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Living Together and The City – Their Story

August 14th, 2010

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are a stint of fiction in all their entirety. Any resemblance despite this to real persons, living or dead, is purely miraculous and incredibly extraordinaire. And yes, coincidental.

Kindly note that this post is not meant to be offensive or rouse up riotous sentiments and be taken in the same way as it was written.


Location: B-1023, Mulberry Apartments, Mumbai.

Mood: Chaos

Word of Caution: Virginibus puerisque, Vis inertiaeFor maidens and youths, The power of inertia (why things never change).

Scene I

The scene is set to hold the living room of a contemporary apartment. Tastefully decorated in shades of black, white and beige, the condo exudes an attitude of minimalism. But the assortment of people- draped on the couch, slumped on a beanbag, arguing over the cell phone, bent over a five-page list on the coffee table, is everything that the flat is not.

The Fashionista slams her phone shut and turns around.

The Fashionista– 26, Socialite by birth, Femme Fatale by chance, Ice Princess by choice. And if it is possible to squeeze in, Drama Queen by obsession.

The Fashionista: (Annoyed, announces to the whole room) Damn these pea sized, overnight successful boutiques! I write about them in my column and they ask me to wait. WAIT!

Aaditya: (Looks up from the list, says seriously) They probably didn’t understand you when you said, “Chuck off Monam Kapoor. I write even about her.”

The Fashionista: (Asks incredulously) What? I did not say that!

Aaditya: (As a matter of fact) Then they didn’t understand you when you said, “Put me in your appointment book before Monam Kapoor.”

The Fashionista: (Defends herself) That’s ’cause she takes a whole day to decide between a pink camisole and a white one.

Her cell phone rings. The Fashionista proceeds to take the call, and moves away from the rest of them.

The Greek God finishes thumbing through a men’s fitness magazine and puts it back on the coffee table.

The Greek God: (Gets up and looks around) Okay, coffee anyone?

Aaditya raises his hand to indicate his agreement.

Malar: (Says gratefully) Black for me. Strong and one spoonful of sugar.

The Dalal Street Executive: (Pauses to think and then speaks) White. Big mug. (Pauses) And, 2.5 spoonfuls. (Pauses again and elaborates with hand gestures) Less foam, but really thick, you know. Medium brown. Equal amounts of…

The Greek God: (Sits down amiably) Right. One black for me as well. And you heard the others.

The Dalal Street Executive glares at him, gets up from the couch and moves toward the kitchen counter. Aaditya and The Greek God exchange cheeky smiles.

The Cute Klutz: (Calls out from atop the beanbag) Wait! I’ll help you. (Follows The Dalal Street Executive)

The Greek God: (reclines on the backrest) Well, I like Monam Kapoor. She’s hot!

Malar: That’s all you look at!

The Greek God: (Grins unabashedly) That’s enough for me.

While we do a background check…

The Greek God– 27, A lower-rung Model, when not busy living off his older brother’s pay checks, graces television adverts along the lines of Zara Zara Peppermints and Bahutbadiya Detergent Bar with his open-shirted presence.

The Dalal Street Executive– 28, Perfect son, Perfect ex-student, Perfect current employee and even the Perfect tea sipper. An Investment Banker job profile couldn’t have asked for a more Perfect person to fit the glove.

The Cute Klutz– 24, Sweet and unassuming, it took her a whole month to understand why her manager baby-proofed her cubicle in the Publication House where she works as a junior copywriter.

Presently, The Dalal Street Executive and The Cute Klutz come over to the living area with steaming hot mugs of various shades of coffee.

The Greek God, fearing Third Degree Burns from an accidental cascade of boiling coffee, rushes to grab the two cups from The Cute Klutz. He hands one over to Malar and sets his own on the table.

The Fashionista, finishes her phone call and walks in from across the room. She takes the Big Mug from The Dalal Street Executive.

The Fashionista: (Sighs theatrically) Ah, I needed that.

The Dalal Street Executive: (Protests with half-emanated garble) Bu..Tha.. my coff..

The Fashionista takes a tiny sip from the mug and throws her head back in dramatic ecstasy, exposing her slender neck.

