Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ARE WE MADE IN HEAVEN HON?!

Mummy o mummy tu kab saas banegi………” (dear mother when will you become a mother-in-law).

And so goes the song (from the movie Khatta Meetha) that not only made me laugh but also gave my mum an opportunity to take my case and enquire about boyfriends, if any. Those were good times; when I could brush off such prodding questions with Oh-I-Can-Survive-On-Canned-Food refrain; when I could get away without being held responsible for any heart attacks, by telling them that I will marry a girl so that the household work will be equally divided; and when my jeans were never the reason for raised eyebrows at a marriage related formal ceremony.

Now that I wear the 6 yards of utter confusion to such functions, the joke is used as a threat against me. “If you have decided not to clean your room then let me know. I will get you married off so that you can no longer trash my house and I can invite guests for dinner without sending you a memo.” Funny? Yes. Exaggerated? No.

The process of marriage is comical and the marriage procession, an opportunity for a side-splitting laugh. But then it always has been. It is a conjunction of contradictory forces, and here I am not only referring to the families. It is full of anticipation and guarded responses, the clichéd happiness and sorrow, loud, boisterous celebrations and Chinese whispers (definitely about the number of gifts given away and received), proclamations of love in front of hundreds and furtive glances and of course overweight aunties trying to do a little jig with young svelte figures with an acquired demeanor befitting for the queen’s arrival. The run-up to various ceremonies ending in a big bang, which is if one escapes the bullets fired by the over-enthusiastic sidekicks, then a big collective sigh of relief.

Now the journey of this phenomenon is amusing if not hilarious. The pre flower-child era was the time when Stockholm syndrome was identified. Strangers getting married and pushed into a life of forced commonality. It didn’t matter whether the groom with his side locks covering half his face was not much of a looker as long as he was a government employee. Post that era love marriages made their presence felt along with Che Guevera. The theatre screens as well as the public vision were dotted with sightings of couples expressing their love for each other till death do them apart. In certain cases, where the caste/class or religion raised its ugly specter, before anyone could say be careful of what you wish for, the lovers got what they wanted. Then came the blasphemous live-in relationships, the anti-Christ of the moral world. The albatross still squawks around a couple’s neck although many are swerving towards this option, reason being that nobody likes to get divorced over something like ‘I don’t like to sleep on the right side of the bed’. Then there are the Shaadi.coms of the world. Malyalis, marathis, mangloreans, you name it and they have it. Well the retail boom is not doing too badly for the Indian couple now is it? And finally the karmic circle of this ‘thing’ called marriage has come to the point from where it started. Yes, sons and daughters don’t mind getting hitched up again through their parents as long as their partner doesn’t earn more than they do and do not have a bigger ego which will be taken care of by default if the former prerequisite is satisfied.

It sounds like an epic journey, and has all the looks of for the next Travel and Living series although I will not mind playing the blushing bride (whenever the threat comes true) and regaling some dim-wit like Saira Mohan about how it is all a dream while my friends provide the laughter track.

(Since I am on a brief sabbatical... might as well publish PP's brilliant notions... and also thank my favourite moron for contributing another post.)