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…a pinch of this & that

Archive for June, 2009

Tag along

Posted by Sowmya on June 30, 2009

Hi…found an interesting tag after a long time….courtesy this awesome blog.

So here goes –

A – Available?

Mom, Dad & bro… always.

B – Best friend

Hubby dearest…….such a cliche relationship we have…but its the best thing to have happened to me 🙂

C – Cake or Pie?

Hmmmm…tough one….Cake…No pie…..No Cake…….you get it

D – Drink of choice

In the morning -dikashan coffee without sugar, post lunch a boiling hot tea and a vodka sprite in the evening

E – Essential thing used everyday


F – Favourite color

Blue & Red

G – Gummi bears or worms

Neither………some more options please

H – Hometown

Mumbai….the one and only

I – Indulgence

Hand bags / purses, clothes, stationery (trust me it is an indulgence when you see my collection)

J – January or February

February……its my birthday! Also the climate is the best that time

K – Kids and names

Not yet……..but I know its going to be a looooooooong typical Iyengar name

L – Life

is strange……..when you yearn for something soooo much and then actually get it, it does not seem so important anymore.

M – Marriage date

November 22

N – Number of siblings

One and only bro……..a fantastic character. Never let him know though

O – Oranges or apples


P – Phobias

None really though I am the cause of many phobias for people around me…hehehe

Q – Quote

Unquote (Am I missing the point here?)

R – Reason to smile

When hubby wakes me up in the morning ….such a rarity nowadays (I have been waking up before him for all of 2 days including today)

S – Season

All of it……..life is fun all year round

T – Tag three people

I tag all the unsuspecting victims who read my blog…(insert evil grin)

U – Unknown fact about me

I blog

V – Vegetable you do not like


W – Worst habit

Never remember social niceties (Is it that bad??? 😦

X – x-rays you have had

None that I can remember

Y – Your favorite food

Anything I dont have to cook…..specially if hubby cooks for me…..Coming to think of it I love his fried maggi & aloo parathas

Z – Zodiac:


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Hitchhiker’s guide to arranged marriages

Posted by Sowmya on June 25, 2009

After a really long hiatus…….Hope this worth it 🙂

Ok, now I dont have to tell you which book my nose is buried under….on to the topic at hand. I think this post is an extremely relevant guide to all to-be married people…more to the to-be married girls. I decided to bless the rest of mortal land with my vast experience and wisdom.

I can see many of you thinking…hmph! Arranged Marriage is such an old fashioned concept! Who opts for arranged marriages these days?
Well in that case buddy, lemme tell you 2 things –
ONE Check out the number of applicants registered (their tribe does increase) on these marraige portals.

TWO This post is the result of many young ladies coming to me crying at 2 a.m. petrified about the ‘meeting-the-boy’ stage.
So I am documeting my experiences for posterity when more such young women will be petriefied and not have my phone number….Girls, help is only a ‘google away’……..

So here goes……This contains mostly my experiences which I am sure will enrich your knowledge and make you realise that it can be fun too 😉

    Typically arranged marriages happen in the following stages –

    FIRST STAGE -The Discussion
    This is THE most important part of the process -when your parents finally are able to convince you that its time you ‘settled down’ in life, etc, etc. You know what I mean 😉 My parents were all set to throw a party when I half nodded my head in assent to ‘start looking for Mr. Right’. My mom visited few hundred temples and finalized some coconut breaking deals with the Great One Above.
    The actual discussion happened in a somewhat upscale restuarant over dinner. Dad started with a small welcome note and an introductory speech complete with the purpose of ‘the discussion’ and agenda for the evening. Mom butted in, as she always does, with a few insightful glimpses into her ‘non existent’ discussion with her folks complete with the ‘times have changed’ story. With the formalities complete, came the main agenda…..my bro and I fought over what to order for the starters and the usual dal vs no dal arguement. Then I presented my ‘conditions’ to my parents who agreed instantly that it was most reasonable -No smoking, no businessman, no USA. My bro was totally dissapointed -he had planned to order pop corn to watch us fight. But, unfortunately for him, the show was over before it started.
    My suggestion to all you young girls and guys is that -be clear to them about your reasonable expectations of your dream guy. Certain requirements like ‘hot-bod / Brad Pitt / David Beckham look-alike’ can be safely omitted. I did.


    Your parents now commence increasing the gross revenues of SIFY / TATA Indicom / etc and register on the million and one matrimony sites….bharatmatrimony, shaadi, jeevansathi, are the most popular. And all parents list their offsprings on all of them. Guaranteed. Me thinks these are the scrips one should invest in. Recession proof, I say. They may also flash an ad in HINDU / Times matrimony. The only saving grace is that your name is not mentioned. Yes! I completely agree it is cringe-worthy but, to them, the end justifies the means. Typical ads read ‘Looking for suitable bride / groom (as the case may be) for XXX years, fair / wheatish & good looking CCCC caste girl / boy who has completed YYYY degree and is earning $$$ from Mumbai / Chennai / etc. I have never understood why everyone feels the need to mention ‘suitable’. Obviously you are looking for a suitable match. Why on earth will someone look for an unsuitable match???? Beats me to this day!
    One tip to all girls -when such an ad mentions ‘professionally qualified homely girl’ or ‘with values’ BEWARE!!! It simply translates into -” You have to be well qualified else how can my son take pride in you BUT you have to also be the self sacrificing soul who gives up her career for looking after her family. I am not against looking after my family. But the sole responsibility of it, I shall not accept. So if you are career oriented, you are forewarned. ‘Homely girl’ is as dangerous as dangerous can get. Run! Run! Run!
    There are also these marriage meets which well meaning ‘sabhas’ and associations organize. Its as close to ‘marriage market’ as you can get. Parents of single boys and girls meet at this common location and each is assigned a token number. The parents are given a list of the boys / girls available and they rank their prospective sons / daughters -in-law as per their various preferences. If your ranking matches your token numbers are called out and you can meet up in a corner to exchange hororscopes / CV / itsy-bitsy details, etc. Some of these sabhas went one step further and brought in an in-house astrologer who matched horoscopes instantly and declared the results.
    All this are, of course, except the traditional route to getting your dream mate -relatives. Each of my relative had a few thousand copies of my horoscope and were doling it out like freebies. I would not have been surprised if I got sundal at Marina beach wrapped in my horoscope.

