Mar 18, 2011

Conversations with Mom...

Warning: Long. Not boring though. 

"An auspicious thing happenned today at the temple. I inadvertently spilled some kumkumam!"

"Ayyo, that's being clumsy, not auspicious. And I thought spilling vibuthi condemns you to a thousand years in hell. What about kumkumam? Better start chanting Rama-Rama 1008 times!"

"Stop it! I am fed up with your mocking all our sacred rituals. Anyways, don't tell me you don't know that this signifies that a kalyanam (wedding) in the house is round the corner."

"Is it? But isn't Adi too young to get married?" (Note: Adi is my younger brother, in his final year of engg.)

"Ayyo, you and your stupid jokes. You know very well I am not talking about Adi!"

"Who else then? Aren't you a little too old to get married? Besides, what will poor Appa do?"

"One more stupid joke and I am never talking to you again."

"Ok, ok. I know what you are hinting at."



"But you are 28 now, and it is high time we started looking. Vela velaiki ellam nadakanum" (translated to "all things should happen at the appropriate time")

"Life is not a checklist with a schedule, with items to be ticked off one by one at the so-called right time." 

"I am not saying it is, all I am saying is, everybody gets married. And the sooner you do it, the better it will be." (Gentle Reasoning)

"I am not everybody. I am not saying I will not get married, but I am not saying I will either. All I am saying is, it is not something I'll do just because I have reached a certain age, or because it is what everybody else does."

"What exactly are you trying to say? Either you want to get married, or you don't."

"For now, I don't"

"And I am telling you, you'll end up a lonely old man and then regret it." (Mild threat)

"Maybe. But it will still have been my decision and I am perfectly willing to live with the consequences. Rather than get married for your sake and ending up blaming you if things don't turn out well."

"But what will people say? Everyday, I have to listen to people saying that I have not fulfilled my duty. People will say I am happy to live off my son's money and hence am not finding him a bride." (Emotional Blackmail)

"People can say what they want. I cannot live my life based on what other people think. When I was struggling, the people did not come and solve my problems. And there is no your money or my money, but let's leave that for another day."

"But we do live in a society, and you are not an island in yourself." (Back to reason)

"I am not, nor do I wish to be. I am happy to interact with the people that you refer to. I just draw the line at making life choices based on what they think."

"Is this what education does to young people. One fancy degree and you think you are above all rules?" (Rebuke)

"Yes. We learn the golden rule: he who has the gold, makes the rules" (I wish I had an equivalent of the chat smiley :P to do over the phone, but the best I could come up with was a "Prrrr" sound).

"It's not your fault. It is written in your horoscope that you will be this kudarkam pesum kundamandi" (ok, folks, hard to translate that... the best I can come up with is nonsense spouting rebel).

"Glad you brought that up. Don't believe in horoscopes either. So, assuming I do decide to get married at some point of time in the future, I am not tolerating any of this horoscope bullshit."
"How else do you expect me to find you a girl?" (Exasperation)

"You mean, you can't find me a bride unless you use a horoscope?"


"Brilliant, that kind of solves my problem. So, if I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that I can say I am willing to get married, but I will not accept any horoscope. Which means, you can't find me a girl, but the fault is now yours and not mine, because I have consented to getting married? Wow, I am liking this."

"Yes. It's all my fault. Anyways, what's your problem with horoscopes?"

"I just don't believe in them. Simple."

"It doesn't matter whether you believe in them or not. They work. And therefore, we'll follow them."

"Well, tribes in Africa might have a ritual of sacrificing a goat to their tribal god to ensure long lives for their husbands. So, irrespective of whether you believe in them or not, why not cut off a goat's head tomorrow in the name of Appa's health?"

"You and your stupid analogies. We follow our customs, they follow theirs."

"And all I am saying is, horoscope matching is your custom, not mine. You got married by referring to a match-planets-in-a-chart, doesn't mean I am going to do it."

"Ok, you don't believe in them. But what if the girl's family wants to match horoscopes. Are we supposed to say no?"

"Precisely. I am not getting married to a girl if her parents decide to choose their son-in-law based purely on the time and place of his birth, which itself might not have been accurately recorded to begin with. Plus, you will discover some girl is of this inauspicious star, or has chevvai dosham (manglik?) etc. I refuse to judge a person based on events that she had no control of."

