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Book extract: The (In)eligible Bachelors

books Updated: Oct 18, 2011 08:57 IST
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The (In)eligible Bachelors by Ruchita Misra

About the book

Arranged marriages are complicated things. So are mothers. And so are relationships.

Kasturi Shukla is a fresh MBA graduate with a great job in hand. She is also geeky and single at twenty-four. The biggest sore spot in Kasturi’s life is her dominating, arranged marriage obsessed mother now hell-bent on getting her married at the earliest.

Does Kasturi find love in one of the rather weird but IIT/IIM boys that Mum manages to ‘shortlist’? Or perhaps she can follow her wildly beating heart that seems to be set on the Greek God incarnate that her boss, Rajeev sir, is?

With office buddies Ananya and Varun by her side, the hilariously fumbling Kasturi embarks on a rip-roaring journey to find Mr Right.

The (In)eligible Bachelors, which chronicles Kasturi’s daily diary through this time, is a riotous adventure of adrenaline, laughter and guffaws.

It is also an invaluable lesson in love, family and friendship. A witty take on the system of arranged marriages, • the marriage market that rules the Indian society.

A witty and humorous easy-to-read writing style makes for a good read.

The creative chapter headings arouse the what-next quality.

About the author

Ruchita Misra is an MBA graduate and triple gold medallist from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi. She reads anything and everything she can lay her hands on and is an unembarrassed fan of all things Bollywood. She currently works in London where she lives with her husband.

Ruchita can be reached at ruchita.misra@gmail.com

BOOK EXTRACTS

Extract 1 (Pages 1-2)

21 March 2009

‘Beta, is there anything you want to tell me?’ asked ma looking at me with a glint in her eyes I knew only too well. The knife in her hand was, befittingly enough, pointing right at me.

We were sitting at the dining table where mum was ferociously chopping vegetables for dinner. The innocuous looking dining table has become my personal torture cell over the last few days. It is where mum makes me sit to ‘catch up’ on the last two years I have been away from home studying at one of India’s top B-schools.

‘Yes. The lunch you cooked today was yucky,’ I said nonchalantly flipping the glossy pages of a

woman’s magazine pausing only to admire the pout of a Bollywood actress whose name I could not

quite recall.

‘Kasturi!’

‘Sorry, ma,’ I said trying to sound apologetic yet feeling quite smug at my answer. I can be really

smart with words you know.

‘Kasturi, you know we are very understanding parents . . . we are fine if you have taken certain

decisions on your own,’ said ma very patiently.

‘You can tell us everything,’ added mum in a saintly voice.

‘Yes, ma.’

‘You know Bubbly aunty’s daughter got married?’ she inquired.

All that mom has been talking about since I came back has been Bubbly aunty’s daughter’s

wedding. Bubbly aunty’s daughter, Pinkie, cock-eyed and obese, but, as of today twenty-three and

happily married.

‘Yes ma.’

‘ . . . to her MBBS batch-mate,’ she said with a special emphasis on the word ‘batch-mate’.

‘Yes ma, you have been repeating this stale piece news for an eternity now,’ I groaned.

‘Kasturi!’

‘Sorry ma,’ I cast down my eyes and yet again tried to look ashamed of myself as I giggled

mentally.

‘So is there anything you want to tell us?’ said mom slowly as if speaking to some dimwit

moron.

‘Yes. The lunch you made yesterday was yucky too.’

I rolled off the chair breaking into laughter pretty much as soon as I finished talking.

Extract 2 (Pages 16-19)

5 May 2009

This has to be documented for the sake of posterity. I was made, rather forced to wear a sari and was

dragged to a studio to get the shaadi.com photographs clicked.

I cannot believe I let mum get away with this one as well. She did the whole ‘you-don’t-love-meenough’

routine replete with tears, vacant eyes and the ‘Mother India’ look for the nth time and like

an idiot, for the nth time, I fell for it.

Each time the basic routine remains the same.

1. She tells me what she wants me to do.

2. I refuse.

3. She repeats herself (tears brimming).

4. I refuse.

5. She looks pitifully at dad and asks him to ask me to do it.

6. I refuse.

7. Dad looks pleadingly at me and asks me to listen to ma.

8. I refuse.

9. Mum starts to wail and tears stream down her cheeks. She sits on the sofa hugging her knees with

her head buried in her hands. And wails like there is no tomorrow.

10. I refuse.

11. She says, ‘You don’t love me enough, your father does not love me, your grandmother made life

hell for me, your grandfather said so many acerbic things. I brought you into this world, I had to

go through fifteen hours of labour, you don’t love me enough.’

12. ‘But mum . . . ,’ I say looking helplessly at the positively pathetic looking figure in front of my

eyes.

13. ‘I made tiffin for you each day of school, I ironed your shirt and tunic, washed your dirty socks

that used to smell so bad, I carried you to school . . . you woke me up in the middle of the night till

you were eight months old, both your buas used to fight with me each day, your grandmother

made life hell for me, your father made life hell for me, you don’t love me.’

14. ‘Mum,’ I say helplessly as dad plots and plans another outdoor camp for his patients.

15. She sniffs and cries and then cries a little more and then sniffs a little more. She looks quite

forlorn. My heart melts. So I decide to do what she wants me to. I go to her, pull up her face and

tell her that I love her and will do what she wants me to do, but we cannot get the photographs

clicked because the sari is not ready.

16. The tears are wiped hastily and the very next instant the familiar, triumphant smile is back. The

sari is ready with the blouse and the accessories, she tells me looking so absolutely victorious that

I am forced to cringe. Mum knows all too well that the ‘you-don’t-love-me-and-yourgrandmother-

made-life-hell-for-me’ routine works without fail every bloody time.

So there I was, one hour later, standing with a poster of green mountains behind me and a pot bellied,

frustrated looking photographer in front of me. As he fussed around and chatted with ma I

concentrated on the big hair coming out of his ears.

Once the photographer was ready, I posed according to his instructions. By that I mean I looked

up straight into the camera and tried to smile while managing a sari that suddenly seemed

dangerously loose around my waist.

‘Behen ji, baby is not giving the look,’ complained the frustrated photographer to my mother

pointing a thick finger at me. I grimaced. Couples back in B-school religiously referred to each other

as ‘baby’. Had to be my luck, to be called ‘baby’ by a fat, middle aged, bald photographer.

‘Yes! You are right, she never gives the look,’ Ma agreed as I stared indignantly at her, ‘Give the

look Kasturi!’ Ma barked at me.

I was looking up and smiling. What else do these people want? In such moments I miss B-school

the most.

‘I am giving the look!’ I said indignantly.

‘No baby, you are not,’ said the frustrated photographer. I cringed.

‘Try looking more homely, more beautiful. Look like the daughter-in-law anyone would want,’

suggested the ever frustrated photographer very unhelpfully.

‘Do as bhai sa’ab is saying,’ added ma equally unhelpfully.

‘Bhai sa’ab is not telling me anything specific, ma!!’ I wailed getting more frustrated by the

second. How does one look like the daughter-in-law anyone would want? What the fish!

I parted my lips o

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