Arranged Scissors 14 – Losing Heart

I’ve been in this market for a while now. It was sometime in February that my mother decided that I had utterly failed in my attempts to find myself a long-term gene-propagating female partner, and that she needed to step in and find someone for me. It was sometime in March that I went to this shady photo studio at DLF Galleria in Gurgaon and got a “wedding profile” snap taken. Later in March, I got listed at some shadymax exchange in Malleswaram. And there was the “market visit”.

The last weekend of this March I was in Bangalore, and was taken to this shady-max exchange in Malleswaram for a “market visit”. My uncle had told me that we needed to go sufficiently early, since there were apparently profiles of six hundred girls that I had to inspect that day, and make a shortlist. We had had a hurried breakfast at a Darshini in JP Nagar and then headed out to the exchange. My uncle, aunt and mother took turns to go up to the counter there and fetch the “smartha brides” files one by one. And I would spend about a minute on each file – which had fifty profiles. The six hundred profiles were done in less than a quarter of an hour. Phallus had simply refused to budge.

Aadisht, via his friend Vishakh, came up with this awesome framework of “head, heart, phallus“. The basic funda is that in order for you to enter into a long-term gene-propagating relationship, your head, heart and phallus need to independently like the counterparty (women insert appropriate substitute into the 3rd component). There is nothing earth-shaking about this framework as another of my friends pointed out, but the important thing is that it distinguishes between heart and phallus. Which I think most other explanations of louvvu (including bollywood movies) tend to ignore. And people also ignore it and get confused between heart approval and phallic approval, leading to disaster.

I had taken a long break from this arranged scissors market – a combination of being generally disgusted, poor health and being in between jobs. Recently (with the advent of Navaratri) I’d gotten back, and realize that I’ve lost my heart. Yeah, you might think this sounds funny but it’s not. I’ve truly lost my heart. And the only good that can come out of this is that if a crocodile catches and threatens to eat me, I can tell it the truth.

This whole arranged scissors concept seems to dehumanize the wonderful concept of long-term gene-propagating relationships. You are expected to make your decisions quickly, and you are expected to design “questionnaires” so as to get the maximum amount of info through each meeting. You are expected to browse through files containing six hundred profiles and make a shortlist. And when you are in the process of making the shortlist, you have your mom and aunt peering over your shoulder with helpful comments such as “this girl’s mouth is too wide” or “that girl’s nose is too blunt”.

For a while you resist, and resolve that you won’t get sucked into this mess. You resolve that you are still looking for “true louvvu” (whatever that is) and won’t settle for a common minimum program. You resolve that you’ll use the arranged marriage exchange as a dating agency. And soon it begins getting to you. You begin to see the merits of judging noses as too flat and mouths as too wide. You start breaking a girl down into components, and giving marks to each, and taking a weighted average to see if it is beyond “pass marks” (ok I’m obviously exagggerating here). You agree to meet potential counterparties even if you know that it’s improbable that you’ll like her.

My head, I think, is doing quite fine. So is the phallus. However, I think I’ve lost my heart. It’s been three and a half years since I even hit on someone. My heart seems to have forgotten how to love, and to have a “crush”. I’ve forgotten how my heart used to react during prior blades. In each of those cases, if I remember right, it was the heart that initiated it, and the head and phallus only gave approval later. Now, I have no clue how that used to happen. That seems so improbable.

This whole concept of meeting people with the explicit intention of evaluating them for long-term gene-propagating relationships is seedy. I think it goes against the laws of nature, and completely ruins that wonderful feeling that one usually associates with louvvu. It makes you too judgmental (I’m judgmental otherwise also, but not this judgmental), and you are so busy evaluating her that you don’t enjoy it at all. And how can you trust your judgment when you know that you haven’t liked the process of judgment at all?

Yesterday I met a friend, an extremely awesome woman. Once I was back home, I sent a mail to my relationship advisor, detailing my meeting with this friend. And I described her (the awesome friend) as being “super CMP”. I wrote in the mail “I find her really awesome. In each and every component she clears the CMP cutoff by a long way”. That’s how I’ve become. I’ve lost it. I’ve lost my heart. And I need to find it back. And I don’t know if I should continue in the arranged scissors market.

Bangalore Trip

So I went to Bangalore on Thursday. And returned yesterday afternoon. It was a fairly eventful trip – just that most of the events that took place during the trip were planned. There weren’t too many surprises – either positive or negative, and this lack of volatility meant that it was a good trip overall.

I had ended my last post hoping that my bike would start. And start it did, dutifully. Unfortunately, it was to tell Jai later during the day, when it abruptly stopped somewhere in Gandhibazaar market. It was quite hot and I had to push it around a fair distance to find a garage that was open in order to get it repaired.

The thing with automobile repair shops is that most of them are owned by Muslims, and thus have their weekly holiday on Friday. While it might be convenient in normal times since you can leave your bike for service on a Sunday, it can be death when your bike breaks down on Friday afternoon. I had to go past two or three closed auto repair shops that day before I found a “Sowmya bike point” where my spark plug got replaced.

