Kanpur-Famous

I have my doubts about the veracity of this claim, but my friends assure me that I must be famous in Kanpur. Of course, they are idiots of the first water, so I rarely take them seriously. But it is a fun story nevertheless.

All this transpired during a friend’s wedding in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. A fair few of us were travelling and attending the wedding together, although there were only 2 women in a contingent of 12. I was one of these women.

Just after the baraat [the groom’s entry], we were entering the reception area. Because the actual wedding was at the ass-crack of dawn, the reception unusually took place first. I hear this is common practice with North Indian weddings, but it seems a little upside down to me. At any rate, hair mussed with the humidity and dancing, and panting thanks to uncomfortable heels, we traipsed into the venue.

Of course the bride’s side was set to welcome the groom’s party, and there were multiple photographers capturing all the goings-on. As we entered as a group, there were several pictures of us like that.

Then, the photographer waved to the boys to move aside. They obligingly did so, because they knew the other girl was not my favourite person, and that I would set my teeth at being alone with her in a series of snaps. I did set my teeth, but I went along with it for the sake of politeness, and in the interest of not making a scene.

After the photographer clicked a few pictures of the both of us, he waved us off. Or so I thought. We thanked him, and prepared to step aside, when:

Photographer: “Not you madam, the other madam only.”

In some surprise, I looked at him, and then at the other girl. I shrugged, because I wasn’t bothered by this development and started walking away.

Photographer: “No no no no no no! Madam stay. Other madam, side please.”

To my absolute horror, and to the unending glee of 10 miserable boys who live for fodder like this, the photographer wanted solo photographs of me. I stood in electrified shock, smile frozen in a rictus of growing dismay, as the photographer proceeded to move around me for various angle shots.

Yep.

After a few moments, I collected my scattered wits and firmly put a stop to the photographs. But the damage was done. I turned in some consternation to the guys, and saw them brimming with barely suppressed mirth. Barking a ‘oh shut up all of you’ in their general direction, I limped off to the buffet.

A little later, one of them sidled up to me to tease me. I fixed him with a baleful glare, and accused him of putting the photographer up to that stunt to embarrass me. He chuckled and said: “Dude, this is Kanpur. It costs less to bribe people here.” A response that made me feel miles better, I might add, because at least then I know it was a prank.

Fast forward a month or so later, when the groom was back in office after an extended break. Of the original group, 5 of us had put together a hamper as a wedding gift, and we wanted to know whether he liked the coffee machine we got for him.

There was a little ribbing because turns out he thought it was a mixer-grinder, and was pleasantly surprised to hear it wasn’t. Silly ass. I was laughing at him when he comes out with:

UK: “Oh by the way Karishma, my relatives thought you were a foreigner.”
Me: *blanching, because this was said in the middle of a big group* “What utter rubbish. Stop making shit up UK.”
UK: “Seriously! They asked me whether I had invited people from our ‘foreign ka office’.”
Me *starting to beat a hasty retreat amid gales of laughter*: “Liar liar, pants on fire.”
DG: “Dude! They asked her to dance with them too, during the baraat. None of us were asked to join in!”
Me: “Stop it!”
AG: “And the photographer took SO many pictures of her on her own!”
Me: “Guys..”
RP: “Holy shit, yeah! He asked us all to move aside! Even <other chick>!”
Me: “Wait! DG bribed him to do that!”
DG: “No I didn’t! I swear!”
Me: “Screw all of you. I hate you all.”
UK: “Um. I’ve been through all the photos. There are no pictures of just Karishma.”

Pin drop silence reigned after this bombshell hit, as each of us grappled with the implications. I was the first to run off, sped on faster by the shouts of laughter from the table.

To this day, over 2 years later, I still get teased about being a foreign pin-up girl in some Kanpur photographer’s studio. I’m not kidding: I really hate all of these guys. 😐

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Kanpur Bulldozer

In March of 2016, I went with a bunch of people to Kanpur to attend a colleague’s wedding. He had invited quite a few people, and many of us went. 12 to be precise. The office was quiet for a few days. 😛

Now, Kanpur is in Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the states with the unofficial reputation of being a patriarchal, cow-worshipping, conservative, Northern state of India. I was really ok with going there because I was with a huge group. But UK (the bridegroom) felt differently:

UK: “Have you booked your tickets for the wedding?”
K: “Yup yup!”
UK: “Good. By the way, Karishma, I needed to tell you something.”
K: “Sure! Shoot.”
UK: “Do not leave the campus.” [The wedding was in IIT Kanpur.]
K: “What?”
UK: “Karishma, do not leave the campus.”
K: “Why? There must be other stuff to see in Kanp..”
UK: “Karishma, do not leave the campus.”
K: “Arrey, but I am with a bunc..”
UK: “Karishma, do not leave the campus.”
K: “You’re being ridiculous!”
UK: “Karishma, do not leave the campus.”
K: “FINE.”
UK: “Promise?”
K: “Yes.”

I didn’t leave the campus; except to go back to the train station and head to Delhi. Sigh.

Poor Joke Central

I’ve undoubtedly been in a funk for a few days, and there have been several contributing factors to that funk. However, the very act of smiling sometimes helps to lift the mood in unexpected ways.

I messaged a few friends to chat, hoping to distract myself from the thoughts rattling around in my mind. I counted on their self-absorbedness to occupy my mind space, and thus flush out my own thoughts. Of all of them, the pal is the one who came through in spades. Because the silly ass keeps cracking the worst jokes imaginable.

[Note: Fort and Khar are areas in Mumbai. I had gone to the Bombay High Court in Fort for some legal work. Of course this explanation was also joke fodder.]

