I’m engaged, it’s 2018, but who likes ‘Change’ anyway?

Yes, I know I’ve blown the trumpet loud enough before, but you’ve got to understand that now whenever I see my face in the mirror and then look at my Facebook cover photo, shouting this out loud is my way of pinching myself. Sure, the fiancée expected me to change over passage of years, anniversaries and even the event called ‘engagement’, and in some ways I think I have changed, so let us have an honest discussion here. (and by honest discussion I mean I’ll write nonsense here and you’ll ignore it and move on with your life)

1. Looking at other women with a different view.

No. I don’t mean I look at them like they are my sisters. It’s just a quick transition from “She’s out of my league. Her friend too. The other woman standing behind her too.” to the post-engagement viewpoint of “ye waise bhi kahaan patne waali thi X 3″. Also, life has taught me that Haley’s comet and Raanjhanaa’s first half becoming a reality happens only once in 76 years. So, now I just take quick, platonic glances at women and follow it up with a deep sigh and the words “no yaar I wasn’t staring at her please mera vishwas karo!

2. Taking better care of my looks.

Now I’ve started alloting more monthly expenses to my personal grooming, which means I’ll get an upgrade from haircuts from ‘Dilsad Men’z Hair-Dresser Parlour‘ in Shahdara, because the fiancée says you might as well take care of them till they last, and I can make up for money lost with the fact that my shampoo expense will decrease in coming years.

She has strictly warned me against getting a Honey Singh haircut again, because she is a firm believer of the thought that a non-idiotic haircut gives a person confidence in his professional and personal life. That, and her parents would’ve said no to me because of that.

3. Becoming more responsible.

This is an extremely confusing status to achieve, because everyone has a different definition. My mother says it is about refilling the water bottle and putting it back in the fridge. My seniors say it is concentrating on the monitor in the OT, and my fiancée says it is avoiding cracking a joke or singing a song parody in the middle of a serious discussion, and then she very rudely slammed the phone down while I was in the middle of my oddly feminine rendition of ‘Sorry‘ by Justin Beiber.

4. Manage my finances better.

2017 was a quite bad year financially, as there was another annual hike in the rent of my accomodation near my workplace, and it means that while I pay money worth a view of the Green Park shopping complex, I get to wake up to a scene of Tuesday market next to a drain. In addition to that, I’m sure my feet haven’t stopped growing, and now I have to part way with more money to find shoes of size 11 to make sure my foot isn’t folded onto itself inside my shoe. Also, the food is getting more expensive because the Tiffin service has started cooking ghiya more often than ever and I’ve dedicated my life to the mission of avoiding such a dinner.

Growing up was never this tough, and it seems I’d have to become an adult pretty soon. It is going to be tough, because there is one thing I have tried to avoid more than ghiya: Becoming an adult. Hopefully the ring will give me power.

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The Lord of the Rings 4: Engagement Edition

December is my most favourite month of the year. I had three of my MBBS professional year-end exams in this month, as well as the maximum salary cut for income tax, hence it is also a month which makes me stronger because I emerge on the other side of the year broke and humiliated and yet, alive. This December I got engaged, and hence it has added another special event to my annual December calendar called ‘You better remember the engagement anniversary or else…’.

As per Bollywood movies, for a nice engagement function, you need a guy, a girl, two rings and two huge families to clap and shower them with freshly devoured rose petals while the couple exchanges the rings. Thanks to my perseverance in my love story, the guy and the girl were available, and thanks to lack of other entertainment options in the 50s and 60s, we had huge families as well. All that was lacking were the rings, and then me and the better half dared to enter Carat Lane by Tanishq. (This is not a paid promotion, but a mere effort at showing off)

Within 5 minutes of our entering into the rings section, two ground rules were quickly laid out:
1. The salesman is interested in giving ‘madam’ the most expensive ring we can afford on the basis of his judgement of our financial status from our clothes and my nervousness.
2. He doesn’t give a damn about the ring I’m going to buy because frankly he gave me a look which, if translated into words, would read “Aisi shakal ke saath tujhe ladki mil gayi kaafi nahi hai ke ab tujhe ring bhi chahiye??”

Ring-shopping isn’t that tough a job for guys. You just got to stand next to your fiancée while she tries about three hundred designs, many of size of metal knuckles used by gangsters to put a stamp on people’s faces. Being the considerate, lovely woman that she is, she would ask the price of each ring before trying it on and then give a quick glance at me to check if I’ve fainted to the ground or not. The salesman would enjoy every moment of this at your expense because this cruel world finds it funny to watch a tall, lanky man sweat like a pig in an air-conditioned showroom.

