Monday, May 29, 2006

For Perfectly Fried Fish, get Married

I guess everyone around and their uncle knows the perils that beset single people of a marriageable age -- particularly from FRIENDS and the FAMILY. A single person of marriageable age might go through quite a bit of life happily (or groggily if s/he works in one of those new fangled IT industries) with nothing more to worry about than which book to read next, or which movie to watch this Friday, or how long to sleep over the weekend. If you play it right and assiduously enough, taking care to stay off the radar of your relatives, there's an outside possibility that you might safely reach the age where you have no option but be happily single ever after.

However as I said, its only an outside possibility. You have to get through quite a few lectures from your parents about how ungrateful a wretch you are and listen to occasional nagging about how your constant reluctance to tie the knot is the bane of their lives and how they are unable to provide any reasonable explanation to the various sundry relatives who solicitously ask "What's wrong?" because of which they have no mental peace but have both high and low blood pressure problems, and migraine, and other assorted ailments. Mostly you mumble about not being ready, shuffle your feet, disappear and lie low till the storm has blown over. The most perilous period -- the one filled with maximum lectures, nagging, and efforts -- is when everyone around you -- your classmates, your friends, your office friends, your train friends, your cousins -- is getting married. That's when parents (and in my case: my brother and sis-in-law too) very pointedly realize that if they don't pick up their feet and take adequate steps they will have a son who is not yet "settled" and is showing no signs of "settling" and that they might have to cook huge meals for him and surrender the TV remote to him every weekend for days to come. I am passing through that phase now and it is only by exercising the utmost caution and employing some quick thinking that I have stayed ahead of the efforts of my parents, my brother, my sis-in-law, and others who "only have my welfare at their heart."

But sometimes these lectures and remonstrances spring upon you when you least expect it. Like yesterday. To be fair, I had grown complacent at a time when I should have kept a hawkish lookout for any signs of trouble.

There were two of us left in my gang -- my childhood pals -- who were blissfully single. A few days back, this childhood friend of mine, pulled a Brutus on me. He announced that he is about to get engaged within a month and that after a six month training period he is getting his license to jump through the hoops in December. Oh well he could have stopped with the announcement. But no, he had to go and talk to my parents telling them that if steps aren't taken soon, their younger son will be the only one of the gang left alone. And he mentioned that his cousin too was tying the knot within a few days.

If that hadn't my parents chafing at the bit, last Sunday the younger brother of one of my friends put on a dark suit and a tie and emphatically said "Yes, I do." when a priest asked him if he "took __________ to be his wedded wife and to live together in marriage." My parents took to muttering under their breath about washing my responsibility off their hands. My sis-in-law talked pointedly (in the presence of my parents) about how nice it would be to have another girl as a part of the family.

Yesterday, one of my friends -- a junior to me in school -- popped up suddenly after two years at my home in the evening. He had come to invite us for his wedding. The event is due in another ten days. I should have realized that matters would have reached a head and my parents probably would have a ripe lecture ready for me soon during the family dinner. But I was too lax. Instead of steering clear of trouble, I was in time for dinner.

I should have realized the gravity of the situation when I sat down for dinner with my mom supervising silently -- that in itself should have set the alarm bells ringing. But I was more interested in the food. She had cooked fish -- and usually is an excellent cook. Yesterday something was amiss. The curry wasn't just right and the fried fish was a bit raw.

Me not noticing that these very ominous portents, remarked that the fried fish needed to be fried a bit more to be perfect.


Me: Eh!!??

My mom: If you want perfectly fried fish, get married.

Me: Eh!!??

My mom: What's stopping you from getting married? How long will you trouble us so? Look, even people younger to you are getting married. And here you are troubling me about frying fish.

Me: Ok. Don't bother about the. . .

My mom: Shut up. If you want perfectly fried fish, get married.

It was time to keep quiet and low and let the storm blow over.

I think I have escaped with my life and limbs this time too. Don't know for how long though.


Ang said...

I'm imagining you two years hence, in an apron, lovingly frying fish to perfection while Mrs. T (the wife, not the mum) lazily reads the sunday papers in anticipation of an excellent lunch.
Wouldn't that just be wunnerfully ironic?

anita & amit said...

hey, i hear you, brother. and trust me, it's much worse if you're a girl! at least it starts earlier. all i can say is: do not succumb! in a few years' time (if you haven't met someone already), it'll all calm down or at least they'll stop complaining. married couples go thru the same stuff about the 'good news.' next time they say something, look arch and say, 'there's an old chinese saying: marry in haste and repent at leisure.' that inanity should keep them quiet for a bit!

Anonymous said...

I am going through the exact same thing. Right now, I wish I was a guy. I could have pulled the, "I need to do a bit more before I settle down." card. I actually had a fight with my mother this evening about this topic. A potential "rishtaa" has come for me 2 months back which I passed on and it went to my cousin and well she is getting married in a month. My mom is quite upset as you can imagine. All she keeps talking about is the grand wedding. She has accused me of being an arrogant aristocrat who will never find a boy because no one is good enough for me. Well I do admit to being a little picky but not too much. Ideally, a tall, broad shouldered, absolutely handsome investment banker would fit the bill but I am willing to compromise ;-)
Well dont get married unless you are sure coz it aint a 4 day game but a lifelong one.

mandar talvekar said...

Hi Anon,
Believe me guys don't have it easy at all. Not only do you have to live up to various unreasonable expectations (tall, broad shouldered, absolutely handsome?) you are also expected to tie the knot irrespective of how you tot up on all the necessary criteria (Investment banker? Not me.)
But I guess this cuts both the ways. Am not picky myself but I do have some basic "expectations." When and if I decide to tie the knot I am not settling for anyone who looks less than a beauty queen and can cook like a 4 star Michelin chef. And who earns enough for me to retire after marriage.
I told my mom these requirements -- she hasn't bugged me for quite a long time. Maybe you should give it a try.