I do….(But I do not want to!!)

This must be the one thought that would be running through every man’s mind when he finally comes face-to-face with the truth – the one irreplaceable, inevitable truth. How much ever one tries to avoid it, evade it, dodge it, he still cannot but face it. And when you’ve jumped on to the “wrong” side of the 20s (I would prefer to call it the wiser 20s though!), the ringing of the so called “bells” starts resounding in your ears. The sound is as sinister as what Agent Smith, in his inimitable drawl tells Neo in the Matrix – “Hear that sound? It is the sound of inevitability”.
Although Smith was referring to an oncoming train, the sound of these bells seem no less ominous. To me atleast.

You can hear these bells almost anywhere. I do. In fact, over the past few days, there have been small, insignificant events, conversations and observations, which, a few years earlier, I might have overlooked with a dismissive wave of the hand or a yawn, but then, I have been stunned at the alarming regularity of these happenings – so much so, that I have begun to feel that there’s a conspiracy being hatched by somebody somewhere. Almost like somebody’s sending out signs to me – of impending doom. A female friend of mine was telling me about her situation at home, and mentioned that it is so difficult for a girl in India to be independent about her marriage. Well, I would like to invite all the feminists to take a peep into my life, and they would probably start campaigning for Men’s Liberalisation!!

It all starts with the same question – you can go anywhere in the world, you’ll find the start to all complications in life from this one question.

“When will you marry?”

Well, harmless question I would say. Only that, it assumes the answer to the unasked question (which should have been the first one), “do you want to marry?”, to be a Yes!! But, like all dumb men I fall for it – probably an indication of why this question has assumed so much importance in my life – guess, smart people stay quiet and single!

Well, anyways, cant cry over spilt milk isnt it? So, we go on to the answer, which comes in various shapes and sizes, but invariably all point to the same point – pointedly, not now, but whenever the right person comes by.

Agreed.

But the “right person” wont just walk by you, look at you, and with an ecstatic expression on the face, say, ” wow! finally we’ve met! Lets marry”. You need to look around.

Well, I have been doing that for the past 6 years, since I joined college. Never found one. Rather, nobody found me!

So, let me find one for you.

Ok, you can, but I still cant say how much time I would take to decide.

Why should it take so much time for you? I know who’ll be the right person for you. It wont take a second for you to decide.

A second? First, how do you know who’s the right person for me when I myself do not know? And how do you know I wont have adjustment problems with that person just because YOU have selected?

Well, you’ll always have problems, whether I select or you select.

Then why marry at all!!?? I do not want to have problems, more so, with somebody whom I barely know.I am happy with the problems I create for myself. I do not want problems created by somebody else in my life.

But how can you say that? Dont think it is only YOUR decision on that. It is our responsibility to get you married, and once that is done, we shall lead the rest of our lives peacefully.

So, isnt your life peaceful now? And this has got nothing to do with your responsibility.
This way, I would be losing my peace, and a piece of my mind too! Would that make you happy?

Dont be stupid! Marriages are all about adjustments, and compatibility.

Exactly my point! I need time to find out if the person can adjust to me, and if I can to that person. I cannot find that out by meeting for an hour, 2/3 days in a week for a few weeks and asking about her work experience. I need more time for that.

But how much time do you need? As I said, problems will anyways be there.

Yes, but if things go my way, I would have known her atleast for sometime, and that would atleast reduce the percentage of problems which might otherwise be really high if I do not know the person well enough. Marriage is not your responsibility, it’s nobody’s responsibility. It is a personal choice between 2 people who have chosen to lead a life together. It is a choice, not a compulsion, not a duty. Not because somebody is 30, or somebody’s aunt says so, or the friend of some aunt’s far off relative is looking for a groom!

So, you want to do a love marriage? Well, if that is so, you’ll need to love only somebody who’s from our state or from anywhere near our state. She should be a brahmin, and a non-vegetarian.

Its like what Henry Ford had mentioned about his Rolls Royce – ” You can buy any colour, as long as it is black”.

What is this now?
Well, anyways, I am not even talking about love or arranged marriage. I am just saying this much – look for a person. I am looking out too, ask all my aunts, all uncles, cousins, their aunts and uncles – everybody that I am looking out for a person. Only thing, marriage will happen on my terms and conditions.

Ok, so when will you marry?

Deja Vu? That’s a classic stump out! Phew!!

As all good things come to an end, these things go round and round. Needless to say, such conversations leave me doubting my intelligence.

I had an almost similar conversation back at home, and since then, I have been seeing things. Yes. Apart from stars, i.e! The moment I landed back to my office, I met an old college friend of mine, and told him that I had been home for the weekend. He winked at me and said “, so dude, when are you getting married?”! I just smiled back at him, and said nothing like that, but I could not help feel an eerie sensation that this was just the beginning.