After she had made her choice, it was time for my ‘dark brown, tendinous, never-heard-of-something-called-manicure with irregular patches of hair on fingers’ hand to try out rings. By then, the salesman and I had developed a bro-code about giving me a signal if the ring was too loud for my middle-class face or too big for my chopsticks-shaped fingers. It took some time, but I managed it without making my better half burst out into a fit of laughter.

We celebrated the event with a cold, happy-hours cheers of Bira White, and promised to exchange the rings soon so that we could flood the social media with the photos because that’s what she was getting engaged to me for.

What about me? Well, I did it for some new posts on this blog.

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So… This Is My Love Story.

It was the winter of 2009. October 9th, to be precise. It had been a busy week of practice with my band (which included me and 3 other idiots who were convinced that I could play a steady beat for 3.5 minutes because I had taken ‘music lessons’) for a performance at another medical college. After a mediocre performance and a round of applause from the audience(which included my own juniors who were threatened into attending and female fandom of the vocalist because women find him cute), I saw someone in the audience. It was the moment of my life that modern poets describe as ‘Ladki beautiful, kar gayi chull‘.

The initial few conversations went fine, and in my head the reason was my humor and the fact that I was a drummer, and hence had some cool quotient. It was soon established that she found my jokes weird and it was obvious that I was an amateur at any form of music, and it was only sheer politeness on her part that she still gave me her number after a trial of desparate excuses and persistent use of the word ‘please’. Being the super-smart dude that I am, I sent her a few hundred texts including good wishes for festivals I didn’t know existed (Happy Ganga Mahotsav and Shubh Kartik Poornima) and cheesy lyrics of songs which, in hindsight, could’ve guaranteed that I would die a bachelor. A few extra ‘please’ and a promise not to embarrass her in public later, I got her to go on a date with me.

I was fairly confident that I could make her laugh on the first date. It was her birthday, so that was an opportunity to shamelessly save money by asking for a treat, and to impress her with a gift. I discovered that I do not look good in any of the clothes I had, and then 2 hours of panic later, borrowed one size smaller pullover from my friend and showed up at the date with my insanely thin wrists and forearms exposed. I stayed hidden at a distance to notice her first. She was radiant like her name while I was dirty brown like the water in the open Shahdara drain. I did what any guy would have done: sprayed 6 puffs of deodorant over my collar, chanted a few lines of Hanuman Chalisa and went to see how bad Murphy’s law can prove for someone on a first date.

One of the major issues in getting her to like me was language, because O Punjabi bole na, tey main English wich ardaa si. It was tough for me, because myself from West Delhi area, and we could talk to our English teacher in Hindi too. It was a long and tough process to first think in Hindi, translate it, run a quick mental scan for grammatical errors and possible better vocabulary, only to realise it’s already too late to reply and then change the subject to “how’s college and everything?” and hope for the charm to work. Well, she’s lived through that and contributed to my posts as an unpaid editor. No, she didn’t know what she was signing up for.

We continued dating, our favourite date being coming from our hostels to CP for early morning coffee and sandwich. She likes it because it a nice, fresh time of the day to meet, but I just wanted to find out how cranky she was without her early morning coffee. If I could tolerate her at that level, then surely this was meant to work. Maybe she grew fond of me, may be other guys in medical profession were worse than me, or just may be it’s the fact that I am willing to say sorry and get her chocolates after every argument irrespective of who was at fault, but she has stood by me for few years, last two and a half of which included long distance.

To be honest, our long distance wasn’t any kind of ‘twist-in-the-tale’ as it is shown in Bollywood movies. I was happy on getting to go to Mumbai to see her, she was happy expecting me to finally put more thought in gifts for her. There were a few awkward moments though, like the argument that we had over the fact that she won’t allow me to shout “Mumbai ka king kaun? Bheeku Mhaatre!” at Marine drive, or the incident when I tried to greet Marathi strangers on the road in their language without knowing that ‘Taacha Maayla‘ meant ‘Teri Maa Ki‘. About 6 more months to go, we are going to make it through, hopefully without me being beaten to a pulp by an angry Marathi.

I have spent the last 7 years answering the question “How does she tolerate you?” unsatisfactorily to almost all our mutual friends and even some strangers who read my posts on Facebook. I am yet to confirm from her if she actually takes anger-management classes or is it neuronal damage due to overdose of medical literature that she ‘tolerates’ me, and then I might make a public statement soon. Till then, I think I should focus more on the fact that she is brave indeed, and it’s about time I should put a ring on it.

If you’ve survived through the full story and reached here, chances are I might have already put a ring on her finger and signed away every shred of freedom in my life, forever.

I’m happy, actually. Wish me luck. 🙂

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