Sunday, April 01, 2007

Trip Back Home to India

Well in the year 2007, I have been lucky enough to visit home twice in the space of 3 months.

The funny thing is whenever i go home, since I have been staying away, the watchman always stops me and asks where do i wanna go. Any amount of explanation doesn't work that I actually lived there. The problem is every 2-3 months the day watchman changes.
This is surely unlike the nightwatchman (not to be confused with the same term in cricket) Pandey, is the same since I last can remember. And he knows me really well, since in our small building I am the only guy who routinely returns post mid-night, and he has to stay awake till i return. (Yes, after that he locks the gate securely and goes off to sleep). This perk is the only thing that makes him stay there. Apparently he has another day job, and he saves paying rent in mumbai (which is exhorbitant as many of my readers will vouch for) and gets paid Rs 2200 as well. No doubt the day watchman quits as soon as he gets a better job. Why are they being paid so less. Well in a building full of gujaratis, no one is willing to pay enough for security. (Damn, no wonder Somnath Temple was looted umpteen times by all the invaders)

Anyways, apart from that, the other thing i notice in my house is that on the Television suddenly the sports channels are relegated to later slots, and i spend a couple of hours just searching for them. Gone are the days when i had ESPN and StarSports within first 10 channels. This time round I found them at 59 and 71.

Also with all the hullabaloo about the salaries in IIMA, with people getting astronomical salaries, and then rejecting them to start some lingerie business, (didn't I say some one puts their personal interests before money) my parents inquired how much did I actually make in a year.
When I smilingly told them my salary, and even multiplied the figure by 85 to convert Pound Sterling to Indian Rupees, my mother got shocked. Then my father asked me how much did I save, and when I told them the figure, they were terrified. So little, and that is when i cook clean and wash utensils myself? go bicylcing to work, and live in a shared accomodation.
Some how my mum felt sad, her middle class brahminical values of thrift had not been completely imbibed in me.

Moving from salaries, I went and visited my maternal grand parents. With all my maternal cousins hitched, unfortunately I am the next one in line. Loads of not so subtle comments are made, about me being the next one and I made my best attempts to act ignorant. (Next for what? Walking the plank, being the sacrificial lamb, next to be guillotined? Nay much worse .. marriage #*$*^%%#!!!)
Now I am sure many of you might think marriage is not that bad, (did I hear necessary evil here?) and some might go on to advocate the benefits to me.

But wait a second, 4 years of engineering apart from adding analytical abilities left me completely socially challenged, and through all my adolescence and young adulthood till now i think a total of {exp(i*pi)} (e raised to the power i times pi) girls might have been interested in me. (Do I here sniggers why am I still single?!?!?)
And having no other attractive feature I am sure in an arranged marriage, only reason why a girl would end up considering a guy like me, would be stable cash flows in the future. Having a beer belly is bad enough, but being looked upon as a (Cash) Cow is absolutely pathetic.
Some how I wriggled out of those ugly situations saying I am only 25, but my mental age is more like 12, and the killer one was I hardly save a tidbit from my monthly salary.

I am sure i might have to face, many more such subtle questions from other relatives as well (just like any young adult of indian origin might be), thankfully my parents dont ever talk about this topic (yet). I guess looking at the deterioration in their quality of life post marriage and post my birth, they dont wish such misery on others.
I guess no one values the freedom, and independance you have while being single and earning enough with no liabilities.

And yes when I am home with nothing to do, I resumed one of my routine tasks which was assigned to me when i was living at home. That was buying groceries and vegetables.
The problem with your family living in the same locality for 22 years is that every one knows you. From the vegetable vendor, to kiranawala. The shopkeepers not only greeted me but also asked how long was i back for? Most of them though were under the impression I was still studying, and that too some where in Amayricka (sic). They too raised the topic of marriage (damn, damn, damn, curse the whole indian society !&^#%$#*!$^*^%%#)

Last but not the least, my motorcycle was finally given away. (Dad has given it to his employee as a perk of the job) Well though i might have cursed it a lot, for its lower than expected mileage,
have had my share of accidents, but I truly miss my bike. Hardly Davidson as I jokingly referred to it, or MH-02 EA 7211, as it was registered was definitely an extension of myself if not a part of me. It was with me for 5 years, and gave me the freedom not having to use the overcrowded public transport, while zipping through the clogged traffic of mumbai.

And this time when i was visiting a friend, i thought I rather travel by local train from Andheri to Bandra by train rather than by Autorickshaw and safe Rs40 (50 pence here). And in the whole process i broke the glass on my Omega watch which took a lot more to repair. (did i hear penny wise pound foolish here?)

More over when i went the second time round to India for recruitment in IIMA, it was another nice feeling. For a change I was on the other side of the fence. I could ask a question of which I had no clue about. And apart from that, the girls actually are looking forward to talk to you. (hahahah).

Though there are many more things to write about, but they are even more boring than the ones written above, and I wish to spare my dear readers from that.


Neeti said...

tsk tsk, not one mention about how your sister is arguing with people, defending your decision of not jumping on to the marriage bandwagon... (I hope you know you'll have to return the favour then they target me next...)

nirav said...

Thanks a lot sis,
and dont worry, all favours shall be returned with interest. :)

And Thanks for reading this blog as well.

Anonymous said...

someone's looking for "TRUE" love...haha

abhinator said...

ha, some experiences are pretty much universal. i can't say i haven't faced similar probing queries on my trips home. your blog is an entertaining read, now only if you'd keep updating more frequently ;)

nirav said...

@ Abhinator

Well i am sure, every single indian adult male of conservative middle class upbringing with nosy relatives and family friends would be facing such problems, especially after he is financially independant. Also i am mighty sure it muct be MUCH WORSE for single indian women.

And as for not posting regularly, my other leisure pursuits, eating sleeping and drinking are getting the better of me. Surely shall endevour to post every weekend.

liesha said...

Well..dont even imagine the case of single Indian women who are financially independant!...
Thats the worst combination ever I guess...and in that state of being its criminal to cross 24 years of age!..
Anyways really nice write-up:)..keep it going!