In August last year I had proudly proclaimed on this blog that my three year old daughter was going out with another very young man – a three year old called Yashas (read about it here).
A week back I came to know that they are no longer an item, and my daughter has moved on in life. I assume, and I am only assuming here….that if my daughter could speak properly she would have told me about this decision of hers…but she still stammers. Just in case you are wondering, she can`t get her Ks and Rs properly – for instance, she pronounces OKAY as OTAY and RHEA as EEAH.
The bottomline: Our daughter didn`t tell us about her relationship with Yashas hitting rock bottom, and like inexperienced parents, we blamed her irritability on her common cold and kept on giving her the cough syrup.
We wouldn`t have known about the new boyfriend in our girl`s life if Suresh and Soujalya, the new boyfriend`s parents, hadn`t called us up. The new very young man in my daughter`s life is called Shashank (Shashank, not Shawshank as in that Morgan Freeman movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption`).
Here is how the conversation between the two parents went:
Suresh & Soujalya: Hi, we are Suresh & Soujalya…your daughter studies with our son Shashank at Modern Montessori School.
Jammy & Rekha: Hi! I hope our daughter didn`t beat up your son?!
Suresh & Soujalya: (Laughter) No no…not yet. We thought we will just call you guys up and get to know you better.
Jammy & Rekha: OOOOOKKKKKK….and?
Suresh & Soujalya: And maybe meet up somewhere neutral.
Jammy & Rekha: Neutral? OOOOOKKKKKK….and?
Suresh & Soujalya: And may be discuss the future?
Jammy & Rekha: Future? OOOOOKKKKKK….and why discuss their future?
Suresh & Soujalya: (Hush-hush talk) Ohh, so you don`t know?
Jammy & Rekha: Know what? (I think at this point, I exchanged glances with Rekha and noticed that she had very recently washed her face)
Suresh & Soujalya: OK…let us break it for you. You daughter and our son are in love.
Jammy & Rekha: No way! Our daughter is in love with Yashas. He is tall, his water-bottle & school bag match and his parents are rich…what else does one need?
Suresh & Soujalya: Ohh…we are sorry but our son is your daughter`s current love interest. Do you even know that in school, they have been nicknamed Shiv-Paarvathy?
Jammy & Rekha: Nope we didn`t know that. But we definitely know that Yashas and Rhea were named Krishna-Radha by the teachers in August last year.
Suresh & Soujalya: How times change and girls grow up. Anyway, we called to see if we could meet at a neutral place and get to know each other better?
Jammy & Rekha: Now it makes sense. Sure, we would like to see how daughter`s new boyfriend.
Suresh & Soujalya: Metropolitan Mall then? Tomorrow 11 a.m.? We could let them play in the play area for kids and watch. What say?
Jammy & Rekha: Done deal.
This was our first discussion with our daughter`s new future-in-laws. They seemed to be nice folks. They are from Hyderabad but been in Gurgaon for more than five years now. Though we would have preferred if our daughter married into a Tamil or Malayalam family…but Telugu family was also fine as long as it was a good family (and rich!).
After this discussion, a few of the things that our daughter had been telling us for the last one week started making sense.
While watching me indulge in stretching exercises one morning, she had said: “Shashank has long legs.” I hadn`t suspected anything.
During sleep she had mumbled Shashank`s name a few times…but we had thought he was just another classmate. When she said that she liked the ‘Aloo Sabzi` Shashank brought for lunch….we didn`t suspect anything. Now, everything was falling in place. She had fallen in love all over again.
Sharp at 11.00 a.m. on Feb 28 we were in the Metropolitan Mall in Gurgaon. Just as we getting the security check done we got an SMS from our future in-laws: “Got held up. An MLA and his 12 friends came in suddenly & we had to entertain with best in class. Will be there by 12 noon.”
When you are sizing up a future in-law, always remember that the future in-law is also trying to size you up.
