The phone was ringing stridently. My mom approached it cautiously, looked at the Caller ID and motioned me to pick up the phone. Now this was bad news. Whenever she did this, it usually meant that some pesky 'Ungle' or 'Aundy' was calling. With a sigh I picked up the phone and an avalanche of conversation fell into my ears.
Aunt: “Hellooooooo. How are you, How is mummy, daddy, your brothers and the dogs and ......”
Me: They are all fine and so are the neighbors and their dogs.
Aunt: That is sooooooo nice.
Me (cutting in): So what do you want Aunty?
Aunt ( in her best fake sad voice): You know your cousin Sarah has just finished her B.Tech and has got a nice job in Trivandrum. We are looking for a ‘suitable boy’ for her.
Aunt (slyly): So...I heard you are doing your internship in an IT MNC...I am sure there are many suitable boys...maybe you could enquire?
Me: No way!!!! I am not running behind guys asking them to marry your daughter.
Aunt: * sob * you know how sick your uncle is?
Me: Yes...but he is attending Alcoholics Anonymous isn't he?
Aunt: And *sniff * you know about my knee problem...
Me: Aunty didn’t the doctor tell you to reduce your weight to 125 kgs?
Aunt: And your cousin brother Tojo is still in 10th std...
Me: Approximately how many years has he spent in 10th Std and approx how many buses do you think Tojo has burnt till now?
Aunt (proudly): Four!!! Ok dear I have to go now. I knew I could count on you, I will send Sarah’s details as soon as possible, Byeeeeeeeee
I realize I am speaking to no one in particular.
I know when I am suckered. This ‘aunt’ is related to us through a series of accidents. She is my moms cousin brother’s sister-in-laws neighbors dog’s owner who bit my mom’s cousin brother who then developed Rabies and bit the dog. Mallu networking is very 'komblicated' you see!
Next day I reached office rather early and after taking a good look around to see that no one was around, took down all the names of the unmarried males from my community in the office from the Intranet. I got 10 probables, all Engineers and apparently eligible. I entered their names in an Excel sheet and waited for the office gossip a.k.a Executive Secretary to VP Finance to arrive. She would have all the dirt on the ‘candidates’ plus some on their past lives too, besides she will also have the salaries of my targets down to the last decimal. Very nice. I give myself a mental pat for having the foresight to restrain myself from hitting her on the head with the keyboard when I found her reading my mails.
Miss Executive Secretary a.k.a. Swati strolls in an agonizing hour late takes a quick look at the list and gives me the low down.
Swati: Thomas? He is slightly cockeyed and drinks like a fish.
Me: What about Joseph?
Swati: Drinks like a whale.
Me: And Bobby?
Swati: Drinks like a Whale with an alcohol problem.
Me: How about Biju?
Swati: Will be kicked out soon for non performance.
Me: And Chacko?
Swati (lowering her voice): I heard he is married, but I am not sure. He denies it.
Me (in despair): What about Anil, Ronny and Tarun?
Swati: Anil has got a limp, Ronny has a wife and Tarun has a massive chip on his shoulders.
Evening as soon as I stepped foot into the house the phone rings. I pick up the phone resignedly.
Me: Yes Aunty, I have the information.
Aunt: That is sooooo sweet of you. So tell me did you get a good boy for my Sarah?
Me: No, all the guys in my office are married.
Aunt: What do you mean married? What about Thomas?
Me: er...how do you know about him?
Aunt: And what about Joseph?
Me: ummmm he is a very social guy I heard.
Aunt: And Bobby?
Me: Well...he is even more social...
Aunt (triumphantly): And Biju?
Me: He is er...leaving the job.
Aunt: To a better paying company, his mom told me! You are just jealous! You do not want my Sarah to be well settled. We like Biju. Nice boy and from a good family too. I am going ahead with the proposal.
Me: Aunty please listen....
Aunt slams down the receiver.
I am not invited to the wedding.