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my best friend's bride...

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-by gasper crasto (05/05/2003)

It was a few months back. Anthrax, my friend (we call him Anthrax...The nickname is for the character and personality he holds) was planning to go on vacation. Just a week before he left he called. "I want to see you.." He said, "Come over in the evening."

We met that evening. "What's wrong?" I asked.

"Yaar, my parents are looking for a bride for my marriage...I just want some advice..."

"Why Anthrax?...you have so many girlfriends. I don't think you can count them on your fingers....why don't you choose one of them...."

"Shhh...they have many boy-friends...my mom back home has some nice girls lined up...I want some guidelines before I choose one....Here are some photos my mom has sent..."

"Why ask me of all the people....I have no experience or knowledge in this department....and moreover I am myself scared at the thought of having to face the devil someday...."

Anyway, on his insistence and not to disappoint him I said, "Never consent to marry a girl whom you have seen only in photographs. Photographs lie...Photography is an art that can make even an 'auntie' look like Aishwarya. Put away the photos...Photos are usually air-brushed and sanitized, all the pimples and other irregularities removed and the end product has little in common with the original. It's a certain fact that no girl will consent to send you a photograph that presents herself in an unattractive light."

"That's right...but you know what I am looking for...I want a real Titanic and she should be outgoing....I want people to look at me and think, "How the $@*!# did that @#%$^&* get such a gorgeous wife?...ha ha..." He chuckled. "....I'll get invited to more parties, especially by friends who want to spend the evening salivating at her...Yaar, all these guys are married to mind-blowing babes and I'll be rather embarrassed to take her to socials if she is too homely or a sati-savitri type....you know what I mean....I myself like to party...you know that !"

"A homely girl will be better for you...She will twist you around her little finger and make you run in circles." I laughed, "Things will get done her way nearly all the time."

"Na...na... it will be fun to do all that for anyone lovely and beautiful....but a homely?...na...never !..."

"A homely girl will be so grateful to you for marrying her that she will treat you like a king..."

"Cut it short man, beauty is what I want and some brains.... caste, family background don't matter much..."

"But you are not so good-looking anyway, what right have you got to demand a lovely girl?"

"Shhh....I will not back down on anything less !" He shouted.

"So make it very clear to your mother that beauty is high on your mind. Tell her that in no uncertain terms you will marry anyone who does not measure up to your standards. That will prevent them from goofing off during bride-hunting, shirking their responsibilities and dumping off some family-friend's or a distant relative's daughter on you."

"Another thing!" He exclaimed, "I want her slim...One girl is supposed to visit my home the next day I land Goa...If she wears a churidar...salwar or even a loose long dress, how do I know if she is not fat or her legs are....."

"Keep your mind open to the possibility that she may be overweight. Look at how she walks...If she walks slowly like an old ferry making its way across the river, she is probably holding her paunch in...Invite her one more time at your home or visit her house to make sure if you are so particular..." 

"What do I do if she always appears in such clothes?...Shhh....you cannot very well demand that she change clothes...that would be outrageous..!"

"If she has a good figure, she will make damn sure that you see it...If she says she does not wear pants, warning bells should ring in your mind...you can be certain there is something fishy about her shape..." 

There was no news of Anthrax for the next couple of weeks. Then he called from Goa. "What happened?" I asked,  "Are you engaged at least?"

"Yaar, nobody even knocked on our door in the first few days...The ones on my mother's list all have 'records'...It was only last week this family came to our house and invited me to their place for dinner...."

"Great...!" I thought. Somebody had finally realized my friends true worth in Dinars and had taken the initiative to discuss a possible marriage. "Tell me more..."

"I visited the girl's house with Victor uncle...The proposal didn't work but we had a good dinner...I am coming back on Monday..." 

Back in Kuwait and not even a week later, he called to inform about another proposal. "Come over on Friday, I want you to accompany me...They have invited me for dinner...hey !...the father's a Manager in some company...I want you to be with me...just for moral support....but don't #@%*@#% dress like a film star and ruin my chances..." 

"Manager's daughter?... and they propose to marry her to a donkey?...Watch-out...!...She is probably a handicap...with a crooked leg... or is cock-eyed...They want to tie her to your neck...Beware !"

I was at his apartment on the appointed day. He tried to visualize how this girl would react. "Perhaps she speaks only English...ha ha..." He giggled, "That should be a lot of fun..."

I found him endlessly humming Shania Twain's 'I m gonna getcha good' song in total ecstasy all throughout. He called his parents and all his aunts and uncles in Goa. They all had 'advice' to offer him. "You should be firm before you agree." His granny cautioned. His uncle said, "Ask them for a Cielo to be handed over in Goa. If at all they slide down, make sure you get at least a Maruti 800. Don't sell yourself short." 

He emptied a full bottle of Jovan Musk on himself and checked a dozen times to see if his fly was zipped up.

We reached the girls place. The father introduced the mother and their fat school going son who was fiddling on a computer at the end of the hall.

