There’s stress in the Shakya household today. In fact, my house has the same cheerful vibe as Hitler’s bunker circa 1945 and that’s because – I’m sure you’ll appreciate how stressful this is – we’ve been invited to a wedding.
This is a problem because my dear mother responds to any wedding invitation by turning to me and saying, “Listen up, first-born child aka Godless Heathen. Before I step out with you in public, I demand that you get a haircut because you currently look like a cross between Baitullah Mehsud and a young Shibu Soren.”
The idea that I’ll show up at someone’s wedding with long hair worries my mother more than, say, global warming. I understand completely, because weddings make women go – I believe this is the correct scientific term – batshit insane.
Women become familiar with the concept of marriage at a young age, as evidenced by their toys such as Princess Barbie, Bridal Barbie, Gold-Digger Barbie, Alimony Barbie and so on. Guys, however, reach their 20s and then slowly start becoming aware that marriage could happen to them one day (so could a hijack, not that I’m drawing parallels)
I was reminded of this when a friend – let’s call him ‘Ravi’ because that’s his name – narrated the story of how he had recently gone to “see a girl”. (Notice how people never say they’re going to “meet a girl”, but merely to “see her”, as if she were the Qutab Minar.)
This elaborate process of Bridal Tourism kicked off with the girl’s family showing Ravi that they had enough mithai to last them through at least two nuclear winters. Half of those mithai reserves were then forced down the poor guy’s throat, even as he sat around being scrutinised by the girl’s parents, brothers, uncles, aunts, nephews, cousins, plumbers, carpenters etc. As dictated by Indian tradition, there was also a middleman who had set up the whole thing. (Ravi kept referring to him as “my contact”, because it would’ve been inappropriate to say “pimp”.)
After what felt like an eternity, the girl walked in, carrying a tray. Now Ravi may be a cynical, smug man-beast, but once he laid his eyes upon her, he felt something he hadn’t felt in ages. The blood rushed to his head as he realised, in abject terror, that she’d brought him yet more food.
The couple were then ushered into a separate room where Ravi tried to collect his thoughts. This didn’t work because he had visions of the girl walking around a fire, trampling his manhood underfoot as she did so.
Also, it didn’t help when, fifteen minutes later, the girl’s sentimental grandmother showed up, and went all Nirupa Roy on my friend, telling him she thought he was “the one”, which was also what Morpheus told Neo before stuffing his face with a laddoo.
Following this, Ravi proceeded to get out so quick he put Yuvraj Singh to shame. I don’t think he’s getting married anytime soon, which means that our local shady bar will continue to remain profitable.
As for me, I don’t think I’ll ever get married. Mind you, I’m not against the concept. I just know that if I don’t get a haircut, my mother will bar me from my own wedding.
(Note: This is my HT column dated 30th May, 2010)