“Looking for a suitable match for an extremely beautiful, very fair, average height, 23 year old, convent-educated, very homely, Punjabi girl. Completed a six-month diploma course in Indian, vegetarian and non-vegetarian cooking. A great home-maker. Loves children.”
To describe the Indian marriage system in one word, it is a madhouse! The moment a girl steps beyond twenty, the whole household goes into a tizzy with respect to her marriage, especially her mother, whose blood pressure goes through the roof with the thought of her daughter’s advancing age which will deny her a ‘nice’ boy.
The process she undertakes thereafter, to find her daughter a suitable boy, is fraught with strange circumstances and comic situations, not to mention those utterly silly, self-serving ‘characters’ that one meets along the way. In our search for a husband for me, my mother and I too undertook a similar journey. In addition to trying her level best to get me inside the kitchen and stand me near the gas stove to teach me the six steps of cooking spicy chicken curry in order to create that first big impression for my future in-laws, she preened me up and paraded me at her parties before her friends in the hope that someone will take that statement forward – “a good looking, young girl was on the marriage market!”
What’s more, she even unobtrusively (so she thought) hinted to close friends to look for an eligible boy in their social circles, leaving me, as you can imagine, embarrassed beyond words and thereafter excusing myself for a false toilet trip! And then there were those trips my mother and I made to meet these eligible boys she had made painstaking lists of straight out of the online matrimonial website she had registered me on. We traversed lands far and wide, even going as far as seven seas across in search of my ‘knight in shining armor’, meeting many an amusing, even shady characters along the way.
Each one of us, at some point in time, has gone through these absurd experiences which have left us exasperated, even exhausted yet quite amused at this whole process of our parents helping in the hunt to find a husband or a wife for us.
My new novel, The Chicken Curry Project describes, in an extremely humorous manner, the sheer ‘torture’ that parents in India, especially Punjabi mothers, put their adult daughters and sons through, all for the 'noble cause of finding that perfect spouse for them'.
This book is dedicated to all those brave hearts who went through this ‘ordeal’ and came out with their sanity (or at least some of it) intact.
The Chicken Curry Project (genre: humor) is available in eBook (kindle) on the following websites:- Amazon.com (US$ 2.98), Amazon.in (INR 199/-) and Barnes and Nobles (US $ 2.98).
--- Shireen Passi Chopra