“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show….”
– From David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)
For the better part of my academic years, I didn’t know what I would become. I have seen kids saying: “I want to become an engineer” or a scientist at very early age. But I really didn’t have a single clue about my future.
Many people thought, I would become a doctor because of my pathetically illegible hand writing. (Some of the skeptics thought – I would become a bus conductor!). I had such bad hand writing; some times I myself could not read it. During exams I used to read notes from my colleagues!
When ever asked about my future I used to say that I will become a priest!! This was a perfect answer, because no God fearing religious person can counter that! This continued till seventh standard.
For 8th standard I joined a co-educated school. Mine was the first batch of boys. Earlier, it was predominantly a girls school. Till then, I had never seen so many girls at one place. We were outnumbered by a large number of girls. There was too much attention from the girls and wild distractions. I was extremely vulnerable!
In this COLOURFUL environment, first time in my whole life I realized, what I am going to miss, if I ever become a priest! Sadly it dawned on me, that I was not the chosen one – for Gods work. God had other plans for me. After that I never thought of becoming a priest!
I met this girl in the local church youth circles; we spoke this and that,
“What do you do?” she asked.
“Oh, you are a student. What else do you do?”
“I write sometimes” I said.
“Not yet, but I am sure someday, someone will publish my articles”
“Do you know, you have the highly unlikely profile of a candidate – for a women to be interested in”
I knew that. But if you have followed history closely, women have fallen in love for some of the most bizarre reasons. And men have started their courtship with some of the worst possible questions.
Mine was – “Have you seen DDLJ?”
DDLJ was a mile stone movie. It is also a mile stone movie in my life. It is the first movie I watched with a girl (later married her), in the theatre bunking the college. It is also the first movie, where my mom caught me – watching it with a girl bunking the college!
That is when I realized my mom’s network is much more powerful than Mossad.
Suppose you are John Doe; planning to do something mischievous in Israel, the moment you arrive at Tel Aviv airport , the first thing you hear on the microphone will be – “Attention Mr., John Doe your wife and kids are safe with us ; waiting for you at Gate 6”
If you are a normal tourist you will appreciate the hospitality of the airport staff. But if you are a veteran cold-war-fiction-reader like me you will immediately come to know that it is a signal for John Doe to quietly surrender at gate 6 else his family will be murdered brutally.
Mossad can sniff any unwanted activity months ahead because they have the strongest espionage network in the world. My mom had a stronger network! The money I borrowed from her for study books and actual cost of the books, the marks I reported in each subject and the ones I really got, the classes I bunked – all this information she had on her finger tips!
I saw DDLJ in Mangalore 35 KM from my home even though it was running in near by theatres just to avoid mom’s spies. After the movie came straight to home as good student, First thing she asked was –
“How was the movie?”
“It was good” – shocked!
“Who is the girl?”
That started a long interrogation session – just like Mossad!
That was long time back.
“Are you going to marry the same girl?” mom had asked, years later.
“Yes” I had said.
“What if I say – No?”
“Then I will wait till you say – Yes”
“You have already waited for almost a decade!”
“I will wait some more, I am used to it now..”
“OK” finally she had resigned “You are stubborn. The only negative quality I have. Unfortunately the only quality you inherited from me!”
DDLJ is also the first movie I watched after my marriage. But this time at home with two girls! Wife on one side and mom on other side!
Interestingly till the last moment I didn’t know that MARRIAGE COURSE is mandatory for a Christian marriage. Come to think of it, no other religion forces a marriage course! Being superior in animal kingdom, I don’t know why human beings need a marriage course when other animals simply follow their basic instincts!
I joined a marriage course conducted by a Goan priest. I was simply amazed by his comprehensive knowledge on sex. Is it possible for a person who is practicing celibacy to have so much theoretical knowledge without Practicals? Of course it is difficult!
Just one week before my marriage I was invited for my friend’s marriage. I attended it, with my fiancée (Same DDLJ girl). It went up to very late; we took the last bus home. When we reached bust stand, it was empty; there were no autos or taxis to go home.
My home was at 1 Km distance; hers was at 3 km.
“What do we do now?”