The Fashionista: Hmmm…hmm.. Nice… (Registers his floundering) Sorry? Did you say something?

The Dalal Street Executive: (Running a hand through his perfectly cut hair, smiles goofily) What? No, nothing. That coffee was for you.

Fiction– Perfect guys are absolutely perfect from their dandruff-free heads to their fungal-free toenails.

Fact– Some perfect guys do have a problem with saying the right thing to the girl they like.

Theory Established– “A Perfect Guy” is most often, a myth.

The Fashionista: Uh-huh, thanks! (Sits down)

The others snicker furtively.

The Greek God: So, how did it actually go with the family?

Aaditya: (Says dryly) It was a One Hour Drama Workshop for Rookies.

The Cute Klutz: (Curiously) Did you invite them?

Aaditya: Are you kidding? I threw myself out of the house before my mother changed her mind and pounced on me for details about the wedding.

The Cute Klutz: (Giggles) Did you tell them you guys live together?

Malar: My mother thinks we send our secret kids to school already. I doubt if telling her that we live together would even shock her. So I didn’t bother.

Aaditya: Phew! It was a weird weekend.

Malar: (Looking at Aaditya) I’m sure yours wasn’t as bad as mine!

The Cute Klutz: (Asks Malar) What happened at your place?

Malar: My brother was waiting for me at Chennai Airport when I reached. He was harbouring a misplaced idea of settling down with one of Aaditya’s sisters over here.

The Greek God: (Chuckles ) And then?

Malar: (Looks apologetically at Aaditya, and continues) It took me an hour to convince him that Aaditya’s sisters suffer from a rare kind of disease.

Aaditya gawks bewilderedly at Malar.

The Fashionista: (Stares at Aaditya doubtfully and asks) Disease?

Malar: (Speaks haltingly) Nothing big right…? Just a variation of… of Airborne Herpes.

Aaditya: (Appalled at her confession) WHAT!?!

The Fashionista: (Springing up and hastily backing away from the group, demands) What?

The Dalal Street Executive: What?

Malar: (Purses her forehead sheepishly and says to Aaditya) Sorry…

The Greek God hoots with laughter, pointing at Aaditya. The Cute Klutz gazes at Aaditya in fascinated horror. The Dalal Street Executive cautiously shifts slightly away from Aaditya.

The Fashionista: (Petrified) Now these are the things that you should really be telling!!

Aaditya: (Turns to Malar) Seriously, Airborne Herpes? Of all the million communicable diseases?

Malar: He was okay with Touch-borne Hepatitis. I needed something more drastic.

The Fashionista takes a fork from the kitchen counter and attempts to pick her evening bag from the coffee table, hoping to put as much distance as she can between herself and the unseen viral condition.

The Greek God: (Mischievously) Err…That won’t work, you know. She said “Airborne”. You’ve been here, breathing in that thing the whole while.

The Fashionista: (Places a hand over her mouth in terror) OhmyGod! OhmyGod!!

The Greek God slumps, rolls on the floor laughing his head off.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Scene II

A week later, at The Sub Registrar’s Office, Bandra, Mumbai…

The Cute Klutz: (Disappointed) I was thinking, this place…it’d be just like a movie.

The Dalal Street Executive: Like how?

The Cute Klutz: You know… With some couples eloping, major confrontations, exciting fight scenes and all that.

Malar: (Ironically) Aaditya and I are eloping, in case you haven’t noticed.

The Cute Klutz: Uh-huh. Yeah right. No one even raised any objections to your marriage announcement during the mandatory 30 day period.

Malar: (Complains childishly) Aaditya, our wedding is so not exciting at all!

Aaditya: You think!?!

He leans back in his chair and allows Malar to look at The Fashionista, who is sitting away from the others, at the far end of the waiting hall.

The Fashionista is wearing a Heavy Industrial Gas Mask and has even managed to match it with a brilliantly worked organza silk saree.

The Fashionista notices Aaditya and Malar watching her. She takes a notepad out of her small bag and rapidly scribbles something.

The Fashionista: (Holds the book up like a placard) THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!!

Aaditya and Malar grin widely at her.

