Friday, October 19, 2007

Tribulation Of An Arranged Marriage - The Setting

When I was younger, I had deadlines. Guy friends left at nine promptly; if I was out I needed to be home by ten, tell them where I am every 45 minutes and no car ever. Now if I’m with a PH (Prospective Husband Type) I get the car, no curfew and complete privacy. If I ever make the mistake of calling home, I’m told to hang up immediately as I was offending our esteemed guests. Sometimes I get the distinct impressing, if I was ever kidnapped by one of the PHs, my folks would take solace in the fact that he would get to spend some more time with me.

So when they put my profiles online, I was in trauma. I enjoy the occasional glass of wine. I enjoy photography, movies, theatre and museums. All of which was flatly ignored. I was portrayed as a “homely” girl who likes to cook, and doesn’t touch tobacco and alcohol. I should have realized the trouble I was gonna get in, from right there. I didn’t. I know better now.

The routine was simple. They look for a guy, they match horoscopes, if that matches then we talk on the phone, the parents come home, If the dude is in the same city, we meet, we see how it goes. If he doesn’t, we talk until we meet. If all’s well, we get engaged, If not, we say our shaloms to each other to each other, wish each other all the best and move on with out respective lives.

When the boy’s folks decide come over, there is an entire orchestrated exercise. My usually spotless abode then looks like the inside of a surgical ward at Breach Candy. The house is cleaned and recleaned with a feverish aggression. Every window grille washed, every corner dusted, AC’s serviced, fans cleaned, every single sheet of crystal polished, every little bit if glass was squeakily cleaned, first with a glass cleaner , then with newspaper, washrooms scrubbed till you can eat off them, TONS of food made, clothes folded and ironed, washcloths folded and ironed, bed linen upholstery and curtains all changed. The family pet terrapin, Nefertiti, would be scrubbed lovingly, her nails clipped, her shell waxed, her tub changed and she would be put in a small bathroom for the duration of the visit. My brother would be told to behave himself and sent off to get a haircut. Asha, our domestic help, usually well turned out at the best of times, ends up looking spectacular. If my mom had her way, they would have the apartment and the building repainted.

This was nothing compared to the wonders that it did for the Sachidanandan family life and it’s morale. The family, sarcastic and unintentionally amusing at the best of times, morph into shrill loud paranoid monsters. I would be asked to clean out my cupboard, drawers, refile all my papers, and rearrange all my books and DVD’s. After a long day of work, this particular set of chores is never on my list of evening plans. Result? War.

Clothes were an issue of course. I would want to wear jeans; my mom has set aside a saree for just this occasion and would insist that if I didn’t, I was even more ungrateful than she thought. Only tarts wore jeans when a boy came to see them. My question, why would a boy come to see a tart? This is also about the time that I would seriously start contemplating hiring a lawyer and getting emancipated from my family. Matricide was another option. My long suffering daddy would finally step in and we would compromise on kurta and jeans. Every single time. All this for a two hour visit.

By this time, my blood pressure is dangerously high, my tolerance levels dangerously low. I have a hatchet hidden under the bed (polished, of course) and I hope I never have to repeat this charade again.

But I do.
More soon.


Nikhil Narayanan said...

Nice description.

Nariyal Chutney said...

Interesting :-D . Errr.. Somebody should tell your families that tastes of guys have chnaged over the years .They Prefer gals as they are :P.Musings were good and is quite mindful.

djVOLCURVE said...

hi. took the liberty of linking upto your note. hope that is okay with you. let me know, if otherwise. shall remove it.

Fighter Jet said...

was absolut fun 100%....
specially the discription of the arrangement for grooms visit! LoL...give me more!!

Kunal said...

lol !!!

Braveheart said...

Got here through Abhishek's blog. This is quite a wonderful read! Though the story is usually not too different on the boy's side, perhaps one thing that really helps is staying away from home in some other city. There's much less pressure and trouble on you, it seems :)

-- Akshaya

Abhishek D said...

your posts serve as effective antithesis to your parents' conspiracies. hope the dude lands here. :D

Sagar said...

hey, good to see the follow up to the earlier post,

actually this one too reminded me of the time we had someonce come over to see my aunt ages ago, i was visiting my cousins in dubai in year 8 then, my older aunt literally bought new furniture and new a/c's bcos they were expecting someone to "see" my aunt and i remember all the frantic shopping then :)

hey btw its also funny how you write about all your musings about the marriage process and i see all google ads to matrimonial websites alongside :)

more soon i hope??

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Has your misery come to an end?

Was a nice read to break the 4PM boredom at work.

synapse said...

as a member of the male species current undergoing the same "process" ,i must say that i should be cribbing less. though i must also disagree that it really isnt a man's world anymore this market.

sadly its still a market

Nitin said...

only one question, where do u intend to meet ur would b? :D
u don't like the matrimonial websites
u don't like the i don't think u will meet one one there, u wont like someone getting to u through this system
u don't like to make new friends :D or rather u don't have the time for it
so...... i would say its elementary my dear smruthy u will die a spinster :)) JJ

The Entropy of Smruthy said...

gee thanks nitin. very nice of you to go through my life and tell me what my options are. do i know you, by the way?

ashwin said...

update! update!

usha said...

knock knock!! someone seems to have totally forgotten this space? just stopped by to see what's happening! disappointed :(
everything fine, gurl?

Kisalay said...

Interesting post...I am reading ur blog after quite a while...but really insightful. My mom's been doing the same for almost 6 months now for my sis and I am not sure how it is for her, but pretty sure it's close if not exactly like this. And, since cleaning up is not exactly my cup of tea (a fact I prefer to hide is that the biggest mess in the house is mine), I just choose to stay away from such occasions - just excuse myself completely. In my sis' case, she doesn't like the system, though she does feel this is probably her best chance.
Thankfully, my mom did try the same routine with me and I refused to buckle down to her tantrums. It's peace time at the moment with me.


Macadamia The Nut said...

Enjoyed thy post immensely me lady but enjoyed the reply to Nitin even more

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Anonymous said...

perfect description and selection of the words smruthy.....
wishing u ... all the best.. not go on longer with the same exercize.
Suketu Dave

Red Eyes said...

update please

Anonymous said...

I apologise, but, in my opinion, you are not right. Let's discuss it.

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