How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother
My dear son, it’s a duty of every father to be the guiding light for their progenies, to transfer their experiences and wisdom to the next generation . So, I think it’s time I should pay my due too. Boy, sooner you would be exposed to one of God’s most beautiful creatures as well as the vicious ones, the girls. So you need to have tactile skills beforehand in dealing with these nefarious sirens. And who on this planet is well qualified enough to be your lighthouse in the stormy sea, except you father. Even though it’s the tale of my fiasco but I will tell you, tell you every intricate detail of it, so that you are prepared for what lies in your unknown future.
Luck is a cosmic phenomenon that showers favour on you. It’s like a genie which bows to your every command. But what happens when instead of running to you, it starts to run parallel to you enticing you to its charm but as soon as you try to grab it, it evanescence in thin air.
It all started when I had the sprouts of first acne eruptions darting my dimple cheeks and I woke up with the wet fantasies of my naive years of my teen. It was for the first time in a long time I realised that the time had come that I should have an exclusive company of the fairer prototype and I jumped into the deep waters of the dating market. If you think it’s only girls who are concerned about their looks but let me tell you, that a boy too needs at least a diploma in the preening cognition which I happen to realise late, when after a month of struggling to remain buoyant in that deep sea, I drowned. Not even the short, fat, orthodontic girl living next door found me suitable enough to share the basic human greetings. It was the time to knock the door of self recognised playboys of the school. After the humble training under them and changing the hairstyle to latest cool hero style and after a lot of expensive gold bleach facial, I was able to net in an average girl that suited my annual pocket money inclusive of her expenses of local make up kit and McDonald and Domino bills. A man should be satisfied with what he has, after all the birds in the bush are better than none in hand.
I was happy thinking my hard work had finally bore me fruits. But soon my illusion was broken. Three months later that girl dumped me because my annual pocket money was not worthy enough to fulfil her basic bucket list. Thereafter I was dumped ten more times for the same reason by ten different girls in the span of one year. Again another realisation knocked my door making me understand the fact that having hot currencies in the bank account is the quintessential criteria to hook the crook. I invoke my long dead friendship with books again, only to find it took me fourteen long years to barely touch the baseline, with a humble MBA degree and modest package.
I was thirty. The age to step further on the ladder, instead of a girlfriend I was supposed to think in the line of long term fixed deposit policy like having a wife. My fourteen years of hermit lifestyle classified me among the lights of classical Indian groom. I showed all the signs and symptoms to be the one of the good catch, from 5’10’ lithe, to fair complexion, secured job, good package, an excellent future prospects, well settled, own house, own car and own dog named ‘Shimp’. But when ‘Shimp’ too got hooked with the neighbourhood bitch, it really got my mother worried about my greying, balding head. Her concerns for finding me a descent girl started to give her sleepless nights; therefore she went all fast and furious for a bride hunt for me.
Finding a bride is like an intense cardio exercise. The heart starts to race at the pace of bullet train, and one is left parched, dehydrated and gasping for air at the end of work up regimen.
I went through many such programmes. There is a big questioner, in which every question needed to be attempted and answered by the ‘would be’ Indian groom. The question could range from his favourite cologne to the brand of underwear he wears. The syllabus is always vast and the questions could come from not only the bride’s father but also from her ‘n’ number of near and distant uncles. Once when one is sieved through that, the girl makes an appearance. Once she too checks you right, the file moves to the department of astrology where stars decide over your final fate, whether or not this holy matrimony would be successful or not. This is a complete modulus operandi going behind the curtains of the on-stage matrimonial bliss. At any point of this ‘Circle of Life,’ if there is any incongruence in the process, it is terminated immediately at that level and the process resumes fresh from the very start all over again.
I had been a part of this vicious circle plenty of times that I could read a PhD level paper about it at Oxford University. Anyways, by the grand efforts of my mother, we were able to ‘zero’ on a so-called perfect girl according to the so-called Indian standard. According to our astrologer, it was a match made in heaven, the girl would walk like my shadow. Finally, I was engaged to get married six months later. The courtship period revived the once dead Romeo charm in me and I was swept off the feet to the spell of love. It was spring again in my deserted heart. But since it was my first time, I couldn’t decipher the rules of courtship properly.