“We need to walk” I said. “If we walk to your home, then it would mean a 6 Km walk for me plus 1 km to my home. Instead of that lets both of us go to my home”
“What? Before marriage, what people will think?”
“This is an emergency. There are no rules in war and…”
“Ok, lets go “she said.
Mom opened the door. She was clearly surprised by seeing both of us. She was expecting only me.
“Why the big hurry?” she said “any how you are going to marry her in a week!”
D – Day
My marriage was no different than other marriages, so as usual there was tremendous leg pulling between my side and my wife’s side. Long discussions and arguments on simple things like whether to have mango pickle or mixed vegetables pickle for the menu!
Complete strangers took some major decisions! There was a moron from wife’s side at center stage most of the time. Asking people where to stand, when to click the snaps, where to sit. I was sick of this guy.
“Don’t you think your uncle was acting too much on the stage” told my wife after the marriage.
“My uncle” she was surprised “I thought he was your uncle!”
One of the prominent people of my town was celebrating his anniversary on my marriage day eve. I had an invitation. He was such an important person, that I could not simply reject his invitation even if it was my first night!
I went to the function with my wife, thinking it was a half hour hi-hello-bye affair. God, how wrong I was! The function dragged till midnight with speakers after speakers giving lengthy speeches on successful marriage! The last thing you want to hear on your first night is speeches on successful marriage life!
When I reached home that night everybody was sleeping! My wife could not sleep because she had hundreds of hair-pins and flowers on her head; till early morning next day I was removing hair-pins!
In the morning, when I came out of the bedroom first person I met was my grand mother who promptly asked – “When is the good news?” Since I was hearing it first time I could not make sense out of it. But after that over the period thousands of people (some perfectly strangers) have asked me that question without shame, without presence of time and without politically being correct!
Life after marriage
First thing we learned in our marriage is cooking! It is a shame that being very good cooks our parents didn’t teach us anything! Only thing I new was – Maggi.
I came to know that Chapati’s come in many interesting shapes other than the regular circular ones! I was bit tired of my mother’s perfectly circular shaped chapati’s. My wife makes chapati’s in all possible shapes for e.g. square, diamond, parabola and my favorite Amoeba shape! My mother could not do all these shapes; I think she was lacking creativity!
50 – 50
Modern days are not like that of our grand fathers, where ladies used to spend their entire life in the kitchen. Time has changed. Early in our marriage I and my wife have decided that one will cook and the other will clean the dishes. I have taken the onus of cleaning and realized to my horror that cleaning is much more difficult than cooking! The complexity of cleaning increases day by day as you postpone it!
Lessons from Marriage
Found practically that soft drink cans kept in deep freezer explode! This is because – all liquids increase their volume at a low temperature. Even though I had read this during my schooling, never gave a serious thought about it till I practically experienced it.
Before marriage I was a hardcore fan of Baywatch and FTV, now all my favorite serials start with the letter – K. The challenges of modern day husbands have been increased by never-ending Ekta Kapoor serials. All ladies get their state of the art tips from these serials.
I hate Ekta Kapoor more than Hitler, who was directly responsible for killing 6 million Jews during World War II. She can expect physical harm if I ever meet her. I have a feeling that an Amoeba has more IQ than Ekta Kapoor!
In the golden-olden days, my grandfathers didn’t have the challenges of Ekta Kapoor. They were happy men. My maternal grandpa has 6 kids and paternal has 9 kids. Obviously they didn’t believe in contraceptives!
A simple life
If you ignore the near fatal food poisoning incidents in the earlier days of our marriage, I feel my wife has become a super cook! She can now, not only participate in all India Konkani speaking women’s cooking competition, but also can give some valuable tips to Sanjeev Kapoor! Of late I have found that her chapati’s are becoming more circular, I think she is losing creativity like my mom!
Young couples ask me all the time about the interesting moments of my married life. Incidentally they are aware that I knew my wife much before my marriage. They expect something romantic and filmy. I try to escape this question because they will not believe my answer.
Most romantic things of my married life are – cleaning fish, going to the market with wife, drinking tea together etc. Most of the beautiful things in life are simple day to day things. They don’t cost much. You just need to have an eye for them.
(Reproduced from here with permission of the author)