Monday, July 19, 2010

A Suitable Boy.

Cartoon postcard "What Did You Think?&quo...Image via Wikipedia
 Iyengar Boy - “Mom, I've decided to get married."

 The Seshadhris were only too ecstatic to hear these words pop out of
 their elder son's mouth, yet afraid at the same time. After all, their
 son did study in the United States for 3 years. And from what they heard
 from their neighbors, the States "do things" to perfectly normal
 sons. What if he wanted to marry a white girl? The blasphemy! How would
 they ever explain to their relatives?

 "Indian no?” Mrs. Seshadhri asked, nervously.

 "Iyengar.... "

 "Oh thank god! Chamathu da nee. We'll see the girl tomorrow! And I'll
 have to call all our relatives to inform them. Ha! First I'll call
 your aththai. Her son went to the states and ended up with one of
 those...Punjabi a? Ya, Punjabi-o ennavo. But my son? Chamatha Iyengar
 ponnu paathutaan."


 "What? I know I'm getting excited but it’s not everyday your son gets
 married! First ponnu paakanum. Give me her address."

 "I can't give the girl's address."

 "Why not? “interrupted Mr.Seshadhri. "Is it because they don't know It’s
 okay, we'll convince them"

 "No, it’s because there is no girl"

 "Ennada solrey?" chorused the parents.

 "I am in love with an Iyengar, yes. But it’s not a girl. It’s a boy"


 "Is this some kind of TV show? Is some shaniyan going to come with a
 camera and say all this is some joke? I know! Vijay TV-la Simbhu is doing
 something like this. He's going to come now, isn't he?"

 "No mom, nobody's behind your almirah. This is real. I want to get
 married to him and him only"

 "This is not normal, you know that?"

 "Appa, who're you to say that it's not normal? How do you know that it
 isn't normal? I want to get married to him and that's the end of it" and
 he stormed out of the room.

 The Seshadhris were appalled, and did what any other parents would do
 when presented with such a private confession. They called the entire
 family over to discuss it.

 Mamas, Mamis, Thathas, Paatis, Chithappas, Chiththis, Aththais,
 Athimbers, Perippas, Perimmas and a motley crew of cousins promptly
 assembled to exchange their views over filter coffee and masala vadais.

 "Enna kodumai Seshadri idhu"

 "This is not the time to joke; it’s a very serious issue pa. Namma
 community-la this is just not done"

 "Are you sure about this? I mean was he joking?"

 "Will anybody joke about things like this? Avan serious-a dhaan irukaan.
 He's gay."

 "Amma Amma, what's a gay?" interrupted 6 year old Achu, loudly.


 "Sshhh, Achu. Go play outside with Kichu." said his visibly embarrassed

 Achu promptly ran outside hollering KICHU! GAY-NA BAD WORD DA!


 "Yea. I'm hoping he gets a girlfriend soon."

 "Shree, he's 6"

 "The earlier the better. And I'm so not sending him to the US"

 "Not everyone turns out like that. My son married a perfectly nice girl.
 Enna, she's Punjabi. But very nice girl."

 "You know she has a beard, right?"

 "Oh please! At least she's a girl."

 "Enough enough. This is not about her daughter-in- law's beard. Idhu
 konjam serious-aana matter."

 "Yes yes. There are so many fundamental complications Like if this
 marriage does go on, who gets to be the Maapla veedu?"

 "Chechu make it clear to them that we will be the groom's house. We will
 demand our rights"

 "Hey, who gets to tie the thaali?"

 "Will there even be a thaali?"

 "Maybe they'll tie a golden poonal around him"

 "One more doubt. The girl usually sits on her father lap when they tie
 the thaali. Does this mean that the son sits on his mothers lap? How
 does that work exactly?"

 "Yea! And then usually the girl wears that special koora-podavai before
 she ties the knot. Do we have to get this guy a koora-veshti? "

 "Atleast you'll save on all those silk saris."

 "And that Mehndi thing. Unless your son wants it, of course"

 "Hahahaha! Thats so g...nothing"

 An uncomfortable silence followed, but was swiftly interrupted by the

 "Come to think of it, that golden poonal will weigh a lot"

 "Does your future...err son-in-law cook?"

 "Aiyo! Don't call him son-in-law! I don't even want this to happen!"

 "Maybe you should do that. Vidaatha. Then he'll come around"

 "No way, then he'd elope. Odi poyiduvaan!"

 "Thats not good for the family name."

 "Thu! As if marrying a boy is very honorable."

 "And besides, eloping-na, usually the girl runs away, gets a baby and
 then only gets accepted back in the household. This is how it is in
 all Tamil padams"

 "Ok, but how the heck is these guys going to get a baby?"

 "My point exactly, so they won't elope"

 "Which is worse. What if they get together like those villains in
 Vettaiyaadu Villaiyaadu? "

 "Aiyo! That's a movie about homosexual psychopaths! You're son is too
 sensitive for that. He cried in the climax of Kabhi Khushi Kahi Gham, for
 heaven's sake!"

 "Appovey we should have noticed..."

 "You think there's some kind of homeopathy treatment for this? Or
 Ayurveda? Some kashayam or something?"

 "No no, its a state of mind. No kashayam can cure it"

 "Or should we send him to a psychiatrist? "

 "Illai. Those psychiatrists are Peter pans. They'll end up brainwashing
 us about how we are educated and must accept him the way
 he is"

 "Adhaan pannanum" said Mr.Seshadhri, finally.

 The entire household went mute.

 "You mean...we have to get him married? To that...that boy?"


 "Only then, he'll be happy."

 "Aiyo sentiment thaangamudilai"

 "My decision is final. I'll go call him and find that other boy's number.
 I have plenty to talk to his parents."

 The household watched him go with a rather stern resolve in absolute
 silence. The only sound was the jowku-jowku of Paati eating Vadai.

 "Enna paati? What do you think?" said one of the cousins, finally
 breaking yet another uncomfortable silence.

 "Ennadhaan payyana love pannaalum, atleast Iyengar payyana paathu love
 pannane, adhuve porum!