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I am not much of a “wisdomist” (not sure if that’s a word :P), but I guess every happy marriage can be about three things; memories of togetherness, forgiveness of mistakes and a promise to never give up on each other no matter what.

In our motherland, we categorically center our focus on two kinds of vivah – “love ya arranged”. Though India has been and, to a great extent, still is a home to several other kinds of marriages, that many in the outer world have only heard of. Do you know 47% of the child marriages in the world takes place in India? Some of the marriage categories are just amazing. I don’t think any of you are you aware that ghost marriage, open marriage, group marriage, sororate marriage and widow inheritance and polyandry are very much practiced in many parts of India. I had to extensively google to find out those names and more about them. 🙂

Coming back to the topic of love or arranged marriage, I haven’t picked a side yet. I guess, in the long, adventurous (not to mention- many times boring) journey of marriage, what matters the most is the destination. Where you reach after being married to each other for years is that which determines the success of the relationship. How you met, which is precisely the biggest differentiating factor between Indian love and arranged marriages, seems so trivial when we look at marriages from a higher plane.

Since the time I have grown up, I always wanted to have a love marriage even at a time when I did not even understand the actual and true meaning of marriage. Why? Because I was a very strong rebel and because in those days love marriage was more of a trend. And also because I dreamed of my life as a Bollywood star where I might go on a trip and find a ‘Simran’.

The fact is, ironically, I met many of them (I mean Simrans). In the autos, flights, trains, office, friends’ home, Orkut (back in those days), Facebook and even on a wrong phone call. While they all started out just as the Simran of the movies, much sooner than my expectations, they all showed their true colors (Even I wasn’t more of a “datable” guy back then). Ladies who woo you, who make attempts to make you laugh, who pretend they are jack of all trades- if you know what I mean, who sometimes show you attitude before you show it to them and who, at the end of the day, come down to just that one thing and that’s how much can I compromise for them.

Interestingly, all of them made me lose my interest in them much before that. But my faith in love remained. I kept telling myself that probably that is why love is so difficult, people say. I did fall in love more times than one can imagine – with a cute Vodafone Store girl, with an unknown stranger who helped me select a movie on an Air India Flight who said she was a reporter for a local news channel, with the sweet girl I once met at Taj Lands End, Mumbai, near the pool who walked upto me to tell me that I was the best orator she had ever met (actually she was a client of mine and we happened to be staying in the same hotel during an event), a childhood friend whom I stumbled upon Facebook after 15 years, a cute batchmate from my MBA days and the list goes on. Sadly, these bouts of love hardly survived beyond a few hours.

Flashback to Bhubaneswar, my home town and my home. It was mid December 2014, my parents had started looking for matches for me. Several proposals came their way – from Microsoft to an US firm to PhD in theoretical physics to numerous Bank POs to Infosys to Oracle to Accenture to what not! And my typical answers to all of them were – not my type, spark nahi hai, stranger ladki se shaadi kaise karoon etc etc (even though many of them were family friends but I didn’t actually knew them personally).

Four years passed. One day I asked myself the ideal question for me is not ‘who is my ideal partner’ rather its ‘who can be my ideal partner?’. And the reply was totally evasive. I did not know. That was the day, sometime in Oct 2017, when I discovered my true Self – I did not know what I wanted! And I handed over my life to my parents who knew what was better for me than me, myself.

A family friend sent a proposal to my parents mid-March 2017 and I received some photographs and a detailed resume on my cell phone. I was so much stuck with work and some prior engagements that I got pissed and immediately said “no”, which actually, in my family, means “no- with no chance of further discussion” when it comes out of my mouth. Hence there was no further discussion on this and my parent’s hunt for a bride continued as usual. Even I forgot about this incident and moved on with other things.