The pre-recorded voice system announces the next token number and everyone’s eyes is captivated by the number display board on the wall ahead. 306

Aaditya and Malar stand up quickly. Linking fingers, they look at each other, happy and nervous.

The Greek God: (Cheerfully) Okay, that’s us! Let’s get you guys married.

After a brief walk down a passageway, they all gather to stand in front of The Marriage Officer and his mammoth desk.

The Marriage Officer: (Reads their names from the list) Mr. Aaditya Mathur, Ms. Malar Mathrubhootham, I see you have submitted all the necessary documents.

Aaditya: Yes, Sir.

The Marriage Officer: Alright, you can sign in the register next to your names.

With a heady sense of excitement, Aaditya and Malar sign in the register.

The Marriage Officer: Will the witnesses please come forward and give their signatures?

The Fashionista and The Dalal Street Executive step into the view of The Marriage Officer.

The Marriage Officer: (Frightened of The Fashionista and her image make-over) Madam, you would have to remove your mask and show your face.

The Fashionista indicates a “Why?” with hand gestures.

The Marriage Officer: (Worriedly) Madam, I’d have to see your face because, you’d be signing on a legal document.

The Fashionista shakes her head from side to side, reflecting a “No!”.

The Marriage Officer: (Stares at her queerly and then asks the others) Is she sick? Does she have any dangerous disease or something?

The Fashionista whimpers angrily from behind the mask.

The Marriage Officer is now utterly convinced and is pretty alarmed about The Fashionista’s face being unmasked.

The Marriage Officer: Madam, sorry. You don’t need to remove the mask. But I’m afraid we cannot have you as a witness. (Looks at Aaditya) We can have one of your other friends as a witness.

The Fashionista stamps her stiletto-clad foot hard on the floor, with marked annoyance. The others try very hard to stifle their laughter.

Aaditya and Malar request The Cute Klutz to fill in, instead of The Fashionista.

Post all formalities, The Marriage Officer, allows them to choose a mode of traditional ceremony to complete the wedding.

Aaditya takes the Mangalasutra out from a jewellery box. He smiles tenderly at Malar and she blushes, bows her head dutifully. Holding the ends in both hands, he puts it around Malar’s neck, fastening it at her nape, when suddenly…

Mrs. Mathur: Nahiiiiiiiinnnnn…!!!

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: Adi paaaaavvvviiiii… !!!

The Dalal Street Executive: Somebody here asked for some drama, didn’t they?

Annnddd Cuttt!!


Kadhalikka Thevai Drama – Malar’s Story

August 5th, 2010

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are a stint of fiction in all their entirety. Any resemblance despite this to real persons, living or dead, is purely miraculous and incredibly extraordinaire. And yes, coincidental.

Kindly note that this post is not meant to be offensive or rouse up riotous sentiments and be taken in the same way as it was written.


Location: A rented, leaky, shack-y, nameless house, Chennai

Mood: Bi-polar & Schizophrenic

Word of Caution:De asini vmbra disceptareTo argue about the shadow of an ass.

The bony, hawk-like woman, stops pounding the wet, bunched-up towel on the gargantuan stone in the backyard and screams herself hoarse.

“Adi paaaaaaaaaaavi…!”

The biggest bubble amidst the soap suds quivers, teeters on the edge and bursts, bringing to limelight the power of her sonar radiation; quite a miracle essentially, considering her emaciated frame. One might wonder if her current mental condition could be attributed to the general cantankerous emotional state brought upon by acute food deprivation. She throws the half beaten towel aside and walks forward, every step furnishing positive encouragement to the BG music – a heartrending melody coaxed out of a solitary Nadaswaram in a recording studio.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham stops at a distance where it is possible for Malar to count the blackheads on her mother’s nose. She places her undernourished hands on Malar’s forearms and gives her a powerful shake. And she asks the Omni-usable questions.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Stares severely into Malar’s eyes) How could you do this to me, Malar? Where did you get the courage to even attempt such a thing? Is this how I raised you? Answer me!

Malar: (Softly) Amma, I couldn’t help it. It just happened.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Upset and at a loss to comprehend her eldest daughter’s behaviour) Amma, please talk some sense into her. Why is she doing this?

