Wednesday, February 4, 2015

STFU dear relative, you're out of your element

Hello there, dear reader. Been a while, innit? My writing is as rusty as my grey matter so you will excuse me while I rant my way through this article, won't you?

The emotional fuel required to get this post going came from a call my mother received some time last week. It was a relative calling in with what seemed to be terrible news.

Relative: *small talk in a bored, somber tone*'s 
Mom: *silent prayers for every one's health* Ok? What is it?
Relative: X (my nephew) is getting engaged. As is Y (my niece) -  both in the next month..BUT don't worry!! Merin will eventually have this happen to her too!!!

My, my. A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. *clenches fist* The last time I was this overcome with rage was when I wanted to tackle a Schumacher-deserves-that-coma preacher to the ground.

Relatives, relatives! There's incredible ones, of course..but there's also the species that serve as a perennial itch to your mental peace. They will check on your grades while you're young and certify your behavior based on the rainbows you vomit in response to anything they ask of you. They will also check on your height and your weight and the growing evidence of your lady-ness, all through your teenage years. They will work with their network of spies to unearth juicy details about your college life (and their efforts will have been in vain if your love life was as non-existent as mine). And exactly when you hit quarter-life crisis, an alarm goes off in their heads, compelling them to remind your already harrowed parents of your unmarried-ness. Their calls start off with a simple, "She's old enough, no?", proceed to "Isn't she getting too old?" over the next two months and before you know it, there's a repetitive chant haunting the walls of your home: "You'd better get your girl married off soon or else ...

There's more. Remember when your distant cousin's mother once pulled you aside during a function and asked you, one hand over your shoulder and creepy smile in place, "Is there somebody in your life already? Tell me, I promise I'll make it work. *wink and nudge* ".

Yeaaaah, why not? And while you're at it, scheming and forgetting promises faster than Kiran Bedi forgets her principles, please choke on the pandi curry.

From the lives of my (absolutely amazing) cousins, I also know of the alarm that goes off nine months into one's marriage. I find it unbelievable that people relentlessly walk up to a couple that's been married a while and asks them, "So..are you trying? How's it going?". Wait, what? Didn't the almost-random uncle just ask my sister how well she's planning and executing her sex life? Ugh. Take my word for it - once married, your husband and you simply must come up with replies our older generation of N-th order relatives wouldn't be able to cope with.

"No,'s been a bit tricky. How did you and aunty go about the whole 'trying' thing?"

Or better still, kill the problem for good:

"I've already had children, uncle. Triplets. Identical. Would you believe it?"
"Oh, it's been a roller-coaster, you know, having a son. The brat's barely 3 and I'm having to use a straight-jacket on him already."

I'm thinking I'll mostly go with, "I'm settling for a couple of adopted dogs, uncle. They're cuter than kids, I bet you'd agree! :)"

Them relatives also have a war chant I find hard to cope with - the extreme necessity to marry within one's own caste/ religion. HEY - Before you decide to torch my car, I'm all for finding a nice and intelligent (and funny? please?) Coorgi and conning him into marrying me, alright? What I don't get is the ridiculous hate that's spewed on inter-caste weddings. If you haven't come across an inter-caste wedding that was largely attended by people who behaved like they were at a funeral, you're a lucky child. I've often come across people passing remarks so snide, I've wanted to smack their vacuous heads together. I was once stopped in my tracks by the bride's father at one such a wedding and the drunk man, doing justice to what smelt like Mansion House brandy, told me, "No matter what you do, marry a Coorgi! It doesn't matter if he's dumb or retarded, if he's Coorgi, marry him!".

Sure. That's probably the advice his wife was given before she made that leap of faith.
It's hard enough to find love in this batshitcrazy world, ladies and gents. Be happy - be VERY happy - if your child got lucky.

Speaking of which, I realize I owe thanks to a few genuinely nice relatives who saw through my desperately-feminine conversations, discovered a girl who was born to be a wing-man and decided they just had to help me find an equally difficult man. Yep, they've tasked themselves with the challenge of arranging my wedding. I think the process behind initiating an arranged marriage is akin to a spoof of the average horror movie. You never know where a groom candidate is going to pop out from and how much these boy-meet-girl sessions are going to affect you but you always walk away having experienced Vadivelu-level comedy.

For instance, one seemingly smart NRI-chap I spoke to detailed his talents, achievements and extreme NRI-ness to a great extent - perhaps deservedly so! But then, half an hour into the conversation where I'm sure I managed to sound like I had a functioning brain, this happened:
"We're celebrating Thanksgiving next weekend so my schedu..Oh wait! Do you even know what Thanksgiving is?"
Facepalm, really. I wanted to chip in with, "I dunno, something about us Indians in America?". I didn't but I sure laughed over it. Until my dad gave me the you-are-beyond-hope stare.

I can never sufficiently rant about this (or anything, for that matter) but I've run out of steam already, so I'll shut it.

I'll leave you with one vaguely important piece of advice though. This isn't advice from inherent wisdom - but you must know that already, smart reader? The words wisdom and inherent were never destined to appear together in a sentence about me. This comes from experience.

Consider a scenario where you're as unfit as a goat prepped for sacrifice. Ok? Extend that thought and allow yourself to attempt some stand-up comedy. By that I mean - go on, play cricket for the first time ever, with utter disregard to the concept of inertia. Now here's the most important thing you need to remind yourself as you indulge in this interesting sport, young padawan: DON'T WHACK YOUR OWN STUMPS WHILE BATTING.

You won't get over it easily. I assure you.

I'm not really saying this happened to me while I fooled myself into thinking I could react intelligently to the stimulus of a moving ball, guys. *twiddles thumbs innocently* As The Dude might have put it, well, y'know, this is just my opinion, man.


Shinu Simon said...

Hahaha! Great poce of advice at the end. Loved the rant! So true,so true indeed. Readers want more Mer!

-V- said...

"Merin will eventually have this happen to her too!!!" - Sounds like they were expecting a Lion King type stampede

"check on your height and your weight and the growing evidence of your lady-ness"
"That's probably the advice his wife was given before she made that leap of faith."
"I dunno, something about us Indians in America?"

Praj said...

"The brat's barely 3 and I'm having to use a straight-jacket on him already."
Rofl..... :-D

Shaheen Shivji said...

Extremely funny read Merin and I can visualize your frustration in your words as clearly as I saw it face to face! Loved the funny "rant" on a problem faced by most single Indian girls; to a few ppl (and not necessarily relatives) we do not exist or fulfill the purpose of our existence unless we are officially, by the government attached to a man! Serious issue aside, I laughed my ass off! Thanks for starting my Friday on an awesome note :)

Meghana Naidu said...

"...planning and executing her sex life"
the worst thing ever, to walk into a roomful of relatives demanding to know if we've been doing the deed. Gaaargh!!!

Oh god, it doesnt get any worse on the 'pleease kill me now scale'

Not that being displayed off like a lotto grand prize is any better.

too many emotions rushing up, cant comment any more.