Till Death Or Other Weird Reasons Do Us Part

The Great Indian Wedding Season is drawing to a close, which is sad because I look at weddings the same way I look at getting tasered – it’s great fun if it’s happening to someone else. The best one I attended was basically a beach-and-beer party where there just happened to be a ceremony. However, recent news events have made me realise that you can do all the cool stuff you want at your wedding, but if it’s going to go through without anyone getting ditched at the altar, then don’t even bother inviting me.

The gold standard for excitement was set by a bride in U.P this week, when she canceled her wedding at the last moment after realising that the groom had hidden his complete and utter lack of education from her. She did this by pretending to be a human Captcha. No, seriously. She asked the groom what 15 plus 6 was. His answer: 17. (On the bright side, at least he’s qualified to be an elected representative.)

Classy readers may have already noted that this incident is also the basic plot of the 90s classic Raja Babu, so don’t you ever accuse Govinda of not making realistic cinema ever again. What I love about the story is even after all this, the guy’s family still tried persuading the girl to marry their defective abacus. That must have been an awkward conversation.

Guy: I know I basically committed fraud but marry me. I have money…

Girl: … that you cannot count.

Guy: I swear I’m educated!

Girl: Right. And which school did –

Guy: *sings the IIN theme song*

That’s when she proceeded to get the hell out of there, leaving behind skid marks and a bride-shaped hole in the wall.

Last month, another bride from U.P had ditched her groom when he had an epileptic fit during the wedding. Then she said to herself, “Goddammit I got threaded and waxed and the caterer is here with like six different types of paneer, so why let it all go to waste?” So while the seizing groom was rushed to a hospital – again, this is true – she scanned the wedding guests, spotted a potential mate and announced that she would marry him if he were okay with it. The guy agreed to it because apparently self-esteem is optional. At some point, the original groom returned from the hospital, only to see his former bride and her new husband drive off into the sunset, making him realise that marriage is a sacred bond between a woman and a man who just happens to be in her field of vision.

Now you may call it cruel and discriminatory, and the fact is that there are better reasons to cancel weddings than epilepsy, like if someone wears sunglasses indoors. But the girl was angry that the guy’s family had kept this hidden from her, which, from her point of view, sounds fair. Because if it had been the other way around, I’m pretty sure the guy would have dropped her so quick, they’d call him Kamran Akmal. It’s just refreshing to come across stories like these in a country where guys reject girls because “Mummy, the angle of her nose is off by half a degree, so find me a better model.”

Maybe such incidents can be avoided if young people are given more time and freedom to choose life partners. Ah, what am I saying – that’s just crazytalk. At best, you could have matrimonial sites include filters like ‘I Suffer From A Misunderstood But Manageable Neurological Condition Which Would Not Be A Problem If We Were More Than A Biodata To Each Other’.

(On a related note, it’s nice to see shaadi dot com being endorsed by Chetan Bhagat. Because there’s no better advocate for arranged marriages than the guy who had a love marriage so famous, it spawned a book and a 100-crore film.)

There’s still hope if you want to catch an exciting wedding. You can still see a few going on, causing the odd traffic jam, most notably in Juhu and Worli. These are the poor souls who couldn’t get a date when the weather was nice and can now be seen smiling through sixteen layers of sherwani, developing sweat patches that will eventually devour them like a black hole. I don’t know how they do it. If I were them, I’d just marry the AC. Unless it left me for someone else.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 15th March 2015.)

The Way To A Man’s Heart Is Not Through This Column

Once in a while, as I’m going through the barrage of headlines online (which can all be summed up as “Cretinous Politician Insults Scumbag Politician”, “Powerful Person Corrupted By Power” and “Comedy Nights With Kapil: Because Cross-Dressers Are Hilarious”), I find myself being distracted by the softcore corner of news websites aka the Women and Relationships section. And in case you’re wondering, yes, they’re still talking about what it takes to please and keep a man. (They always seem to miss out on “Learn to straight-drive like Sachin.”)

A quick look through these articles will tell you women that it’s really very simple. All you need to do is lose your belly fat, thigh fat, arm fat, elbow fat, ankle fat and drop a lung or two because those things just make you look bloated when you breathe. Then you need to work on your skin, which may look fine to you, but since men are superior beings who see things in SuperMega HD, you need to treat it with a special purifying extract made from dolphin saliva, which you can buy after clicking the strategically placed banner ad that says HAHA, SUCKERS!

One such article I recently read was about “Compliments That Your Man Needs To Hear”. Ladies, I hope you’re paying attention because someday you may find yourself in an extreme life-or-death situation, like Sandra Bullock in Gravity, and may need to get back to Earth by telling the ISRO chief that his hair looks great.

First up – and this is a suggestion for an actual compliment – “Boy, you can work it!” This is a great thing to say to a guy when you’re his personal trainer and he just deadlifted the reason for his next hernia. But no, this is supposed to a sign of appreciation for his skills in the bedroom. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you need to be prodded by the internet into complimenting your guy’s skills, then he probably cannot “work it” very well. He’s less Ron Jeremy, more Ron Weasley, is what I’m saying. Change this by firing off inspirational lines in bed, like “Glory Glory Man United!” and “Do or do not. There is no try.” (Or yell “Dhoom Macha Le!” Whatever works for you.)

