Can you please calm the f*@k down?
Part I - The build up
I usually spend my weekends detoxing from the crazy 80 hour work week, cook myself a gourmet meal (Maggi with vegetables does count as gourmet ok?) and get through my backlog of TV shows. Sometimes I don’t mind meeting friends for a drink or two, but then again, given that most of my friends now are from work, I prefer to see them only on weekdays. The bit about weekends I look forward to the least are my calls with Mummy.
EVERY call feels like an open book exam. Through the week, she sends me hundreds of forwards, then quizzes me on on the photos she sent. Wait, I thought they were random forwards, but apparently not. So I scroll back endlessly and go through each of them meticulously. It would be so much easier if I built a script to segregate Mummy’s messages into ignore, and by-heart for our SNL. Someday.
And now about last night’s weekly review.
My mom wanted to drill down on some of the metrics - my inputs, or the lack of it, my output, you name it, she wanted a deep-dive. She wanted to know why none of my dates had not gone well in the last couple of months. She attributed my lack of success to poor choice of location - microbreweries. Also, I hadn’t texted Sheela aunty’s daughter whose number mom had shared with me last Friday. To be fair, she seemed like a great girl, but I don’t know what it was about her pictures, they didn’t ring my ding ding. There I said it. I am a shallow fuck with very basic needs. I think looks are important, or at least how they make you feel about someone. Yeah, that was it, I had escalated things to a very personal level now by not pursuing Sheela ki putri.
Long story short, mom lost it, abused me, instigated me, compared me to some of her friends’ sons with fuck all jobs and pretty wives, blamed her gods for cursing her and her family with such tough luck and told me that I had no gratitude for all that my folk do for me. I couldn’t believe this was my Saturday night as a very eligible young man. I don’t know what came over me, but I was done. I couldn’t take another one of these Saturday night dramas. I yelled.
“Ma, in case you haven’t noticed, I am an adult. I can make my own decisions. You and Pappa just need to stop treating me like I need a nappy change, I can handle my own shit. So please can you guys back off. I don’t need your intervention in anything, especially my marriage.”
I thought we’d lost connection.
May be it wasn’t the network though.
After a couple of seconds, she said she needed to go check on the cooker, and hung up.
I felt something sting real bad. Guilt maybe.
I sat there motionless, staring at my TV which was paused on Inside Bill’s brain. Sometimes, I can be an asshole. But I wanted to mend things, so I decided to write her an apology letter. I wrote a lot of these as a kid.
Part II - The letter
Before I say anything, Ma, I am really sorry for screaming at you last night. It was a bit uncalled for, although at the time I really didn’t feel like I had another option. Ma, I have been bottling up a lot of thoughts that don’t always come out right when they do. I always struggle to communicate verbally because i think most people, including myself, never listen and so I prefer to write, just so I have a chance to be heard.
Disclaimer: Ma, I have never doubted your abilities to make anything viral, but do you think you could refrain from sharing this letter with your favourite WhatsApp groups? It’s a bit personal okay.
Do you remember this one time, way back when I was in 8th, we got this crazy landline bill of over Rs.3000? You and Pappa were so mad at me because I’d spent hours “clarifying doubts” for my classmates, rather one in particular - Neha. Fair. I did have a huge crush on her, and you guessed right. But nothing happened between us, thanks to you guys installing a lock on the telephone there after. Ok no, I was too scared to tell her how I felt. What if she thought I was a loser. What if she told everyone in class. What if my teachers somehow found out about it and called you guys to school. I’d never do anything to ruin Pappa’s or your reputation.
Then do you remember the time I went to CCD with my friends after our 10th boards, and you were so upset that Aditi and Prerana had joined the party too because what would people think if they saw me with people of the opposite gender? You were so worried I’d been spotted by some relative who would then question your upbringing. And so, I never bothered going to any of my friends’ birthday parties there after because you know what Ma, I was worried for your reputation.
Then there was Sanvi’s comment in my 12th standard slam book. She wrote “You ;)” instead of writing the actual date in the “date” column. You guys thought she was corrupt. Then I clarified that it was actually my guy friends who’d written that to poke fun at me. And then you thought I was corrupt to be doing such indecent things instead of studying for my boards. You took me to the pooja room and made me promise that I wouldn’t talk to any of the girls in my class till all my entrance exams were done. Honestly, I didn’t have to try too hard, because I wasn’t exactly a hunk in class, but sometimes, I really wished Sanvi had written that comment. I really wish I’d done stupid things behind your back like my other friends did because maybe, my future would’ve really been “secured”, Ma!
