Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Dame Excel

If they decide to expand the cast of “Big Bang Theory”, I’d think I am a shoo-in for the role.  My approach to the whole excerise of shopping is one of great planning and scientific rationalization. I used pride myself about this until very, very recently, when alas the foundations of my well-founded pride were shaken up.

Whether I have had to purchase a car, a camera or a phone my procedure to procure has always been meticulous.

a. First figure out the lingo – are ABS the muscle that cars have? Does the CCD in a camera have anything to do with Coffee? Are phone companies actually talking about the EDGE of the phone? Usually, this means hours of googling, wiking and forum-hopping. After amassing enough information, so that I may be able to hold my own in a debate about the item I am considering, I move onto to my second step.

b.  What’s out there – I create a spreadsheet that captures key features and then compare it across brands. For my phone, I had compared almost 20 models. Suprisingly, for the car, I had compared more.  After I make this sheet, I eliminate models that do not satify on key parameters – no OIS, no Bluetooth, no wheels, etc.

c. Survey – This is usually where I need my fake smile the most. I go to the markets and try and befriend salesmen. I then ask them for their recommendations and include it in my list. Then I get the prices for all the models that I had shortlisted in my sheet and get his opinion on them. I also get to know about offers, deals and discounts. Faker smiles usually do the trick.

d. Elimination round – Now, I come back and relook at my list. Pricing usually gets rid of a lot of brands. After all the dust has settled, that usually leaves around 3-4 contenders.

e. Youtubing – I discovered that Youtube has a suprising number of videos that take you through everything about you want about the product. I send my models on a head to head and narrow the list down to two. To the others, I toss my hair back, point a finger and say “You’re fired”

f. Scientific purchase – Finally, I go to the store (not any of the stores I went to before .. most of them would have banned that smile from their showrooms) and decide between the two based on what I believe to be a myriad combination of various factors. Usually, I pick whichever’s black. 🙂

And I head back home, satisfied that I have bought the best product, at the best price, from the best place.

Yesterday, my mom called me up and told me that I needed to buy some clothes before I came to India. I was in a mall at the time, so I popped into the nearest clothing store.

I have never felt so lost, so redundant, so helpless in my life. I was groping for a store-wise, brand-wise, price-wise pivot table comparison. I began to sweat. How was I supposed to make an informed decision. How do I purchase the right thing? Should I pick what looked good for me? What if another piece looked good on me as well? What about lighting? Would I look good outside? Could I judge what looked good on me? Did I know anything about fashion? Would you wear a green T shirt with an orange pant and mellow that down by using fluorescent pink socks and a bright red cap?

I groped. I had difficulty breathing. I was hot under the collar. I knew my shirt was doing that just to taunt me. I was lost. I had never shopped for clothes on my own before, ever. I thought and thought about how I would do it.

A few minutes later, I was at the check-out counter. My mother had told me to get a couple of bright formal T-Shirts. The shopping lady asked me “Only one black T-Shirt, Sir?”

“Yes, that’s all”

As I stepped out, I had a feeling of relief sweep over. I could see better and my breathing came back to normal. I would be getting married soon. When I tell my wife  “I love you, my sweet excel sheet”, I wonder if she’ll actually understand what  a great compliment I’m giving her.

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Yesterday, I had a chat with my the corners of my heart. Strange isn’t it, that the heart is usually mentioned in context of love, romance and such but very rarely in regard of friendship. The heart expresses intense feelings and in my case yesterday, it showed me how it could show those feelings for my friend – B. Kiran Kumar Bankupalli – a.k.a Kiru – a.k.a 78 – a.k.a Rahul – a.k.a Dad (long story) – a.k.a Hitch

“So you are Room number 77? Me and MK have been looking all over for you!”