    THIRD STAGE – Shortlisting
    Hunt! Hunt! Hunt! For the prospective one ….short listed by various criteria like height, weight (we all lie about it), location, caste, creed, washing machine, dog, etc. MS EXCEL is very useful, I assure you. Most of Excel functions which my father is aware of today can be traced back to the time he was groom hunting. Once shortlisted, the prospective guys’ parents were called and if the guy was unmarried still and interested, then horoscopes were exchanged.
    I was not a first rank choice since I was not a part of the elite software engineering angels descended from the heavens above. Poor me with a simple CA degree could not match up to their exacting visa requirements and was so turned down by more than a few blessed souls settled in the USA. The fact that I was tooo keen to settle down in India, actually Mumbai and preferably somewhere close to my workplace made all this a lot of fun for me. You may wonder why my parents were looking for USA guys when I had asked them not to. Well yeah! They wanted to keep their options open. Location can’t be a barrier, said Dad. I have not seen the USA, said mom. Thats how it was. But thankfully I escaped all that and had a ball of a time in the bargian. One parent actually asked my dad if I had a visa to go to USA; only then could they proceed further. Another one insisted that since his son had a touring job (he was a cricketer actually) I would have to go with him everywhere and hence I could not have a job, let alone a career. If it was Saurav Ganguly, I would have thought about it but Ranji and Duleep Trophy did not excite me that much. Another guy wanted me to get a job in the USA before thinking of a marriage. lol. Dinner times were full of mirth and laughter. My bro & me eagerly waited for the next funny punk.

    FOURTH STAGE – Horrorscoping
    Oh yeah! This is the craziest of them all. Some people dont believe in it and I think they are missing out on a lot of fun. So, once the parents agree that something may come out of it all, they exchange horoscopes. Some people like to meet before matching and some dont. Some believe in horoscopes fervently and some are pretty lax about it. My parents believed it, in their words, ‘to some extent’. They did not get into the details and nitty gritty but they wanted the comfort that overall the horoscopes ‘match’.
    Mom and Dad initially went to a particular astrologer. Mom did not like him tooo much since he was one of the few who predicted that I would never clear my CA exams. So she changed astrologers till she found one who said that I would. But I digress. Anyways this was the most logistically convinient astrologer, which is the most important factor, considering we live in Mumbai. If you could not find dad at home or office, you could conviniently drop by at the astrologer’s place. He went there on weekends first, then weekdays and then morning evening till I was scared that I would have to sacrifice my room to accomodate our friendly astrologer. But, just in time he had to go on a looooong vacation to meet his son / daughter in the US. This forced my parents to look for another astrologer. He was the genial sort, from what I heard from Mom. When Astorloger 1 returned, my parents were faced with the dilemna of choosing between the 2. For sometime, to massage their egos, my parents actually consulted both. Funny, neither could forsee what my parents were doing. That period was hillarious. What Astorloger Uncle 1 would approve that guy would be rejected by Astrologer Uncle 2 and vice versa. My parents were so at their wits end. Finally they phased out Astrologer 1 when he started insisting that I marry a particular guy who was his friend’s son. So once we had the horoscopes approved, we informed the result to the guy’s parents. The inverse ratio in such cases is very high. When our astrologer found it to be perfectly matching the guy’s did not and so on and so forth.
    You can tell, by talking for 5 minutes with a parent, as to how long they have been groom / bride hunting. Half way throught the process they become half astrologers themselves. Some will ask for your ‘natshatram’ aka ‘star’ and instantly inform you that it does not match with their son’s. Some even ask you -‘what is written in this box’ i.e. one of the 9 odd boxes which make a horoscope. This bug bit my mom too and soon she was analyzing horoscopes of my cousins and neighbours and suggesting remedies.Like go to ABC temple on tuesday and XYZ temple on Saturdays. I miss those times. Sigh!

    These two stages are generally completed by the parents. That, I would say is a huge plus for arranged marriages. They scan through the muck and short list a set of diamonds for you. If you think they are as precious is another story all together.

    FIFTH STAGE -Introduction

    Once the horoscopes match, then the parents meet the other set of parents. My folks were out every weekend visting prospective samdhis and samdhans. Mom made it a point to be the visiting party primarily because she wanted to check out if the guy’s house was good enough for her little princess. More importantly because she could not trust me around prospective in-laws and thought it safer that they meet me after they have been mentally prepared for it by mom and dad. They traversed the entire city of Mumbai, every nook and corner meeting up people. Dad even made a few trips to Chennai in his quest for an ideal son-in-law. Why do you think he is a Jet Platinum Card holder 😉 Mom came back with various stories from each visit. Some were fabulous, some average and some made her furious. Our dinner menu varied from feasts and dessert, rice and sambhar to saltless rasam and padval (bottle gourd / podalankai) depending on the success of her trip. I never knew what to pray for……..

    Once they were satisfied, it was finally time for the STAGE of me meeting the guy. Sometimes, if the guy was not from Mumbai, the parents meet was combined with the boy meet. That was more fun…All that and more in Part II of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Arranged Marriages.

    Yippeeee! I have actually enough to write two part series. Yohooo!

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