next July when you’ll be married…” conveniently forgetting that it is already October, and I am not even DATING anyone yet. Huh.

Aunts and uncles (especially the Maharashtrian ones) will often talk about when they will get to eat the pedhas; milk sweets traditionally distributed at Marathi weddings. Of course, my favourite is all those relatives who feel it absolutely incumbent upon them to come up to me at weddings of common relatives just to say to me “Eeeyyy! Hehehehehe, you next, hunh?” Me next? For what? In the line to the loo? Yeah, sure; and it’s true too! Because this is often said while I AM in line for the loo- a paavam captive. I especially like it when the discussion reaches crescendo with aunties discussing what colour saris they will wear at my reception. 😐

Smug marrieds are that group of people who are not only happily married themselves but also on a mission to get everyone else on the planet to be in the same state. But I also have a conspiracy theory about them, which is this:- Smug marrieds are actually not happy, and because misery loves company, they want all the singletons to stop having fun and get married and be miserable with them. Their euphemisms will usually take the form of “So, when can I send you an invite for 2?” It takes me an inhuman amount of self-possession to resist answering them with “We-ell, lemme see now… the last human virgin birth was 2000 odd years ago, so I’d say we’re due for another any day now. Heck, I could be with child-all by myself-maybe even this year! Surely at your next Diwali do I will be a party of not one, but 2.”

Actually, I am even ok with my parents, older relatives and even smug married frenemies- of whom I am grateful to report I have not that many, asking me the W question (like in, When do you plan to get hitched? Do it already!) However, what I DO take severe exception to is, random cellphone kiosk guys at the mall asking, nay, TELLING me I should be married!!! Of course, I realize this means I must tell the story now, but that is why I have a blog, so I can tell stories.

So, the other day I was at the mall with my cousin and her adorable baby. The baby was restless in her pram (‘stroller’ for the Americans reading this) and so my cousin picked her up. My cousin stood there for a while waiting for the cell phone salesperson to process my credit card till I told her she should go rest her feet. When she left the helpful salesman asked me “Is this her first one?” upon being informed that it was indeed, he volunteered information about his own 18-month old (I swear the cell phone salesman didn’t look a day older than 18 himself!) then he looks me up and down, and admittedly, I am no Jessica Biel- my abs tend more to cotton-candy than washboard, and he says “and how many kids you got?” as though that were some foregone conclusion. I informed him in a sad voice in a low-decibel volume I wasn’t married. To which he responded rather vaingloriously “You should be married.” Then asking me where I was from he proceeded to give me proof of his being 18 and recited many choice abuse words in Hindi taught him by an Indian friend from Mumbai. I think I was very mature when I decided not to reveal to him that I had been thinking all of them about him just minutes ago.


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Charge of the Little Boy brigade, OR ‘Mommy take care of me’

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Preethy  |  October 25, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Someday we’ll have our sweet revenge, Tarangs. (Or so I think…coz coming to think abt it, the only way we are headed is towards becoming Smug Marrieds ourselves. And I am suddenly not sure if THAT is an achievement).


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