And the frame zooms in on The Sympathetic Paati – Mrs. Mathrubhootham’s mother.

The Sympathetic Paati: (Worried and secretly proud of her rebellious granddaughter) What should I tell her? She’s old enough to take her own decisions. She’s been taking care of herself for quite some time. Do you think she will even listen to you now, after so many years?

Malar covertly sends a grateful smile to her grandmother. The Sympathetic Paati winks back.

Malar: (With more conviction than before) Amma, I love Aaditya. I cannot live without him.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Eyes flashing with offended anger) Malar!

The pressure cooker in the kitchen chooses that minute to emanate the third whistle. Mrs. Mathrubhootham abruptly leaves the backyard and enters the house.

Malar and The Sympathetic Paati stay back.

Enter, The Jealous Thangai. She mentally crosses off the next checker box in her hate list. Porcelain-white complexion & Beauty, Check. Popular, Check. Job in Mumbai, Check. Amazing Love-life, Check. Eligible to be murdered, Check.

The Jealous Thangai: (Sugar coating her words with diabetes-prone-sweetness) Akka, you know about Amma. Try to think from her point of view. Do you really think, all this love thingy would work in our family?

Enter Mrs. Mathrubhootham. She pounces on Malar with renewed energy, now that she has an ally in The Jealous Thangai.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Addresses Malar) Learn from your sister. She’s younger and she cares about me. How can you belong to this family and yet be so selfish?

Malar: (Soothingly tries to placate her mother) Amma, I really care about you. But I care about Aaditya too. You will like him as well. Trust me.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Angrily) Aaditya Aaditya Aaditya! You have only been chanting his name all this while. What do you know about him?

Malar: (Slightly offended) I know him enough to have fallen in love with him.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Sarcastically) Really? Do you even know his full name?

Malar: (Coldly) His name is Aaditya Mathur.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Quizzically) Mathur-a?

Malar: Yes. Mathur. He, umm..he’s a north Indian.

The Mathrubhootham backyard takes a few moments to digest this piece of spellbinding news. (At this point in screenplay, the editing team must take pains to add scenes of frozen movement of the following:-

a. Birds flying high in the air

b. Waves lashing on the beach

c. Niagara Falls)

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Whispers in horror) He’s a Seth Paiyyan?

Malar: (Aghast at her mother’s conclusion) Amma, Aaditya is a Punjabi. His family moved to Pune some twenty five years back.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Groans in anguish) Punjabi-a? Adi paavi! Where have you kept your brains?

Malar: (Hastily tries to pacify her mother and explains) Amma, Aaditya is from a very good family. He’s well educated and placed with a great company. He is sweet, gentle and takes care of me so well.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Cynically waves away Malar’s explanations with a hand) All these north Indian boys might look good. But they are up to no good.

Malar: (Voice breaks on a sob) Amma, please. That’s really not fair!

Malar walks away from the argument, trying to stem her tears. She moves into the house.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham wrings her hands in frustration and annoyance. Everything caught in the lens frame beyond this phenomenal moment, freezes. The camera slowly pans like a creepy poltergeist, taking in the entire domestic backyard. Having had its fill of the cheap detergent foam, cracked-up well, three glaciated human beings and thanking God for the lack of olfactory devices on its body, the camera then moves into the house through the back door.

A small courtyard allows light into the perennially gloomy interiors (A power cut at 9:00 a.m vouches for siphoning off a whole day’s EB). And here, a few benumbed members of the Mathrubhootham family (other than Malar), are brought into focus.

The Chimerical Thangai– Wears a nightgown. Holds a frayed version of Vogue (a 2003 issue) in hand and dreams of the lead role in Kani Patnam’s next movie, Shakuni.

The Ambitious Thambi– Wonders whether Aaditya Mathur has any younger sisters. Meet one of them and consequently facilitate the perfect passport to settle down in Mumbai.

The Romantic Thangai– Wishes hard for more Aaditya Mathurs in the world. One each for every Mathrubhootham girl.

A waft of wind blows into the house and everyone unfreezes automatically.

Enter, Mrs. Mathrubhootham, followed by The Sympathetic Paati and The Jealous Thangai.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Calls out) Malar! Malar!!