As if all this wasn’t enough, I went to the mothership of uncoolness. I joined a college where I could literally count the number of girls in class on one hand. They weren’t exactly very good looking, or may be that’s what we guys convinced ourselves. They were wonderful girls, who are all doing very well for themselves now, some of them even married to my friends, but at the time, but the problem was I didn’t exactly know how to talk to them. You weren’t around to keep a watchful eye on me, yet it felt morally inappropriate and abnormal to be speaking to the opposite gender even when I wasn’t a teenager anymore.
When I started working, and living on my own, I felt less guilty about going out with women, except there weren’t too many women to go out with. Most women I went out with were friends’ girlfriends. I might have met a couple of single women during some of these outings with friends, but my inability to talk to women meant that we usually never moved past the “Can you please pass the salt” type of conversations.
Ma, my best case scenario till date has been being friend zoned! You know Supriya, right? The cute girl from my team who was there at Nandu’s wedding. For the millionth time, she is not my girlfriend. She says I am her gay best friend. Wait, I am not gay but it’s just an expression. Some girls like to have a boy in their life who they have very friendly feelings for, the type that would never (yes, NEVER) evolve into anything romantic, no matter how hard one tried.
So, the other day when Pappa said - “If you have a girlfriend, you can tell us. We wouldn’t mind getting you married to her.” I mean, I want to say “How dare you! You must have some audacity to ask me this after threatening me all my life with random god promises to keep me away from women.” Girlfriend it seems, where will I get one when all through high school, I worse pants all the way upto my neck, and buried myself under books. But, let me acknowledge that it is very generous of you guys to want to marry me to the woman of my choice now. I appreciate that you guys have more confidence in my abilities to land a girlfriend than I do, but it’s the true - I DO NOT have a girlfriend. And no ma, going to BITS or IIT does not make you any more susceptible to falling in love than going to an S.H.I.T. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
I’ve never known how to talk to women, let alone convince them to get married to me. I wish you’d let me exercise my choice when it mattered. I wish you hadn’t made me make stupid promises about not talking to girls, when they were actually interested in talking to me. I am on the wrong side of 30 now, I air brush my hair to cover my bald patches and you know what’s the worst part - most women my age are in committed relationships if not a marriage. But even if any of them are available, I spend all my weekends talking to you and Pappa, where do I have the time to chase women?
So, if you really want to help, why don’t you guys let me be for a few days. I want to take some time to really think about what I want and who I want to be with, and then when I have some epiphany, let me find a wife on my own because I am a little tired of starting every conversation with a girl like “My mom asked me to call you!”
Basically, i want you and Pappa to know that i love and respect you both very very much and thats also why I am explaining to you exactly how I feel. I promise I will get married, but at my own pace, and on my own terms. Also, don’t worry, I won’t ruin your reputation, I just need you guys to trust me to be able to make my own decisions. I hope we can both be patient with each other as we learn how to live like I am an adult.
Part III - Reality.
No, I am obviously not sending her the letter.
So, instead, I take out my phone, open WhatsApp and start typing -
“Ma, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said what I said last night. Work has been crazy, and I’ve been a little sick too, so I think it was just the fatigue that made me say that”
I mean, my weekends are lousy enough without much drama. Imagine the wrath Mummy would unleash on me after this - You have no respect for your parents, you think you are a big man earning a lot of money, your brother is not arrogant like you, children these days and how life was different during their times and what not. Please. I’ll just apologise for being a jerk, and move on with my life.
I was about to hit send.
Then I figured she would call me again seeing that I’m sick.
So, I went with -
“Ma, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said what I said last night. Work has been crazy, so just a little tired. I’ll get some rest now, and call you tomorrow.”
“It’s ok, don’t worry. Have lots of curd with your dinner, and take rest. Good night. :) ;) :P :* :) <3”
Now, some woman will also hold it against me that I can’t even stand up to my mom despite being a 30 something guy living away from his folks. So be it.
Women, I tell you. I don’t even know why we bother. Fuck it.
*Pushes play button on the remote”