Thursday, May 31, 2012

(Kathirundavan Pondattiya...Nethu Vandavan-Part.5 (aka. The Wife-Exchange Part-5)


Part 5

(Disclaimer: I wish I could say that this was a true story, but I cant in all conscience, so this is purely a work of fiction and all the characters and their dialogues are purely imaginary).

Back in Chennai I kept in contact with Nithya through Facebook and Twitter -doing the usual likes and comments on even her inane posts. And I happened to notice that someone else too was on the same scheme I was in. And what’s more, her replies to his comments were prompt and gushing while replies to me were almost an afterthought. When I checked out his profile it was the very same North Indian, unwashed jeans, guy- he was a professional DJ it seems and had come to play for the engagement party's Sangeet ceremony.

So this was the track the train was running on huh? I almost felt tempted to bring this to the notice of my friend Karthick but better sense prevailed...this was a toxic matter and to get involved at this stage would sully my reputation too. Better to let things go where they will. I had played my hand and lost, let me not stand in the way of another's true romance, which seemed to be what this was developing into on a daily basis. If everything went wrong, at least the girl would have learnt a lesson from this experience- that all that glitters is not gold- which in my view is something everyone needs to learn at least once in their life.

I happened to meet up my friend Pradeep aka Manmadhan at a Scientific Symposium a month before the wedding and in the post lunch (siesta?) session we found a seat in the back of the auditorium to gossip on more important topics than what was being shown on stage. The speaker was droning on about a craze for new cosmetic surgeries including designer vags and hymenoplasty’s (constructing an artifical hymen) for every new remarriage/post-divorce. Some people are crazy enough to spend money on anything at all and then complain against doctors fleecing them.

Anyhow Manmadhan’s shocking bit of news was that he had twice seen the DJ guy with Renuka, the Bride’s sister – once in Inox Theater and once in Mayajaal. I just couldn’t keep back my bit of news after this shocking revelation- so I told him about the guy two timing Renuka with Nithya. He was shocked and expressed his contempt at people who take advantage of innocent girls and I agreed with him, but there was absolutely nothing we could do as this sort of thing happened every day, everywhere. Besides we had a small satisfaction somewhere - that those stupid girls who had turned us down were getting their just desserts. Before we split we confirmed that we would be travelling to Pondy for the wedding next month.

The day before the wedding we left Chennai for Pondy quite early, before the sun really came out in full force and Karthick not being with us to distract us with frequent breaks, Mama drove down ECR at his usual breakneck pace and it felt like only minutes before we were in Pondy. We drove straight down to Nitins place and as we entered we felt bad vibes. The entire household sat around listlessly with no mark of marriage tension or happiness. Karthick hurried to us and I asked a bit apprehensively “What happened? Did someone die?”...he shook his head and said “The weddings off...the bitch ran away last night”. My first thought was that if Nithya had indeed run away, then I am partly to blame, for not alerting my friend Karthick to the possibility. I asked him “Why are you all here then? Why are you not out there, searching for her?” And just as I said these words Nithya came out with a glass of water for us (with swollen eyes).

I understood then...damn what a twist...the DJ guy had chosen Renuka and ditching Nithya had eloped with her...what a comedy. I felt like laughing out loud- but didn’t. And then Karthick said “didn’t no one notice that bastard that day at the betrothal? When we ask now about him – they say he came there, saying he was just an ex-colleague of the bride. My brother says he had his doubts but even in his wildest imagination he didn’t think she would run off the day before the wedding with her ex.” and then it struck me “You mean, the girl? The actual girl? The BRIDE? And not her sister?” I swallowed. Karthick looked at me strangely “Whatever gave you that idea? It’s the bitch herself who disappeared last night”. And then it struck me the – entire beauty of the play the man had made. In silent admiration I felt like lifting my hat to him if I had had one on my head then...all I could do was whistle my appreciation in private for the humongous scam he had pulled off over everyone’s eyes....ok wherever they were let them be happy, I blessed, at least until they file for divorce. And we headed straight back home to Chennai.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

(Kathirundavan Pondattiya...Nethu Vandavan-Part.4 (aka. The Wife-Exchange Part-4)


 Part 4.

(Disclaimer: I wish I could say that this was a true story, but I cant in all conscience, so this is purely a work of fiction and all the characters and their dialogues are purely imaginary).

The engagement ceremony had officially started by now and the first order of business was the Nalangu ceremony for the bride before the groom came out to join her.  We atlast caught a glimpse of the bride as she got on to the stage for the nalangu ceremony, and straightaway understood why she didnt need to go the beauty-parlor, the parlor had to come here and beg her pardon- she was that beautiful and to think that she was going to marry that boor Nitin- who did not have taste enough to appreciate her beauty – for when I had known him in college he had been a pukka MCP. Well, that’s fate, I guess, the beast always gets the beauty. Well, no use drooling over a friends-to-be wife, it was time to go in search of finding one for me – so I went on to do my duty.