I went thro` the SMS once again and found it had four hidden messages for the Rajans:
#1 We have lots of friends (including an MLA)….so don`t mess with us
#2 Our Social Life extends beyond social networking sites, so we are definitely upper class
#3 We entertain with the best in class
#4 We are punctual. If for some reason can`t make it….we drop in an SMS
We Rajans are born with a sharp mind (not to mention our sharp-featured body) so I immediately knew it was a deep-rooted ploy. Little did the Suresh & Soujalya family know that we Rajans are Royal Marines by heart and soul.
Rekha, the poor, innocent, farm girl that she is said: “Shouldn`t we ask them to take their time? We are anyway inside a mall with so many other things to do?”
Sometimes, my heart goes out to my wife. So innocent…so harmless…that if she ever sat next to an ant hill….two ants could kidnap her and call me up for ransom.
I pulled Rekha and Rhea aside, behind a pillar and whispered, “Listen girls…we are being watched. This is the oldest trick in the book for Mossad, the top intelligence agency in the World. So act normal, and act big….we are being watched.”
“What are you talking about?” Rekha asked looked around.
I pushed her back to the pillar and whispered again: “Just at the pre-determined time, Mossad would send an apology citing inability to come….but they would already be at the venue…watching the prey…studying the victim`s every move.”
“So are Suresh and Sojalya watching us now?” For some reason Rekha looked irritated.
“Yes my innocent little sweetheart. Don`t you realize? They are now watching us to see if we are rich, powerful, social, blah blah.”
As luck would have it, just then Rekha received another SMS from them. It said: “Please wait at the Play Area in the ground floor. We are trying to reach there as early as possible. Our apologies.”
The moment I read the SMS, I knew it was typical Mossad strategy – ask the victim to wait in a pre-designated area so that he can be under the watchful eyes at all times. Microphones, cameras pointed at us….the possibilities were huge.
I asked Rekha to be quite for the next one hour and talk only to Rhea. Once Rekha was convinced that this was the right strategy to follow for the next one hour…we decided to go near the play area in the ground floor and wait for Suresh and Soujalya (Wink! I already knew they were inside the mall).
Once we got a seat near the play area, I did four things that ensured we weren`t less than them as a family.
#1 I switched off my mobile and pretended to call 5-6 friends….just so The Watchers knew that we had lots of friends. I even mentioned the word ‘MP` many times….to give the feeling that we knew at least one Member of Parliament
#2 During the talk with these 5-6 friends, I dropped names of some of the night clubs in Gurgaon. I even made up a few names…its easy….all you need to do look at single words that aren`t used much by cultured people. Words like – Buzz, Mojo, Barrique, Odyssey etc.
#3 During my talk with these 5-6 imaginary friends, I invited them all to our house for a grand costume party. The theme was to be ‘Oscars` – one can`t really separate ‘Oscars` and ‘Class` they go hand-in-hand, don`t they?
#4 To show The Watchers that we were as punctual as them, if not more, I called them up on their mobile the moment it was 12 noon.
“This is Rajan…you guys reached the mall yet?”
“Just parking the car…give us ten minutes…we will be with you,” Suresh replied.
I said “Yeah Right!” and kept the phone down.
Anyway, we did meet at 12.10 p.m. and got the two kids to play in the play area for an hour or so. While they played, the families got to know each other better.
At 1.30 p.m., Suresh made the classic mistake. He said: “That MP guy is still at home with my friends…we need to rush back.”
Now I had the proof…so Suresh had been listening to us all the time. And just because I seemed to know an MP, he had also increased his imaginary network to include an MP. But being a Rajan, I wasn`t going to give up that easily. I asked him: “Sure. But the SMS said he was an MLA.?”
It took Suresh three seconds to react and then he said, “Ohh yeah….he is an MLA alright but he is from MP….Madhya Pradesh you see?”
Good, smart adversary, I thought. We Rajans always love a challenge and it would be good to walk into the sunset fighting the Sureshs. We have confirmed my daughter`s future in-laws: Suresh & Soujalya.