Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reflections on twenty one years of matrimony

It’s twenty one years today. Twenty one!

Twenty one years since we were married, the missus and I.

I’m staring at this blank page thinking desperately of something clever or funny to write but the only thought that thrusts itself to the fore, rather in the manner of a seasoned commuter jumping into the 6.55 Bhayander at Churchgate station, is what a lucky chump I am to have married someone like the missus

I used to think rather highly of myself back then. Well versed in several passages from Julius Caesar and Hamlet, I was known and feared in the hallowed halls of my alma mater for my ability to collar random passing gents and recite the To be or not to be soliloquy, or Mark Antony’s Friends Romans Countrymen speech. Not unreasonably, I believed myself to be radiating an aura or magnetic field and nothing in my interactions with my fellow humans had done the slightest bit to alter that conviction.

Till I met her, that is.

We had the usual arranged match. I don't know if you know the procedure. In my little community, the protocol is for the girl’s father to approach the parents of a prospective 'boy' and ask for the boy’s horoscope, which would be freely given. (We had cyclostyled copies of this document, cyclostyling being the technique by which people who were sensible about money made mass copies of whatever they wanted to make mass copies of. Photocopying was expensive and reserved for Marks Cards, Degree Certificates and property papers)

This horoscope would be shown, along with the girl’s, to an astrologer who, using sophisticated mathematical calculations (which, curiously, despite their enormous complexity, the astrologer would carry out on on his fingers) would tell you how many points they, the horoscopes, matched on, on a scale of 0 to 36 (if memory serves right), 0 being a Rakhi Sawant marriage and 36 being Queen Elizabeth the second

Their other use was that horoscopes offered a dignified and face-saving way for the girl’s father to tell the boy’s family that he didn't want his daughter marrying that low-life, a frequent enough conclusion after the girl’s father made discreet inquiries about the boy’s qualifications, last salary drawn and whether he “took drinks”.

In my case, my dear father in law somehow slipped in his due diligence and ‘passed’ me. This information was ceremoniously communicated by him, in person, to my parents, along with a copy of her horoscope and a photograph.

Normally, that should have been that because I had resolutely informed my mother about my unshakable resolve not to marry ever, to which she listened sympathetically and asked “so when shall I ask them to bring the girl to show you”

After several reiterations of my refusal to even countenance marriage, the horoscopes were shown to our astrologer (a charmingly toothless old guy of whose speech no one I knew seemed to understand a word), confirmation of the 'matching' received (some 18 points, in case you were wondering) and a ‘program’ (euphemism for boy-see-girl) was fixed at her uncle’s house in Bombay.

At that time I had a motorcycle and I used to extensively traverse the streets of Bombay in its hot sun, resulting in my complexion, a darkish shade of brown to begin with, to turn into a hue that friends affectionately called Cherry Blossom. When my sisters were told about the 'program', copious quantities of Fair and Lovely were hastily applied every evening on to my mug, to my great mortification. After a week of the treatment, my sisters expressed their satisfaction and on the appointed day, we momentously proceeded to the uncle's house.

And me? My usual sang froid had deserted me and my heart beat like a bass drum. I entertained several thoughts of deftly opening the door of the car we were traveling in when it had stopped at a traffic light and decamping on foot but I found myself unequal to the task.

And presently, here we were.


maxdavinci said...

Finish the story!

Sharatchandra Bhargav said...


I am extremely happy to be honored to be the first to comment on your Twenty First Anniversary piece. Many Many Congratulations to you and Sheila. May you have many more years of blissful married life together.

As always, the post itself brought forth more than one merry chuckle from me. I am a big fan of yours, nursing ambitions to sprinkle humor and goodness one of these days in my writing as naturally as you do it. Congratulations again!

Potato Curry said...

"on a scale of 0 to 36 (if memory serves right), 0 being a Rakhi Sawant marriage and 36 being Queen Elizabeth the second" - simply epic.
Congrats on 21 years! :)

दिव्यांशु शर्मा said...

congrats.. this post also reminded me of one of your posts where you wrote about your first meeting with your wife and how she enquired about your favourite color and all.

Ramaa said...

Whatay! Now tell us the rest of it. Though I do remember a post one or two years ago when you described the question answer session and skirting around the subject of atheism. :-)