If you ask me what is funny about being days away from turning 29, still decidedly single and of Indian descent? Turns out, a lot- but it probably also depends on how you look at it. If you asked my family, you would think the world was falling apart. If you ask me, it’s one giant, unending, roller coaster that’s pretty funny, if only in retrospect.
‘Dish it!’, I hear you say, ‘Give us the good, the bad and the ugly’. Don’t you fear, my pretties, your voyeuristic tendencies will not go unsatisfied. This gal, came ready dish.
I guess it all started when I was around 24 and failed my USMLE Step 1. Well, really it started at around 23 when the proposals started coming for the “nice, quiet, prayerful girl I’ve seen singing at church and is now in Med school!” (if only they knew). Thankfully, “being busy with educating myself” was the perfect excuse to keep those at bay. But once I’d failed the licensing exam, there seemed to be an almost instinctive reach for the insurance policy that apparently, is marriage. Initially it seemed very cute and movie like until, of course, oxymoronic reality struck.
A pennukanal (kind of an arranged date, where your family shows up, as the most awkward of posse-s) seemed like a cute little tradition, until I was asked, by my family, to wear waaay more makeup than I do in real life, don a full jewelry set along with a sari and, even strap on some heels under said sari (in an indoor setting where no-one else wears shoes). Talking to a guy on the phone, after our parents had spoken first, seemed adorably protective, until each conversation was followed by a conversation with said parents on how soon we could head to India to possibly “fix a date” for the big day. Even the most mundane task of updating a matrimonial profile picture or even eventually FB profile pics, seemed safe, until every upload was followed by a series of texts and phone calls to my mom and me- urging me to reconsider my upload since I looked quite ‘bad’ because I was ‘smiling while showing my teeth’ (considered a bad thing, by said uncle).
Side dish note, there was a pennukanal where an aunty asked me to sing in the middle of dinner (I did not because- I’m sorry but, did we suddenly drop into the set of Hum Sath Sath Hain, without my knowledge?). There were also a few where, parents inquired if I was a citizen and able to take their son to the US. Other highlights include guys I audibly heard tell their moms they were feeling too shy to talk to me, guys who just stood there watched me pull my wallet out and pay for the entire meal on our first date and said not a nary word. I also met guys who told me they had asked the Lord for a skinny girl like me (we didn’t make it to a second date) and guys who complained that I seemed to have plans during the week (as opposed to wiping my normal schedule clean, so I could presumably sit on the phone all night with said guy and, find comfort in my crippled social life when said relationship ended- #relationshipgoalsNOT).
Continued in part 2…