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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We are Man City fans and will ‘try’ to stay humble

Manchester City is in an amazing run of form, with record consecutive wins and unbeaten yet in every competition this season. We City fans, who no longer have to hold a neon board saying WE EXIST to get noticed, are enjoying every moment of this. Of course it hasn’t come without some obvious, and at times ridiculous, criticism. Let’s take a look at some of the excuses/criticism people have showered over our fanbase:

1. Pep is a cheque-book manager. My granny could win the league with such a team.

No. Your granny may be a better centre-back than Mangala, but she couldn’t be a better manager than Pep. Fabian Delph is playing really well at left back, and your senile grandmother could not even think of such an idea because in all probability her name is Arsene Wenger.

2. Pep is a bald fraud. He will lose and get exposed soon.

I agree that City will lose. May be we will get battered badly in an odd game too. But will that ‘expose’ Pep? Yes. It will expose that team fatigue is a thing, and a manager and his players are humans after all. I promise we’ll go down fighting, because that is the way we play, and Pep will not blame the loss on the fact that Pogba, Zlatan and Rojo were injured.

3. If you take away goals that Sterling has scored, you’ll be a point behind Man United.

True, but why stop at Sterling? In fact, remove goals by Aguero, Jesus and Sane, and we would be in the relegation zone right now. Go further, take away all the saves by Ederson too. No, because then you’d have to take away the saves by De Gea, and that is a scary idea, isn’t it, my dear United fans? Let me tell you why you can’t take away goals by Raheem Sterling. It’s because HE’S TOP OF THE LEAGUE *chants frantically*

4. You got lucky with Mane’s red card.

May be we did get lucky with that because a boot to the face is okay as long as you can touch your head and say “God swear my intention was not to knock Ederson’s head off“. The fact that we were already leading 1-0 at that point, and that Liverpool conceded 4 more without losing a defender, makes it a little more about grit than just luck

5. Sterling dived for the penalty and the third goal was offside.

Granny! Is that you??

So, we’re going to stay positive, and enjoy the football as Pep’s team puts up brave and attacking performances on the pitch because as they say,
“Haters gonna hate, single people gonna masturbate”
Wait, what? Potatoes gonna potate? What sense does that make?

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