"Sigh. Forget horoscopes. Will you say yes, if I find a family which doesn't need to match horoscopes."

"Wow, we did not see that coming. I thought you said you cannot find me a girl if horoscopes cannot be shared. Now I need to come up with some new excuse. Give me some time."

"I knew it. You are absolutely incorrigible."

"I want to marry for the right reasons. Because I like someone, and more because she likes me. And likes me for who I am, not for how tall I am, or based on what my skin colour is, or what my eating and drinking habits  are or how much I earn. And the way I see it, this arranged marriage process usually has those as the primary filters. Besides your mumbo-jumbo planetary chart, of course. And then, they discover that the tall, fair, pure vegatarian, teetotaler, six-figure-salary-earning mapillai who had all patthu porutham is actually a closet wife-beater! Brilliant I say."

"In that case, you should have found a girl yourself. We would not have stopped you!"

"I should have done a lot of things. Like become a millionaire. Learnt to swim. Developed an ear for music. Watched Rafa defeat Federer at Wimbledon. Taken you on a world tour. The reality is, I haven't done those things and I have learnt to live with it. So, you also please learn to live with the reality that your son is useless when it comes to this particular area. Ok, got to go for dinner now, take care."

"What's for dinner?"

"Same old Jeevan Boarding. Kind of bored of it, but few options here. And you know I am too lazy to cook."

"See, if you get married, you will get a nice dinner at home. No need to go to the same boring mess every day"

"Good night."

Stubborn, isn't she? Unfortunately for her, I inherited the trait. Which is why, we are at stalemate for now. Incidentally, the only kind of mate we agree upon.


  1. Anonymous5:31 PM

    writing such a piece as this,how come you're still single?
    in the same boat,i say scandalous things to my mother just to see her horrified and amuse myself...

  2. wow dude... something similar expected in my life in the near future... the african custom stuff was too good... Maybe i should use it couple of times when i m forced to follow some rituals that i dont like... Have read your other posts too.. Lots of satire and humour... Keep it up...

  3. @ Anon:
    "writing such a piece as this,how come you're still single?"

    I write this because I am single. You seem to have got the cause-and-effect backwards. :)

    And, I didn't say anything scandalous!

    @ Mad:
    the african ritual analogy is borrowed, but then, as someone said, "Originality is the art of concealing your source", so I'll accept undue credit :)

    and let me know if the tactic works for you...

  4. Aaaha, to paraphrase the immortal lines of Vadivelu, "Why blood, same blood" case....

  5. "Bachelors are excrescences that blot the fair earth."

    - Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge

    As a person who has been there and done that. Contrary to what we think, even in an arranged marriage market we are not sought after :) Adunalla pambindu seekrom pakka aramikanum. Appoda sumaranu figure sikkum.

  6. Brilliant post :)

  7. @ Vinay:

    I thought that was "what blood, same blood"

    @ KDKB:
    looks like all of Mumbai's landlords have heard of Mr.Ukridge :)

    and I never thought I'd be "sought after"... no such illusions :)

    @ Shilpi:
    Thanks :)

  8. Well, I followed the same line of reasoning a couple of years back, till I realized I was protesting for the sake of being rebellious. My mom got so concerned about my being a rebel for this that she even asked once - you like girls only no? :D

    I'm sure you'll have an interesting time when you get into the process - all tam girls' parents say that girls are 'god-fearing, modern thinking with traditional values' and want a 'good boy with clean habits'.

    After a while, it gets easier to look for potential mates if you just reject all the ones which mention god-fearing and traditional values, and may even be fun!

    Enjoy your process, buddy!

  9. @ Shri:
    I am protesting not for the sake of being rebellious.

    And I can only hope that the process is fun, if and when I enter the market...

  10. Reena9:50 PM

    Lucky you're not a woman.. otherwise you would've gotten the biological clock ticking mega threat... or should I say cherry on top.

  11. @ Reena:
    Well, I have a "You are going bald" threat. I try not to lose hair over such threats.

  12. Anonymous11:55 AM

    hehe...very funny!
    Very similar conversations has been had with my mother too..
    All mothers same.


  13. @ Anon S:
    Hehe... looks like everybody is turning rebellious...

  14. SRK...good one! Isn't it fun though to argue with amma and appa on this particular topic? I can bring in all kinds of weird analogies and it helps when you have a family full of broken marriages.