"Hello..." Anthrax said shyly. "Nice meeting you auntie. I didn't catch your name."

The girl's father interrupted. "That doesn't matter. You see, like most people, I don't ever care to mention her name in introductions...Now we no longer remember her name. Everybody only knows her as my wife...My daughter is getting dressed. When she is done, you can have a one-to-one chat with her. We can start our discussion now itself, if you wish. Do you have any questions about my daughter that I can answer?"

Anthrax smiled as if to say he agreed to whatever the father said.

The girl was finally ready and slowly escorted into the hall by her mother. She was very pretty. With a painted face and an Egyptian outfit she looked more Arabic than Indian. I looked at Anthrax. He looked like a sacrificial lamb being led for slaughter. I wondered how this beauty and her parents could have a soft corner for a Nakata-faced (Nakata is a popular Japanese football player) Anthrax. He must be having something that is not visible on the outside.

"Hi" she said.

"Hello" we said.

"Hi..." she said again.

"Yes.., do you go to church on Fridays...or Sundays?" asked Anthrax and broke the ice. As the two would-be mates began their tête-à-tête, I started a conversation with the father on the current political situation in the region and took on the 'Breaking News' on BBC.

Soon, the parents excused themselves and went inside probably to get some snacks or prepare dinner. I moved over to the boy who was still busy on the computer - chatting. He typed liked the wind. Perhaps, he could type more words in a minute than I could speak. I was amazed. He made a murmuring sound every time he hit 'Enter' and looked at the monitor as if he expected some face to pop out from there.

"Hi...what are your hobbies other than chatting?" I asked him.

"I play the 'tabla'..." He replied looking up at me, "I am the main member of my school band..., you know the Indian school...hee hee..."

"No wonder you can type so fast...." I said, "I got to learn to play 'tabla' too."

I glanced at Anthrax and gave my ear to the dialogue. He was relaxed but stammered on pointlessly from one topic to another like her favorite shopping centre, TV series, mp3s and the Arabic language. Just when Anthrax thought that things were going well, the girl dropped a bombshell. "I would have gladly married you except for Abby." She said.

"Who is Abby?" He asked.

"Abby is short for Abbas, my boyfriend. He is a Kuwaiti... He is a very jealous kind of person and knows karate and has a great 'wasta' with the Sheikh." ('wasta' means influence in Arabic) The girl continued, "It was with him I had my first date, my first kiss and my first everything."

Anthrax was scared stiff. "You mean, first everything...?" He asked. I tried to act busy with the kid.

"Yes...everything!"

"E-v-e-r-y-thing...?" His voice was shivering.

"Yes, everything." Repeated the girl, "You see, I am not interested in this marriage. It was all papa's idea. He doesn't want me to go strong with Abby...so he got you here. Abby knows about it."

"Even I am not very keen on this thing." Said Anthrax, fearing for his life.

"It's nothing personal. If I and Abby break up and you are still around and interested, we will contact you."

Anthrax sat there as if he had come to a funeral. I had to engage in small talks throughout the evening but nonetheless enjoyed every bit of it.

On the drive back I found Anthrax unusually quiet. "Say...Anthrax, the dinner was excellent !" I said. He kept silent. To cheer him up I started singing his favorite song of the day...'I'm gonna getcha good.'

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"applet image of shania twain created by gaspersWorld."

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I'm gonna getcha good
- by Shania Twain
(turn 'on' the speakers for the background mp3)
 
Let's go!
 
Don't wantcha for the weekend,  don't wantcha for a night
I'm only interested if I can have you for life.. yeah
Uh, I know I sound serious ... and baby I am
You're a fine piece of real estate, and I'm gonna get me some land
 
Oh, yeah
So, don't try to run,  honey, love can be fun
There's no need to be alone,  when you find that someone
 
::Chorus::
I'm gonna getcha while I gotcha in sight
I'm gonna getcha if it takes all night
You can betcha by the time I say 'go', you'll never say 'no'
I'm gonna getcha, it's a matter of fact
I'm gonna getcha, don'tcha worry 'bout that
You can bet your bottom dollar in time, you're gonna be mine
Just like I should - I'll getcha good
 
Yeah, uh, uh
I've already planned it - here's how it's gonna be
I'm gonna love you and ' you're gonna fall in love with me
Yeah, yeah
 
Oh, yeah
So, don't try to run - honey, love can be fun
There's no need to be alone, when you find that someone
 
{Repeat Chorus}
 
Yeah, I'm gonna getcha baby - I'm gonna knock on wood
I'm gonna getcha somehow honey - yeah, I'm gonna make it good
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
 
Oh, yeah
So, don't try to run - honey, love can be fun
There's no need to be alone, when you find that someone
 
{Repeat Chorus}
 
Oh, I'm gonna getcha, I'm gonna getcha real good
Yeah, you can betcha, oh, I'm gonna getcha
(I'm gonna getcha) just like I should, I'll getcha good
Oh, I'm gonna getcha good!