Another suggested compliment is “You’re so freaking hot!” which is perfect if you’re like sixteen and like OMG totes whatevs amirite *duckface* There’s more helpful advice about how you can make a man feel wanted by batting your eyelids and – this is true – asking him to help you with bank work. This is also what Manmohan Singh did with Raghuram Rajan.

This is just one of a million helpful articles out there, along with others like “How To Stop Your Guy From Being Needy” followed immediately by “How To Make Him Pay Attention To You”, at which point a normal person’s brain cells will start signing suicide pacts.

I don’t know who reads this stuff, because anyone who has ever known a man should be aware that we’re not complex creatures. All a woman needs to do to get a man’s attention and turn him on is to show up. That’s pretty much it. Going through all these tips and tricks is like trying to compose a symphony for your dog. Sure, he might acknowledge it and even wag his tail, but really, he’s just glad to see you and even if you left, he’d be perfectly happy just licking his own – yeah ok, I didn’t think that analogy through.

On the other end of the spectrum are men’s magazines, which usually fall into two categories. There’s the upmarket variant which says things like, “Woo her with understated elegance, seen here in these cufflinks that cost two crores because the Maharaja of Punjab once swallowed them as a baby.” And there are the less formal ones, written by guys who attended Bro University and got a Master’s in Bro Studies, with a Diploma in Dude, bro. Their pages reek of gunpowder and offer practical relationship advice like “KILL YOUR FEELINGS WITH THIS SHOTGUN!” and “WHO NEEDS LUBE REAL MEN USE ENGINE OIL!” (They’re packed with so much testosterone that I once grew a beard and killed three cheetahs just by looking at the cover.)

So clearly – and I don’t mean to sound juvenile here – the boys are winning. There’s only one thing you women can do to even the contest – turn to the man nearest to you and ask for advice. Remember to compliment him first.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 24th Nov 2013.)

The Indian Man’s Guide To The World’s Favourite Sport

As the world continues to spiral towards inevitable doom, and as headlines about riots, drought, recession and global warming continue to slap us in the face every morning, I think it is imperative that I raise some serious issues, like the fact that cheesy pick-up lines are making a comeback in the dating scene.

No, seriously. This information comes from a highly trusted source – an Indian news site that quotes a Daily Mail UK report about a survey carried out by some American dating site, because as an Indian reader, it’s really important that I get the go-ahead to use cheesy pick-up lines from random American respondents that I will never meet. (I bet I could have even scored with my current favourite line, “Hi, I’m N.D Tiwari.”)

This raises a few questions. First of all, why are we even bothering with this information? It’s not like we have a pick-up line culture in India. It’s not really the kind of country where you can go to a bar and just pick up random women (unless your name is Dhoble)

Also, why are so many Indian websites and newspapers hell-bent on bombarding us with syndicated tripe about romance that applies only to white people? For example, articles about “Top 10 Male Fantasies” that always seem to include nurses. Really? This only makes sense if your hospital is located inside a Naughty America video. When was the last time you went to a hospital and fell in lust while handing over a urine sample to Sister Selamma Thomas Kutty?

Then there are those articles that give you tips like “To spice things up, try new places. Make love on the beach.” Yes, this is a great idea if you’re looking at death by bacteria lodged in inappropriate crevices, or if you’ve ever fantasised about a threesome with rancid garbage.

(I don’t get the entire black leather fetish thing either. In Bombay weather, a leather fetish is as good as a ‘smells like dead cow dragged through a field of farts’ fetish.)

And it’s never the other way around. I don’t see CNN’s lifestyle section using stock pictures of Indians in articles like ‘How To Have Sex While 16 Family Members Sleep In The Same Room’, ‘Six Auspicious Positions To Make Male Child’ or ‘Five Sexy Outfits Guaranteed To Make Heads Turn At Your Sati’.

It can’t be that difficult to write about relationships. Let’s see now. They begin with courtship, thus named because it involves being judged and cross-examined by a higher authority. But first dates are great fun, provided you follow these bits of advice that I just thought of sometime between beer no. 4 and 12:

First up, don’t be nervous. Yes, the last time you touched a woman was when Blackberries were cool, and yes, you’re really eager to show her that you’re a good person who has no idea how all those weird Japanese videos got on his computer. But calm down. Breathe in, relax and if it helps, know that she’s slightly nervous too. Interestingly enough, this is the same thing experts say about snakes: they are as afraid of you as you are of them. Not that I’m equating women to snakes. That would be ridiculous. When snakes get mad, they usually have a reason.

(Note: Never bring up the snake analogy on the actual date, unless your preferred method of ingesting alcohol is having it thrown in your face.)

Next up, grooming. Women have all sorts of preferences: bald, short-haired, long-haired, bearded, moustachioed, clean-shaven, jungle-chested, Edward Cullen-chested and every other variation that you have no way of knowing about, so don’t bother. Show off your long, jagged fingernails as an effective weapon, thus assuring her of your status as warrior and protector. And do throw on some cologne. I recommend something manly, like ‘Eau de Subconscious Reminder of Her Father’.

Little things matter, so compliment her on her appearance. Feel free to use the words ‘raapchik item’ and ‘sexpakoda’. Conversation can be a problem if one of you is stupid, in which case shut up and let the alcohol do the talking.

So there you have it. A simple, practical guide to romance, by an Indian, for Indians. If you have any queries, please feel free to address them to your dad, N.D Tiwari.

(Note: This is my HT column dated 29th July 2012. Cross-posted from here.)