My woes began a couple of years ago when I hit the dreaded 30-year mark, with each cousin/uncle/aunt/neighbour/carpenter, etc. expressing their opinion freely and frankly about it being high time I got married.
Being the shrewd military strategist that I am, dealing with sundry cousins, aunts and uncles has been easy. Much in the manner of Napoleon and his military victories, I tackled them on a one-on-one basis and never once did I allow them to gang up against me. This strategy held me in good stead, but then Napoleon too had his Waterloo didn't he?
This happened a few months ago when all of us met in Hyderabad. I, for once, let my guard down and there I was amidst a cacophony of dear cousins, dearer uncles and dearest aunts.
First came an assault from the Left Flank by a cousin. Let's call him M. M wondered why I was mudiri poyina bendakaya laga unnavu (resembling an over-ripe, withered Okra/Ladies' Finger) and that it was high time for me to get married. It was now or never.
"Absolutely!" chimed in an uncle R, leading a sortie against my Right Flank. "And look at your hair. In a couple of years you will be as bald as a coot. Who will marry you then? You know, it was my flowing locks that had swept your aunt off her feet."
And what was threatening to become a longish account about their courtship, such as it was, was interrupted by M.
M still with his "over-ripe okra" theme decided it needed a bit of a variation. "The older you get the less chances of getting a "good" girl. You will have to make do with...rejects."
Aaah!! Now what is a reject? Who rejects who? What? Why? No clue but I said, "Yeah, sure".
An aunt G asked me, concern writ large on her face, "But, when you pass by good looking women, do you not want to look at them?" My reply was short. "No," I said in my best "butter wouldn't melt in mouth" imitation. A white lie, of course, I am the biggest lech this side of the equator.
Then suddenly M got up and started to pace the floor excitedly. He obviously had his Eureka moment.
"But why are you without even a girlfriend?" he asked, his eyes aglow with naughty thoughts.
Actually I did not, but was obviously trying hard not having to answer that question correctly. After all, why would I want to admit that women do not, er...ahem...find me attractive enough and that too to M.
"Work and travel and no time basically," I managed to say.
"You know, do you like um…like…you know, you don't like girls...."
Oh! God, things were going from bad to worse here. I figured out what he meant (obviously have slowed down due to age). B, a cousin who stays in Bangalore, started to guffaw at this interpretation and slowly all the snickers around the drawing room turned to guffaws.
And in the centre of all this stood M, resplendent in his faded, black, baggy, draw-string Bermuda.
I had to do something about this and fast. I said, "Look guys I am not...like that. Just that I am asexual.”
The guffaws/snickers stopped as though they had run into a solid wall.
The family went into a huddle. As it always does in moments of extreme crises.
What is asexual?!?!?
Does it mean...er...what does it mean? Does it, you know....
OH! MY GOD!!!! HE DOES NOT HAVE.......THEM.
This was a killer cavalry charge that I was not prepared for. Well and truly into the fire from the frying pan. I had to explain.
Just when I thought the worst was over, in chimed B about BPO Babes and the fact that Navi Mumbai was awash with them. B, the certified cute guy of the Family, forgot his virtuous act for a while and began to instruct me in the art of wooing them BPO Babes, while I realized that not one of the schemes was good enough as most of them seemed to require me to stay up beyond 10.00 pm - my sacred beddy-bye time.
At this juncture Kindly K stepped in.
Her take on the whole issue: Don't get married just for your sake.
Eh!?!?!?! I needed enlightenment. K's logic was, "Get married because it is the right thing to do."
Yeah! Sure, like that logic is going to work with me.
It was at this pain threshold that THE IDEA came to me.
I got up and announced, loudly,
"YES! You guys have convinced me that my life is thoroughly meaningless and the only way to rectify it is by getting married."
I added for good measure that like good cousins/aunts/uncles it was up to them to get me a bride.
I waited until the general torrent of relief, well meaning chaff, congratulations and other meaningless chatter came to an end. And then said,
Interesting, the power a single word sometimes possesses. There was a sudden quiet in the room. Having got their attention I continued, "But I will only marry a high profile MBA thing. Nothing less."
Before the howls of protests and questions of all kinds could reach their collective lips, I continued. I explained very patiently that it was in no way a view that only MBAs make for good brides but a purely practical one. After all, once I get married I would quit working and stay home.
What!!! Shrieked Kindly K. You want to be a...a...House husband?
"Yes" I beamed.
"That is my ultimate aim in life and I can think of no other highly evolved ambition." Eyes narrowed, lips were pursed and quizzical expressions met me at every turn of my bean. The Family had obviously never had to handle something this hot before.
Or from their perspective, this raving a lunatic.
After a space of about a minute or two came the questions, "Are you serious?" "Have you gone mad?" Etc, etc. I put on my totally bewildered act and asked what the problem was. Here I was in total agreement with them that I should get married and yet they were extremely unhappy.
My ultimatum was clear.
Get me a highly paid MBA. And then I'll get hitched. As I delivered the ultimatum the Family went into another huddle, the second of the day, tension writ large on their kindly faces.
That is when it struck me. This was actually a damn good idea.
Me seek MBA girl thing.
Me get married.
Then, me no work.
Me employ many servants.
Me Lord over them.
Wife Busy, Ambitious MBA so she no at home for long.
No have to spend time with her.
WOW!!! This be UTOPIA.
It's been days since the event, but the Family seems to still be in huddle mode. Hope they take up this offer of mine.