In those six months, I met my fiance just four to five times as compared to the average 180 times by the standard rule book. There were never midnight long talks, no gift exchanges, no to ‘be first to wish birthday greetings’, no update of our couple pics on her Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, nothing at all. It was a dry spell with no forecast of monsoon in near future. I, on other hand, was religiously following the textbook. The only explanation that I could draw out or satisfy my heart with was maybe she was shy or too introvert. But that seemed quite a paradox. At an average rate of at least two hundred and fifty pictures were updated by her every day on her Facebook account which included her rides on rickshaw, pouting at the Delhi metro line running from Rohini to Shadra or having a masala tea at a roadside stall. She had in total two eighty pictured with ‘Shimp’ too, my dog but with me only two or three in which I look more or less like a stranger accidentally captured in the frame.
I wish I would have known to read the providence sign language; I would have saved myself a day and consequently a heartbreak.
Just a month before our wedding date, the girl called off our marriage. She had a drastic change of heart, mind and soul. According to her, she has fallen in love with my cousin whom she first met at our engagement party. For her it was love at first sight. The surreal feeling she never felt before. Surprisingly my cousin reciprocated it too, it was too his love at first blink moment. There long fairy tale love story cut short, she was busy courting my cousin while she had my ring in her finger. All those pictures on the social networking site started to make sense. I could now spot him in every picture of her. I thought she was getting familiar with the family but instead she was touching bases of prenuptial adultery. All those night calls of courtship that I had a right over fell in like Newton’s apple in my brother’s lap. My so-called shadow deserted me at midnight in the middle of nowhere.
There was a grand family meeting called which included my family, her family and my brother’s family. Look at the justice of providence, instead of them being reprimanded for their weekend sins, everyone present in that room was trying to talk me out of the espousal. I was given a long statistic of failure of such matrimonials with live examples. I wanted to scream but I hid my frustration under the covers of a decent boy image. In no time I agreed to step out of this matrimony and in next second my brother stepped into my shoe. The ball pen corrections were made in the published wedding cards. Everything was left the same except the groom’s name was changed. Since he happened to be my cousin brother, our guest list was almost the same and since he happened to be more or less of my body dimension, all my wedding shopping was automatically transferred to his accounts. The girl, who once happened to be my fiance, was so touched by my selfless act of sacrificing the wife material to my brother that she vowed to tie rakhi on my hand, every year since then, to the end of time.
Son, the girl in question is your Aunt Pammi, the one who keeps stretching your cheeks. I know you don’t like her. Let me share a secret with you, I detest her too.
So at the end of the day, on my so-called wedding day, in my so-called groom’s outfit, my so-called to-be-wife and in front of my so-called acquaintance, I stood there as ‘Best man’. And that particular day, by default of destiny, I got my name registered in golden letters in the pages of history of Brotherhood. Even though I know, I turned out to be the clown, the laughing stock of the town.
Again, I got myself in the vicious circle of wife hunt, another regimen of intense cardio workout and palpating anticipatory anxieties. One year later, the vigorous hard work of my mother and aunts, they were able to draw another gem out of the mushroomed matrimonial market. She was nice, beautiful and polite and I thought I had hit the bull’s eye. This time I made sure she stayed away from all the boys of my family and friend circle from age eighteen to thirty-five. I deliberately reduced the courtship period to one month time and preponed my wedding date. I had burned my fingers in the past and I was taking all the precautions in the safety manual.
Everything was snowboarding smoothly till that one last crucial week before the date of our marriage, the girl called it off. A life-altering tragedy just knocked on my door all over again.
So this nice, beautiful and polite girl, once upon a time had a boyfriend whom she was in relationship for the past ten years and was almost on the verge of getting united forever. Before she met me, they had a big fight and broke off to become sworn enemies, until recently, when the girl was almost about to marry me. The thought of losing her forever to another man got her boyfriend at cliff end of worst ever nervous breakdown. At first, he tried talking the girl out of the wedlock but when she refused out of ego and a much-delayed apology from his side, as the last resolve the Romeo boy tried to commit suicide by nicking his vein at the wrist.
Her long lost love for her suicidal boyfriend resurrected out of the grave and with tears in her eyes and prayer on her lips, she pleaded me to release her. The few blood droplets of her paramour weighed way more than my second time broken heart.
Again a big Punjabi family meeting was called which included my family, her family and the paranoid lover boy’s family too. And as always instead of those two facing the heat, the words of grand old wisdom was influxed into my cranium. As always my initial response was to scream my lungs out to tell them that I am not a freak and don’t need their advice, it’s that other boy who is a psycho here in our love triangle. I strongly fought that urge and maintained my good boy image. History was repeated again, I caved and gave away my girl.