After a little searching for, I found Karthik’s sister, Nithya skulking behind a pillar, which amused me mightily as I reflected on the major error Manmadhan had made in missing out this made for him girl. But never one to lose an opportunity afforded I went up to her and on the pretext of asking about her brothers non-arrival from the parlour, I soon had her relaxed and chatting to me. We soon established Facebook profile identities and email ids- as I had an inkling that this was better pursued on line than in person, if I cared to minimize the risk of being discovered by her brothers. Let me tell you, that I was only thinking of the girl’s safety and not mine, when I made this decision.

Anyway, all through the time we spent chatting the girl seemed to be majorly distracted and kept looking over my shoulder, so I had to sneak a look behind me. What I saw, clearly took my breath away. The other pretty girl Renuka, the bride’s sister was standing behind a neighbouring pillar and chatting intimately, too intimately, it seemed to a guy who looked like a north Indian or maybe an Anglo-Indian, fair, tall and skinny, wearing dirty t-shirt with “I Love MUSIC”, torn jeans (clearly not washed over many years) and greasy hair tied back in a pony tail. The audacity of that guy, took my breath away. To come into this place, this most auspicious of occasions and to try and pick up the brides sister here – was there no sense of proprietary , no sense of right or wrong left in this world?

And where was my friend who had fought long and hard for her over me? That useless fellow was nowhere to be seen. If I had to guess, I would say he had gone to eat on the first bandhi- the opening dinner service, where things are supposed to be served undiluted…which might happen as the serving goes on. Not only had he fluffed up his chance at hooking up with his girl, now my girl too was in a dangerously distractive mood when looking at that cozy couple. On deeper inspection, I could see that she was not just jealous of them for their moment, she was jealous of that girl because she was chatting with a cool dude, while she was stuck with a brothers friend and a guest at home to boot- whom she couldn’t get rid of easily.

As this flashed on my brain I decided to quit while I was ahead (after all I had the e-mail id), so making my apologies to Nithya, I made a strategic retreat and then having parked myself accidentally behind another pillar (thank God for wedding Mantap architects)  I watched the girl who hid behind the other pillar and watched a couple who themselves were hiding behind a pillar and having the time of their lives. If all this pillar business confuses you, then remember, Indian weddings are filled with snooping aunts and oldies who make it a point to report to mothers and fathers about their offspring’s activities- so everything has to be conducted “behind pillars” so to say….

I felt a sudden touch on my shoulder and turning around saw my long missing friends “Where the hell have you two been?” I asked angrily “you missed your chance”. Manmadhan said “hic, we were just having a before dinner appetizer to boost up my courage and Mama has been coaching me on how to approach that girl I have set my heart on. I am going to dash against her and then...” I stopped him then and said “Too late, another has already made his move while you were mugging up your pick-up lines. Look there” I said and turned around to point to them the happy couple, when to my horror I found that they were not there.

To my further shock, I found the Northie guy now deep in conversation with my girl Nithya, in the exact same easy way he had been chatting up the other girl. As my legs almost buckled, I asked my friends to come away and seating ourselves I gave them the full story. After listening to everything, Mama told us that we had lost the battle before the fight and to continue the campaign under such conditions would be useless “Look guys, forget these stupid Pondy girls, aren’t there girls enough in Chennai? Let’s just enjoy this engagement and go home” which we agreed was eminently sensible advice and followed it. When they announced the wedding date for three months hence, we promised each other to make the same trip again and left.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kathirundavan Pondattiya...Nethu Vandavan-Part.3 (aka. The Wife-Exchange Part-3)


Part 3.

 As the evening set in, we three got dressed in our finest and went out to the Mandapam first to make sure that everything was ready before the groom (and his brother, Karthick who had gone with him) arrived straight from the beauty parlour where they had gone a couple of hours earlier itself to get ready for the festive occasion. A big board greeted us at the entrance- “DR.Nitin Rajsekar, MS Ortho” getting betrothed to “ER.Ramya Rani BE ECE” in big flowered letters, worthwhile for the amount Nitin’s dad had spent to get him that degree.

Once inside the Mandapam we got caught in the festive atmosphere and at the sight of all the good looking girls from the brides’ side, for she worked as a software engineer at Oracle Labs or something and had attracted a hep crowd of hanger-ons and besties- each girl worth looking at for atleast 5 mins. One girl in particular caught everyone’s attention- a fantastic looking beauty of a girl who was running around inviting everyone personally and generally making a big scene. Pradeep took one look at her and immediately fell in love with her, or so he claimed. He took me aside and said “Machan, I am going for her” and this from a man who had spent all afternoon praising that other beauty, our friends sister Nithya and how it was all heaven foretold that they should be linked in marriage and how friends should turn relatives and how I should not try anything on her but look on her as a bhabi and within five minutes of catching a glimpse at this new girl, Pradeep was proposing me enthusiastically as the right person to become the brother in law to Karthick and Nitin and to leave the field open for him here.. Oh! How fickle are friends...