That’s the first line that Kiran spoke when I met him outside my room in our college. He was Room 78, I was 77. Looking back over the years, I can’t thank my parents and his enough for naming us the way they did. For two long years, we explored what a friendship was all about. He was a veteran, having made good friends throughout his life . I was a wildcard entry. We made good progress. We had discussions that in my opinion were far ahead of our times (still). We watched the same movies. We ate the same food. We played the same games. Somewhere during that time a tacit agreement was made .. This one’s for keeps. Everything was not hunky-dory of course. There were times when I had hurt him owing to simple stupidity and selfishness on my part. It was easy doing it. But looking at his face after that and just imagining how his face would look like if I were to see it, made me feel even smaller than the smallest worm around. But somewhere in his big heart he found the grace to forgive me and our relationship recovered from a road block and chugged on.

On the last day of college, he left before me, wisely so. I spent 6 hours without him in the campus. If I could put down here how painful those moments were, I would. Maybe suffering is God’s way of extracting repentance. Fate, in collaboration with our respective employers took us to different corners of the country. He went to Chennai and I went to Mumbai. But Fate it seems was no stranger to paradoxical twists. After taking me to Mumbai, Singapore, Malaysia, interior Maharashtra, Bangalore it finally bought me back to Chennai. Kiran opened up his home to me and I found new friends in his apartment. We spent a wonderful year there. Kiran and I picked just from where we had left off in college. We were back to sharing interests in people, in companies, in thoughts.

When he left for his USA trip, I decided to shift the house. We took a small nice apartment in Besant Nagar. The year I spent there- Nov 1, 2006 to Oct 21,2007 I shall never forget. That is the time that the concrete cementing of the relationship happened. As I write these words, so many memories are flooding my head. Its quite overwhelming. The time we decided to start a company. The time I locked myself up in the guest bedroom. The first time we sat on top of the terrace. The time when we got a projector and watched a movie in the house (his reaction was priceless!). The painful time when we had a cat in the house. The time when he asked me to permanently sit in the chair and watch the match so that India would win 20-20 world cup. All the times he took the responsibility of finishing up my Sodex-ho passes. The way he adjusted the AC in my car. The time he bought his first bike. The time we celebrated his half birthday, my sister’s birthday, Manju’s birthday, Ruby’s Birthday. The time when he took my family in my car to Mahabalipuram which was, in his learned opinion, only “4 kms from Chennai”. The time we spent at Murugan Idli, at Baywatch, at Pupil, at Subway, at Eden, on the footpath at Khana Khazana. The time we spent talking. The time we spent laughing. The time we spent being.

All my friends know him and all his friends know me. Everytime I meet one of his friends they’ll tell me Kiran would keep talking about me all the time. My parents never got tired of asking why I always included Kiran in every second sentence I spoke to them. When we were together, I was I and he was he. In the middle of any conversation, I could look into his eyes and figure out what the rest of the conversation was going to be like. Towards the end, most of the talking was perfunctory. The communication had already been done by the way the question was asked, the way the response was given was given or simply taken for granted. There is possibly nothing about my life till Oct 21, 2007 that he doesn’t know and he has involved me so deeply in his past that I find myself substituting my past for his.

Yesterday, B. Kiran Kumar, my buddy of 4 years, left Chennai to Shrikakulam to get married. I am sad because I wanted to be there when he boarded the train and left. I wanted to be there at the last moment to say good-bye. I know it sounds stupid. But I think the reason I am sad about not being there, is because if I was there I would have a far better reason to be sad and than be here, thousands of miles away and feel miserable. It sounds crazy when I read it, but makes perfect sense inside my head.

He will marry his childhood sweetheart. He will come back to Chennai with his beloved and stay in same house that we had stayed in. He shall grow roots there and build his family there. He will be happy. I am happy for him. My sadness is in equal measure.

Yesterday, Fate cast its die once more.

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, Yesterday came suddenly”

– The Beatles (1965)

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I have been thinking for 26 years now. Not about any particular thing, but I have been thinking of various things. Some of these thoughts include ..

“Goo goo gaa gaa
“Hey look, I just discovered my fingers”
Mmmm! Nice!”
“Maggi or Upma?”
“Who shall I marry?”