During Sep 2017, Dad was a guest faculty at a private university at Bhubaneswar and was invigilating one of the university exams. His co-invigilator was a lady who went out of her way to assist Dad with all the typical exam room formalities. Well, I am not sure what conversation they had, but I can guess Dad was surely very impressed. That evening I got a call from him mentioning about her and her family background and idhar udhar ki batein which were obvious in depicting his prime intentions behind this conversation. After having this conversation with me, Dad was not sure how to pursue this connection and make a marriage proposal out of it, because after all she was a colleague and Dad cannot, in any way, let her know what he had in his mind. So he, with all his khurapati experience, asked one of his colleagues to pursue on his behalf and 5 days later I received the same photographs and details I mentioned about above for which I strongly had said “no“. I was actually awestruck. I am not a big believer of such coincidences but somehow it happened. Now I am not gonna bore you with the further details, those are pretty much regular stuffs. FB + Numbers exchanged + Whatsapp + Calls + Parents met + We met + idhar udhar ki batein & wagerah wagerah. But I guess all of this was because of the fact “how my Dad described her as ‘I just couldn’t say no to’. We talked and I simply saluted my dad for being so right. I just couldn’t say no.

We are different in many ways but yet complimentary to each other. Her ambitions are what meant a lot to me and family. We are yet to find out who will be the understanding partner who will have strong moral values and superbly high thinking. 😛

We are getting married in June this year.

I won’t be surprised to know if many men (and women) find themselves in such situation. At the end of the day, we’re brought up on a diet of Bollywood, Archies and romance. We are brought up having crushes on pretty girls, and girlfriends that our parents probably do not know of. We have all spent nights chatting on the phone, chat or email to that girl who we have that magnetic crush on… but what and how you reconcile the most out of those and implement is all that matters to make a marriage a “happy” one.

Amen.

 

SD

Reading time: 6 min

Most of us have experienced this atleast once in our lifetime, despite praying very hard with complete faith and devotion, most of the time, God does not fulfill all your wishes. I re-started this blog a couple of months back with this prayer, “Oh God, please get my blog more hits than the most popular ones!” Three months down the lane I think I am wiser and understand the reasons behind God’s reluctance. Let me share my newly acquired wisdom with you which I am sure you will agree to, if not, then suffer in silence.

We usually pray for health, wealth, and happiness for our families and relatives and close friends. Just imagine what would happen if God started listening to everyone’s prayers. (Don’t even think about picturing the epic scenes of Bruce Almighty in your mind, coz this blog is nothing about that.)

A common prayer to God is to obliterate pain and sufferings from this world. What most people don’t understand is that if they stopped experiencing pain, they would not be able to protect themselves from injuries, including the deadly cuts, burns, and blows. They will keep damaging their body parts without taking care to heal themselves, and in their ignorance, die untimely. This seems to be one of the reasons why God does not want to do away with pain.

Our planet has been teeming with diseases. I am sure there isn’t a single person, who has not suffered from some ailment. This reminds me of an old joke:
A disheveled drunkard asks a priest, “Father, what causes arthritis?” Not to lose an opportunity to sermonize, the priest tells him, “It’s caused by loose living, being with cheap, immoral women, too much drinking, and contempt for your fellow beings.”
The drunk becomes serious. The priest, thinking that he had been too harsh, tries to tone down, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. How long have you had arthritis?”
“I don’t have arthritis, Father; just read in a paper that the Pope does.”

Imagine what would happen if God removed all the diseases from this world. The doctors and all the medical professionals would become jobless, the pharmaceutical companies would go bankrupt, and the hospitals would turn into relics. These are just a few examples from a slew of possible repercussions. But then, the medical community would start praying with all their hearts and souls and ask God to send back illnesses and diseases.

You might believe that the pain-free and disease-free people would be happy and satisfied. No sir, they would pray to God for rich indulgent lives with no hard work. They would want easy money to buy stuff. They would want big houses and lots of servants to do their chores. Many people might even want to delegate the last chores related to the toilet to others. And they would also wish that while they lie comfortably on their beds of roses, the attendants would lift their legs and arms to give their muscles the much-needed exercise.

The only problem with granting such wishes is that the servants would also start praying for all these comforts, and then God would have difficulty in finding servants. He will have to create a subhuman species that would be devoid of the faculty of thinking, would not desire comforts and good life, and would keep working in subhuman conditions without expecting any gratitude.

The have-it-all humans will then desire pleasure. Not of the highbrow kind, for it would require using brains, but the simple carnal pleasures, such as delicious food, mindless TV serials, masala movies etc. Now, God can certainly fulfill such wishes, but what if the viewers started praying to Him to materialize their fantasies involving the gorgeous lead actors. God would be in a dilemma to grant such wishes, for it would be unfair, rather cruel, on the film stars.