And as always, I was proved correct:

# All of a sudden on my yahoo inbox shaadi.com websites have started popping up,
# I woke up late yesterday and picked up the newspaper from outside the door, and the first sheet that lands in front my eyes – Matrimonials!!
# As soon I logged onto yahoo chat on Friday, I got 3/4 popups from my friends abusing me in the choicest of expletives. Without knowing the reason, I put in a smiley (reminded of my college days), and joined the dog-fight. But on asking them for their generosity with the language, they all blasted me out. They said that they had heard I was engaged and that I had not bothered to inform them. Well, as it turned out later (after a lot of clarifications, smileys, and more words), a junior of mine did not go to office, was bored at home, and hence decided to play a trick on somebody – turned out to be me!

Well, some rational, scientist-minded guy would prefer to mention all these as coincidences (and I would love to kiss him if that is so..ahem!..I am straight though), but I just cant help feel that familiar sinking feeling in my stomach. No, not indigestion.

Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. But I would need to find out the reasons that would erase the line in the brackets, and leave a convincing “I do”. Till then I intend to stay smart – quiet and single.

Whats in a place…

Just a tweak to Shakespeare’s famous line ….

A listing of whatever came to my mind in the places I’ve lived post – college….Feel free to add more…

Hyderabad :
Hyderabadi Biryani, Mirchi Bajji, Kalmi Kabab (treat for the non-veggies!!), Kubani-ka-meetha (heaven), Karachi bakery (cookies are awesome),Charminar, Banjara Hills, Ramoji Film city, Necklace Road, Nagarjuna Sagar lake, IMAX, Paradise Hotel, Eat Street,DownTown Pub, Bottles&Chimneys, Chutneys, Minerva…
Kya jee tumhe?, kya jee unhe?, Idhareech, Udhareech, Petrol Pumpaan, Seedhe Jako, Right![Standard answer if you are looking for some place…even if u are asking for the moon!!..:))..], Meetaran Pe chaltu bhai….

Mumbai:
Churchgate, Marine drive,Chowpatty, VT, Bandra, Bandstand,Dadar, SiddhiVinayak Temple, Matunga road, Madras Cafe, Kobe’s sizzlers, New Yorker, Juhu Chowpatty,Fashion Street,India gate, The local trains, Coconut water at Juhu Chowpatty, Paanipuri and chaats (everywhere!!!), One famous chaat-guy in Bandra (do not remember the name), Fame Adlabs, Cinemagic, Dance Bars in Andheri, Naturals, Jazz by the Bay, Haji Ali, The sea by the Haji Ali Mosque, A cup of tea sitting at Marine Drive, Marine Drive at night, Bindaas Bombay Babes…
Eda hai kya?, Tapori, Tapri(shop), Waat lag gaya bhidu, Khopcha, Kharcha-Paani, Kaan ke neeche bajaaon kya, Kaiku, Bole to, Apun-ka ishtyle…

Noida:
Sector – 35, sector – 18, Atta Market, The Summer Heat!!, Waves Mutli-plex, Kovalam, Mayur Vihar, Dilli Haat, Chandni Chowk, HaldiRams at Chandni Chowk, Red Fort, Jalebis, Samosas, Aloo parathas, Rajma Masala, Dal fry, Haan-ji, Sir-ji, Jaan de Gaddi!!, Road-side Tikkas, Connaught place, Plate meals at Andhra Bhavan, Plate Meals at Saravana Bhavan, A famous shopping street (forgot the name!!)….

Bangalore:
IT, Software, Pubs, Brigade, MG, Purple Haze, Electronic City, The sleepy weather, Pseudo-american culture, Wassup dude?, Chill Maadi, Take a Chill Pill (!!!..whats this pill??), Machha, Bugger, Enna da, no da, what da, yes da, how da, why da, when da, Commercial street, Lalbagh, Good Andhra Food at lots of places, Beer, traffic snarls, Irritating auto-drivers….

What’s in a place…

Just a tweak to Shakespeare’s famous line ….

A listing of whatever came to my mind in the places I’ve lived post – college….Feel free to add more…

Hyderabad :
Hyderabadi Biryani, Mirchi Bajji, Kalmi Kabab (treat for the non-veggies!!), Kubani-ka-meetha (heaven), Karachi bakery (cookies are awesome),Charminar, Banjara Hills, Ramoji Film city, Necklace Road, Nagarjuna Sagar lake, IMAX, Paradise Hotel, Eat Street,DownTown Pub, Bottles&Chimneys, Chutneys, Minerva…
Kya jee tumhe?, kya jee unhe?, Idhareech, Udhareech, Petrol Pumpaan, Seedhe Jako, Right![Standard answer if you are looking for some place…even if u are asking for the moon!!..:))..], Meetaran Pe chaltu bhai….