Malar: (Walking out of the common bedroom, asks sulkily) What?

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: How dare you walk away while we were still talking? You have changed a lot, Malar! Especially after staying in Mumbai.

Malar: (In hurt indignation) Amma! I have not changed. I’m still the same.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Lifts up a hand) As long as you were in Chennai, you always wore sarees and used that handbag that I bought you, every morning when you went to work. And now?

Malar: (Bewildered at the change of topic) Amma, that handbag got torn and was moth-bitten around the edges. I had to buy a new one. And as for sarees, I don’t wear them in Mumbai. It’s a more cosmopolitan crowd over there.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Triumphantly) Aha! See, I told you. You have changed. Tell me, what’s your fascination with north Indians? Is it because of their grand makeup and fancy jewellery?

Malar: (Unable to understand her mother’s line of thought) Amma, what are you saying? Yes, they do wear lots of makeup and dress up exquisitely. So?

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: We are a very simple lot, Malar. We wear no makeup, even when we go out. We don’t even wear costume jewellery, because we’re allergic to it. Amongst us people, only villainous women can afford makeup and heavy gold jewellery.

Malar: And that is because, we don’t have the good luck of working with people like Dabhu Mepal. He makes it possible for all the women who work with him, to wear makeup and afford beautiful pieces of temple jewellery. It’s all about the choices that we make, Amma.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Warningly) Malar!

Malar: Amma! I’m not really bothered about Aaditya’s background or his upbringing. All that is important to me is that he loves me and I love him.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Groans in vexation) Malar! Don’t you understand? You will never fit with him or his family. You will always be an outsider. A misfit!

Malar: Aaditya will always make me feel loved and cherished. I know that.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Suddenly struck by a horrifying thought) Malar, did you both…?? Are you by any chance…? Is that why…?

Malar: (Objects in embarrassment) Amma! How can you think like that? What’s wrong with you?

An awkward silence ensues for a moment or two.

The Jealous Thangai: (Half enviously) These north Indians, they eat only rotis and always wear rich Sherwanis and heavy-work sarees. They have different customs and rituals. You will feel left out, Akka.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: What is this all about Malar? A reality programme on National Integration? Forget all this. Things such as “love” don’t work in the real world. You haven’t even known this boy for long.

Malar: (With icy calm) Aaditya and I will work something out. Something pretty realistic. Don’t worry.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Furious at being disrespected) MALAR!!

Malar: That’s the truth!

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (As a last, desperate attempt) You will have babies smelling of mustard oil!

Malar: (With an air of finality) I will have babies smelling of baby oil. Period.

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Irately) Malar!!

Malar: (Sadly, but firmly) Amma! I came here to share what’s in my heart with my mother and sisters. I thought you would listen to me, understand me and accept me as a woman with hopes and dreams of her own. But I guess, I assumed wrong.

Amongst us, the eldest daughter always has to sacrifice her life for the greater good of an emotionally deranged mother, a set of idiosyncratic sisters and brother and the so-called family honour. Isn’t it?

Mrs. Mathrubhootham: (Ignoring Malar, says staunchly) I will never accept that boy in this family.

Malar: (Shrugs with stoic indifference) Trust me, you don’t need to. I am leaving. There’s no place for me here, either.

Malar pulls her trolley bag out of New No 24, Old No 33, Arangetram Road, Chennai, at 5:30 p.m, with pseudo sadness and bogus fury. She gets into the taxi and closes the door after her. And breaks into a string of triumphant giggles.

Taking the call, when the cell phone rings…

Malar: (Happy and gurgling with laughter) Aaditya! Yeah, I’m done with mine as well. My flight leaves in about a couple of hours. Pick me up from the Mumbai airport at 10.

Glossary of Terms

Paati: Grandmother

Paiyyan: Boy

Thangai: Younger Sister

Thambi: YoungerBrother

Kiss Kiss Ke Love Story – Aaditya’s Story

August 2nd, 2010

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are a stint of fiction in all their entirety. Any resemblance despite this to real persons, living or dead, is purely miraculous and incredibly extraordinaire. And yes, coincidental.