I am not certain if God is democratic, autocratic, or theocratic. It depends on how He would solve the religious problems of this world. If God is democratic and gives priority to numbers, He would listen to the Christian majority’s prayers and convert everyone into a Christian. If He is moved by the fervency and frequency of prayers, He would be partial towards the fundamental Muslims and their jihadi activities, consequently, turning the whole world population into Muslim, of course, after granting “Death to America!” But there are so many sects in both the Christian and the Muslim religions that God would be further puzzled by their prayers.

Probably there are many more such things that have frustrated God to such an extent that He has stopped listening to our prayers. Or maybe, He is really busy, as the Onion has depicted in an image, titled, “No one murdered because of this image.”

After mulling over all these issues, I request all of you to stop confusing the overstretched and overworked God with your petty prayers. Instead, you should pray for His soundness and well being, so that He starts using his powers in a good way, and begins to carry out his day-to-day responsibilities, such as making this blog more popular, efficiently.

Reading time: 4 min

He lay in his bedroom, the space he occupied in a rented apartment in mid posh (well, for those who are confused, the posh society is now categorized into three sub categories, not to hurt emotions of hard working upper middle class Indians residing in Metro cities) Sector 45 in Noida. It was dark because he had switched off the lights. The AC was whirring at the window. It was Friday night and he had just finished watching a movie, B.A. Pass. Life, which had seemed utterly hopeless until yesterday, looked full of possibilities.

Though the movie genre was advertised as film noir, for him it seemed film clair or film blanc. It threw floodlight on Delhi women. For a while, he browsed the FB profiles of lots of aunties and decided to stop chasing that friend of his, who showed a lot of bhav to him. He really loved, loved and loved the movie! Sarika Aunty was fab—bold and beautiful. Why, in the beginning she absolutely resembled Savita Bhabhi. What a coincidence that the aunty who lived two floors away on the same building was named Sarita. But he corrected himself that he shouldn’t call her aunty, as he wasn’t a student anymore. Should he call her bhabhiji? Sounded old-fashioned, so he decided to stick to Sarita ji.

He had seen Sarita ji many times from a distance with her two school-going kids tagging behind her, but had met her in person only a few weeks ago in the elevator while going downstairs for a small function arranged by the society for the occasion of Raksha Bandhan where in the residents were asked to put up shops and sell whatever they can at a controlled pricing. It started with Rakhis and went up to Chole Batures and Poori Sabji @ 20 bucks a plate as well. While all the other aunties were busy exchanging conversation on clothes and jewelry, they crossed path again at the Jalebi stall and she was very kind enough to inquire about his well-being. (Just to make things clears, for those who might doubt the intentions of his character, he wasn’t the only bachelor there).

He really liked her sophisticated way of carrying herself. She gulped plate after plate, but gave the illusion of eating like a bird. Her elegant sari covered all the bulges, and his eyes couldn’t go past her bejeweled hands and face. She kept arranging her hair that covered both sides of her face with the white tips of her fingernails.

Once he tried to move away from her, but the enigmatic smell of her perfume pulled him back and he found himself in her company for the rest of the time he was there. Why, she was greatly impressed that he was an engineer, energetic and young. He supposed her husband was a businessman until she introduced him, saying, “He is also an engineer, but is useless at home.” Her motherly admonitions in flirtatious voice completely enamored him.

And then in the coming days they kept on crossing paths with nothing but innocent smiles being exchanged. One day, they were face to face at the general/vegetable store. She taught him how to pick tender bhindis and solid tomatoes and asked him to drop by for tea any day.

So the next day after watching B.A. Pass, he went for tea to her house and there was no looking back. It became his daily routine to stop at her place after swimming session at 8.30pm, before coming home. When he hit the sack at night, his whole body would ache and his hands bruised and fingers sore. Even then, he looked forward to visiting her. He was a Bio-tech engineer, but she made him fix many of her electrical appliances, from toaster to ceiling fan, all the while saying that her husband was a useless engineer. He even fixed her leaking toilet flush, and then a fallen curtain rod, and then a broken chair, the list is endless. He sharpened her knives and scissors. In the process got cuts and bruises on his hands. And then she also asked him to help her son with his school homework.