Mumbai:
Churchgate, Marine drive,Chowpatty, VT, Bandra, Bandstand,Dadar, SiddhiVinayak Temple, Matunga road, Madras Cafe, Kobe’s sizzlers, New Yorker, Juhu Chowpatty,Fashion Street,India gate, The local trains, Coconut water at Juhu Chowpatty, Paanipuri and chaats (everywhere!!!), One famous chaat-guy in Bandra (do not remember the name), Fame Adlabs, Cinemagic, Dance Bars in Andheri, Naturals, Jazz by the Bay, Haji Ali, The sea by the Haji Ali Mosque, A cup of tea sitting at Marine Drive, Marine Drive at night, Bindaas Bombay Babes…
Eda hai kya?, Tapori, Tapri(shop), Waat lag gaya bhidu, Khopcha, Kharcha-Paani, Kaan ke neeche bajaaon kya, Kaiku, Bole to, Apun-ka ishtyle…

Noida:
Sector – 35, sector – 18, Atta Market, The Summer Heat!!, Waves Mutli-plex, Kovalam, Mayur Vihar, Dilli Haat, Chandni Chowk, HaldiRams at Chandni Chowk, Red Fort, Jalebis, Samosas, Aloo parathas, Rajma Masala, Dal fry, Haan-ji, Sir-ji, Jaan de Gaddi!!, Road-side Tikkas, Connaught place, Plate meals at Andhra Bhavan, Plate Meals at Saravana Bhavan, A famous shopping street (forgot the name!!)….

Bangalore:
IT, Software, Pubs, Brigade, MG, Purple Haze, Electronic City, The sleepy weather, Pseudo-american culture, Wassup dude?, Chill Maadi, Take a Chill Pill (!!!..whats this pill??), Machha, Bugger, Enna da, no da, what da, yes da, how da, why da, when da, Commercial street, Lalbagh, Good Andhra Food at lots of places, Beer, traffic snarls, Irritating auto-drivers….

The Bathville Horror

I stood there. Staring at it. It was dim inside, though there was a bulb. I was not too sure whether it was the clouds outside, or the fear in my head. I tried to distract myself, by thinking about the schedule I had for the day, but my eyes were rooted to that thing…lying on the floor…so harmless, so inanimate, and yet so dangerous…I knew I’ve been there before…so many times, I walked in, knowing full well, that I would come out stronger, warmer….but this was different…I was doing this everyday, and it only deepened my fear of it….the helplessness before it was agonising…painful..cold and shivering…

And then I felt it…that all too familiar sinking feeling rushed into my brains….I could sense my heart pumping blood, the veins throbbing in my head, the bare feet on the wet floor shuffling forcing me to turn back and run out..I was shivering..not because of the cold…but fear…ever felt what it is like to see death right in the eyes, and yet knowing full well that you have no way out of this?…that you would have a slow painful death?….

But the need to be there, overpowered the impulse of running out….I knew, if I did that, I would never be able to forgive myself…I was a changed man, and had vowed, that I would erase all those days from the past…the humiliation, the ridicule….NO!…I had decided..come what may, I shall do this..every day…and if that means spending those 10 minutes with death, I would…

I clenched my fists, grit my teeth, and tried not to think much….I kept my eyes rooted at the spot…for one brief moment, all the bygone days flashed by….as they say, before you die, you see your entire life in a flash of momentary brilliance…all those days passed by, when I stood in the same situation but in different places..

I closed my eyes for a few moments….tried to think…I knew those 10 minutes would be the toughest in my life…they would seem like 10 years…but I was sure, it could do no harm to me…how could it?…it was anyways in my control…yes, it shall have it’s 10 minutes of sadistic pleasure, but I would remain victorious for the rest of the day…

So, I took the few steps towards it, said, “Ok, this is the moment”…held my breath, and with one swipe of my hand, took the full bucket of water in my hands and poured it over myself!!!….for the first few moments, I could see nothing but flashes of light, as my mind went in a state of numbness…and then, I opened my eyes…

There it was..the bucket….empty, as it should be….I looked at it…I smiled….I knew I would not be kicking the bucket…I shall die some other day…and with one arrogant smirk, I kicked this bucket hard!!…With my chest swelling in pride at the act of defiant courage I displayed, I turned on the tap and let it fill one more time….

Pity, my father was not there that time…else, he would have been proud at how far his son has come along…from a kid who would cry at the prospect of taking a bath in the cold climes of the Bengal winter, to the irregularities in that process in college (please understand, the weather was beautiful, and hence most guys used to take bath on alternative days…i was a slightly worse than that), to taking bath in cold water everyday!!…I know…he would have patted my wet back and said, “Well done my son!..Kya bath hai!!”…

Anyways…I suppose I could tweak an old saying to sum up my situation – “when the going gets wet, the wet get going”!!….

And I too shall get going now…no no..not because i am wet now…please!!…I just want to go have my bath…I mean the rice bath…for lunch!