The ball pen changes were again made to alter the groom’s name on invitation cards printed from the girl’s side. The invitation cards published from my side was just the piece of crap. Look at the irony, at first we went to cordially invite friends and family and then we made the phone calls to one and all to undo their reservations. Everyone wanted to know the reason behind the sudden call off and of course we have no reasons to deny them to answer their questions. So we rattled the prattle over and over again the after the tenth time, we just robotically told the whole tale without even being asked for it.
Again on my so-called wedding day, my so-called bride-to-be married another man. Though I had an invitation I declined it. I again ended up adorning the hat of the clown of the town.
The thing with Indian middle-class Punjabi families is that even if this God comes and vouches for my authenticity and victim-hood in previous two cases, still there would be finger raised on my surf-excel white character. Therefore to be on a safer side, my mother got a testimonial duly written, signed and stamped with their name, address, mobile number, Land-line number, fax number and e-mail address on it from those two girls who dumped me at the eleventh hour. They accepted their mistakes and wrote me the best character certificate for future reference in the matrimonial circle.
Once can be a mistake but twice is a reputation and I had garnered myself with the status of being wifeless at the altar. I began to think of myself being jinxed and lost all hopes. But, my mother, against all tides of time, displayed enormous courage and leaps of faith that at the end of another year, she found me yet another girl and claimed her to be my prodigal wife. I wanted a quick fix betrothment. My delicate heart couldn’t go through another of the providence wicked joke.
I insisted on an on the spot court marriage, just after the engagement, but the bride’s parents were stubborn about organising grand pomp and show for their only daughter after three sons. The negotiation of time between the engagement and the marriage went between the two parties and finally, the bid was settled for three months. Though my heart skipped every second beat, I caved in for the proposal. After all, I can’t make them share the burden of my anticipatory fear. I had nothing like a piece of evidence to vouch for my worst weather days.
With crossed fingers and prayer on my lips, I again began to walk the unknown road. But this time I left no stone unturned to nail this wedlock. I consulted three astrologers to brush away the nefarious clouds of bad luck hovering over my head. Did whatever they told me to shove away the dark shadow of providence and went on my knees pleading for divine intervention. I got every lucky charm known to mankind installed on my walls, windows, doors and even on the anatomy of my body. A large part of the currency from my accounts was invested in collecting these extra-terrestrial equipment. I didn’t stop at that. I hired detective to put my girl under 24X7 surveillance, without her knowledge. I hired the best man for the work. Each date that I cancelled on the calendar, waiting for the finale, my heart ran at a very high rate.
My family said I was becoming a little paranoid. In my defence, people of my category with two failed ‘almost marriages’ ends up in an asylum. So paranoid was a good prognostic symptom.
Things ran pretty smooth this time. The detective agencies were almost on the verge of giving my going to be bride a clean chit. The jinxed last month before the marriage date went uneventful and so the jinxed last week too. The happiness of finally getting married started to swell my heart and turned me red and pink.
This time, I really got to ride the horse and head the procession. I was positive; my life was going to change for the best. I was standing at the threshold of the venue for my wedding. I was just about to step in, with my leg in mid-air; the girl’s father came running from the end of the aisle and jumped over me hugging me tightly. I couldn’t breathe for obvious two reasons, one being the iron clasp in which I was trapped and two, I could feel it in my bones that there is going to be yet another episode of repetition of my despicable fate.
The girl ran away with her boyfriend just an hour before the wedding. The covetous story of my runaway bride was later revealed by her parents. According to it her parents were against the choice of her boy as it would be an inter-caste wedlock. The girl tried to reason them out but parents were adamant like a mountain. Initially, she bowed to their demands but that happened to be just the cover-up to execute her ulterior plan. For the last three months, she has been clandestinely planning her runaway and she succeeded too. With an in build reputation of being the sacrificial animal, I happened to be the secret integrate of her recipe.
Again the big Punjabi family meeting was called including my family and her. Everyone was trying to sympathize with me and quote verses from Bhagavad Gita to lessen my pain. But instead, they kicked wake the fire breathing dragon inside me. For the first time in my lifetime without giving any heed to my so-called good boy image, I shouted from the depths of my diaphragm and asked everyone to leave me alone. I didn’t think I had the courage to dress in a groom’s attire ever again in my life, anymore.