On the fifth day, he was exhausted, so after finishing work he was embedded on his bed when he heard Sarita Aunty’s son asking at the door, “Is Bhaiyya there?”

He told his maid, the lady who cooks at his place, to tell him that he was not at home. So she made him go away and then entered the room saying, “You should keep away from that aunty. She calls everyone bhaiyya and makes them work for free. One of the tenants was fired from his job because he bunked office and spent a week decorating the aunty’s house for her son’s birthday party.”

The next day, he saw her at the general store again. Although he thought he avoided her successfully, he overheard her complaining to someone, “There’s something in the grain of our home. Even the dogs that eat our rotis become unfaithful.”

PS: Characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the my imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. 😛

Reading time: 4 min

You know what sucks other than my ex boss & friend? Mosquitoes. You may find it offensive but “You suck!” is actually a nice compliment among mosquitoes.

Yes, that’s actually common sense unless you are a mosquito who‘s reading this piece and feeling offended. Moreover, for a mosquito, human body is just another free bar.

For the record, I share a very bizarre relationship with mosquitoes. I admire them as well as hate them. It’d be fair to say that we are engaged in a die-unto-death battle. One of us has to give up to let the other survive. In my otherwise insipid life, I am guilty of massacring millions of these pests but it was always them who started the fight, not me. But I have to admit that every time I slay a mosquito, the loser in me receives a massive ego boost. The feeling that follows such act is beyond words (and sentences and paragraphs and blogs and universe and everything else!). Thankfully, it’s easier to assassinate a well-fed mosquito than a famished one. Perhaps that is Mother Nature’s way of making sure no one dies hungry.

It goes without saying that they effortlessly defeat the Gandhian in me because I’m usually a staunch pacifist, even to the point of wimpiness. But being a human, you’ve got to do what a mosquito wants you to do i.e. murder it. Despite all of this, we share a mutual respect for each other. But love is not in the air. Mosquitoes are. The trouble with mosquitoes is that they think they are smart. And the bigger trouble lies in the fact that they are INDEED smart.

For once, they are born with this innate ability to overlook human ugliness. We should be gracious to them for this kind consideration. No wonder they are pious beings. They are a god-fearing as they constantly hum their prayers. Killing them is like a double-edged sword. You are displeasing both Devil as well as God. To make matters worse, they are born musicians. Anyone can kill a mosquito but no one can take away its music. Besides, you only share your blood with them, not your wretched DNA.

I guess early human beings clapped to kill mosquitoes and then clapped more to celebrate their kill. That’s how clapping and mosquitoes got introduced to each other. On a personal level, I firmly adhere to the principle of not mulling those who don’t belong to my house. And anyway, even the mosquitoes in my office are professional. They’ll bite you only if you’re idling around.

Like I mentioned before, mosquitoes possess some attributes unbeknownst to the rest of living beings. For instance, dignity. A bed bug will be prepared to get into your pants but a mosquito won’t ever stoop so low for food. They do face hard times like the rest of us but they’ll keep their proboscis stiff and stay out of fear. Well, for anecdote’s sake, I do remember a swarm of panicked mosquitoes once invading my room. I figured out then that nothing else scares the shit out of them the way rain does. Rain is like a wet ghost to them.

As I’m typing, I can’t help notice this time of the night when some fat mosquitoes get high on blood and crash into walls like drunkards do on street. It is also the period when you’re bound to be touched by their unparalleled love for your skin. You can’t deny that they love you even at their cost of their bloody life.

Appropriately, to set the mood right, I haven’t killed a single mosquito tonight. Yeah, age and non-violence is catching up with me. Peace is temporary. Also, it’s a relief there ain’t any clapping limits on killing a mosquito. Or else, I wouldn’t have been the mighty mosquito warrior that I claim to be.

In closing, killing mosquito is a lot like playing Counter-Strike with your own blood and obviously I enjoy it but I won’t be satisfied until I participate in the execution of that one last mosquito left on Earth.

Reading time: 3 min

Dear Me,

This message will reach you in the best of your stupidity. But I guess it’s OK, because you will never be this young ever again. And obviously, one day, exactly eleven years down the line, you will wake up and will see yourself writing a blog on how things could have been a lot different. At that moment, you will be running short of words as always while being busy looking for much better excuses.

Reading time: 2 min