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My friend of the shrink hen by dunking in bucket of water fame wrote a humorous post some time back about his fictitious (Hmmm.. at least I assume that it had been fictitious. But with such a guy as him one can never be too sure, so let my reservations about the matter be duly noted) experience at a dating site where he registered unable to resist the lure of the vivacious smile of the pretty girl in the ad who urged him to do so pronto. I remember laughing heartily at the …ahem, supposedly imaginary situation he landed himself in. I bet now it is his turn to laugh at mine. Please don’t jump to the conclusion that I have joined any dating site. I may be a crazy nut but certainly not that crazy a nut either, not that joining dating sites automatically makes one a crazy nut by default, just that it would make me one. After all once bitten twice shy and all that, if you know what I mean, not that that bite was via any online dating site either, rather the good (??!!!!) old-fashioned, marriage-broker way still popular in India. Besides, where is the need to join any dating site with the shaadi.com experience guaranteed at the many different social networking sites, let me add, for all ages?

The net has never ceased to amaze me. There seems to be a veritable sea of lonely XY people out there whose only purpose in life seems to be to pounce on you with offers of friendship as soon as your shadow precedes you into their ken always assuming of course that the light is behind you. You are buried in an avalanche of offers the minute you enrol somewhere. Now those of the XY category need not get all hot under the collar reading this. It is just that being from the XX group I speak of my own experiences. Period. I am not by any means saying that the opposite doesn’t hold true and the XX category does not converge on the scene when an XY form is seen on the horizon. Ask me, I still remember how the students of St Teresa’a College went berserk back in the late 70s on seeing the legendary Prem Nazir in their midst one fine day. Though he was only a fading star of the Mallu movie scene by then, the girls almost had him for breakfast. That he got out in one piece on his own two feet and did not have to be carried out in little bits collected in a bag is in itself a miracle.

Now I am a straight forward person. Though the cyber world gives you opportunities galore to hide behind avatars and stuff I prefer the inhabitants of this virtual world to know who I am just as in the real world. So I have my ‘mug’ duly displayed at sites I am member of. Of course it stops me from going #$%*&@#%&*@ at fellow netizens at times when the need so arises. But look at the positive side. Overcoming the urge makes me a better and more spiritual person as Wodehouse would say. Recently I joined a new site. It seemed a good enough place as some of my respected friends were already comfortably ensconced there. I hadn’t bargained for the deluge of invites that had me submerged, making me gasp for air. It looked like I would need more than either Noah’s Ark or Vishnu in his Matsyavatar to bail me out of this one. But I managed, in spite of being a non-swimmer.

I want to be your friend because I am your sibling’ read one such message which had my head spinning on perusing it. Imagine going through almost half a century of life believing that you have exactly one younger sister and one younger brother each, only to open your mailbox and find the fact contradicted by some total stranger. That my parents would hide the existence of this much younger sibling from me, a matter which I intend taking up with them when we meet next, had never occurred to me. Had they lost him in a mela (fair) in the manner made famous by Bollywood movies where the siblings reunited only in the last reels (which certainly brings up the question whether these are the last reels of my life)?? Hmmm… or had the daily recitation of the pledge ‘All Indians are my brothers and sisters’ in school deceived him into thinking that India was filled with his siblings?? I suppose he intends marrying a foreigner when the time comes. Or could it be that since the time I left school the word had taken on new meaning unbeknownst to me?

Just look at what Twitter did to me. ‘Twitter’ to your heart’s content says twitter.com and what do they do when I ‘twitter’ away putting any of those early-rising birds to shame?? They put a muzzle on me with their high-handed behavior!! As far as I know clams are burrowing marine and freshwater bivalve mollusks. Now why shouldn’t I ‘twitter’ about mollusks, either marine or freshwater?? Pretty respectable creatures of creation one would think they were. But ‘no’ goes the wisdom back at twitter.com Headquarters where anti-mollusk activities seem to be afoot. Each time I ‘twittered’ about the book and the clam, the higher-ups (or perhaps the minions) back at Twitter Headquarters promptly removed it revealing how sinisterly deep and widespread ran anti-clam feelings at Twitter. Sigh, this world is so confusing and I find I am digressing as is usual with me.

Now people, as you all are aware, I am no masseuse a la Phoebe from F.R.I.E.N.D.S., only a lowly home-maker who is forever asked stupid questions like “Do you work??’ by supposedly intelligent people. Yet much to my chagrin, I received a message that said, ‘Thanks for your massage.’ making my jaw drop in confusion. I swear I have massaged only three Martian (who like Oliver Twist always ask for more) heads in my life and that too with pure coconut oil from God’s own country. Yet here was a complete stranger whom I didn’t know from Adam, thanking me for the massage. Is it any wonder that my jaw dropped?? It dropped a notch lower on reading the rest of the message. ‘Please continue massaging me’ it read. Ha, catch me doing that. Fat chance indeed! Considering that a mere thank you note for a comment left on my page had magically transformed me from a lowly homemaker to a masseuse, I didn’t want to do any more massaging… ooops sorry messaging, for fear of further such unwanted transformations.

As I waded ashore, picking my way gingerly through these and like messages something caught my eye. I stared at it in disbelief wishing with all my heart that I could raise one eyebrow of mine just as effortlessly as Madhu had done (minus the wiggling facial muscles of course which according to me resembled more an attack of cerebral palsy rather than extreme emotion which it was supposed to portray), in a movie I happened to catch on television the other day when the girl for whom he had been singing and who (probably attracted by that very same song) had offered herself to him on a platter shocking him (one only hopes not unpleasantly) enough to raise that single eyebrow and also accounted for those gymnastics of the facial muscles. Watching the scene I had rolled on the floor, thankfully left clean by the diligent maid, laughing out loud all by myself. Anyway let’s leave Madhu and his histrionics behind and get back to the message I received which made me long to do the eyebrow trick.

He worked as an executive in some firm, the message read. He would like to meet me the next time he was in India it continued, to find out if matters could be taken further. Please respond only if you are serious,(which by the way I am not and which you must have guessed by now) he had written. ‘Don’t waste my time… (and this is where I had wanted to do the raise- single-eyebrow act) if you aren’t,’ he had written. Marriage was his aim, he had added leaving no room for doubt. Since at this point the eyebrow, the one which if I could have raised in a single perfect arch was already in a raised position (in my mind of course), there seemed no point in wishing to raise it any further as it would only have caused the one left behind to feel totally left out. So I left that thought behind and instead let both of them rise in unison, forgetting Madhu for the moment and making it a double whammy of raised eyebrows.

Do I see raised eyebrows asking me what all the fuss is about?? It is laid out clearly for the general public to lap up at their leisure in all the places I frequent that I have to my credit, one husband two children, one dog and sundry cats that enter and exit my life as they please. And yet here was a gentleman who wanted to marry me. What was I going to do with the one husband I already had?? Egad the bally chap was bent on having me a law abiding citizen to the core, arrested for bigamy always accepting of course that I took him up on his offer. Besides, what did I say a little while back?? Once bitten twice shy. So the answer was definitely a ‘No!

I couldn’t resist adding a few lines in reply to him. “Dear So-and-So, I thank you for your kind offer. Since I already have one husband (and believe me one is more than enough in one’s life) who takes very good care of me (and has for more than a quarter century now), I don’t have any plans for either dumping him, exchanging him or taking on another along with him. If you had gone through my profile this matter would have been amply evident and the time you consider so valuable to yourself (come to think of it, it’s pretty valuable to me too), could have been suitably saved.’ Well, whaddya know. The Mr. So-and So replied and apologized. I am impressed.

©Shail Mohan 2009