Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love, marriage and why I am not ready for it ... 

It might come as a surprise to many of you, but it seems there are people (and to top it, of the opposite sex) who are willing to marry me. I spent a good part of an evening this week trying to convince a lovely girl why I'll be a terrible choice for a husband. Initially she didn't seem too convinced, but persuasion is indeed my middle name (even though many people think it's Kumar).

If there is anything that Bengali relatives like, it is to evaluate people behind their backs. "Did you see the way that girl was looking. I didn't like her glance." "She was wearing pants. Very shameful." "He didn't touch my feet. What kind of manners does he have" - these are all lines I've heard in family gatherings. And to all these judgment mongers, I'll be a terrible choice for jamai (son in law). For starters, I've inherited a very straight face humor from my dad, and that doesn't go down very well with the middle aged Bengali folks. *As an aside story, my dad once severely upset a newly wed family member hailing from Sundarban, when he very seriously asked her how many tigers they owned. The entire side of my Mom's family teamed up against him for that one harmless joke.* So I know it for sure that if they make me bend and touch the feet of ten elderly gentleman, it's just a matter of time before I feel like pulling one of their dhotis - not an actual pull but just a gentle shocker to scare them. How do you think that'll work? Also, in all Bengali social gatherings there are these sisterly figures who are so overly dressed that you can easily mistake them for ready-made-brides. It's a strange thing. It's like they dress up to flirt with you but the test is to treat them with utmost respect. This dichotomy always evades my logical boundaries. So it's just a matter of time before I crack one of my non-veg jokes to them and I can just imagine what'll happen. Julie, who is Shanta aunty's daughter's second cousin from her father's side will run to her mom and complain against me. Shanta aunty, who is already angry with me for telling her on her face that the word is "desk" and not "deks" will take this opportunity to complain to Ranjit Kaku (uncle). Now Ranjit kaku had his dhoti at risk when I touched his feet, so he will join the team too ... you see where this story is going. Interestingly, I'll provide the icing on this cake. Bengalis love to spend an extra hour at the door of the house - seriously, I've seen gatherings where the main gathering ended after an hour but people spent a fortnight saying goodbyes. Both me and my father escort people to the gates and assume that the story ends there. So we both promptly come back to the television AND THIS will add fuel to the glowing anger of the Shanta aunties and Ranjit uncles. Woof!

So what do we have? Upset old and young relatives. That just leaves the little kids. But, they'll hate me too. I'll not give them chocolates (they spoil the teeth and more importantly give ammunition to the young ones to leave finger stains on the walls). For the same reason, crayons will be a Big NO NO. And I am very protective abt my childhood toys and no way am I letting them play with those valuables. I can also imagine that some of them will ask me to change the channel to Cartoon Network. But that's not happening when I am watching VJ Cyrus - is it? So the kids will hate me too.

After all this reasoning, the girl in question kinda agreed. She said she'll contact Shanta Aunty and her husband before getting in touch with me again. Hmmmmmm!

Friday, February 10, 2006

There she stands ... with a heart so cold! 

Sorry for the fairly long absence. In the limited time that I spent at home over the past one week, I had the choice of either reading blogs or writing them, and chose to do the former. RIght now, I'm trying hard to decide between the three different topics I want to write abt and can't make up my mind. Lesse! Hmmmmmm! Ok - mannequins win.

So it all started last week when I went shopping and had my attention drawn towards some of the mannequins on display. Boy! When did they become this pretty. I almost proposed to one of them. Silky hair; perfect feature and what more - totally believable - there she stood - urging me to buy a short skimpy top for $60. "You gold digger!" I said to myself and walked away and that's when the rest of the stuff in this post started playing in my mind.

When did people start concentrating so heavily in making mannequins. When I was young(er) (now come on! it wasn't that long ago; just rewind your minds by a decade), all mannequins looked the same. I remember this wig shop in Kolkata that had two unisex mannequins. Yes, you read it right - Unisex mannequins!! The only thing differentiating them were the wigs they sported. Occasionally the shopkeeper would draw a pencil thin moustache on one of them to make it look more manly but soon the moustache would disappear - or even worse - we would see a mustached mannequin with a girl's hairdo. I remember that several shops didn't even go through the rigor of getting a mannequin. They would just stuff clothes with newspaper and put it on the window or have one of those "blowup doll thingies".

But those days are gone. Girlfriends now not only prevent their knight in shining armours from looking at other princesseses. Mannequins are as much of a threat to them as that next Jolie look alike. The boyfriend looks at a dress on a mannequin and wonders "Whoa! What a hottie." Soon the girl friend puts on that same dress and you see that all's not well in wonderland. The same thing holds true for us men. Have you seen the abs they give to the male mannequins. I vaguely remember trying to count the number of stripes on a male mannequins stomach and giving up after ten. And it's not just the shape. Shopkeepers now have multi-ethnic mannequins. They have "happy family mannequins" (where an entire family of varying age groups are shown). They have mannequins that have robotic limbs that occasionally move. It's not long before mannequins are full blown robots that'll escort you into shops, help you shop and if need be strip down to bare essentials to send you home better clad.

There's so much writing abt the changes around us - computers, cars, music systems and what not! Somebody ought to mention these glaring changes in mannequin technology. So I thought I would. Peace!

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