Kindly note that this post is not meant to be offensive or rouse up riotous sentiments and be taken in the same way as it was written.


Location: Mathur Nivas, Pune.

Mood: Tense.

Word of caution: Ubi fumus, ibi ignisWhere there’s smoke, there’s fire

“Nahhhiiiiiiinnnnnnnn…..” screeches the portly woman, eyes round and ready to pop out from their sockets. Even the colossal mass of her saree, gleaming and heavy with rich zardosi work, appears to be in tandem with her incensed scream and adds value to her seemingly strong character.

The resonance of her voice ricochets off the walls of the magnificent hall, hits the resplendent chandeliers hanging above, gets absorbed to a certain extent by the billowing curtains and increases in amplitude finally, as a flash of lightning and the accompanying crash of thunder decide to make themselves seen and heard respectively, adding to the last embers of the original sound wave.

She turns around and sets her blazing sight on him, “How could you do this to me, Aaditya?”

Mrs Mathur walks toward Aaditya. With each step (thud) forward, there is a clash of cymbals, tribal drums and somewhere in the remote jungles of Africa, a lioness fighting with a meerkat to save her little cub quite agrees with the woman’s maternal sentiments.

Mrs Mathur: (Reproachfully stares at him and proceeds to wield the IMEB*) Have you no sense of family honour? Did I feed you with milk, raise and take care of you, only for this?

The movie camera shifts its angle and sets in motion the “Expression of an Individual at the rate of Two Camera Moments per Character.

Mr. Mathur– Mild and unperturbed, he trusts his wife’s better judgement. His script has no dialogue for the next eleven episodes, although his presence is an exclusive prerequisite.

Dadi– Jaw hangs open. Glasses perched at the tip of her nose; she looks about thirty five years old. In all possibility, she might actually be.

Dada– Watches Aaditya intently. He is thinking about dinner and the hot Aloo ke Paranthe.

The Responsible Bhaiyya– Stares concernedly at Aaditya. Unblinkingly.

The Wise/All-Rounder/Cricket Mom/Cheerful/Courageous/Generous/Multi-faceted/Multi-talented/Multi-tasking Bhabhi– Distributes her shocked gaze equally between her husband, Aaditya and her mother-in-law.

The Immature Bhaiyya– Wonders whether the next door neighbour would be willing to play cricket with him on Sunday afternoon, now that Aaditya has more pressing matters on his mind.

The Evil Bhabhi– Mouth twists in an angry pout. Having been previously chosen as the prospective bride for Aaditya by the Mathur family, she was later forced to marry the second brother for reasons completely forgotten by the story/screenplay team.

The Scheming Chachi– Eyes slyly reflect a silent celebration. Her mind runs wild with the aspect of further updates to her secret agenda. One brother down, two more to go. And pretty soon, the entire family property transferred safely to her children.

The Furtive Chacha– Lost in thought about the second wife and family that he has stashed away in a town apartment in Nagpur, he is not too fascinated by Aaditya’s exertions.

The Blah Cousin– Pretty impatient at the moment, she wants to get back to her crocheting. There’s a new pattern that she is dying to try out for her tea cosy set.

The Mean Cousin– Smiles at her mother in telepathic reply.

The Wannabe-Model Cousin– Too highly strung to be bored with the proceedings, she twirls a lock of her hair around a finger and dreams about the latest modelling contract glorified by her shady agent.

The Funny Cousin– Watches the scene interestedly, with a mischievous smile on his face.

Aaditya– Yearns to break down the fourth wall and talk to the audience. But instead, chooses to humour his mother.

After pivoting 395 degrees and catching the expressions of even the bunch of nephews, nieces and the family dog Bunty standing around in a circle with the rest of the inmates, staring at Aaditya and his mother, the camera finally pants for breath.

Aaditya: But Ma, I fell in love with her! I did not deliberately attempt to sabotage the family honour.

Mrs. Mathur: (In a pained line of attack) You fell in love with her! That is enough. We allowed you to go to Mumbai, because you wanted to work there, independently. And look what you’ve done!

Aaditya: (Stifles his impatience with difficulty) Ma, listen to me. She is a lovely girl. You will like her. She will fit perfectly with us.

