Saturday, February 16, 2008

Holy matrimony !

Now that my grandmom is no more, my parents are trying to find a new thing to worry about. Yesterday they decided to bring a dead horse back to life. They wanted to know when I would get married, and why I was refusing to entertain them on this aspect. I told them that its as simple as not having any desire towards it. Logically, this usually signifies the last step in an argument : If I dont want to do it, why should I ? But we decided to go further into it. Why did I not desire the blessed state of matrimony ? Was I against the institution ? No, I said. If at some point I meet someone who inspires this desire in me, then so be it.

Now comes the part I really could not comprehend. The argument went like this : If I dont think about getting married, then I will not meet anyone whom I would want to get married to. Whoa ! So that means, I must actively aspire towards getting married, only then can I ever hope to find a person to whom I can get married. I thought this worked the other way round. If you find a person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you get married to that person (bear with me on this, this is still a socially acceptable statement, and i am just using this as a logical stopgap measure. does not mean that i agree with it)

So that implies that a desire to be married is a part of a normal human psyche. Is it ? Actually, looking at most people I know, it seems to be true. An arranged marriage is the most glaring example of this. It is clearly saying that people want to be married, and the parents are just acting as matchmakers. I have not yet seen an arranged "just sex" or "just going out" or "just have fun" match ! (Note to self : can be a good business idea. But that that is the casual encounters section of craigslist. Too late again! ).

My dad tells me that they can start looking, or can put an ad in the papers. They want to just help me meet women, there is no pressure to marry someone they choose. How do I tell them that I am fine with the meeting women part. But can it be just for casual sex ? Or even just hanging out at a bar. Maybe if the sex is fantastic, or the conversation over some booze is exemplary, we can decide to meet again. And maybe (you never know, let me be nice and not dismiss this offhand) this leads to marriage at some point. Now that would be nice .. using your parents to find your next fling !, here i come.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Romance : Chandigarh style

Somehow my hometown has taken it upon itself to be the most "Valentined" city in India. Maybe it is because of its monicker : The City Beautiful. V Day is serious business here. According to an alert investigative journalist from the local newspaper, around 10 tonnes of chocolate was sold in the city on Feb 13th. Quite an acheivment for a city with a population of less than a million.

Around 1500 cops were deployed today on the infamous "gheri route". This is a road passing through sectors 9,10 and 11, where a lot of youngesters congregate. Actually, they mostly go round (gheri means "going round" in Punjabi) on their vehicles, looking at each other. This is what passes for a romantic encounter in India. Chandigarh is the favored educational destination for the younglings of the rich farming community in Punjab, so you encounter a lot of "raw" but well off kids. And they have somehow taken it to heart that proposing to a girl on V Day is a slam dunk. Their version of the wooing game is played like this :
1. Ride in a pimped up jeep with the top off with loud music blasting (any similarity to the gangstas is purely coincidental)
2. Honk at random women passing by
3. If there is no favorable response (which is the usual case), get more aggressive and pass lewd comments
4. If still no favorable response (what is the probability of that after step3), go to step 1
5. If there is a couple, direct aggression towards the boy

Let me relate an incident. When i was in college, a friend of mine in Chandigarh started dating this hot girl. A few days later, he is accosted by five huge sardars. It seems that one of them has earmarked the girl as "his", and my friend is "encroaching". Never mind the fact that this sardar has never spoken a word to the girl (and probably never will). Even if he does, what the girl thinks about it is still irrelevant. This is a typical Chandigarh romantic story.

So, coming back to the cops, they "are again determined that they will let love bloom only under their watchful eyes", and "are all set to have cameras rolling to record any untoward incident and have it as a piece of evidence" (direct quotes from the top cop). And the "gheri route" was declared a no-vehicle zone. See what i mean about the city taking V Day very seriously !!

But when i went out to get some food for take-out, I did notice groups of kids in eating joints, taking their first stumbling steps towards a relationship with the opposite sex, feeling out boundaries, marking territory. That was a trip down nostalgia lane. ( and woe betide the first bugger to comment "so how has that changed for you today ?" )

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dont call it Frisco ..

The smell of weed on the streets. Talking to a crackhead on the 22, explaining why a Scotty Cameron putter is so expensive. Parks crowded with sunbathing locals starved for good weather. Mission hipsters sporting varied facial hair hanging out at Zeitgeist. Mopeds being furiously pedalled up hills that they cannot climb on their own power. Boozy outdoor lunches accompanied by Seshan's poignant pontifications. "Dressed to impress" bridge and tunnel folks lining up in record numbers for a desi sounding club event. A profusion of asian women descending on Navin's apartment for the phinal phreakout. Consuming 75 chicken wings (and onion rings) with 3 other stoned people after a night of dancing at Afrolicious. A lunch of "la cubana" in the
deep hispanic mission. Seshan's dates with destiny. Sushi platters arriving and disappearing at record pace.

These are just some of my SF memories from the last trip. I do believe that SF is a state of mind. Or many stoned minds. It may not have a physical reality at all, because it is so apart from its parent geo-political entity. Its the one city in the US where Superbowl Sunday is a non-event. Where two drink sardars will tease a tiger till it comes out of its cage and eats their friend. Where self-expression is a legitimate excuse for any freak show that you see on the street. Where you will run across a yoga/sex commune which offers a course for restoring male self-confidence (all teachers are women).

On a weekend, you can go into a club/bar, and share a joint. But a cigarette is still taboo. When you do have to go outside, you find that the police station is across the street, but you can chose to ignore them while lighting up your reefer, just as they chose to ignore you.

This is why I love this place. I can be what I am, or whatever I want to be.