“I don’t know what has come over that girl. She was a nice sensible young woman with a healthy fondness for fun, late night parties and impromptu picnics. Otherwise, we would not have admitted her to our gang. See, we guys work hard for a living. You know…the 12 hour grind of grueling day. At the end of it, we like a bit of let up so we’ve got this nice set of like-minded girls and boys and we spend an evening either chatting or just listening to music
Kirti was one of us. Then she got this big idea about pleasing her parents and marrying the guy they had lined up for her. You know the usual foreign returned types. We tried to talk her out of it. I mean why did she have to give up a perfectly normal and healthy life for this mushy thing called marriage? There was no way we could stop her. We did the next best thing- we pooled in dough and gave her a whopping gift- a six-day escape to a holiday resort. That’s seems to have done the damage. That girl has a moony look in her eyes now and raves about her ‘darling hubby” like he is some special creature from outer space. Women!”
“You should feel happy for her”, I intervened.
“Happy! Good luck to her but does she have to put on the mantle of a do-gooder and try to slap on ‘sweetness and spread light’ act like some angel? That is the hitch. She wants to convert us now. The other day she invites me to a pooja in her house! Ugh! When I refused, she gave me a lecture on ‘social interaction” and how one must ‘allot time’ to society to keep it a “homogenous entity”. What crap! Then she comes out with another whopper-that I should meet her husband’s tenth removed cousin as she is ‘wonderful wife material”-like Reid and Taylor! She is crazy. Imagine one sheep inviting another to the slaughterhouse! Worse still, when I refused, she treats me to another homily, this time on my having to tackle life in ‘planned phase” and ‘set a goal’ and “strategise my future course”. I tell you-marriage plays havoc with a girl’s nut. Must be some form of hypnotism-the priest chants all that claptrap in some lingo and wham! The girl goes bonkers. The tragedy is that she is actually enjoying it. She is all thrilled about the chocolate mousse her mother-in-law made and wants us to go over to taste it”!
There was no way I could console Shyam and I left him, brooding over the vagaries of life and marriage…
Rrrrrrrrrrrring..I picked up the phone.
“Hello, Shyam here. Listen- keep yourself free on the 25th. I am throwing a party to celebrate my engagement”
“Bbbbut”, I stuttered. “You too”?
“Yeah, you know my mom. She cries bucketful of tears when I don’t say ‘yes’ to her whims. She’s got this thing about dying without having a ‘bahu’ and stuff”
“Does this bahu know how to make chocolate mousse”? I asked him.
He hung up.