Tag Archives: Mothers

The Great Indian (Before) Marriage Tamasha – Part 3

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

arranged-marriage-597x400

Not to forget that this blog is attributed to the tamashaa that ensues in every house (almost every house), there are quite a few funny snippets that must be highlighted in the process.

In a lot of profiles that I have scanned, in the “about me” section, there would be details of the parents, brothers, sisters and the whole gamut of people in the family; but no information about the guy whatsoever. Poor guys! In some profiles, even their pet makes their presence felt but not the guy in question!! Heck, why is there a separate space for family details then?!?

Nearly 40% of the profiles that are available on these matrimonial sites have very funny descriptions – descriptions that use only adjectives (and I mean only adjectives) to describe how “good” the guy is. The most common adjectives that one would find are “nice, loving, caring, jovial…” and the likes. I thought all of us fit into those adjectives!! It’s so obvious that I don’t understand the reason why it is being stated! Ooh, the best part is their expectation for a “homely” girl. Here’s the dictionary meaning of the highlighted word:

HOME.LY / ˈhōmlē/

Adjective

(of a person) Unattractive in appearance

Synonyms – plain/simple/unsightly

Now we know what every guy wants!!! Bu ha ha ha *evil*

Most of the guys, on their profiles state that they don’t smoke or drink. But when you do start talking to them, they accept that they are social drinkers/smokers. Why hide it?!? Accept the facts as they are – it’s after all one’s personal choice and in today’s world, its acceptable and most of the girls don’t mind it at all. As the Tamil proverb goes “aayiram poi solli oru kalyaanam pannalaam” (read: One can say a 1000 lies to get married), I guess this just adds onto their bag of lies!! I appreciate guys who are really honest when it comes to this.

Can you believe it if I say that being the only child to my parents had become a disadvantage for me in the marriage market??!! We have received calls from parents who didn’t want to go ahead with the proposal just because I’m the only child.

And one parent even had the audacity to ask my mother if anything could be done…what does she expect?!? Does she expect my parents to adopt one or go through the entire process of delivering a child again?!? Oh boy, didn’t I enjoy the dressing down that the lady got from my mom for being so downright stupid!!

So what happens if the horoscope matches?!? Watch this space for more!

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Meet Shyam, The 11-Year-Old Snake Charmer

Shyam-11 year old snake charmer

This is the story of Shyam, whom this author met at a restaurant at the Delhi-Agra highway. He had a tale to be told so here it is.

How many of us have come back home after a bad day at office and thrown things around because of a bad meeting, bad boss, poor traffic, a stuck deal etc. While doing all this, little do we realise, that in a country where a third of the population lives upon what Montek Singh Ahluwalia calls enough income (Rs 30 per day), we are blessed to actually be on that road with a car, in that office with an AC and a computer, in a job with a 6 figure salary. Look around you and there are numerous without even basic amenities of food, clothing and shelter. This is one such story.

Meet Shyam, an 11-year-old, snake charmer from Kosi. For my western friends am sure being 11-year-old and being a snake charmer might sound a little unbelievable but in this country which is often presented in marketing meetings as the biggest market in Emerging countries, there are villages where 2-year-kids start training on learning to charm snakes as without any formal education and support, this is the only career they entitle themselves to.

I happened to jump onto this young lad when I was stepping out of a restaurant at the Delhi-Jaipur old highway. As usual after having splurged Rs 500 on a unnecessary lunch alongside my wife, I was headed towards my car for an afternoon siesta as my Driver would drive me back to Delhi. Suddenly I heard the sweetest “Bye Bye” I had ever heard. Just outside I saw Shyam with his friend, a snake.

As Shyam saw me interested, he lifted his snake and moved towards me with enthusiasm you only associate with someone who loves his job. At 11 years of age am not sure whether he really loved his job or whether he was trained so well. As he came towards me, I could not stop but wait to talk to him and here I am, narrating his story to all of you.

Shyam is all but 11-years of age. Studies and after his school helps his family by sitting outside the restaurant alongside his snake. I could not refrain myself from asking a foolish question. Whether he was scared of the snake or not. His reply was obvious “He is like my friend, I know it since a long time now and it never bites me”.

Shyam has a father who often drinks and beats up his mother, a mother who is often ill and two sisters who are 2 years and four years elder to him respectively. He says that they will get the older one married soon (I did not ask him whether he was known to the fact that getting a girl below the age of 18, married, entitles legal action).

So what does Shyam wants to become when he grows old. He wants to become an engineer and wants to study in the prestigious IIT. Believe me the kid knew this and also wanted to touch the tab I was carrying in my hands. I gave him that opportunity and he thanked me with all glitter that he could generate in those small eyes. I continued to talk to him as he fondled with my machine. I was a little scared about it but then Shyam was one kid who knew how to handle machines, he gave that feeling at least.

So how do you study I asked at home? “Oh that is not a problem at all, we have a light just outside our house which works almost all the time, that is where I study”. Remember the stories our mom’s used to say of IAS officers having become what they are studying under the streetlights. Why go far, don’t we remember the kind of struggles APJ Abdul Kalam undergo while he was studying to become India’s best weapons scientist.

So what kind of problems do you face I asked and what are you scared of. “My father beats me when I get home with less money.” It is here that I felt a pain pang in my heart. Such a sweet kid, wants to study, helps the family at a tender age when kids his age would be playing in the sun and still gets beaten up, I thought. How many times does he beat? Almost daily he said.

Leaving the beating aside our Shyam was happy with everything life has bestowed on him. He was happy to be sitting outside the restaurant with a wild snake while people eat in air-conditioned restaurant inside. But yes he has big dreams, he has dreams of gifting his mother a restaurant like this because he says that his mom cooks awesome food and he would like everyone to eat what she makes.

Moral of the real-life story is simple. Life outside is as tough as anything can get. Only the toughest can and will survive but the one’s that will be remembered would be the ones who survived it with a smile. I will thus definitely for all my life remember Shyam, the 11-year-old snake charmer.

It was time to say good bye and again the thank you that he said when I gifted him packets of chocolate, biscuit and money was the biggest gratification I could have received for anything I had done till date. Shyam, I would again meet you and pray that you step up the gas further and become India’s biggest and bestest engineer ever.