Ray
I was in Boston for the weekend to enjoy the soccer games with Sky Trooper. And courtesy a friend Miss IA, we got two passes to watch the Donkey show at the American Repertory Theatre located in Cambridge.

The Donkey show is basically Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream adaptation set to a disco musical background. So we had this dance floor in between where we could groove away to some great 70s hit scores while the play was enacted all around us. It was an amazing experience and some brilliant imagination and creativity was on display. Loved it :) If the Bard was alive he would have enjoyed it immensely.

http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/donkey-show
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Ray
Contd.. from previous post

Experience is a contrary little quality to have because it counts for nothing when you meet women. As I float through this agony of an arranged marriage, I am already losing my patience. And just when I thought I was getting good at this stuff, my inability in talking to women touched new levels of incompetence not seen since Ajantha Mendis played carrom ball with the supposed best players of spin - the Indian cricket team. As they had no answers to the Moratuwa magician, I was speechless in front of the Butterscotch Bombshell.

The Butterscotch family had invited all of us to their Bandra flat. Uptil now I had spoken to them myself all the while because I wanted to meet the girl alone but they insisted the safety and security( their wording) of home while I told them ,up, close and personal was my preferred modus operandi (my wording). Needless to say they didn't call me after that and directly communicated with my parents to accompany me to their house. Crap!

So Mom, Dad and I went to visit them. Eerily the location turned out to be just behind Globus, the mall where I had met the STG. As we got down from the rickshaw, my mother noticed my anxiety and asked me if I was alright.
‘You have been meeting so many girls, why are you feeling nervous she asked?’
‘Well, its not the meeting which is making me nervous. It is that part when the “so many” girls that I have met turn up at the same location.’

As we entered the Scotches' household, they all stood in a circle like those Roman soldiers in the Colosseum. In the center was Grumpy Scotch, the kind of man who reminded me of my equally grouchy neighbor in Surat who as of June 2010 still sustains his living by selling all the tennis balls I had hit in his backyard as a kid. I once used to think the only way to get revenge would be to marry one of his grand-daughters who would inevitably inherit some balls. But the bastard has not only refused to bear females but also refuses to die peacefully.

So back to Grumpy here, who had a permanent scowl on his face. His wife, Smiley Scotch seemed the traditional Sindhi woman who I was sure, after years of cooking, cleaning and bearing children for Grumpy must have definitely developed a bout of osteoporosis. It was she who spoke first
'Welcome to our humble abode. We were wondering why you had gotten so late,' Smiley Scotch spoke in a polished accent.
‘It was the traffic and also the rickshaw-wallah took us through a different route without explanation,' Dad replied
‘Oh, yes their predilection for impertinence...these autowallahs of today sorely lack the benevolence.

Wow,I thought cool Shakespearean Daadimaa, like Agatha Christie's famous grandma detective Miss Marple. I considered asking her if she solved crime cases in her pastime.

After that we were introduced to the girl's parents, Lanky Scotch- tall, dark and balding and the aptly named Loud Scotch whose normal conversation volume was at a decibel level for deaf people. The interior design of the house was excellent and inescapably the conversation veered onto this piece of real estate right in the heart of Mumbai. I meanwhile kept a good eye for the girl and/or food. Neither unfortunately was to be seen.

The snacks made an appearance first. Aloo tikkis, ragda pattice, dry naashta etc. This time though in the presence of everyone I stayed away from the food although it was extremely tempting especially those mozzarella fritters. Besides Grumpy was making survival difficult with his constant stares. The girl was finally given a shout by Loud scotch. The girl didn’t emerge immediately. We waited a few seconds for the suspense to open. And then she came out and like an animal caged for many days, she arrived with a feisty gait and threw herself in between grumpy and smiley on the sofa. She wore exactly the same pink dress as she had adorned in her profile pic.

‘This is my daughter Ver….. ’ Lanky started to announce
‘Pinki,’ I blurted out. Luckily it wasn’t that loud.
‘What , you said something,’ Lanky asked
‘Er….Tikki , Tikki....umm..the aloo tikki is nice,’ I said grabbing one from the plate. Good thing he didn’t question the fact that how could I comment on the tikki without even having eaten it.
'She is Veronica, all of 24' Grumpy scotch completed for Lanky but was clearly pissed at being interrupted.

Veronica Scotch, what about that, like the spoilt rich girl in Archie comics. She had put on a little bit of makeup to camouflage her acne. And what did I hear, 24. Like those miraculous Pakistani cricketers who aged one year in 5 years , this seemed to me like a blatant lie. For example did you know that famous speedster Waqar Younis is still only 29 and he retired 7 years ago at the peak of his powers and also despite the fact that he made his debut in 1989. In a seemingly reverse age disorder, Veronica looked like a high school student but to confirm my doubts I had to look at her properly but with Grumpy breathing down my neck I couldn’t make quick observations on her. Someone had to get him out of this room.

After the snacks, Veronica and I were “allowed” to sit in the room with each other. The room had the typical teenage girl look pink walls, heart shaped stickers on the mirrors and pink bedsheets with tiny cartoon characters on it. Quite surprisingly there were no posters of John Abraham and also no soft toys. I had a feeling that they were stuffed inside that huge cupboard they had in the corner. She sat on the far post of the bed while I was on the other side.

‘Not your room surely?’ I said
'Nope its my cousin sisters. I live in Dombivli. Hey, I am not a teenager, you know I am doing my masters, no?’ she said with confidence as she sensed I wasn't taking her seriously
‘Yeah, I would love to see your engineering books,’ I said
‘Why?’
So that I can see them at full price on Amazon since they would have been untouched anyway, I thought to myself smiling in the process.
'Why are you smiling?' she asked obviously thinking I was a retard.
'Just for a brush up perhaps,' I said simpering like an idiot. ‘So… I guess you must be the typical Mumbai girl?’ I tried to change topics, not knowing how to start further conversation with kids.

