October 9, 2011
An obnoxious, common condition, found among some parents when their children cross teenage is called "Alliance syndrome". It is commonly found among married adults with pretty daughters, who have attained "marriageable age (read 23)".This syndrome is rampant in India and research says it is the only condition which is common across all victims irrespective of caste, creed and religion. The condition is very grave as it has a special hidden consequence wherein the stress from the parents is transferred to the children and they automatically become victimized.
Every kind of relative Ė mummy, daddy, uncle, aunty, granny, grandpa, sister, brother, cousins get together and put in their best effort to find a suitable match for the "sacrificial lamb". An old aunt who has never seen the "victim" gives her opinion "Hmmm the guy should be very handsome like Salman Khan". The just married sister in law pokes her nose into the affair saying "It is very important that the guy should be in a very good position and earn loads of money". In a nutshell good looks, salary, no disabilities, fair/dark, good physique/figure etc rule todayís match making charts. No one bothers about qualities and yes they have a point.
Eddie uncle whom I usually meet after Sundays mass looked very happy today. "What uncle... Isnít Cecilia aunt at home? Huh". I casually asked him.
"You son of a gun. How do you know?" the reply was at the tip of his lips. "Anyways, your mummy was telling about the proposal which came for you the day before yesterday".
"What?? She did not tell me anything"
"Well. Donít worry. She has asked me to do a background search about the girlsí family and maybe we can go for a visit next week"
"You go yourself and what background search and all huh. Are they fugitives of some kind".
"Huh. You are naÔve. All these things are very important. You just come with me. Sit, relax, eat and drink whatever is offered without uttering a word. Alright". Eddie uncle gave me a piece of his mind.
"Uncle, I donít want to get married now. Why simply waste both ours and their time. I donít understand you". Somehow I was trying to get into Eddie uncles wily brain and find a way out of the trap.
"Shut up and come. Leave everything to me". He shot back.
On a bright Sunday morning, Eddie uncle and I reached Sasthan (a very important place for Christians. Just like how Hindustan is for Hindus, Pakistan for Muslims, We Christians have Sasthan).On the drive to Sasthan, Eddie uncle had given me strict orders "Donít try to impress people there by showing your beautiful 32 teeth. Just shut up and leave the rest to me".
"Alright and for your information I have only 28 teeth". I was just hovering around the thin line between staying calm and losing my patience. I was forced into this adventure by him and now he is giving me orders. "If I like the girl, then you should shut your motor mouth. Deal?" I was blunt.
" Yeah. Deal."
As soon as we entered the beautiful mansion in Sastan, two buffalo sized dogs came to greet us with their ferocious teeth and a long saliva dripping tongue. One look at their large mouth, sent shivers down my spine and elsewhere. My newly rented suit was wet from top to bottom.
"Messy, Rooney. Keep quiet". A sweet voice came from one of the corners of the huge mansion. I started looking here and there to find the origins of this mesmerizing voice. Just then a pretty girl, who resembled Katrina Kaif, came to our rescue by pulling the leashes towards her. She was wearing a white top and a sexy grey skirt.
"Hi," the words came out of my mouth on their own effortlessly.
"Close your mouth son" Eddie uncle whispered into my ear, keeping his gracious smile intact.
"Oh Come in Come in, Sorry our dogs are a bit mischievous at times" owner of the house and my probable father in law came out to greet us. "I am Edward, this is my wife Suzanne. She loves dogs and sometimes loves me too." Mr. Edward guffawed at his own joke. Suzanne aunty wasnít amused at all.
"By the way. She is Megan" Edward continued. My heart was pumping at the rate of knots now. "She has just finished her tenth standard and is waiting for results. Her sister Maya has gone out and will be back soon".
I felt somewhat disappointed. But still there was a shimmer of light, thinking how pretty the sister would be, sampling from the younger one. But one look at Mr. Edward dashed all my hopes. What if the elder one has got her looks from this man? Shoot.
By then just like any other gracious Indian hostess, Suzanne aunt had brought tea, biscuits, Laddus and jalebis. All my favorites. I could hear Eddie uncle fuming within his breath. He had so meticulously planned the meeting at 11 30 am, so that he would be offered a peg or two. But it was not to be.
"What are you doing Son"? Suzanne aunt started the conversation.