Mrs. Mathur: (Acute indignation at his implication makes her heart skip a beat and her heavily decked bosom heave) How dare you suggest such a thing Aaditya? Are you even my son?

The Scheming Chachi and The Mean Cousin exchange knowing looks. Mr. Mathur looks on with a slightly bored expression. The Responsible Bhaiyya is about to intervene, when The Wise Bhabhi stops him.

Aaditya: Ma, please!

Mrs. Mathur: No, Aaditya. Today, you have hurt me and brought me unbelievable amount of pain. I never expected this from you.

Aaditya: (Sighs inwardly and says aloud) Malar is a beautiful and an intelligent girl. It’s not fair you’re not even giving me a chance to talk to you about her.

Mrs. Mathur: (Places a hand over her heart) Hey Ram! What kind of magic has that girl woven over my youngest son?!? (Narrows her eyes and looks at Aaditya) You want to talk about her? Fine, talk! But let me die in peace after that.

Aaditya: (Winces slightly at his mother’s words) Ma, I don’t have any intentions of hurting you. I really love Malar.

Mrs. Mathur: (Suddenly lunges forward) Malar?! What kind of a name is Malar? Where is she from?

Aaditya: Uhh, Err… She is from Chennai. She’s a Tamilian. And Malar, by the way, means “Flower” in Tamil.

The whole house grows silent at this sudden turn of events. The collosal hall with the bifurcated staircase might actually be uninhabited considering the hushed anticipation of the small crowd.

Mrs. Mathur: (Grips her head dramatically and moans aloud) Hey Ram! She doesn’t even speak Hindi? What is wrong with you Aaditya?

Aaditya: Ma, I never said she doesn’t speak Hindi. She knows Hindi and speaks quite fluently too.

Mrs. Mathur: (Closes her eyes and sways slightly) I think I’m already dying. I cannot believe my son is the person to bring dishonour to this family.

Aaditya is alarmed and gently handles his mother and makes her sit down on the couch. Turning around to Kaka (the family cook), he asks for a glass of water.

The Evil Bhabhi: (Smirks slightly and asks with fake innocence) Aaditya, you said she is a south Indian. She most definitely must be dark skinned. Tsk tsk, poor girl, that’s her fate, what to do? She probably uses all the coconuts along the coast to thoroughly oil her hair and maybe eats only curd rice. Do you really think she will fit in our family?

Mrs. Mathur: (Shocked beyond speech, groans helplessly) Hey Ram! She eats only curd rice? Aaditya! Why are you doing this to your parents in their old age?

Aaditya: (Pacifies his mother anxiously) Ma, she doesn’t eat just curd rice. She loves North Indian food. Really! And she’s an amazing cook as well. (Looks at The Evil Bhabhi and replies coldly) She’s a beautiful girl, dark skinned or not. And she’s got gorgeous hair, quite unlike your salon whipped one.

The Evil Bhabhi blinks, smarting under the sharp retort.

Mrs. Mathur: (Reels under an impulsive revelation) Wait a minute! Did you both…? Is she…? Is that why…??

Aaditya: (Protests in embarrassment) Ma! No way. How can you even think of such a thing?

The Scheming Chachi: (With pretend concern) Aaditya, our culture is different. Our rituals, habits, everything is different from hers. How can she adjust with us?

Mrs. Mathur: Does she even believe in God? Or is she an atheist? Do they wear Mangalsutra or finger-ring in her family?

Aaditya: Does that all matter? All that is important to me, is I love her and she loves me back.

Mrs. Mathur: You idiot! You’re blinded by the so-called love. All these things are very important. She will never fit in our family! Never!

Aaditya: (Straightens up in anger) Alright, that’s it! I’ve had enough! I came here to make you all understand how much I love Malar and how much I want to be with her. But all I hear about is how shameful an act that would be. I really want to know how marrying Malar is going to bring dishonour to the family. Actually, on second thoughts, no, I don’t want to know!!

Mrs. Mathur: (Stands up in anger) Aaditya!

Aaditya: (Holds up a hand calmly) Ma, please! If fitting in this family means wearing heavy georgette, zari sarees and make-up that would make a man run for his life, burdening necks with pure gold and 18 carat jewellery, visiting the beauty parlour thrice a week to repair broken fingernails and condition eyelashes, then I am glad my Malar is not going to fit here.

