Saturday, February 11, 2012

Need help catching Cupid's eye?

‘Love is in the air’ someone said the other day and I promptly looked at the calendar to find myself in the middle of February once again.  

Every time I hear this phrase, by reflex, I tilt my head up and sniff at the air like a hound on a scent only to wipe the drool pooled by the spicy aroma wafting in from my neighbor’s kitchen.  Love, I guess, requires specially designed noses.

My mother was telling me recently over one of our informative phone conversations how very difficult it is these days to find a bride for a boy in India.  According to her, girls in India are now plowing through the field of marriageable boys, harvesting only the best of them after ruthless scrutiny.  Her blessed heart was fretting over the fate of those poor boys that don’t ever make the cut.

And that got me thinking:  Is it time to reveal my secret?   Do I have the right to sit on this anymore when it could potentially change lives?  Knowing that I have the power to make it happen, can I really live with myself if I don’t lend a helping hand to those boys who yearn for their turn to be struck by Cupid’s arrow?  Will the crest-fallen faces of those bearded youth haunt my sleep forever?  

After a whole minute of thinking, I decided to come clean and tell the world about it if only to get back to my dreamless sleep. 

Coming from a conservative South Indian family, my sisters and I owe our timely marriages at the tender age of early twenties to two things.  
1.  Good luck – Never underestimate the power of luck in a South-Indian wedding.  How else can you get the kind astrologer to declare your horoscopes ‘MATCHED’?  No matching, no wedding so if the astrologer turns his nose down at your horoscope, you may be Rajinikanth for all the good that will do you.  A conservative South-Indian father would still boot you from here to Amjikkarai.  

So is it any wonder that my sisters and I feel such gratitude for the powers above for lining up the dominoes correctly on our horoscopes?  If the ‘Guru’ on our horoscopes hadn’t winked at his brothers on our spouses’ horoscopes just at the right moment, where would we be today?  God’s grace is bountiful indeed! 
2.     Apsaras Photo Studio – This is the secret that I have been safe-guarding all these years.  Second to luck, I owe my ‘mangal sutra’ to this Studio and the time has come for me to reveal it to this world so all mankind can benefit from it.

Want to get married?  Go to Apsaras Studio today and get your photo taken.  I guarantee that proposals will start flowing your way before you can sneeze and say’ bless you’.

But WAIT!  This photo is not for the eyes of your prospective girl.  Oh dear lord, no!   Not if you want a fighting chance with the girl.  Pose for the photo, pay for it, then quietly tuck it away like I did because an Apsaras Studio photo is never flattering to the subject and that is God’s honest truth.  

Say, for example, you have a few pimples artfully spread on your face.  Little pomegranate seeds just sprinkled here and there like cilantro in a bowl of ‘Chole’.  Left alone, no one will be the wiser for they don’t attract too much attention other than lending sweetness to that young face, right?  Wrong!  Once Apsaras’s photographer is done with you, each one of those pimples will stand tall as a solder on a battlefield.   

Got small pores on your face?  ‘Yes, but they are hardly noticeable’, you may say.   Wrong again, my friend.  The Apsaras photographer will diligently adjust his lighting and make it his life’s mission to highlight each one of your pores to ensure that ‘posterity will not willingly let them die’.  

I have always wondered about the camera equipment they use.  How special it must really be to be able to zoom in on a standing subject from the bottom to give the subject a very unique ‘bloated’ effect!  Man, was I awestruck when I got my photo back from Apsaras all those years ago!  It reminded me of those Telugu movies on TV about Gods where NT Rama Rao will grow in height and weight by magical proportions to give his devotees a viswaroopa dharisanam.  I looked just like that in the photo.  

Be that as it may, that photo was my ticket to marriage.  Till then, Ragu and his friends residing on my horoscope were most disinterested in cooperating.  Once I subjected myself to a photo session at Apsaras, as if from a trance, dear Guru woke up and winked promptly at the astrologer and the rest, as they say, is history.
Happy February to one and all!  May Apsaras Studio continue to be the miracle that will stop all those youngsters in India flocking to a monastery!

