Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Woes of a 30+ Bachelor

Much like Mrs. Bennet & Co. my family has had this opinion that a single man in good health and wealth is in urgent need of a wife.

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.

"Well!" I spluttered, "you know how it is."

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.
And almost before I finished out came the question, "are you, you know ….er….ahem…like that?" "Like what?" I asked, all bewildered.

"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....


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.


Boss, everything that needs to be there is there. I should know, after all I check once a month. The snickers started again.

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.

Monday, August 14, 2006

India Quiz - 3

Here is the next batch of questions. Please put down the answers in the comments section and get back here for the right answers on April 21, 2006.


1.What was unique about the personal bodyguards of the Maurya rulers?
They were all women.

2.In Vedic times a Brahmin boy was considered equal to an animal until a certain event took place. What was that event?
The Upanayanam (Thread ceremony)

3.Who was the only woman to ascend the throne of Delhi?
Razia Sultana.

4.How many children did Gandhari have?
101. A hundred Kauravas and a daughter, Dushshala. Jayadratha was her husband.

5.Tough but very workable: Indravarma, the king of Malava had something in his possession that helped the Pandavas slay Drona in the battle of Kurukshetra. What was this “something”?
An elephant named Ashwatthama. Bhima killed this elephant and announced that Ashwatthama was dead. At this Drona lay down his arms and was slayed by Dhrishtadyumna.

The scores are:
Saikrishna Budamgunta – 5
Anil Menon – 4
(Sorry Anil cannot accept Namakarana of a Brahmin boy as the right answer.)
Prateek Vijayavargia – 2

Friday, August 11, 2006

India Quiz - 2

Here is the next batch of questions. Please put down the answers in the comments section and get back here for the right answers on April 17, 2006.

1. Mythological heroes in India often had more than one name. Which very famous personality was also known as: Krishna, Kapidhvaja, Bibhatsu, Dhananjaya, Savyasachi, Kiriti.

2. Which Indian ruler was a so impressed by the French Revolution that he even became a member of the Jacobin Club?

3. Who did General Hugh Rose refer to, after the Revolt of 1857, as “the only man among the rebels”?

4. The name of which Indian deity has made its way into the English language and has come to mean “a massive inexorable force or object that crushes whatever is in its path”?

5. How do we better know Mihr-un-nisa in Indian history?

2.Tipu Sultan.
3.Rani Lakshmibai.
4.Lord Jaggannath of Puri. The word is Juggernaut
5.Nur Jahan

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

India Quiz - 1

From today starts a series of Quizzes on Indian History, Mythology and Culture. I will be putting up a set of five questions once every three days. I would like to invite all you folks to take a crack at these questions.

Put down your responses in the comments section and then check back for the correct answers.

The answers to these questions will be put up on the date mentioned below.

Happy Quizzing.

1. In ancient India, this river was referred to as Shatadru. How do we know it now?
2. Who was the ruler of the territory between the rivers Jhelum and the Ravi at the time of Alexander’s invasion of India?
3. Who sent Megasthenes as his ambassador to the Mauryan Court?
4. What was the original name of Mahabharata?
5. Name the kingdom over which Dasharatha ruled.


1. Sutlej.
2. Paurava or Porus as the Greeks called him.
3. Seleucus Nikator.
4. Jaya. It was said of the Mahabharata, “What is here maybe found elsewhere too but what is not here cannot be found anywhere.”
5. Kosala.