Of all the retarded relationship stories I know, this one ranks right up there. Usually in my retarded relationship stories, its the guy who acts like he flushed his brains down the toilet. Here, the chick is from outer space, truly. She was seeing a guy for some 8 years and declared herself engaged to him and all that and had full on plans of getting married. For some 8 years, she decided that it wasn't necessary to inform her Dad, because he would probably (she thought) wind up killing her and that wouldn't really fit in with her plans of becoming Mrs. like-you-really-thought-i-was-going-to-name-names. Finally the law firm for whom she (and her rapidly balding beau) were working had to step in to unite the couple while it was still biologically possible for them to produce offspring, and so they actually got a Senior Lawyer of the Supreme Court who is actively into politics to step in and do the dirty job for them. Her father would have been shocked, much like how people used to react when a deep voice would mumble "Main Amitabh Bacchan Bol Raha Hoon" in the heydays of "Kaun Banega Crorepati".
Unfortunately for me, I had to do the task myself.
As stated in an earlier post, my earlier attempts (oh all right, it was just AN attempt) amounted to a flop show, and since the other set of parents were now involved, it was either now or not at all. The Parent-Politics of the situation were mind boggling.
Parents Politics Une: My parents vs. His parents: There could not be anything more than a reasonable gap of time between the informing of his parents and my parents. Then it would be all "Oh you people have decided so why the hell are you even asking us, do whatever you want." Nothing stings more than the "do whatever you want". As the high priestess of the "do whatever you want", let me tell you, no one means it when they say "do whatever you want". What they really mean is anyone's guess, but never do they actually mean "its OK you take whatever decision your independent and unbiased mind deems appropriate in the circumstances and I shall act in whatever manner is deemed appropriate by you accordingly." NEVER.
Parents Politics Deux: My Mom vs. My Dad: There could not be anything more than a split second of time between the informing of my mother and my father. As it is my mother had an unfair advantage. Any time lapse would be construed as trying the oldest parent politics trick in the book - the play off, which works like this in every child's imagination:
"Mommy, can I go for the party?"
"But Dad was pretty chill about it"
I'm sorry if this is coming as a shock to most of you, but guess what? It doesn't work. And while we're on the subject - there is no tooth fairy. Sorry.
Therefore, at my last trip home, I had a mission.
Attempt No. 1: Post Siesta: Parents together, awake, post tea comfort zone, flipping channels on TV. I was about to open my mouth to begin when my mother exclaimed: "Bobby!"
For the uninitiated, Bobby was Raj Kapoor's ode to the pangs of adolescent love, the rich and poor divide, and the bars of religion. Maybe the ideal background piece, for some. Unfortunately by the time we settled in to actually watch it, the happy song and dance was over and Premnath, playing Jack Braganza, Bobby's father, was emerging off a ship with a bottle of Rum in his hand, wearing a triangle of cloth, and looking bemusedly at his skimpily clad daughter's attempts to get him to wear a suit to meet her young rich boyfriend.
"Hum ko kyon Suit Pehene ko mangta? Hum lungi mein kaam karta hai aur lungi mein milega usko!"
"Ha ha", my father said, stretching his arms over his bare chest and burping loudly, "what kind of a lungi is that. This," he pointed to his own checked attire, "is a lungi."
I suddenly heard a loud voice: "Yeh rishta kabhi nahin ho sakta!"
Pran, the rich father of the loverboy, was throwing Premnath, stuffed in a suit with his fly open, his bottle of rum and Goan daughter out of the house.
"I think I have some work to do", I mumbled, and left the room.
Attempt No. 2: Same day, after dinner: I even told them that I got rejected by Harvard to create a wave of "aww baby". I had it all planned.
"I got rejected by Harvard. It's all over."
"Aww baby, don't say that..." (my mother would get a little emotional, even)
"It would be nice if you could meet my boyfriend...."
"Of course, sweetie, of course!"
So there we went:
"I got rejected by Harvard. It's all over."
"Why?" asked Dad. "Isn't your litigation going really well?"
"Yeah, kinda", I said reluctantly, trying not to lose the emotion I could see emerging on my mother's face.
"So how much are you making this year?"
After a few calculations (I kept the droopy face on) we arrived at a figure. "That's very good for your 18 months!"
"Yeah, well, I guess, hey Dad, I wanted to ask you..."
"So, you'll have to file returns then."
I looked up. "You mean I have to pay taxes?"
Oh shit shit shit shit. I said the T word. Shit shit shit. All the empathy on my mother's face disappeared in a second.
Suddenly, before I could say anything to prevent the situation from spiralling totally out of control, she turned into her alter ego - from soppy mommy, she turned into Tax Planner extraordinaire.
"Of course not - see, you have your education loan which you repaid, and then you have your insurance premium, and in any case, women are exempt for the first...'
Well, at least I managed to get my financials settled.