It may be funny for people outside those four walls but I was suffering excruciating unbearable pain in my heart. I sat in that big room alone to clear my head and hide my tears. There was something that was not making sense. Even after getting the best man behind that girl, they couldn’t sniff out this major detail of her having an inter-caste boyfriend. I made the call to them and drained out my rage into their ear. But still, after being reprimanded they held their grounds. They had made no mistake they said and still for customer’s satisfaction they were going to re-access my case and would be sending me refined details of their finding in couple of minutes. I told them there was no need now but they kept insisting. I disconnected, apologies were not going to balm my wounds. The things were not only confusing but mind-boggling.
But then something least expected happened. A girl was hiding in my room, whose presence I wasn’t aware of. Suddenly she decided to reveal herself.
“I am very sorry for your loss.” She said and then introduced herself as my runaway bride’s first cousin. I couldn’t redirect my anger to any of my runaway bride’s acquaintance; moreover, she happened to be a beautiful girl. Whether it was appropriate or not but I really liked her presence in the solitude of that room. She seemed perfect and I felt that this moment should never ever get over. Was I having my ‘love at first blink’ moment or ‘the time the earth stood still’ experience, I don’t know? All I knew it was surreal.
A small sympathy driven chitchat mutated itself into a little informal repartee. I wanted to take it to next level at the very night but my mobile started to beep along, posing as the unwanted hindrance to those heavenly feelings that I was floating through. I tried to ignore it but my What’s App inbox was full and it was constantly reminding me of an urgent adjustment. Therefore unwantedly, I was forced to do the needful only to find that my display screen flashed with the girl’s picture that stood in front of me with her entire history, starting from her birth to this present moment in my vicinity.
It was a difficult equation to crack. Have the detective agency that I hired, had gone nuts? Did they feel guilty over the failed case of my runaway bride and thought the only way to save the reputation of their firm was to place this girl that I was garnering a liking for, in my platter? And in the confusion of figuring out what’s what, my mobile dropped and she picked it up for me. But unintentionally her eyes brushed over the contents of my phone’s screen. Before I could explain myself, she started to draft apologies. The situation became more complicated than ever.
Then whatever she revealed took away the leftover earth beneath my feet. My runaway bride knew of my reputation of being the fool because of my prior two failed almost wedding, therefore, agreed for wedlock. She needed a month time to plan her escape; I gave her that much-needed opportunity to her. Her parents were under the impression that I was keeping a check on her every move and therefore they loosened their grip on her. She too was keeping a eye on my every move and she not only outsmarted all of us but my detective agency too when she replaced the picture of her that I gave to my spy with her cousin’s photograph with help of her tech-savvy boyfriend. Rest of the plan was just a piece of cake. It started to make all sense to me now. Suddenly I realised the girl standing next to me was no innocent, she was one of the conspirators too. That was heartbreaking, I really liked her.
“I am sorry…I know I can’t reduce your agony or humiliation that you are suffering for the third time but if it’s any respite, I was jealous of my sister when she got engaged with you. You were too good to be true for her. From very first sight that I laid on you, I liked you, really, I swear. And probably because of being enticed by the green-eyed monster of envy, I helped her or helped myself, distancing you two. I am so sorry…” The way she said with tears in her puppy dog eyes, Oh! she looked very cute. And I couldn’t resist smiling. Someone wanted me too desperately, the feeling felt good.
On that night of my wedding, under the roof of that closed room, without giving any thinking thought to my action, I just went down on my knees proposing the girl who said she liked me. Skipping all the initial steps of courtship, which I usually flunk at, I straightaway proposed marriage then and there.
She was flushed pale but soon the red plethora started to colour her cheeks and her eyes bend over the burden of shyness and a polite ‘yes’ slipped out of her lips. Again a big family meeting was called almost including everyone from the guest list. It took them three hours to decide over it and rest was just the big Punjabi wedding formalities.
All praise to almighty, I was married on that day. Though instead of me being sidelined this time, my bride was replaced and at last I got married. And I am lucky to have this woman in my life, the woman who is your mother now.
“Honey, don’t you think our son is too young to understand our love fable? After all, he is just a day old,” said my dotting adorable wife. The exhaustion of bringing the bundle of joy in my life was still evident on her face. I just smiled.
How could I explain to her that a boy should be trained as soon as possible because it’s an unknown world out there with danger lurking at every turn and corner? I didn’t want him to repeat the mistakes that I committed in my life; I was just trying to save him. After all, I am his father and that’s what fathers do.