October 20, 2009

I think I should get married for their sake.

Fritz Gonsalves, Bombay

I’m 30, unmarried and I’m quite happy. But there is this bunch of people who have lost their sleep because I’m still unmarried. I never imagined that being a bachelor would be the cause for concern in the lives of so many people.

Now I’m not perturbed or pissed with anyone. I think I have given them the right to be concerned about me but, at the same time, I have completely forgotten to mention the areas in which they needn’t sweat over me.

What I find amusing is the kind of arguments I get to hear from them. From the stated to the bizarre. And I’ve heard them for so long now that I am writing a post about it for Desmond’s Blog. Darn, my life, nothing but a post on Desmond’s Blog.

Let me start with my married-for-27-years-aunt from Kerala. She got married when I was 3 years old and at that time her husband was working in Dubai. I’m 30 now, he is still working in Dubai, she is still in Kerala, and they are still married. Every year my uncle would fly down with four big suitcases jam packed with Lux international soap, Colgate toothpaste (written in Arabic), stacks of ball-point pens, curtains, bed sheets, chocolates, perfume, Tang orange juice, Citizen and Casio watches and every Malayali household’s favorite Panasonic two-in-one cassette player. Somewhere during these annual trips two lovely daughters happened.

Wow. Talk about long distance relationships not working, we’ve got a long-distance marriage that only God knows how it has worked for so long. Imagine this aunt trying to sell the idea of marriage to me. Like Osama trying to explain non-violence. The first thought that hit me was, “Are you even qualified for this job aunty, because your resume yells something else”. I didn’t ask her the question - I didn’t want to break her illusion of Happily Married Forever. I don’t know whether denial is powerful, but it sure can make long-distance marriages work.

Now most people might question me: “Who are you to conclude that they are not happily married?” Okay, I’m just a post on Desmond’s Blog.

She tried every trick to convince me. “A new person will enter your life and change you destiny” and “This is God’s will”. Nothing moved me. Then she tried her luck with “I want to see you married before I die”. Are you kidding? She must be in her early fifties, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, goes to church every Sunday, sings Carols during Christmas, healthier than Tropicana’s Carrot & Beetroot Juice. She is going to be around for a long time.

From my aunt, let’s move to my folks back home. My Dad believes that only faith can sort this stalemate so he has planned a pilgrimage for the family. My mom on the other hand is more concerned about material possessions. She’s clear in her head: no marriage plans will be finalized until a new modular kitchen is installed. So, for the time being, mom is on my side.

Next my younger brother and my cousin. Once I was in the middle of a trying film shoot and my brother called up. He said, “Big brother, get married”. I was too tired to reply so he kept repeating the same line for ten minutes. He lacks convincing skills.

But it’s my cousin brother who came up with this masterstroke. “Get married early. This way you won’t be too old to play cricket with your son.” he said. Wow. That’s some foresight. What if he decides to become an umpire and not a cricketer?

But the mother of all arguments came from my friend’s wife. She said, “Being married is better than being bachelor”. For a second I slipped into a coma. She sounded so cocksure, like she was quoting the Supreme Court verdict in the now-famous Mr. Bachelor Vs Union of India case, the judgment that was passed on the Sixth Day of August, 2009.

I started digging into my grey cells for a back answer. Anything…a quote, a saying, a theorem, Indian Penal Code, any words of wisdom...nothing came to my rescue. My mind denied me a back answer to her rationale. I looked at my friend who was sitting next to her. He had this look on his face which said, “I want to go home to mummy”. Call it a divine intervention, his Mom called at that moment and I was saved the shame of not having an answer.

It’s been three months now, I still don’t have one.

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