PS:  Contact me privately for more details on Apsaras.  Serious inquiries only.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Desi Mom!

“You are SUCH a Desi Mom”.  At her wits’ end one day over one of our daily routine arguments, my daughter hurled the words at me in exasperation and stomped off upstairs to sulk in the sanctuary of her restroom.  

What??  Hold it right there buster.  Was that supposed to be an insult?  Tsk, tsk, tsk…. you poor baby!

I have had better punch in a fizzled-out coke.  As I happen to be a Mom with so many deep roots in India as to shame a Banyan Tree into drooping its branches, I naturally fall under the proud race that is commonly referred to as Desis.  Given this fact, I hope you’ll understand why I clucked my tongue at my daughter’s receding back with pity.   As exits go, it wasn’t her best.  Poor child!

To my surprise, subsequent conversations with fellow Desi moms brought to light an interesting fact. Apparently all our children have been drawing from the same well of insults all these years, pitiful as it is.  After one of our recent ‘sob and tell’ parenting woes sessions, we discovered that we had all, at some point, been at the receiving end of some form or the other of the following accusation. 

  1. ·        Why do you have to be SUCH A MOM? (a cry of agony)
  2. ·        YOU DESIS! (in utter disgust)
  3. ·        God!  You are such a Desi. (also uttered in extreme disgust)
  4. ·        God!  You are such a Mom. (???)

In keeping with the spirit of the theme, they also use ‘You Asians’ every now and then.

Lately, I find myself pondering a lot about what it is about a Desi Mom/parent that brings out such eye-rolling exasperation in our kids.  Why do we push our kids into tearing out their poor, unoiled hair roots so much?  Here are a few reasons from the top of my head.

  • A Desi Mom loses more than her sleep over a ‘B’ grade on her child’s report card.  At times she loses control over her bowels too.
  • A Desi Mom believes in regularly checking with her fellow Desi moms about all the academic and after-school pursuits of their offsprings.  After all, she does not want her child to be deprived of any such advantages.
  • A Desi Mom manages to find time every day to fit at least 3 lectures to her children about the importance of Studies, especially science and math, in one’s life. 
  • A Desi Mom will silently thank her stars when the US public school system offers to take responsibility for talking about puberty and other unmentionable subjects to her kids in school.  She also breaks out a sweat when her child gets home and wants to discuss those unmentionable subjects to her.
  • A Desi Mom is a stickler for organization.  Her children never are. 
  • A Desi Mom hates the word ‘boyfriend’ as fiercely as she does ‘dating’, ‘drugs’, ‘alcohol’ and ‘cigarettes’.   She will not hesitate to give her life to protect her children from these evil ‘boyfriends’.
  • A Desi Mom loves to play dress-up whether her child wants to play or not.  She will hound her daughter every single busy school morning until she picks a shirt that reveals no more than her upper collarbone for this world to see.
  • A Desi Mom is inquisitive by nature.  She insists on knowing the background of every human that interacts with her child.  She doesn’t understand why her child thinks it is insulting.
  • A Desi Mom strongly feels her children do not know the value of money.  She worries about their materialistic attitude even as she showers them regularly with unnecessary games and gifts.  ‘Money does not grow on trees’ is a phrase that all Desi children are familiar with.
  • A Desi Mom expects no less than complete obedience/respect from her children even when she packs them off to a school that encourages them to ask questions.  ‘Because I say so’ is a phrase she uses often at home.   
Well!  That is just from the top of my head. 

While I believe a lot of the characteristics that I have listed here may belong to an unlabeled, regular 'Mom" as well, I believe we Desis are blessed with just a little bit more irritable traits than others to earn the very unique 'Desi Mom' title from our children.  Here, at the end of this very weird essay, I am proud to raise my cup of rasam in a salute to all my fellow 'Desi' moms. :-)  

Go Desis!