My R(ui)ndezvous with Mr. X

I understood the situation when my mother pulled out an ancient kanjeevaram from her closet. The grinning golden peacocks made matters worse, writes Shagun Dayal.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2005 18:01 IST

I understood the gravity of the situation when my adamant mother pulled out an ancient kanjeevaram from her closet. The grinning golden peacocks only made matters worse. Her handpicked accessories paired with the crimson Indian sari were to be my passport to the world of arranged marriages.

I realized it was time I put my foot down. I couldn't possibly visualise myself watering the tulsi at break of the dawn everyday! I was no Balaji bahu material and didn't have any intention of beguiling my prospective husband.

Clad in straight fit pants and formal shirt, I embarked on the journey of 'boy watching'. My father's somebody's somebody had fine things to say about this Software Engineer. From what I heard, he was a "well-placed, shy and average looking". Cupid had not really struck me hard so I finally gave in to meet this mystery man.

However the list of instructions I got from my parents didn't exactly enthuse me for the meeting. "Don't interview him", "Be very polite", "Don't gulp down your cola", "Laugh softly..." and some I can't even recall. Taking a deep breath I braced myself to meet a man with whom I could end up spending the rest of my life.

As a punctuality freak I admire people who swear by their clocks. My date certainly didn't seem to have one. I had to stretch my cup of coffee to the breaking point, before Mr X finally turned up.

Let's skip the physical contours. They are not worth mentioning. But yes, his moustache was just a millimeter short of Mangal Pandey's! He had seen my snaps and stiffly nodded his head when our eyes met. I translated that as a hello. He tried moving his right hand back and forth in an awkward manner, but perhaps another set of instructions from his mother held him back. Now my ordeal had begun over a tall glass of juice.

All he could talk about was Java and Oracle, in fragmented, incoherent language. I had to gather the bits and pieces of his hinglish and make meaningful sentences out of them. Personal questions - yeah my favorite colour, hero, heroine, and even animal!! I simply couldn't laugh when he cracked his' was a mouse! He wound up this part of the insipid conversation with a laugh that scared the living daylights out of me.

Next thing he talked about was my educational (dis) qualification. I was rather proud of the fact that I studied English Literature and would have loved to go beyond my Masters. English - Mr. X seemed surprised or perhaps shocked. After all, it had left me quite incapable of sharing his hopeless passion for hard drives, C++ and more. "So what did you study - making sentences, writing essays, filling the blanks and doing match-the-following?" making little effort to hide the scorn in his voice. By now my ire knew no bounds. I had to drop loaded phrases like 'post-colonial novellas', 'Greek tragedies' and 'third world literature'. It gave me immense satisfaction when I realised that it was all OHT (Over Head Transmission) for this frog of the World Wide Well!

Mr X wasn't looking for a wife. He was a looking for a miracle - an outgoing and conservative working homemaker. With so many paradoxes in one sentence, I wondered if he was ever going to find his Ms Right. Certainly it wasn't going to be me. We were as different as chalk from cheese.

If I had any doubts about the matter, they were laid to rest when Mr X wasted no time in accepting my half-hearted offer to pay the restaurant bill. Let alone practice chivalry, this man didn't even know how to spell it.

My rendezvous with Mr. X was therefore no less than a catastrophe. But I guess that's how you learn about disaster management in life!

First Published: Sep 15, 2005 19:56 IST