Two of my three breakfasts were consumed at Darshinis. Actually, on Friday, I had my breakfast in three installments. Saturday was the usual Masala Dosa at the Adigas in Jayanagar 4th block. Dinner on Saturday was at Shiok, the first time I was visiting it at the new location. The food, as usual, was excellent. One extremely under-rated starter at Shiok is Choo Chee Potatoes. I strongly recommend you to try it out the next time. I left the choice of my drink to Madhu Menon, and he recommended some pink stuff for me.

I met Baada, Harithekid and PGK at Shiok. I was meeting PGK for the first time. I was already a bit disoriented when I had arrived at Shiok (my head had gone blank a couple of times earlier that day, leading me to take an auto to Shiok rather than putting bike), and combine that with the pink drink and I think I’ve forgotten what PGK looks like. All I remember is that he too had a pink drink – which was different from mine.

I managed to submit address change requests at most of the places I had intended to. I went to SBI and Karnataka Bank, and extended my fixed deposits – taking advantage of the insanely high prevailing rates. I visited one aunt for dinner on Friday, and another for lunch on Saturday.

The only time during the entire trip that I was consumed by NED was when I went to inspect my house in Bangalore. It was after a gap of almost ten years that I was seeing the house empty. It was at that moment I think – three months after I moved to Gurgaon – that it hit me that I don’t live in Bangalore any more. And that I don’t intend to return for a while. It took a maddening auto drive to Shiok to cure me of this bout of NED.

Friday evening was spent in the cantonment area, though I regret to inform you that I visited neither of MG Road and Brigade road. I met Udupa and Woreshtmax Vishnu for tea at Koshy’s, and on either side of tea, raided the Premier Bookshop. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pics as I had planned. The only picture of Premier that I now have is the one taken with Neha Jain’s wrist that appeared in the ToI on 26th July 2004 (I don’t have a scanned copy; a few hard copies of the clipping are there somewhere in my house in Jayanagar in Bangalore).

I spent all my coupons, and Shamanth’s coupons also. I still have Lakshana’s coupon with me, and I intend to mail it to her. Here is what I bought:

  • The Human Zoo¬† – Desmond Morris
  • The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
  • An artist and a mathematician (a book about the fictional mathematician Nicholas Bourbaki; forgot the author)
  • India: A History – John Keay
  • Longitude
  • The Stuff of Thought – Steven Pinker

Once again, thanks to all those who recommended books to me. Unfortunately, a large number of those were not available at Premier. i’ll probably order them from Rediff Books once I’ve whittled down my have-and-unread list.

Bangalore Trip

I’m going to Bangalore tomorrow evening. Will be back on Sunday afternoon. My mother will be accompanying me to Gurgaon then.

It seems like there is a lot of work to do during my short stay there. Apart from the usual meeting relatives and friends, I have some tonnes of offical work to do which I hadn’t been able to do before moving to Gurgaon.

I need to give a change of address request to my banks, my brokerage accounts, my credit card account, etc. I need to take advantage of this temporary high-interest period in order to renew my fixed deposits. There are some other agreements which I’ll need to get prepared and sign. I need to go to Premier Bookshop and clear out my coupons.

As if all this was not enough, my mother had told me on Sunday that my market entry might be happening and I might even be required to meet a potential investor. Thankfully (?) that deal has fallen through before it even began, so I’m spared of that trouble.

Then, there is food. Two aunts have invited me to their homes for a meal apiece, but apart from that I’ve asked my mother not to cook for me. I will be putting a visit to Shiok, for the first time since it reopened. I still haven’t decided upon the places where I’ll eat breakfast, but the Adigas in Jayanagar 8th Block and SN in JP Nagar 2nd phase seem to be the favourites. I’ll probably have idli-vada-dosa for lunch also on one of the days.

This is the first time in almost 40 years that my mother will be moving out of Bangalore for an extended period of time, so there are thousands of relatives who expect us to visit them. I don’t think we’ll be able to entertain most of them, but still a few visits will have to be made.

Then, there is the meeting friends bit. I’ve set up two sets of meetings already, and I’m not sure if I’ll have time for more. Nevertheless, I think I must be having some time early on Saturday evening (5 to 7 types). So if you don’t belong to either of the two sets that I’ve mentioned here (if you do belong to either of those sets, you already know it) and want to meet me, give me a call. I also need to mention here that I won’t have net access from tomorrow afternoon to Sunday evening.

All in all, it seems like I have planned for a fairly heavy schedule for this visit to Bangalore, my first since I moved to Gurgaon. And all this heavy activity is contingent upon one thing – the condition of my bike. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up with the schedule I’ve made for myself if I’m not able to use my bike. So please join me in praying that my bike is in good condition and won’t play truant during the length of my stay in Bangalore.