Saturday, August 4, 2007

It's better to be Mr. Late than never.

An honest-to-God editorial from India's national english-language newspaper:

"More Indians are choosing to opt out of unhappy marriages" read an edit on this page last week. It is a sobering thought. But scratch the surface a little and you'll find that the real cause isn't mismatched expectations or hectic lifestyles, but the fact that people are looking for spouses in the wrong places. And naturally, they end up with someone unsuitable. Families have got so scattered that the old reliable practice of 'arranging marriages' through one's all-knowing sister-in-law's counsins's grandmother's friend is practically dead. Commitment phobic youngsters have no time to look for love and are busy building careers. Hence, when marriage is unavoidable they are turning to their elders to fix it up for them. Elders, in the absence of benevolent matchmakers, are turning to matrimonial pages and wed-sites. Admittedly, many a time these do not turn out to be for the best. But these New Age match-fixers can't compete with the thouroughness of the matchmakers of yore.

In such a bleak scenario, these words from the movie Must Love Dogs hold infinite wisdom, "The best place to meet a guy (or a gal) is at the supermarket". Frivolous as it may sound, it is so in-sync with the consumerist society that we've become. Just imagine how easy it'd make the whole process! You want a health-conscious guy - hang around the health-food or organic-food section; a diva - will be found around the cosmetics or accessories section; the homely type-around the decorative items/food get the idea.

Steer clear, however, from harried looking guys and ladies with lists, they'll be married already. You can check out the real appearance covertly from behind your muesli pack and since nobody dresses up for the supermarket, what you see will be exactly what you get. Is he patting enough kids on the head and not scowling at them? Is she so namby-pamby that she lets everybody trample her toes or assertive enough to demand the missing free gift? Once these prelims are over, getting into a conversation is a piece of cake or muelsi, whichever you prefer. And from then on, play by ear. God willing you'll be hitched in no time. You'd have found your soulmate, saved everybody a lot of trouble and maybe spared yourself heartbreak - as everybody knows that a couple that shops amicably together, stays together! "

I've said it before, I'll say it again - this place is crazy! This was one of three opinions on the editorial page from the Times of India a couple of days back. The thing is, I don't think it's trying to be funny. Well, I think it's trying to be funny while not trying to be funny. The journalism here is wildly entertaining, although not so heavy on what you'd call "news". Hearsay? Acronyms? Opinions expressed as fact? Unexplained references to past persons and events? You've picked up the right rag! Context? Usable information? Hmm, maybe try.... no, not that one.... what about.... nnnnooooooo..... maybe..... Have you read the Times of India?

The use of language is impressive, to say the least. Abby told me the other day that the English here is actually called Hinglish, and that it has it's own grammar, pronunciation, spelling, everything, just like Ebonics. The signs here are always good for a laugh, and I'm convinced that most of them are accidentally witty. I tell you, they're funnier without trying than I could ever be. Take this road sign , seen along the cliff edge of a road in Spiti: "Are you going to a party? Then why drive so dirty" The punctuation is correct. According to Hinglish. Or this one: "Mr Gentle on my curve. You can be gentle on my curve." My personal favourite? "It's better to be Mr. Late than never." See what I mean? Accidentally witty? Or carefully crafted to amuse the tourists...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Been hearing about flooding in Northern India. Glad to hear that you guys are on the world's highest pass and not next to a river.

Un Abrazo Fuerte de T y C para Ustedes.