It shall ease your pain to realise that these are not a compendium of all the thoughts that have crossed my mind, but a brief collection of the repeating ones. Unfortunately, the last one is a human translation of the first one, which is in Martian – a language that we tend to forget when we’re two years old.

So let me dwell on that .. Who shall I marry? Evidently, the question is not as easily answered as
“What shall I have for dinner” (Maggi)
“Where shall we go today”(Nowhere)
“What shall I do right now, now that I have been confronted with an immediate problem that required my urgent attention and deployment of all my senses?” (Sleep)
“Who shall I marry”(Ummerrraaaah)

Just so that my thoughts on the subject are vitally clear and can be back-referenced when the time will come for my brain transplant, I feel it necessary to record these points hereunder for your displeasurable viewing.

a. She shall be a Sagittarian, if not an Arian, if not a Leo (precedence from left)
b. She shall like cows,elephants,rabbits,horses,cats, dogs(dimishing precedence from the right)
c. She shall love to travel the world
d. She shall like Frasier, Who’s line, Everybody loves Raymond, Friends, King of Queens, Seinfeld (pick any two)
e. She shall be a she (no compromise here)
f. The sum of the digits of her date (only date) of birth shall be 4,8 but can also be 3,6,9 and if you think about it 0,1,2,5,7 aren’t so bad either (easy on the swearing buddy)
g. She shall love to dance
h. She shall love to sing, in key
i She shall love to love me

Okay.Maybe that last point isn’t so important.

With the good offices of my friends in Google, Wiki and SETI I have managed to calculate the probability of such a being existing. It has taken 173.6 years to calculate. Please don’t remind me that I am only 26 years old. Are you saying that you do not recognise my lives as the famous grasshopper Fred of the Savannah and the handsome tree at Mount Gletscherhorn?

What has come out this immensely successful boring project is this:
a. The person who fits the description above exists; or rather existed 173.2 years back. She died when she had gone trekking at Mount Gletscherhornwhen and a tree fell on her.
b. The only other person who fits this is a very confused female otter somewhere in the backlands of New Zealand.

Which brings me hastily to point j.

Point J. Strictly humans (read that again)

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“So where are you from”
“Which part of Chennai”
“(Area in Chennai)”
“Which company do you work for”
“(company name)”
“That’s nice.”

The lady who just had this conversation with me was all smiles. I couldn’t understand what part of it pleased her so much. My mom, standing next to me, was beaming with joy.

Cut to a few minutes ago, my mom and I were shopping happily in a nice shop biding time for a movie. As I went to the cash counter to pay up, she tugs my elbow and introduces me to an old gentleman and his wife.

The man is apparently my dad’s doctor. Yes, my dad’s doctor. As usual, he’s ‘heard all about me’ and is ‘pleased to meet me’. Then the spotlight is taken over by his wife who after few innocuous questions, gets straight to chase, the third degree.

The conversation above.

After the conversation is over, we leave; the two ladies looking at each other like two girls who just found a new place to hide their dolls.

When we step out I tell my mom to stop grinning and tell what’s she so happy about. “That lady, the doctor’s wife, who just spoke to you; they have a marriageable daughter”

Then reality sinks in. I realised that I had just been ‘checked out’ by some Maami I had never before met in my life! She was asking me personal questions that I would never have divulged to anybody. And she did so boldly, without informing me of her intent, also slyly taking advantage of the ‘your-dad-is-a-patient-of-my-husband’ factor. Added to that she asked me all the questions. Not my mom. She probably wanted to know what I sounded like. I wonder what stopped her from asking me what my bank balance was, how many girl friends I had, what car I drove, whether I had a spare copy of my horoscope in my wallet?! (I’m sure mom would have flashed it out of her purse in a jiffy)

Was I disgusted, ashamed, embarrassed? Yes all of that, but above all I was annoyed .. annoyed that my mom didn’t let me in on the game sooner.

I’d have sucked my tummy in.

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