"Why don't you both talk?" is the most cringe-worthy phrase one can hear, followed by the smug and sanctimonious expressions in an arrangement made by parents and assorted relatives. Thankfully, that scene is slowly changing wherein set-ups continue to be arranged, but the actual meet-ups take place sans family, in a neutral environment.
Sometimes things work out well, and there are times where the most bizarre and hilarious things happen. Here are some of those unbelievable arrange set-ups gone hilariously awry.
* What are you smoking, son?
Radhika Gupta, a 27-year-old lawyer, was certain that she did not want to meet her future husband in front of her family, much less his. So they decided to meet at a coffee shop of choice. They met, ordered their respective beverages, when she noticed that in the midst of the conversation, he started to nonchalantly roll a blunt. Right in the middle of the coffee shop. Without a care in the world. Like it was most normal thing to do. Flabbergasted, she asked him if he realised what he was doing in broad daylight, and he replied with a deadpan expression that this was "medical marijuana"!
* We are family
This set-up would have brought Karan Johar to tears. Banking professional Tappan Ghosh arrived early and seated himself at the empty café beside the big French windows, as he waited for his date to arrive. As the 29-year-old stared aimlessly out of the window, he noticed that two Innovas had pulled up in quick succession, and out poured half a dozen people, from each of them. Soon the adjoining foyer was filled with an assortment of young and old people. Shortly, thereafter, his date joined him. Whilst they were getting to know each other, Tappan noticed something peculiar: One person would get up from the foyer, make his/her way to the bathroom, and on the return bump into them and do a faux what-a-surprise-to-see-you-here greeting. This happened four times with four different people in a succession of 20 minutes. He soon realised that he was ambushed by her entire family, and when he confronted her about it - she had no choice but to admit to it.
* Little too close for comfort
After being coerced by her parents to meet this "lovely boy just this one time", Shreya Santhanam reluctantly found herself trudging to meet him at a well-known neighbourhood restaurant. Much to the 24-year-old research scholar's surprise, she found herself enjoying the evening, and thought to herself that maybe her parents were right after all. When they were ordering their main course, a lady dropped by at their table, and was introduced by name only. She had assumed that this was a friend of his, and was taken aback when she invited herself to the table. As the evening progressed, she began to get the distinct feeling that they were ex-lovers and began to feel like the third wheel, till the lady mentioned that she loved screening her brother's future girlfriends because she was very protective of him.
* Where's the mute button when you need one?
Businessman Ashish Shah, 31, thought he had met the woman of his dreams as she walked in and greeted him with a warm embrace, like they were old friends. However, in the course of the conversation, she started making these random hooting sounds and would loudly swear mid-conversation. At first, it was funny, but then it became painfully obvious and not to mention embarrassing that she was doing it on purpose just to get a reaction from me and those around us. He was going to give her leeway thinking that she has Tourettes, but turns out she didn't.
What embarrassing meet-ups have you encountered? Send in your comments.
(All names are fictitious)
By Simran Mangharam. The writer is an expert on relationships and co-founder of www.floh.in , a curated network that helps singles find a life partner.