He didn’t even give me the option to decide for myself which one I wanted- he merely told me “you take that one and I will take this one” and he wanted me to agree to a gentleman’s bargain to share and share alike. I demurred at first, for I felt I was being taken advantage of, but Mama had a few words with me about how I had fought all afternoon for the right to date Nithya and here I was getting a chance to do it and what was I objecting for and with those profound words of the leader of our party- I gave up my right to put an application for this newest angel on the horizon. Besides, I had my own doubts about this new girl- she clearly was looking out of our range and an expensive piece to maintain on a limited budget.
                                                                                                                                     
By judicious enquiry among the older relatives hanging around we established the fact that the knock-out girl was in fact the younger sister of the bride, but what was she doing her? Why hadn’t she gone to the beauty parlour too, as we were sure her sister would have gone to get dressed? As we learnt later the reason that Renuka, which was the girls name, had not gone to the parlour was, her elder sister - the bride Ramya had also not gone there- they were too sure of their beauty to require expert assistance. Either that or the two sisters were too kanjoos.

With the groom still missing from the action, the engagement party was yet to pick up speed or tempo and consequently there were lots of empty spots and time gaps for anyone to indulge in – for a little romance if they had the inclination and guts to. Guts I have never lacked. My friends would vouch for me about the time, I had stood up on the podium in class and proposed to the entire class of 50 girls that I loved them all (for a truth or dare bet) and asked if anyone love me back? When no one volunteered I informed them that they had all broken my heart, I was now officially in Devdas mode and the least that they could do for me- after the damage they have done to my heart- was to vote for me in the upcoming class rep elections..And you know what? I won in a landslide based on the female vote- especially as my opponent was Pakki Bhaskar..a misogynist who never even talked to girls in class as opposed to your's truly who gifted a rose to every girl (who voted) on election day…to remember him by. 

So I was pretty much looking out for my chance to start my own romantic engagement during the course of this engagement.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kathirundavan Pondattiya...Nethu Vandavan-Part.2 (aka. The Wife-Exchange Part-2)


So on a nice sunny saturday (which by the way is default weather for Chennai) we all met up at Karthicks place  and piling our bags in the trunk set off on a road trip to Pondy. The first order of business was to fill up Karthicks Honda City with petrol and the next was inevitably the very raison d’ĂȘtre of a road trip- stocking up the beer. I reminded the guys that “look guys, Pondy is in a different state, we would be crossing state borders and carrying alcohol across state borders is a Federal Offence and after all, carrying beer across to Pondicherry’s like carrying ice cream to the arctic and you better not buy more than you can finish before crossing the border” but as usual my wise advice was disregarded by the fellows who were in no mood to listen to commonsense. 

Anyway we reached Pondy without incidence, after a three hour plus drive- the plus be accounted by the numerous breaks we took en route to shoot photos to upload later on the net. By the time we reached Pondy, we were ravenously hungry and instead of disturbing the busy relatives arranging things for the evenings function, we decided to have lunch before proceeding on. Just as we pulled up into the parking lot of  Hotel Annamalai, Karthick had a call from his big brother, Nitin, who screamed at him to come straight home for lunch or to get ready to face a kicking of a lifetime. So we pulled out again and headed for Nitins place. 

A visibly happy Nitin greeted us when we turned up at his place- for we were the only friends from college who had turned up for his betrothal. Something which might be due to Nitins reputation for a tough as nails rowdy act during college. While Karthick was ever the charmer, his big brother (cousin) was a bully who had ragged little kids to tears. He had once tried to mess with me in my very first days at college, until I told him in Rajnikants dead pan “Baasha” style “I have a flash-back story, so don’t mess with me until you know who I am and where I come from” which had frightened him off enough to make him treat me with respect henceforth. I could put on a pretty good act even then- but that’s a story for a different day. 

Anyway, we had a sumptuous lunch at Nitins place and all through lunch we couldn’t stop staring at a very pretty girl who was serving us. Karthick found me and Pradeep asking for second helpings of everything and introduced here as “this is Nithya, our- me and Nitins, sister, she has just finished her plus two and will be joining college here in Pondy soon”. She blushed at the detailed introduction- but it served its real purpose, we closed our plantain leaf plates after that and got up to wash our hands. When we went back to the guest room upstairs, Karthick explained in pretty vivid detail what would happen to us if either he or Nitin caught us flirting with his sister, but we shushed away his fears with a “She doesn’t look pretty- way below our usual standards- you know our taste better than anyone else machan..so cool, machan” which vaguely satisfied him and he left off that topic and leaving us in the room went down to the rest of the family. 

As soon as he was out of the door, Pradeep started professing undying love for Nitin’s sister and asked our help to become the son-in-law of the family. I thought of of putting in my application too, but before I started saying anything Mama told us “dei, you will not digest what you just ate if you think such thoughts da, she is an innocent young girl da  and just because she is freely mixing with her brothers friends don’t take advantage of it”. Which was a very uncharacteristic speech for Mama , had he turned a good guy now? He went on to show how much he had truly changed by his next dialogue “did you see their servant maid? I think something is going on there with her. If so, I will try to get an innings myself” which was all true Mama-speak. So arguing we spent the afternoon.