Before I could open my mouth to answer, Eddie uncle pushed two Laddus into my mouth and replied "Well he is in America, Almost 5 years now. Isnít it Anil?" I had no option but shake my head in an up and down motion.
" Nice Nice" Suzanne aunty was visibly excited. "Where do you live?"
"Washington". Again Eddie uncle had managed to keep my mouth shut. I just thanked God he did not say London and to cover the just in case mishap, I was ready with two more Laddus in my hand. To be frank I had never even been to the actual USA (Udyavara Sankada Aache- USA which means across the Udyavara Bridge)
"Oh you love Laddus I think" Megan was noticing from behind. Little did she know about my plight?
"Which company do you work for Son" Edward uncle was more interested in my job and bank balance.
"Oh my God. You sell Chaddis?" Suzanne aunty knew she had talked a bit too early.
"Oh no aunty. I work in their Suitcase section looking at the marketing campaign".
"Salary?" I wish I could thump Edward uncle for being so direct.
"Well he gets 25 lakhs now. In three months time his boss has said he will increase it to 75 lakhs. Isnít it good?" I have no idea from where Eddie uncle got his numbers.
I wanted to hide behind the curtain. Laddus had got over and I focused on biscuits now.
Suzanne aunty continued her interrogation "What happened to your hair".
Eddie uncle was quick on his feet "Tension you see. So young and so much responsibility. Itís much better now after Dr Batras treatment". It was as if I was a prisoner being dumped in the court and the prosecution questioning me. Thank god I had chosen Eddie uncle as my defense lawyer.
Eddie uncle was in full form. Half his answers were based out of anger of not being offered a drink on a ripe Sunday afternoon.
Cross examination by Eddie uncle began. "What is your daughter doing"?
"She was in Switzerland for a couple of years". Mr. Edward was proud.
"Oh nice. What does she do in Switzerland"? I was a bit enthusiastic now.
"Oh yeah yeah. She works with the UN" replied Aunt Suzanne. I did not take much time to realize that this girl was way out of my league.
Eddie uncle was all ears now and from no where he muttered this dialogue "Oh ho. Made for each other. After the wedding both can go to their honeymoon in Switzerland and settle down in America".
I just wanted to run. I did not mind being chased down by one of the dogs now, but the bloody beasts were looking at me with love in their eyes. I hoped the girl wouldnít be back anytime soon .
Just then Maya, my classmate in engineering reached. She wasnít wearing a helmet." This girl na, never wears a helmet. I do not know what she does in Switzerland". Suzanne aunt murmured.
From what I knew, Maya was working in Bangalore in an IT firm and had never been to Switzerland. Well it kind of matched. Eddie uncle had found perfect partners in Suzanne and Edward.
"Hey Anil. Long time no see. How are you? How is Chennai? Hot I believe huh". Maya greeted me as she pulled the side stand out of her Activaís tummy.
"Good good. Pretty hot. How are you?" I reciprocated.
Surprisingly, when Eddie uncle and Mayaís parents realized we knew each other, no one broached about the topic of Switzerland and USA.
Feeling guilty about the past one hour I blurted out the truth and we all ended up laughing. Many families strengthen alliances with all kind of lies assuming that these lies will not be a big issue when they are uncovered. A marriage based on lies will not last long. Divorce rates in our very own diocese reflect upon this fact. I do not know the reasons behind such alarming statistics, but this might be one of the many.
Anyways, Maya and I got to talking about our engineering days, the semester tensions, the lecturers, couples who broke up and their present partners. Eddie uncle was served Scotch and we got a sumptuous lunch and I must say my "could have been" mother in law is an excellent cook. On our way back home I said to Eddie uncle "After all this drama which unfolded, do you think there is any chance I can marry her"
"I donít think so. Donít worry, next week we are going to Kulshekar. You are getting proposals way beyond our expectations" Eddie uncle already had a plan I suppose.
"Ok, but remember my class had 33 girls from Kulshekar alone. Your dirty tricks will not work here"
"Oh my God". For the first time in his life Eddie uncle was finding it hard to get words.
Anil D'Souza - Archives:
- All about the Magical Word 'Love'
- China - India Bhai Bhai..
- Hey Kid, do you Speak Konkani...?
- My Experience with a Broken Bone.
- Catholic Roce - Is it an Extinct Ceremony ?
- Three Hours at the Bus Station...
- Weddings then, now and in Future...