So there we were, on a Sunday when I should be lazing at home, on yet another journey halfway across the state, to find a girl to share my life with. This constant travelling and searching for girls was really pushing me to the end of my tether. I was firmly coming around to the view that fate was laughing at me and that I would probably find my better(?) half right in my home town- some local girl. But it would be blasphemy to say such a thing when we were halfway across the state heading towards a girls house for the inevitable girl-seeing ceremony (again).
This trip started as all such do. The father of a girl had somehow managed to obtain a copy of my horoscope and having compared it with his daughters had called up my father to fix things up. The call had been picked up by my ever eager mother and who had in excess enthusiasm without thinking things through or even proper enquiry of antecedents had agreed to visit them at their home town , err, home village. The place was a far-off town in rural Tamilnadu, the westernmost part of it, a small place called Pennagaram, which no one was pretty sure of- location wise, until Google maps came to the rescue and showed us it was somewhere beyond Dharmapuri and near Hogenakakal on the Tamilnadu-Karnataka border. Learning of this fact and the distance was too long to cover comfortably in a single day, even by car, my mom decided to split the journey, at least the top half into two with a halt at Vellore the first day and then a fast trip to Dharmapuri and beyond the next day morning. She justified the further expenses by saying that it was primarily for my sake as, if we took a long trip- by the time we reached the girls house- I would look dog tired and ugly and the girl would reject me on first look. So the expense of a stay at Vellore the previous day itself was justified if we could only make sure that this alliance at least succeeded.
My mother further insured against the possibility of failure by introducing a new person to the team- my aunty- my mother’s younger sister. My mother reasoned that previously all the alliances had failed because we three- my dad, mom and me had gone girl seeing as three was an inauspicious number. This was to be offset this time by the introduction of a new team member – my aunt- who was supposed to be the good luck factor this time. It was only later; I learnt that my aunt was on the trip because my mother had delegated to her the responsibility of cross-questioning the girl’s side as her previous experiences had left my mother wary of putting her foot in her mouth. My aunt, another lawyer in the family, was supposed to provide all the heavy artillery in the cross-examination department, while my mother, for a change acted the good cop in the tango-cash-good cop-bad cop routine. But events proved otherwise as I shall soon tell you. The fact of the matter on why my mother was so eager to confirm this alliance was that the girl was reputed to be a doctor bride, ahem, a Siddha doctor for sure, but still to my mother’s ears, a doctor daughter-in-law, her dream for many years. Nobody bothered to ask me what I preferred, and if anyone did, my answer would have been an actress, a film star, a model, someone built along those lines,…but if wishes were horses, you know, I was reduced to whatever my parents unearthed and presented for me.
My father, spent all the way down, lecturing me and threatening me that this was the very last trip we were going to make, the last girl they would see for me and if for some reason I messed things up with this girl, I would have to stay a bachelor all my life, as he would withdraw from searching a bride for me. Well, I protested, I wasn’t always the reason, things didn’t work out, there were other reasons too. And diplomatically I didn’t mention the other reasons. And my dad’s threat reminded me, that pushing this anymore would be counterproductive, as every time things didn’t work out and I thought this was the rock bottom, my dad excelled in showing me that the depths hadn’t been hit yet and the next one was absolutely the pits, making me re-think the previous one as better. And the fact that this was a Siddha doctor had me worried about my food. There goes my lunch was the first thought when I heard the girl’s qualifications, and my dinner. She was going to feed me Raw Vegetables, Bhasmams and Churanams all day long and no real food. So, in a melancholy frame of mind, we reached the girls house.
The preliminaries like being invited inside and the small talk being over, the girls father, who himself seemed to be some sort of Ayurvedic physician/astrologer rolled into one, with a mandatory three striped pattai- rolled onto his sottai, signaled to his ambadayal (his wife) to bring the girl in for viewing. My first thoughts as she entered was, hold on, they have sent in half the girl, where’s the other half? I mean, I am not making fun of short people, err, vertically challenged people to be PC, but I am a healthy 178cms/5’10’’feet and the girl was around 4’10” if I am very generous. I would have to bend seriously down to talk to her every time, risking a crick in my neck. But, with my father’s threat in mind, I kept my quiet and the girl after having served us coffee went in. my mom signaled my aunt to go in, for the reconnaissance mission and my aunt went in after the girl. She was back within minutes and signaled my mom, in the secret sign language, which siblings often have. My mom terminated the proceeding forthwith and we left posthaste.
On the way back home, my mom asked my aunt what happened and my aunt said “She doesn’t like our boy”. This was such a relief to me, thank god, now I won’t need to be the bad guy. And then my aunt elaborated. When I went in the girl was talking to her mother, she was crying actually, and saying “I don’t like this boy. I don’t want him. I have always told you I wanted to marry someone like Hrithik Roshan only. What will my friends say if they see me marrying a boy like this? He has a tummy. My friends will all laugh at me and I can’t bear the humiliation”. We all, with the exception of my father, burst out in laughter when we heard the Hrithik Roshan comment. Why stop there? Why not wish for Brad Pitt, when you are it? At this rate, I should ask for no one less than Jessica Alba. But the laughter died down, when my dad in a somber way told my mom “This was why I told you, you were spoiling him giving him, second helpings. See, even this girl has rejected him. Should a unmarried boy of marriageable age have a paunch? What is he doing at the gym? Just paying the fees and looking at others exercising? We should control his food intake” and that’s that- my sentence wasn’t pronounced . My dad was true to his word in implementing his sentence and he has now convinced my mom into putting me on a starvation diet, saying it was for my own good. And I am reduced to surviving with the help of Saravana Bhavan and Sangeetha Bhavan surreptitiously. That stupid Hrithik fan has hit me where it hurts-my stomach, my empty stomach.. Sniff….
So, has anyone got any suggestions for me, to regain my post as The Lord of the Dinner Table? Help me out, here, to enjoy a decent and sumptuous meal at home-in peace.