random thoughts · story

Arranging search for a ‘permanent roomie’

Some of my team mates are travelling to India to meet shortlisted candidates who can play the role of lifelong room mates. Once the right candidate is chosen by a guy, like so many other women, she will be confined to his room at least 24 hours every day for 5 days a week. If and when he buys a car, weekends shall be dedicated for fun filled weekend getaways to malls and super stores like Walmart, Cosco and Sam’s Club. That is a do loop for so many desis across the US. Occasional potluck parties shall showcase variety in Indian culture and cuisine. These social events shall be organized to devour hyderabadi biryani along with paneer tikka followed by rosogollas or home made gulab jamun with vanilla ice cream. The potluck dinners shall feature discussions on latest Chiranjeevi or Bollywood movies, immigration Bills, Green card processing legalities, terrorism, Indian real estate and gold prices. If somebody has come back from a vacation in India within the last 6 weeks, of course, the discussions get salted and peppered with references to how the bloody roads are still the same in downtown Bangalore or uptown Kolkata. Non Tamilians from Chennai will invariably drive down Old Mahabalipuram Road. Someone will crack the same joke again and again at every party that the road to Navalur was so full of craters and pits and some pot holes were so deep that one inch more and Ambanis would have started finding petrol there. Ha ha ha ha ha ha – chorus of laughter. In parallel, an animated discussion between Saravanan and Doshi on how Modi is the greatest development oriented CM and why he is a bachelor and hence not corrupt. Tamil Nadu ministers believe in polygamy and Srikanth is the best chairman of selectors etc.
I find it amusing now, sitting in the US when I look at young men and women going through that phase of life where parents and other family members are drowned in the ‘search’ process. Like campus placements, where we have a written round, followed by a group discussion (GD) and personal interview, arranged marriages pretty much follow the same selection process. My friends’ marriage arrangers are busy discussing with maamas and maamis of different shapes, sizes, bank balances, number of own houses, gothras, nakshathras to shortlist candidates for the group discussions and fix appointments for final round of placements – the face to face interviews. I would consider the written round as the basic entry level filter which is done by matching the horoscopes. Technology can play a role here but manual match making, I mean horoscope matching is still considered more accurate, and is a best practice especially, if the comparison is done by an old person using a magnifying glass and reading something on a brittle page of a torn book that has weathered coffee abhishekam (shower) and oil bath due to various kinds of oily food that have fallen on the book for the last X years, where X is > 40. The more books he / she refers to, the more knowledgeable the comparer. Hmmm …. I smell hypocrisy from myself, a success story (in IT terms, a case study!), whose photographs were clicked and about to be published in leading dailies, fortnightlies and monthlies to strengthen the belief in the paradigm shift from maamis to dot coms. Most dot coms even offer chat rooms for breaking the ice between the prospective roomies.

I remembered many interesting stories and decided to briefly write on a couple of them here 😉 And no, these are not my experiences.
In my case, Bharatmatrimony facilitated the sparks and I did experience love at first sight when I met the girl who became my wife 😀

Story 1:
Heroine: Shanmugapriya, a Chennai Mylapore maami, returned from Sydney after 8 months of a software project. High global exposure with similar duration projects spread across different parts of the globe in last 4-5 years.
Hero: Saaranganathan, affectionately called, Saaranga. Pazham boy, now in India, after completing MS in something and working for a big company in Texas in a high tech field involving mirrors, lasers and what not
Girl: So, you seem very studious. Did you have any love affairs?
Boy: No
Girl: What? None so far
Boy: Not really, but I got over it.
G: Not true love?
B: No
G: That’s bad, was it two way, at least?
B: No
G: Truly over it no? I don’t want to marry someone who is not sure.
B: finally laughs. No No, truly over. Assumes girl’s sense of humor is being served, shaken not stirred (yet) to his heart G: Any true love affair?
B: Actually, that girl, I loved her truly only. She was a Muslim and I realized it is infatuation – so I gave up. Her brother was a local goonda as well. So I knew it had to be an infatuation.
G: You are so confused between love and infatuation – if you still have her in some dark corner of your heart, you loved her truly. Don’t hide your romantic side. I love romantic walks.
B: I do. I do. I do have her in my heart but I am over that incident.
G: Then how can I marry you if you still have her in your heart.
B: You are putting words in my mouth, now. Convinced that girl is evil
G: Yeah, and talking of mouth, I heard your mom still feeds you with her hands whenever you are here on vacation. Mohana told me. Mohana is Kalyani’s friend. Kalyani is the girl you saw 6 months ago. Mohana and I are colleagues.
B: Oh. So what? I think you are a nosy girl. I don’t want to marry you.
G: And you are obnoxious. I am meeting you because Aarabhi aunty thought our names were musical. Both of us have raagaas as names but you are so full of yourself.
B: Everybody is full of themselves. Only hookers and porn stars are full of others.
G: Stop!!!!!!! Putting hands on ears, shaking head for 29 seconds or so, getting up and walking off ….

Uncles fighting over phone …. Your son &*^%$# your daughter %$#!@#$%^ Nokia goes to Grand Slam.
Aunty shouting, Peace Peace, Nokia going piece piece.

