Exactly five years ago, I wore a conical, white cap and walked around a bonfire seven times with a strange woman. Strange - because that was probably the fifth or sixth time I was meeting her. I usually did not even get to know a girl's name before the tenth meeting and here I was, promising a gentle lady that I would keep her daughter happy for the rest of my life.
Hell - I did not even know what would make her daughter happy!
Actually, I did. In a superficial sense and felt relieved that the same things made me deliriously happy as well. But then - come to think of it - jumbo prawns at Mainland China would make ANYBODY ecstatic.
That is the wonder of arranged matches in India. You have insufficient data but in an overwhelming majority of the cases, you do an extrapolation that works out just fine. I mean, look at our case.
When I told Nilendu that I am about to chat with the girl to 'get to know her better', he said I was so badly doomed that it was not even funny. (Yes, he is a bit of an extremist.)
So, I asked him what should I ask to figure out if the girl was 'my type'.
Nilendu suggested that I should ask her about her favourite drink.
If she mentioned any form of juice, I should run as if Devil was after me. If she knew the name of any one cocktail, I might still be in with a chance.
To my eternal delight, the girl in question had replied, "Bacardi on the rocks..."
But, the food and drink are only a small part of what can be called a seemingly endless Saga of Incompatibility.
She likes The Beatles. I like the Burmans.
Her favourite shopping destination is Benetton. Mine is Landmark.
She is an Army kid, up at the stroke of six. I usually go to sleep at that time.
She boils at room temperature. I remain cool even in very explosive situations.
Her favourite is Pretty Woman. Mine is Andaz Apna Apna.
The list is just endless...
I am told people have split marriages on grounds of excessive snoring or wet towels on the bed. We seem to have run the entire gamut of annoyance (I so hate the fact that she does not delete read messages in her inbox) and aggravation (she just can't stand my not shaving on weekends) without ever contemplating divorce.
Murder, yes. Suicide, yes. Divorce, never!
In this roller-coaster, the five years seems to have passed in a flash. And the last sixteen months at the speed of light.
That's probably because we have had conflicting opinions on everything starting with the 16-month-old's delivery to his education and even his marriage. Yes, we don't believe in having an argument tomorrow which we can have today!
Traditionally, the fifth anniversary is called the Wooden Anniversary. I guess the reason would lie in having a gradual progression from paper (1st) to wood (5th) to ivory (15th) to silver and gold.
But for me, it would probably have something to do with that one has done fine till now and should touch wood to keep the good times rolling!