‘Nooooooo...that is so misrepresented,’ she disagreed. His elongated cry of disaccord was so dramatic, as if the issue of Ayodhya had been raised in parliament . ‘Now what is the typical Mumbai girl I ask you?' she said
I stared blankly.
'I mean how would you define a Mumbai girl? Mumbai girls are supposed to be these fashionable haughty types who don’t care about other people, materialistic in their behavior and generally give a air of being so bindaas. But this is where I want to correct that misconception. I mean look at me, my parents don’t allow me to go out at night, I have never been to parties. I really haven’t seen anything in my life. You know the traffic in this city. Outsiders tend to think haan yeh ladki to aisi hogi, aur aisa karti hogi but really who has the time. I have my studies to do, I can’t travel easily.’

‘Wow,’ I said at a complete loss of words. Talk about misconceptions cleared in a detailed way. It was akin to asking for the meaning of a name and getting to know that its origins actually lay in Norse Mythology, and that how it then travelled through Western Europe and finally made its way into our English vocabulary because the Bloody British had decided to build their silly empire at the expense of non-white people.

‘And you know, people think that I carry a lot of attitude and they just go by the looks…’
‘Yeah, what meets the eye,’ I said breaking her off nonchalantly before realizing I was implying exactly what she was saying. Oops, there I go again

'Chhe...you don't understand, look at me look at me’ She waved me off like a teacher reprimanding a student as if she was a veteran counselor for a thousand bad relationships.

Maybe I didn't understand but I complied to her second request and looked at her as she beckoned with her arms. Her hands were so thin that I thought they were made of sugarcane. Her hair was tied into ragged curls that fell over her shoulder. And she kept on biting her lower lip for some reason. And yes for the third time in a row, I spotted the mole , hidden nicely on the inside of her wrist. She wore big pink loops for earrings. Ok too much looking , lets listen to what she has to say and she always did have something to say.

‘Usually people like to think that girls bitch about each other. But trust me, I have this group of friends , the five of us who have been together since… I don’t know when.’ She said looking up to the ceiling scrunching her face to remember. I wondered why all the effort. It couldn’t have been many. She was only ten years old after all.
'So you are not Machiavellian by nature?' I said
'Machi ..what?' she asked twinkle eyed.
'Nothing, it is a psychological term,' I said. For the record I scored a B+ in psychology. i was a certified psycho in talking worthless things.
'Oh ok, I should read more stuff. Anyways let me tell you one of the incidents,' she started.
'Sure,' I said.
'But be warned, once I start talking, I might not stop so tell me if you are feeling bored , ok? Because if I start from one topic , I move to another one and I will not even know about it'. Now she tells me. 'I keep on blabbering anything while I can see that you think and say things,’ she said tilting her head.
'I am not aware of any other way,’ I countered
'Huh,'
‘Continue,’ I egged her on. I was thoroughly enjoying myself here.

Hearing this she sat upright and adjusted her sitting position so that now she sat cross-legged and leaned on the pillow. There was a light switch behind that pillow. She leaned a bit too heavily and turned the lights off. Oops, she giggled. She flicked it on again. The excitement on her face was very tangible. I looked at the hour hand of the wall clock from the side of my eye and prepared myself for some information overload.

‘Ya , so one of these guys started to bad mouth one of my friends. He said she was like this and liked to go out with certain boys..blah blah and when I came to know, I went to him and lambasted him. Bechara, he won’t be talking about any girls anymore. I doubt whether he would be talking to girls anymore’ She laughed wildly as if she had vanquished a demon from this earth.
And then she talked and talked and talked.

The hour hand moved to 8 and some girl in college who had learned martial arts had accidentally knocked out her own boyfriend. He now addressed his current girlfriend by his ex girlfriend's name. Talking about knocking some sense into him. At the stroke of 9, I looked up again and shockingly Veronica was still speaking but in Morse code.

After a few minutes, I looked again and astonishingly I couldn't see the clock anymore. She had flicked the stupid light switch again. And then at that very moment,the door opened and loud scotch walked in. F***in hell, what to do now. I immediately got up from the bed and started to walk towards the exit.
'We were just ending our chat,' I said to answer Loud Scotch's suspicious expression.
'Bye Veronica,' I said waving to her at the far side of the bed.
Ok, nice talking to you Ray,’ she smiled.
‘Nice listening to you ,’ I replied as I tried to squeeze past Loud Scotch who stood like a sentry on the door. I had this sudden urge of tickling her and with a whole lot of will, I kept my hands to myself.

The journey back to Surat allowed me to gather my thoughts.

Veronica was cute no doubt and as she claimed she did not like lying and backbiting. Not to take a misogynistic view of this people but it was hard to imagine Veronica would maintain all that innocence once she had moved out of her comfort zone. She had grown up completely (very doubtful that) under her parents' shadow and her folks had provided for everything. But when she would have to fend everything on her own, would this happy, giggling, bubbly, chatty female become one hell of a gossiping, indifferent socially aggressive bitch who would shun other females in her path. Although, I think it wouldn’t happen and maybe I underestimate girls but would she be able to handle the responsibilities of a household. Uncertainty hangs in the air over that. I know everyone matures eventually(unless it is me) and grows up but some need more time.

So that folks ends the story of the three damsels. Three girls with so much to share and so much to see. Which one I chose? One or none?
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