True Lies

Sometimes I feel, living in the US as I do, I am very lucky and MUCH better off than my contemporaries in India, who are regularly subjected to Kaanda-Pohe sessions by their poor, hassled parents.

For those who’ve never lived in Maharashtra, Kanda pohe are a kind of fried rice flake dish (aval upma for the tams reading this) flavoured with lots of onions.

A kaanda-pohe session is the equivalent of that ubiquitous scene in a number of 80sand 90s Hindi films where a girl’s brother is sent out to the halwai round the corner to buy kachoris and jalebis. When he returns he has to enter ignominiously through the kitchen window so his sister can bring out a tray of the fried goodies to serve to a prospective groom and his folks, and so that the parents can pretend their daughter made them and extol her many accomplishments in the kitchen department.

But because there are a LOT of hassled parents out there, this thing is commonplace. This is not seen as being duplicitous in any measure. It’s their way of doing the best they can by their foolish, useless children who couldn’t be normal and hook up with someone in college! Here are some of the other ‘true lies’ told in the hope of an early alliance:

Aamch mulga ameriket bara lakh rupay per annum kamavto

(Our son makes Rs 12,00,000 pa in the US- because Rs 12,00,000 sounds so much better than $30,000)

Our son has very clean habits.

(He ALWAYS showers the day after a drunken orgy and occasionally does the laundry on a weekly basis instead of fortnightly)

Our son is spiritual, not religious.

(His mother has been from temple to temple to pray that if and when he does get married, he will not stand up in the middle of his vedic wedding ceremony, declare that the havan kund is a disaster waiting to happen, take the bewildered bride by the hand and go off to the nearest registrar’s office to be married ‘spiritually’)

Our daughter is very adjusting

(She will take the Bud Light if you don’t have Corona)

Our daughter is very soft-spoken

(Ever since she lost her voice screaming at that heavy-metal concert)

I shudder to think what would happen if all these parents decide to go into real estate or used car sales!

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July 3, 2008 at 6:03 pm 3 comments

Fanny Pack-itis

There is nothing more depressing than looking through hundreds, nay THOUSANDS, of profiles on shaadi.com (which activity feels, rather depressingly, to me like rummaging through the cut-price bra bin at Victoria’s Secret on their bi-annual sale in the hope that I will find my size… today at least… please god?) than to come across what seems to be the perfect guy, and then find out… yeaaahhh,  really not.

The guy in question, or I should say his profile, will usually have a really nice photograph. He’ll look cute in the thumbnail; even teeth, open countenance, mischievous eyes, boyish grin. Reading the standard info tells me he is a chamathu Iyer boy, no vices (well, apparently ‘social drinking’ has gained respectability in the community so much so that those who know their wine are not automatically termed “kudikaarans” anymore. If anything that might be a selling point –“Our son took a wine tasting course in South of France, you know.” And may even be a source of slight snobbery ”No, no! The boy does not drink whiskey, beer and all, only good wine”- How do YOU know if the wine is really good, mama? Eh, eh eh?)

Further examination of the profile shows that the Nakshatram is a match, and the gothram is not… phew! So far, so good. About me section reads- “I am fun-loving, well-travelled, and have been told I have a good sense of humour”- Sounds sane enough, if a little dull and déjà vu-ish. No warning signs of Texas Chainsaw murderous tendencies nor any of the “I want a verrrry beautiful, fair-almost albino- girl who will serve my parents hand and foot and knows how to cook panch-pakwaan everyday.”(replete with the most horrendous grammatical mistakes- ones that make me wish Esperanto was the world’s language for transacting business, even the matrimonial kind) – Seriously, what are guys who put down stuff like this thinking? Wait, are they thinking? Probably not.

Anyway, I digress, so to continue… I get all excited. I can hear nadaswaram, shehnai, church organ, sub-Saharan chanting, Alanis Morrisette, all in my head. I feel something I have not felt in MONTHS-a glimmer of hope. A heart beating faster. I approach the “express interest” button. But then… I notice the words ‘album’ under the thumbnail photograph. So I click on it and it expands the picture I’d been admiring. There he is, cute face, being all 5’10 and nicely built and then…,AAAURRRGGHHHHH! What is that? WHAT IS THAT? That hideous appendage to his hip? It’s not! Surely it’s not… a FANNY PACK!!!!!

But it didn’t end there. The next picture was of him wearing those weird coated sunglasses that make everyone look like Jeff Goldblum in ‘The Fly’ standing by some weird pond-looking thing surrounded by Asian people of the Mongloid race but who all had their back to him. Singapore? Thailand? But why those hideous sunglasses? That is probably why the others were looking away.

But really the third photograph was the one that did the complete opposite of sealing the deal for me. The man wore teeny, tiny short shorts. Hot pants, really. The picture was taken in someone’s apartment, on a couch, where a peroxide blonde with her roots exposed was, for lack of a better word to describe the pose, draped around him.

Now, I fully expect comments to the effect- “US la idhellam sagajam, ma” [for those who do not know tamil, that translates roughly into “This kind of thing goes in the US”] OR “If you’re going to be so picky, you’re never going to get married” OR “Fanny Pack-itis is completely curable- All it needs is a course of antibiotics, consumption of ALL the Rambo movies in the span of 48 hours and yeah, ‘So you think you can dance?’ is totally contra-indicated.” But the point is not that I object to his decision to wear the fanny pack or the sunglasses or the teeny shorts or the blonde. I question his intelligence in posting those particular pictures on shaadi.com. Really! What WAS he thinking? Oh wait, no, he wasn’t.

So no, no wedding for me this December either, I guess. But that’s ok. At least I won’t be the one warning the children about the dangers of Fanny Pack-itis. 😀

July 3, 2008 at 4:54 am 7 comments

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