Friday, February 25, 2011
Muthuswamy Padmanabhan. Age: 23, Fair, handsome and medium height. Looking for a Brahmin girl who is smart, fair, and well-employed. Contact: 9987543628
I watched in disbelief as Muthu’s profile was displayed on almost every possible matrimonial site much to the delight of his parents. It wasn’t even remotely funny when his profile details stared back at me, as I opened my lunch packet wrapped in one of the editions of the Hindu classifieds and had oil-soaked bajjis in it. He surely didn’t want any of this. And that ridiculous name, which was a result of the brainstorming sessions that his family had much before he was born, might give you a different picture altogether. A fortnight ago, Muthu was delighted to list out 10 crazy things to do before his betrothal- travel for more than 5 days in a car full of people, do a one-handed cartwheel, talk on the phone for more than 6 hours at a stretch, etc. But, now his much-envied bachelor status seemed to be fading amidst all the talks of his wedding doing the rounds in family circles and so, last night, Muthu was considering cutting down on his list of 10 things to maybe 5.
Next morning, even before I could listen to my alarm ring, I could hear Muthu, comfortably perched on my writing table, whining. “Dei Machan, what is this da? I am old enough to realize who ‘THE GIRL’ is for me. Why would I need some God-forsaken matrimonial website to decide my future?! Too much!”. Bhagyam mami, Muthu’s mother, had already made elaborate plans of welcoming her new maatu-ponnu. Murugappa was employed by the Padmanabhan household as their official marriage broker, one of those people who roam around aimlessly from house to house in search of a prospective bride. But, a well-kept secret was that one of the entries in Muthu’s call neglect directory was that of murukku uncle, as Murugappa was popularly known in Kasturiamma Colony, Shastri Nagar.
But, 12th March 2009, would perhaps go into the annals of history for Muthuswamy. The Mathews had moved in with daughter Isabella and Cupid paid one of its first visits to Kasturiamma Colony. It all started with exchanging glances at Vishwanathan thatha’s eightieth birthday and slowly progressed to travelling together from Adyar to Mandaveli by 21G. Then, as they say, rest is history! Muthu and Isabella, were spotted everywhere except anywhere close to Shastri Nagar, where danger forever lurked in the form of Bhagyam aunty, whose prying eyes never missed those lovey-dovey vibes or Sainath uncle, who’s early morning and late evening walks had stories that further added to the grapevine.
However, with matches pouring in and Murugappa on a roll, Muthu had nightmares, which inevitably had Bhagyam maami, growling and running after him with a green broomstick. But, being his true and only friend, I decided to support him in his endeavour. After 4 weeks of intensive planning, Muthu and I draft a plan to convince his parents about Isabella. We were happy with the effort we put in because the last time we did this was in matriculation and it worked.
Whoever said ‘Hardwork is always rewarded in kind’, must surely think again! For, a week later, on the 16th of April, a day which according to amma was inauspicious as per the Rani Muthu calendar, I decide to visit the Padmanabhan household. Muthu was nowhere to be seen. What happened of the ‘master plan’, I wondered! Right when I decide to leave, fitness freak Vishy thatha, hops into my car and requests me to drop him at the beach. My ‘nod of approval’ here, perhaps changed the fortunes of the Padmanabhan family forever. As we drove down to Marina, we spoke at length about Muthu, the DMK, Kashmir, Aishwarya Rai and Krishna Sweets! Twenty minutes later, I was marching towards the beach with thatha leading the way. But, then, the sight ahead was one to behold as it renewed my faith in the Rani Muthu calendar.
Jamaai ice-cream stall had two early-morning visitors. Muthu and Isabella. As much as I insisted on taking an alternate route to the waters, grandpa was adamant on laying his hands on the orange candy at the Jamaai stall, a sudden fetish for sugar, perhaps. My heart was pounding as I imagined the huge imposing figure of Bhagyam mami chasing Muthu right across the Ambika Appalam signal in Adyar while clutching at a dosa kallu. The moment we reached the stall, I was relieved to know that the couple in question had left but right when we decide to leave, Vishy thatha’s jaw dropped as he witnessed the unimaginable: Muthu, sprinting across the beach, in blue boxers and bare-chested, with an orange candy after Isabella, clad in a white skirt and pink top. That, more or less sealed Muthu’s fate. But, to think of it now, it was an auspicious day, after all.
The news sent shockwaves across the Padmanabhan family. Neither did Bhagyam mami’s emotional outburst nor did Isabella’s mother’s threat to disown her, deter the couple. Phone calls poured in from all across the world: “Izzabella aa?”, “WHAT?!”, “I think you should accept her, ma!”-were some of the reactions. Finally, after a lot of convincing, the families gave up. Later that evening, when amma received a call from Bhagyam mami, she reacted as if disaster had struck while I was actually laughing to myself. Seemed like the perfect Bollywood wedding was in the making!
The big fat Indian wedding which happened on the 12th of September, with Muthu clad in a pattu veshti and Isabella in a kancheepuram saree, and the families rejoicing in the happiness of their children, was a memorable one. Muthu never stopped smiling for a month after that and Vishy thatha still revels in the orange candy at the beach. Brings back fond memories, he says!