Jab They Met

November 16, 2007

As predicted by the Weather Channel, State College and me were welcomed to a snowy Diwali, and being a Friday, I had a early morning shift at my part-time job. As I made my rounds of the computer labs on campus, enjoying the novel experience of having frozen flakes rather than wet droplets fall on my head, I looked forward to a couple of Diwali parties that I had been invited to on the weekend. The first one was a pooja cum pot-luck party organised by the IGSA seniors, and becoming notorious for landing up at such parties sans self-prepared food, I decided to make my favourite ‘Sooji ka Halwa’ to make amends at the start of a new year. The party, being part of a pooja, went off smoothly without much ado and I went back home on Friday night wondering what the second party on Saturday would have to offer. For the second party, organised by AID (Association for India’s Development) of which I happen to be an out-standing (literally) member, was infact a surprise send-off party for one of the more active members, Anirban, who was going back to India to become Raymonds, a ‘complete’ man.

Being fond of springing surprises myself, I headed to the party enthusiastically with Psmith and friends in tow. We arrived at the apartment only to be welcomed by a jam-packed hall of shrieking women and a surprisingly sedate bunch of men. At parties its usually the other way round. Maybe it was the US culture getting to all of them. A brief inquiry revealed to us that the betrothed couple had yet not made an entry and were apparantly at some mall nearby doing some last minute shopping. To while away the time, I did what I usually do best at parties these days – attack the food.

An hour later, and still no sight of the couple. Frantic calls revealed that they were still at the mall. A few jokes regarding the existence of the mall were cracked (not by me). After a second round of snacking, we were finally warned that Anirban and Sonali (better half) were on the way up to the apartment. All lights were switched off, the main-door left slightly ajar and while all of us waited in the darkness for ‘the’ moment to arrive, a enterprising guy waited near a light source to flick it on at the said moment. Faint noises outside permeated through the hallway. The door was pushed open from outside.


The poor couple almost collapsed. One doesn’t normally expect to walk into a room in the US and have 50 Indians jump at one yelling ‘SURPRISE’. Having got over the initial shock, the couple were really thrilled to see so many people come to wish them. Once the hullaballoo died down, it was time for the main attraction of the evening – dinner. Pulao, kadi pakoda, veg tawa, paneer bhurji and dahi wada were safely deposited into my stomach with sublime ease. Helping myself to a nice portion of rasa malai, I made my way to the conglomeration that had formed around Anirban. A few questions were being thrown at him and he was doing his best to cope with them.

“So, when is the marriage?” one guy asked.

“26th November,” he replied nodding, more to affirm to himself.

“So your last single Diwali,” Psmith observed.

“Yeah, err.. kind of.”

“So, how did you two meet?” one woman queried.

“Oh, that’s a looong story. Maybe some other day.”

There comes a time when even the greatest of men perform the FIM (footh-in-mouth) operation. Anirban could easily have said, “In college” and I am sure no one would have ventured to delve further. But when one over-emphasises a small word like ‘long’, it is but natural that a certain level of curiousity is aroused.

“No, no, Anirban, we want to hear the loong story,’ the woman said.

“We have all the time in the world,” I quipped.

“PEOPLE, PEOPLE! Anirban is going to tell us his love story,” another woman shrieked, almost deafening me.

And thus, the mehfil was set.

Video 1 – When

Notice how the guy keeps checking with his better half making sure he gets the dates right.

In 2003 (turns) Right?


On Nov 9th (turns)…. Right?


The camera then slowly pans to Blue Terror, details about whom will be revealed later.

Video 2 – How

Poor chap began his story. Notice Psmith, as right-hand man (literally) listening attentively.

Basically the story started with a random mail sent by better half.

Video 3 – What

The emails between male and female continued. The ‘personal’ email caused quite a stir. Note the ‘aap ki bhi baari aayegi’ quip by none other than Blue Terror.

Video 4 – Details

By this time I had become quite fed up with the whole ‘You have got Mail’ paraphernalia. For, my whole image of ‘the perfect contemporary Indian lady’ had started getting warped. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that most Indian women would not send a random email to some random guy asking him for details on xyz, not unless she had some motive behind her actions. Of course exceptions are there. You could always be a silly girl situated somewhere in a remote corner of Singapore and have no qualms in doling out friend requests on Orkut to naive IT professionals. But this is not the time for Singapore sagas. As I was saying, I smelt something fishy in the story.

So I asked, “How did you’ll meet?”

I was immediately upbraided by everyone. Blue Terror said, “Fast forward mein mat dekh. Play mein dekh, play mein.”

When a woman draped in a sari says something you obey. I shut up and switched back to play mode.

Video 5 – Who called up first

Video 6 – Who said ‘what’ first

Video 7 – Confessions

Video 8 – Her version

Now things began to make sense. The random mail was not random. The random guy was not random. Everything was planned. As the concept of ‘the perfect contemporary Indian lady’ began to conform to my original image, a disturbing thought crossed my mind. Was there an iota of possibility, a teeny weeny chance that a mysterious common friend had suggested to Miss Singapore that I would be a perfect match for her, that had prompted her to send me a friend request. I hurriedly gulped down the remains of my rasa malai.

Video 9 – Other bakras

The end

Moving to a topic of a more serious kind, CAT is around the corner. All the best to all you promising managers of the future. For others, enjoy the weekend, while I look forward to my thanksgiving break where I head to the city that never sleeps, New York.

A joke I thought of while on the bus the other day:

How would a NRI punju pronounce Bhool Bhulaiya?
Balle Balle !!!

Enough torture for today.

Khuda Afis
Om Shanti Om


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