Thursday, April 26, 2007

a must read in this valentine season... in English

With reference to my earlier blog on an AnandaBazar Patrika article giving novel ways of proposing, some people had requested that I translate the anecdotes in English. Well I passed on the request to my father, and he very kindly translated a few of the anecdotes. Here they are:-

Anecdote 1

Negotiations for my marriage had been almost completed, but eventually aborted, owing to our reluctance to cough up the dowry being demanded. My elder brother had a friend, who had visited our home several times. Over the phone, he asked me one day," When are you changing your title?" Somewhat reluctantly, I blurted out the bitter truth. Some days later, he phoned up again; this time, he wanted to know whether I was looking
for a job, and also if I were going to appear for the SSC exams.

His enquiries had an air of sincerity, and I was drawn into talking to him, on all sorts of unrelated topics. It helped that he was a good listener as well. He was, however, not the type to fall in love at first sight, and I was also not that way inclined. But he phoned up again a few days later, this time wanting to know what I thought of him as a person. Quite naturally, I replied that I liked talking to him. Suddenly, quite out of the blue, he then popped the all-important question-"Will you marry me?" Without much thought, I replied in the negative. Unfazed and unrepentant, he grandly announced that then he had no option but to marry me himself. So many years have now passed, and I realize how lucky I was that he did not take my denial seriously.

- Sanchari Mukherjee @ Mumbai


Anecdote 2

Exactly nine years ago, I was stationed in a small town in Orissa, on active duty. There was a tall, handsome and alert male colleague, who had been posted several days before me. We had struck up an easy paced relationship. He was with me on a bitterly cold January evening, when I accidentally managed to spill some hot water on my hand. Fortunately, no major damage was done. But imagine my surprise when my tall, good-looking friend chose this very moment to vanish, striding away very rapidly on his long and elegant legs. I was dumbstruck, and at a complete loss for words. Suddenly, the bell rang! The ghost who had walked out had made an embarrassed reappearance. Before I could put in a word sideways, he had held out a peace offering-a tube of Burnol, and was then unashamedly asking me for my hand in marriage. I had heard of red roses being used to speak of one's love, but Burnol? Was he intending to soothe all life's cuts and burns with a tube of Burnol? He indeed was.

- Shrabani @ Baleshwar


Anecdote 3

We first met during law classes at Surendranath College. He was very much into literary activities, happily surrounded by an amazingly large number of female admirers, and I was one of them. His sister Tuku and I were inseparable, though, and we haunted the college snacks-bars .I would also regularly drop in at Tuku’s house, but he would invariably come in fairly late in the evening, dog-tired, and would almost instantly hit the hay, sawing timber without any care as to present company. At these moments, I would begin to wonder exactly whose friend I was, Tuku's or his. Incidentally, with the knowledge of two past affairs that I had had, he would maddeningly insist on being called No.3.And this in front of everyone else! You can easily guess me turning a beetroot red, much to the delight of all present. We had frequent and lively interactions at Mitali-Hatibagan and at Sweet Home opposite Calcutta High Court. But he never found it in him to say the sweet nothings that I yearned to hear.

Believe it or not, this charade was to carry on for a full 10 years or so, and I was more or less resigned to my spinsterhood, when suddenly Tuku's marriage talks were finalised with Sanjoy, and all members of their household became tied up with the preparations. Somehow in the midst of all this ongoing chaos, he managed to slip into our house early one morning. He had evidently been headed for the ration shop, since he was carrying 2 or 3 large jute bags under his arm. I was busy cooking for my married sisters who had come visiting with their children, and seeing him in the kitchen, you could hear a pin drop. He was unperturbed, and asked whether I could have a word with him in private, please? We were still not informal together after the 10 years or so together; but we went to our granny’s room, nevertheless. In a rush of words, he blurted out that there was a very large queue at the shop, and he had suddenly realized that he had to finalise something much more important, and he was willing to wait 6 months for my answer, but could I muster up enough courage to enter into a more lasting relationship? Dumbfounded at this sudden and very unexpected turn of events, I could only nod my head in mind-sapping relief, and thank Providence.

- Rekha Mitra @ HindMotor


Anecdote 4

One day, taking me completely unawares, my office-colleague Kabita, asked me point-blank, "Are you presently into seeing girls for a future match for yourself?" When I wanted to know why she asked, she replied that an elderly man had been making detailed queries about me. Then, I had no option but to agree that the search was indeed on for a suitable bride for me. Kabita then informed me that she had a good looking friend working for the Government on a decent pay packet, blessed with a good even temperament, who could prove to be the ideal mate for me. I told her that I did not want a working bride, but instead a stay-at-home type, who would help my mother with the daily chores. Kabita smiled and pointedly remarked that before marriage all people had great expectations from their would-be spouses, but that these changed drastically, soon after the actual event. Working girl or not, Kabita opined that all brides of today wanted to set up small, independent, cosy family-nests, which ultimately required a great deal more money from the nuclear family. Naturally, it stood to reason therefore that working girls made for a better proposition, since they could steer the family ship more effectively. At this, I could not suppress my curiosity any longer, and asked Kabita whom she had in mind for me. Serenely, Kabita smiled, and stated that she had set her eyes on me for a long time now, and would brook no refusal. Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, I could not make any sensible reply to her at that point of time, and such has been the story of my life with Kabita thereafter.

- Moloy Kumar Das Biswas @ Jamshedpur