Color me rainbow


With the whole arranged marriage building up a considerable head of steam, I received a profile of a guy working in San Jose. His father was very interested in my profile and thought his son and me should get talking. He also asked my Dad for my horoscope. Much to the chagrin of my Dad, he asked me if I knew something he did not. Not that I am against Gay Marriage in any way, shape or form, but I did not think that guy was cute. Secondly, I don’t think any guy is cute. No disrespect to any cute guys there, but I wasn’t wired that way. I did not choose to or decide to be straight. I was born that way.

Which brings me to the main issue. Homosexuality and gay marriages. Of course, during the course of growing up, I have called effeminate guys who I studied with as gay. I simply assumed stuff and judged. I had no clue about their sexual orientation. I don’t think any 10 year old kid knew about their sexual orientation. I heard somebody say it, immediately made the connection that effeminate equals gay, and went ahead and labeled the kid that. I was a smart cookie like that. But then I also grew up in India. Where people aren’t really open about discussing  sexuality and parents never seem to be too keen to discuss sex or protection.

My first foray into dealing with said sexuality was when Govinda was trying to get in the sack with an actress and he was crooning this beautiful masterpiece aptly called Sarkai Lo Khatiya. So when parents aren’t taking responsibility for teaching their kids, they seek guidance elsewhere. Enter Shakti Kapoor, of casting couch fame. And it’s not that Indians don’t know about sex. This is the country that came up with the book of all books. No, not the chronicles of Chetan Bhagat. The Kama Sutra. Although, Chetan Bhagat’s photo on the back of his books are far more disgusting to look at than the last page  in the Kamasutra that says The End. Why yes, I am straight and single. Why do you ask?

If the name Baba Ramdev means nothing to you, then it is safe to say you are not an Indian – or a yoga enthusiast or are in complete control of your senses. The guru’s international yoga camps – where he preaches a medicine free world – have been attended or watched on television by an estimated 85 million people worldwide, making him one of the most recognisable Indian faces on the planet. That guy is as flexible as having a beer on a Monday afternoon. You know if you are employed, generally Mondays are most harrowing of all days. You know it’s a shitty pun, if you have to delve into explaining it yourself. Anyway, given the political wars ongoing in India right now, pseudo godmen such as Baba Ramdev try to voice their opinion about how homosexuality is the bane of all Indian cultural existence. Existence of homosexuality is evident in Indian culture since prehistoric times, as seen in different forms of art like paintings and carvings in temples. Here is photographic evidence.

Yet his exact words were,

“These are unnatural acts not designed for human beings. The decision of the High Court,if allowed to sustain will have catastrophic effects on the moral fabric of society and will jeopardise the institution of marriage itself. This offends the structure of Indian value system, Indian culture and traditions, as derived from religious scriptures”

Yet, we have women being raped every minute. Each one more atrocious than the next. Each victim younger than first. Yet, instead of finding ways where the average horniness quotient of the average Indian male could be curtailed by means of his yogic talents, he tries to find a cure for homosexuality with yoga. Indians are known to procreate with ease. Just read through our annual census reports. 1.3 billion people can’t be wrong. I think acceptance of homosexuality in Indian society could potentially solve our growing nightmarish population problems and also potentially bring focus to more crying needs such as rape victims or female infanticide. Or basic education. Ours is a country where the moral police have a problem with couples holding hands and kissing in public. Yet, men can quite freely intertwine their pinkies together and walk merrily along the streets. What’s another word for merry? That’s right! Gay.

Don’t let the likes of people such as Govinda, Shakti Kapoor and Baba Ramdev explain about sex to your kids. Take the mantle in your own hands and distinguish between those darn birds and bees. And also teach them to respect women and not treat them like sexual objects. And also, make them listen to Govinda and Udit Narayan songs from the 90’s. They were absolutely staggering and their lyrics were the stuff that The Beatles could only dream of.