Story 2:
Same old boy, S, meets another girl, Sahaana and after half an hour or so, boy decides she is not the one. Reason = girl does not like reading and has never even bothered to read Ayn Rand books.
Girl also doesn’t like boy because he is not a Vijay fan and keeps cribbing about the traffic and roads in India.

S’s father, Venkatanathan Uncle is furious and doesn’t know what to do. Aunty and uncle sipping on filter kaapi and deciding on the best way to communicate the taboo word ‘NO’ to girl’s house. Similar scene is being witnessed at girl’s home.

Old North Indian engineer maama, settled in South India and with a very musical name, Malhar Kedar walks in. His claim to fame is that he married off 14 of his daughters in ‘those’ days. In Malhar Kedar maama’s reproduction history, it was not a case where 6 kids were followed by 8, no fertility pills or anything. Private joke was that although Malhar was an electrical engineer, he didn’t like parallel – all 14 of them popped out in series and not even a twin came out in parallel. Engineer uncle offers simple suggestion to boy’s father. “Just say, praaptham illai” (not destined to be).

The words were effectively used by Saaranga’s parents ad nauseum. Praaptham illai was a pregnant phrase that came as a boon to many such parents and relatives. For every YES, statistics shows there are 4 Praaptham illais, that act as a full stop to uncomfortable discussions, reduce blood pressure and generally help match making maamas and maamis to quickly move on next targets.

I am so glad I am past the arranged marriage search phase. Love marriage – I don’t know the challenges first hand but some day write about what some of my close friends encountered.

* By the way, this concept of roomie comes from a friend, popularly called by her friends as cartoon. She manages to piss her husband off by calling herself a roomie!

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9 thoughts on “Arranging search for a ‘permanent roomie’

  1. Hilarious ..How do u manage to get such names for ur characters .. enjoyed readin this one.

    Ranga: Thanks, Generally decided to name the characters after Carnatic raagas.

  2. Hilarious indeed, and insightful . in 1983 , at iisc hostel, ny pals and i talked about how we would have mostly love marriages 20 yrs hence, almost no dowry, arranged marriages would be sane and rational. ALAS !!! indian society has actually slipped backward . previously unknown groups like Rama Sene, Bajrang Dal rule the scene. attacks on Valentine Day !!! policemen harassing and arresting lovers, and covering up for rapers of the better halves of couples ( these rapists first knock out or tie up the gentleman )– which i saw on http://www.goergo.in. When will maamis us the word”compatibility”, marital happiness, love, etc? indian grooms and their families are the greediest animals in the universe. Extorting the entire life-savings of an old man, simply bcoz he has a daughter, is a crime WORSE THAN DAY-LIGHT DACOITY BY THE DREADED DACOITS of UP. bcoz those guys are not hypocrites, they dress, talk and behave like dacoits, not like educated parents of professionals, govt officers, etc

  3. Hilarious! Will censor this one and not show it to mom! But thoroughly enjoyable!
    Experienced love at first sight with your wife… awwww!! that was sooo sweet!
    The do loop mentioned was hilarious…! non-Tamilians from chennai going to OMR especially!!

  4. My husband says the same thing – love at first sight. Ellame summa!

    And he also mentioned he wasn’t H1 – frankly, I married him for this reason alone 😛 no love, nothing. 3 hours enna love? Over-rated, I say!

    Ranga: Haha! I had met several prospects and participated in group discussions / interviews and literally given up 😉 Then, meeting Aarthi changed my stand from a resigned, not interested in shaadi state to oh Yes, i want to marry this woman. Love is just about acceptance and can happen anytime anywhere – if you associate other bookish and filmy stuf, maybe then 3 hrs is insufficient, what say? 🙂

  5. great stuff ! some real nuggets in there. u r keen sense of observation and of coming up with great PJs is clearly holding up – if not getting better by the day ! the world will truly be a better place if more people can see the funny side of everything – the way you do ! bishishyae!

    Ranga: Thank you shaab. thank you sho much, i am sure you can understand exactly what i am trying to mean and say having tolerated my PJs and the infinite discussions we had 🙂 missing those sessions 😦 by the way, seems like junta is planning for Manfest 2010 – we could go and say hi to Ghanshyam and family.

  6. @ walk ma : btw, i too am notorious for PJ’s , and have been so since college days ( for eg, walk-ma instead of run-ga :-)).

    Ranga: very good very good! krishna-suryan – did u learn music as well?
    I remember how i explained my name to someone from Brazil once in this country who kept calling me Ranja – With full action, I showed him and said, you run and then you ga – as in hindi waala sing, without realizing that that man wouldn’t understand hindi. i was with a friend then and i met him recently, he pulled my leg and reminded me of that incident. run and ga, ha ha ha 🙂

  7. Boye !!! How did I miss this post? And are these true incidents that you mentioned on the post? Can’t believe that…

    N yeah why did you have to compare the process with the admission process of a B-School and demean B-schools. B-School is so much fun Ranga and the best part there’s no life long commitment. But how I wish there was one, I mean with B-Schools 🙂

    Ranga: Not all true but definitely inspired by real life incidents experienced by different people 😉 and hey the comparison with B-school admission process is in no way meant to demean B-schools. Just comparing. The life long commitment with alma mater is different but it does exist, but i get what u mean 🙂

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