Now what do you do with a line like that? Found by the way in Siddharth Sanghvi's 'Lost Flamingoes of Bombay' here born for bestseller notoriety. I spent most of yesterday wondering if I liked the book or positively hated it. I did love his last book though despite its mad verbosity and ridiculously bad sex with panther’s descriptions. I had just moved to north Bombay and lived very close to Dariya Mahal (which I completely imagine it was set in) and the book made me all dreamy and wistful every time I pictured it set in that beautiful yellow bungalow by the sea.
Anyway moving on, my mother is visiting. Now when you’re 26 and unmarried and unattached and rather uncaring (read : tired) about the aforementioned and you’re mothers visiting, it can only mean one thing. So all this hysteria about “awww home cooked food”, “oh so sweet, how long is aunty staying for”, “call us home for dinner yaa”, are the just the sort of reactions that will make me give you one of my classic scowls and wish you a very quick death.
But let me explain my trauma to you. So my mother got married at 20. My sister at 21 and therefore by vague arithmetic progression my mother was pretty goddamn sure I would too at 22. But when at 22 I brought home a 32 year old lover she wasn’t very happy and decided to give me more time. More time lead to seeming forgetfulness as she jet setted between India and whichever country my sister considered home for that year, then to worrying about my sister not having a baby, then to taking care of pregnant sister, then to blissful grandmother hood. The familial linear progression being perfect at one end and suddenly horror of horrors, severely procrastinated at the other end..
Of course it gets particularly emotionally stressful when you realize that the ordeal is not what you pegged it to be. You always thought the trauma would stem from your rebellion to be single and wild and your need for space and freedom. Instead it stems from looking at the genuinely worried disappointment on your parents face when they realize you might soon be in your 30’s and really lonely and regret that you didn’t settle down earlier. When they are even open to you marrying anybody for love, even if he’s white or black or muslim (the 3 no’s you were so sure she would throw at you). And you slowly albeit surely realize that all they really really want is your true happiness and that they are wise, sure and right enough to know that that can come only with the right kind of companionship and love, and no one’s saying ‘no’ to anything and everyone’s asking ‘how’?
Some of my friends are saying that this is how they start you off. Slowly sow the seed of looming despair and then when you give up, drained and fed – up, they actually start the mad rush of getting you married off before you can say “umm mom I don’t really want to live in Tennessee with Varadharajuperumal”.
Now back to the Lost Flamingos of Bombay.