Case in Point

The Arranged Marriage Syndrome


There comes a time in every Indian kid’s life when their parents pose THE question. “So, when are you getting married?” Unfortunately (or fortunately, I don’t know just yet) that time has arrived for me. Maybe it is that hidden cynical beast in me that promotes the ideology of arranged marriages being a pointless endeavor. I fail at convincing my folks at every juncture of this everlasting argument. My “logical” (in my eyes at least) arguments are met with a cynical scoff. Apparently, I am way too idealistic and have no idea as to how the real world functions. I have a nontraditional view towards orthodox customs. Point noted.

I never bought in to the ritualistic traditions that came with being born in a family of orthodox brahmins. But that’s partly the reason why I grew up to be an atheistic psychopath. I digress. The concept of arranged marriages is a bit of a folly to me. How can somebody base their entire life (that’s how long marriages are supposed to last, right?) living with a person who they did not choose in the first place? I know my parents’ argument and honestly, I can’t fault them. Statistics speak for themselves. Arranged marriages last longer than their lovey-dovey counterparts. Parents 1 Cynical Asshole 0.

Then comes the part about horoscopes. This was a phenomenon that has existed since time immemorial. The stars aligned in a certain way on the day and the time of your birth, and that determines how your life would turn out. I don’t know enough to argue about that. But the fact that a random person, born in the same caste, has to have their stars aligned in such a way that they match your star alignments would lead both of you to lead a wonderful life together. Seems a wee bit too preposterous, does it not? This is another argument in which my parents like to play their statistics trump card. Only because they match horoscopes and get you married (arranged nonetheless) does your life turn rosy and everybody lives happily ever after, much like a Grimm fairy tale. Parents 2 Cynical Asshole 0. Holy crap, I am losing this one.

Then comes the fun part of exchanging photographs of the potential bride and groom.

Dad: “Nikhil, send me a few photographs in which you are not dressed as a street urchin. Ideally, a suit would be fine, but just in case, send a couple with kurta and pyjama (ethnic Indian attire)”.

Damn it. Got to hunt for those elusive suit, that I had last worn for my interviews.

Me: “Here you go, Dad. There are 7-8 of them. Choose the best one and use them with caution.”
Dad: “Here are the photographs of multiple girls. Tell me who you like best.”
Me: “How about her, Dad?”
Dad: “Nope. Her dad consulted the astrologer with your horoscope and it did not match. Also, the father wanted a fairer boy for his fair girl.”

Rejected by a girl’s dad and his minion, the Astrologer. Rejection by a girl is something that I can come to terms with but rejection by her dad and an astrologer. My parents were right. It might actually take 2 years to find a girl, whose stars and skin color are compatible with my own. Parents 3 Cynical Asshole 0.

I can still forgive my parents, who would obviously have my best interests at heart. But, seeing them succumb to peer pressure from the weed called society is what irks me the most. Just because some random maami (notorious for gossiping, I must add), tells my dad, my brother’s second aunt’s granddaughter is getting married.

Random Maami: “When is your son getting married? Oh, he is in Ameeerica… Must have found a girl for himself. This generation boys I tell you.”

Cue a phone call from my Dad.

Dad: “No pressure da.. Just letting you know, that so-and-so’s brother’s second aunt’s granddaughter is getting married. I plan to go and attend the wedding. I am going to take your horoscope and distribute it there.”

Way to pimp me out, Dad. It doesn’t aid me one bit that my peers are getting married themselves and brag about how awesome their marital bliss is. You can only imagine how that conversation goes down with the folks.

Me: “Dad, my friend is getting married.”

5 seconds of silence later.

Dad:”Oh.. Are you planning to come for the wedding? Let me know if you are. I’ll have a few girls lined up for you to see.”

Score…. Speed Dating.. Parents 4 Cynical Asshole 0

At this point, trailing 4 points to none of my own, I have to give up. Maybe arranged marriages are not as bad as people make it out to be. It’s like dating a person from Day 1 and getting to know and understand the likes and dislikes and having the will and fear of social stigma to live together with that person till, as they say, death do them part. All of this ranting just made me realize something. Something, that I was too much of a hard head to realize.

I am a cynical asshole! Peace be with you.

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