Passport is my marital right, and I shall get it made!

Being a guy who got engaged recently to get married later this year, I needed to start planning in order to achieve my ultimate goal in life: Give my money to some travel agent so that he can put me on some foreign city travel bus to pass some time for a few days after my wedding. The event, also known as honeymoon to the rest of the world, is called firangi Suhaag Raat in East Delhi. Anyway, to achieve my aforementioned goal, I had to get my passport made. In case you’re wondering why I still don’t have a passport even though I’m turning 28 this year, let me clarify that I’m a middle class guy and hence a firangi Suhaag Raat is probably the only reason I’ll ever use my passport for. Mere maathe pe ‘Wanderlust’ likha hai kya?

I have watched a lot of Office Office till 14 years of age(or till I discovered FTV, I don’t remember which came first) so I was expecting a lot of wooden tables with officials either on a lunch/tea-samosa break or asking me to make my application ‘a little heavier’. I was surprised to see that they have renamed the passport office as ‘Passport Seva Kendra’, to allay any fears that SAB TV addicts like me could have, and the entire procedure has been outsourced to TATA company, hence employees wouldn’t have samosa during tea breaks. Doughnuts, may be?

The privatised office meant not having to fill out a written application form in bold letters and then using fluid whitener to edit it over and over again because I behave like an idiot when it comes to such things. Now it’s mostly an online procedure, and though it may just be a rumour, but I’ve heard that Mrs. Sushma Swaraj personally tweets ‘Sab thik ho jaega’ to you in case you’re dumb enough to make a mistake at any step. So, with new-found confidence and complete trust in our foreign minister’s internet pack, I headed out to PSK centre at ITO, New Delhi.

The scenes at passport office suggests that almost the entire capital is trying to flee from India. People from all parts of New Delhi, all religions, all genders and all excuses of having lost their passport could be seen at the passport office to try and get their hands on something other than Aadhar Card as a proof of their existence and nationality. Since I was required to show our Aadhar Card to get a fresh passport made, I won’t be forced to link the two before a deadline in near future. I forgot to take my educational certificate in original, and hence had to make two visits, although I could’ve settled for a passport under ‘illiterate’ category, but I don’t want to put a thumb impression on documents when I’m on a foreign tour. It doesn’t seem classy at all.

It was a fairly quick process, and they clicked my photo too, which completed the trilogy of ‘really embarrassing photos’ after the grand success of Driving License and Aadhar Card. All that is left now is Police verification, and as soon as they tell the passport department that “katayi phattu hai ye banda, kuchh galat kar hi nahi sakta”, I’ll have my passport delivered to me by post, which I will carefully keep in the leather cover, wrap it in a plastic cover and hide it in the secret safe pocket of my Rupa vest. Then I can finally plan my upcoming tour.

What? Ooty trip doesn’t require a passport?

Kya faltu chakkar lagwa diya yaar!!

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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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