The entire Mathur family mutes the volume for the second time in the evening. Even Bunty flops down on the floor, morose and unhappy.

Mrs. Mathur: (Voice trembling with restrained fury) I forbid you to bring that girl to this house, Aaditya.

Aaditya: (Flippantly) Very well, I won’t. Goodbye, Ma. I don’t have a place in this house either.

Aaditya Mathur walks out of his house- 15, Vihar Road, Pune at 4:45 pm in the evening, with feigned disappointment and mock anger. An hour later, when he hits the Pune-Mumbai Expressway, he chuckles mischievously over the phone.

Aaditya: Malar! I’m done with mine. How’s it going with yours?

Glossary of Terms

IMEB: Intravenous Maternal Emotional Blackmail

Dadi: Paternal Grandmother

Dada: Paternal Grandfather

Bhaiyya: Elder Brother

Bhabhi: Sister-in-law

Chacha: Father’s younger brother

Chachi: Father’s younger brother’s wife

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July 30th, 2010

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How Google confirmed our worst fears.

July 26th, 2010
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Gasp! We really are scared of each other. And Google just confirmed it…

Boss, where art thou?

May 22nd, 2010
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April 8th, 2010

There are times when you reflect on some of the smallest things that are somehow woven into the intricacies of your daily routine. The tiny broken ceramic doll on your window-sill, your favourite coffee mug, the missing shoe, the book on your night-table that you have been meaning to read for a million years now, the squeaky fan, the late night movies, the neighbour’s over-friendly doggie, your sister, the miss-you notes from friends, the FB status messages, your sister…

I remember the first time I fell in love with my sister- she was a tiny bundle, an exact replica of me and I know I was kind of proud of it. I remember the first time I really wished I could wring my sister’s neck- she had messed up all my toys and actually had the nerve to sit back, gurgling with baby laughter. The fact that we hold ourselves with more poise and élan now is but a mere curtain to all those Neanderthal-degrees of wrathful fancies that we still harbour for each other; occasionally, I promise.

I don’t remember a single day when we hadn’t fought. If the fights were over toys and Barbie dolls earlier, it was (still is) over the clothes, bags, the phone and other paraphernalia. She hates it when I touch her cupboard. I seethe when she takes a call on my phone. Fist fights, scratches and plucking of each others’ hair merely metamorphosed into the perennial war of words and vociferous cat-fights. Moments of jealousy and possessiveness get transformed into long periods of sulky acceptance. Arguments over who’s better, who’s older, who’s prettier etc add that extra pinch of salt to the already burning wound. The thin line between love and hate is stretched so taut, that the demarcation blends in with the medley of emotions. It is a lot of love sometimes and then it is a lot of hatred. I essentially begin to understand the phrase- “I love her so much that I actually hate her…”

Every day rouses up another side to us as we face each other grimly and genuinely smile at the end of it. It is definitely no wonder that there’re so many sides to sister-hood; after all there are two women involved.

Hers is the hand that I reach out for in the dark bedroom, after having watched a horror movie on a random Friday night. There is a never-ending girl-talk that occurs across the dining table, in the terrace, through the closed bathroom door, on bike rides, car drives, in a shopping mall, at the movie theatre…anywhere. Recounts about crushes (some of them too painful just because they were of the likes of Mirchi Karthik), make-up, love, hopes, dreams, fashion, clothes, aspirations, careers, choices, friends; the list is exhaustive and has a tendency to get updated… She is the first one that I look to for a reality-check. She is the last one that I call up for advice on small talk… She is the impatient one and does not suffer fools gladly.

Whatever different planets we come from, there is a bond that we both secretly recognize; that we’re the first ones to defend or help each other in times of trouble and also the first ones to share those moments of laughter filled fun. The fights and the fierce competitiveness would continue even after this. But I realize that it is these things that truly bring out the passion in the relationship. It also drives home the fact that however much I frustrate her, she’d always be there for me…

As someone said, she would always hold a little part of my childhood with her. Just as I’d always hold hers…

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