Once upon a time , I went home.....wait a minute...I am sick of this grandma style opening.Forget once upon a time.Lets restart.
Last october , I went home during the Durga puja.When you go home after staying at a hostel for months , everybody acts nice.Mom cooks what I like.Dad doesnt nag me about getting a haircut.Sister lets you have the remote.Even the neighbourhood Mrs.bhatia who is usually as grumpy as a crocodile manages to pretend a smile and coo "oh munnu , vacations ? How is calcutta ? any girlfriend there...haaaaaa".She winks mischeviously as she mouths the girlfriend part.That makes my tummy churn.But all in all , for that one week of October , life was as cool as 2 feet by 2 feet room fitted with 13 air conditioners.
One day , during those October vacations , I was sprawled on the drawing room floor.I was watching POGO channel on the Television.Ok.My parents dont read this blog.I was watching FTV.That stands for fashion TV.Its about fashion and clothes.I focus on the clothes , not on the pretty models wearing them.Trust me.Anyways , just then the phone rang and mom got it.It was mom's sister , my 'mausi'.Now dont you understand 'mausi' ? Maybe you grew up in California.Anyways , in our country , India , we call mom's sister "mausi".Namaste.
So mom and her sis caught up with all the normal talk while I watched Pogo , waiting for the call to end so that mom goes away and I dive back into the world of waxed legs and exposed navels on FTV.And then this happened.
Mom (on phone , to mausi ) : What ? ......why ?
Mausi ( on phone , to mom ) : ........( me to you) wait a minute , how am I supposed to know what she said from the other side ?
Mom ( on phone , again to mausi ) : He just turned 23...But why ?
Mausi ( on phone , to ..i dnt believe it ...mom ) : ....( me to you).I told you guys, I dont know !
Mom ( on phone , to mausi ) : What ! Oh no seema ...noh....he ..he...hehehe...hes still a kid , he has to complete his MBA...
It was about my marriage.Some friend of ma's sister had some daughter.It was like I had just received an email from god with the subject line 'from boy to man".I agree that 23 is anyways too early an age which makes marriage sound more like child mariage.But that was the moment when it first struck me that marriage is no longer something which happens to big brothers .Marriage is no longer something which I attend as a guest , it may just happen to me.Anyways , mom mercilessly drove the scooter of my first marraige proposal in a brick wall.I still dont know anything about that girl.But whoever she is , she is for me what a first ever customer is to an auto driver.
Things changed radically soon after that strange day in October.When I went home in the March of 2005 , I did not wait for any phone calls.We got home from the airport , and within forty minutes I had told my parents all about "her".
I have read 'Who moved my cheese?'.It says change is inevitable.So here I change , as I am tired of addressing "her" as "her".It makes things so complicated .I am typing about my grand mom and in the next line i somehow graduate to "her" and some people dont get the subtle change and end up knowing that I wanted to marry my grand mom.So for the rest of this post , "her" would be addressed as madonna.The choice of this pseodu-name stems from the fact that the guy in adjecent room is playing frozen by madonna.Anyways , I told my parents madonna was the girl i wanted to marry.For someone like me to say something like that to my parents , its like a tibetan monk asking for some beer at a pub.What followed were perhaps the most topsy turvy days of my life so far.I save the story for another day.
And now that she is a series of black and white photographs pasted in my "golden memories" album, I see my marriage as being an arranged one.We will probably visit the girl's home , where I would drink some coffee , smile at the girl and look at her stupid little brother.And I will tell her about my days with madonna , even if that makes my dad pull out a gleaming bazooka and blow my head off. If I expect her to share my life , she has every right to know my life.And in a way , I think my experience with madonna has transformed me from a bubbly and reckless boy to a slightly more mature and considerate one.My opinion of myself as a human being has taken a dent in the one moment I left her alone when I promised to be with her, and I want to improve this opinion by making the girl I marry feel happy every day of her life.I am scared of hurting people now .I know how bad and wrong I can be .And I want to prove it to myself that I may be weak , but I am not evil.
I gave her a lot of sorrow , but gave myself a fear of myself , a fear of me hurting someone ever again.
I am a 83 old guy seated on a rocking chair in home's bedroom.I am watching FTV on the TV.Then my 79 year old wife staggers into the drawing room leaning on a wooden stick.I am too old and slow by now to flip the channel to POGO the way I used to as a 23 year old.And she anyways is old and weak sighted to make out the difference between FTV and POGO.I get up with my aching joints , find my way towards her without managing to fall , hold her hand and walk her to the chair.I make her sit on the chair gently .And then she looks up at me , straining her eyes to have a good look and then says in a frial old voice "You know , I have had a good life with you".and If that happens, maybe I will know that though I was weak at some points of my life , I was never evil.I will always remember that last phone call to "her" , when I told her its not possible for us to be together and cried like a kid at a public phone booth.But if at the end of my life , my weak sighted and old wife thinks I helped her live a good life , maybe then I will know that I was not that bad a human being , after all.