The Great Indian Bride Hunt: Chat Files


“Hi….” 

“How are things?”

“Hm… Getting on.”

“Well….”

“Well….”

“I guess things must be hectic at work for you.”

“Yes. I have so much to do.”

“You better get back then.”

What was that now? That was a sample from our initial conversations over phone. I always used to marvel at couples in love both in movies as well as in real life. They would talk and talk and talk. For hours on end. I wondered what they spoke about so much.  I reckoned I would find out once I too got there. But now that I was here, I was still as clueless as I was before. So was she. At least we had found common ground in our mutual cluelessness. Maybe we were making some progress after all.

But you see we humans have the inventiveness to eventually put anything we had at our disposal to good use. What do you do, I pondered, when you gain access to a pair of sympathetic feminine ears. Then suddenly it struck me. Of course. Pour all your woes into them. The marriage was already a done deal, and I had no need to impress her anymore. So, I could whine away to her to my heart’s content. Yes. That was it. 

She bore it all with great equanimity. She even showed the grace to keep adding a sympathetic “Aha!”, “Is that so!”, “What a pity”, “So sad” and so on every now and then to let me know she still hasn’t put the phone on mute and gone back to her work desk. That further emboldened me to up the ante – I started out with existential angst and moved on to doomsday prophesies.

“The big recession is around the corner. This will be bigger than even the great depression. We will have World War 3 and there will be a new world order. So, we should forget all our petty concerns such as jobs and professions and focus on preparing ourselves for the new world order. That is if we are the select few who survive World War 3.”

If she probably thought I was a nut case, she did not say so. But since there was no sign of the marriage being called off as my mother feared, I assumed things were still hunky dory and I moved on to my third phase – crazy humor. This is the side of me I keep reserved for the select few. But once I got started, I could really drive people mad. This was the phase my mother really feared most about. She had wanted me safely married and bundled away to the care of an unsuspecting girl before this side of me began to manifest. But no! It was not to be. I was already beginning to assume my Mad Hatter avatar.

To give an example, on one occasion she had been visiting some scenic place on vacation with her parents. She described the resort where they were staying to me so happily – one of the rare instances where she could get a word in for a change. Immediately I started off on my idea of a dream resort.
“I want to stay in a Bungalow in the middle of a jungle. A real large one with lots of rooms with guns and trophies hanging on the mantelpieces. Really ancient beds filled with dust and very a old caretaker bent with age but with strange bulging out eyes. And maybe a supernatural being or two to spice up things as well.“

She was totally creeped out and apparently divulged the details of the conversation to her parents as well. This probably was the first time she had mentioned about my weird proclivities to them. I later came to know this had bewildered them so much that they had asked her if she may not like to reconsider her choice of bridegroom.

But no! She happened to belong to that old school – you know like those women they made back in the ancient times who once having set their cap at someone, come rain or storm or even the God of death himself astride his mighty buffalo,  would hang in there and weather it out. My mother had been unduly worried.

But I was still not done yet. One of the days I had been to watch this movie "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi". I am not much of a movie goer. But a college senior working in the company where I worked had been transferred to my office. He happened to be a total foodie and movie buff who had endowed himself with a cool bike but no girlfriend to take around on the same. Consequently he had to make do with whatever he found to take around as pillion rider on his jaunts to restaurants and cinema houses - yours truly. And thus it transpired that I ended up watching newly released Bollywood movies.

Now what does all this have to do with my bride hunt or for the matters its aftermath? Patience! Patience, my friend! Patience.  I am getting there. I was just giving some background information to set the context. So coming back, in the mentioned movie the heroine marries the hero under compulsion to satisfy her father’s last wish. So, she tells her new husband that she would be a dutiful wife but may never fall in love with him. That dialogue somehow struck with me and I thought I would try it out on my fiancee. Not for the same reasons as that heroine of course though like her dad, my mom was the driving force steering me towards the deep cesspits of matrimony. The problem with me was that  I had never really got my head around this whole concept of falling in love. But in the modern times, the term love got bandied around a lot in association with matrimony. So, I needed to clear the air to avoid any misaligned expectations.

If anything, this had to be that proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. However she responded rather stoically. I guess she had gained a certain amount of immunity against my caprices

 “If that is how it is to be, so be it,” 

Incidentally, that was exactly how the hero in the movie had also responded. But that was only on the surface. However behind the heroine's back, he had taken it all to heart and had decided to disguise himself and indulge in all kinds of buffoonery to win her over. I was trying to imagine this calm no-nonsense woman I was going to marry indulging in feminine version of the same to win me over. The whole idea itself seemed so ludicrous, more so the idea of someone wanting to win me over.  But then the character of the hero in the movie was also kind of no nonsense. The film makers had even stuck a mustache on to the actor’s upper lip to belie his usual clownish image and give him an air of seriousness.

Thus things had gone on for months. And surprisingly my impending marriage actually managed to survived all those months of telephonic chatter fraught with perils, despite my mother’s apprehensions. Not for the lack of trying on my part to wreck it though. 

For whom the bell tolls

A book of faces