Can’t lie; they made me chuckle a lot.

Thongs and Things

Utterly random post up ahead. You’ve been warned.

This morning, I decided to choose a podcast I had subscribed to in 2015 [really], but of which I hadn’t heard a single episode. Just to put things into perspective, I’m subscribed to about 80 podcasts in total. Several of them, I can’t bring myself to delete a single episode without listening to it. Here are some of them. The list has since expanded. So it should come as no surprise that I have 1200+ unlistened-to episodes.

The easiest way for me to tackle this load is to listen to them when on my morning walk. Yes, music is more traditional but it is truly hard to beat The Now Show on BBC Radio 4, on an otherwise booooooooring walk. The belly laughs are like ab exercises in themselves. 😛 And yes, I’ve managed to knock off several by doing this.

Today, I decided to crank up.. *drumroll* My Dad Wrote a Porno. I am not making this up. It is an absolutely bonkers bit of talk radio which is unexpectedly funny. The first episode was the first chapter with copious amounts of commentary, disgusted, wondering, surprised, witty, and hilarious by three people.

If the podcast itself wasn’t hilarious enough, the whole premise was so bizarre, I found myself laughing even more because of it. [Matunga East had very surprised crows this morning.] The text of the erotic novel is so cringe-worthy that it surprises a laugh out of you every so often.

After I had finished the episode, I was debating whether or not to stay subscribed to this podcast. It was funny, granted, but I still found the text a little too cringey for my taste. Thongs, nakedness, and “labial pinkness” made appearances in the FIRST chapter. Doesn’t bode well.

Anyway. I didn’t reach a conclusion on that point, and I guess I will give the second episode a go before deciding.

But. The whole erotica aspect reminded me of an incident with visible underwear lines. [Don’t ask me why. My mind is a mystery to me too, at the best of times.]

This was way back in 1999, and I was in Scunthorpe in sixth form college. A friend from college, also an international student, and I were walking into town. We happened to be walking a few feet behind a lady. This lady was dressed in a well-fitting grey pencil skirt. Office garb, by the looks of it. I cannot remember anything else about her, and you’ll realise in a moment why I remember the skirt.

We were walking on the pavement, and all of a sudden I hear my friend gasp in shock. I looked at her in some surprise, obviously, and she whispered to me the following words: “That lady! She’s not wearing a panty!”

Of course I stopped dead in my tracks in shock, questions coursing through my mind. WHAT? Which lady? Are you sure you meant ‘panty’? Do you know what that means? HOW do you know? Do you know her? Why would she tell you that she doesn’t wear underwear?!

Turns out she was referring to the lady in front of us, and her reasoning was that a skirt that well-fitted should show panty lines. And if it didn’t? No panty.

I was 16 at the time, and raised in UAE. She was 18, a Sudanese-origin Arab, born and raised in Oman.

We had no idea that thongs were a thing. Or commando, for that matter. *giggle*

Sitcom Setup

In spite of being 1) significantly younger; 2) a dude; and 3) calling me ‘mom’, I feel quite lucky to have a really decent guy as a good friend. Which is why, when I was a little low about my non-existent love life, he came up with this plan:

J: “So K [he really calls me just ‘K’], listen. I have a plan. I make bad relationship decisions; YOU make bad relationship decisions! You see where I’m going with this?”

Me: “Not really.” *knowing very well that the whole pact-to-get-together-if-both-still-single-in-20-years was not happening here. EVER.*

J: “Let’s make a shitload of money. [We also work on projects together.] We can then buy houses next to each other, and live out our days like that!”

Me: *laughing*

J: “I’m serious! It will be AWESOME. You make cake, I’ll eat it. We drink coffee at 1 AM together. You listen to me playing guitar. Life set hai.

He’s the absolute best. I love him.

Bringing Things Onto Myself

I am not convinced I do, but perhaps I’m wrong?

There is a traditional aspect of Indian weddings, wear the men wear turbans. Or at least the groom’s side does. I am not entirely sure, but then a Google search should sort that out. [But lazy.]

So at the wedding in Delhi, the boys lined up to get turbans tied. They looked really good, in suits and turbans, and I was mighty proud [and felt slightly sentimental] being part of that group. [Will never admit it to them though. Otherwise won’t live down the teasing.]

Side note: There were a number of complaints from the idiots though, because the turbans are tied fairly tight. So I heard stupid things like: “I can’t feel my ears!” [As though he feels his ears normally.] or “My brain will pop out my nose.” [As though he has a brain.] and so on. Also the tails at the back were very long, so they were absurdly conscious of them.

On reaching our destination, the wedding venue, they took off the turbans with considerable relief. And everyone’s hair was mussed up as a result. Of course no one had foreseen the need for a comb, and mostly everyone ran their fingers through their hair a couple of times and called it quits.

Except for one.

He kept asking how his hair was looking, and it was, to be fair to him, in complete disarray. I guess it was because he has thin hair. He was being ignored by the rest because he is an excitable fellow with chronic foot-in-the-mouth disease. They adore winding him up, because he gets wound up easily.

So I took pity on him, and offered to set his hair, if he so wished. He was surprised – both at the offer and my apparent ability to set hair. *rolls eyes* But he agreed. Thus, I set him hair.

While his head was bent in front of me, another friend started laughing, and whispered that I brought this sort of stuff on myself. I ignored him at first, because I was only trying to be kind.

I finish setting dude’s hair, and he looks up in even more surprise than before.

Him: “Did you set my hair?!”
Me: “Yes. What did you think I did otherwise?” *in some surprise myself*
Him: “Well, your fingers barely touched my hair! Or are you really THAT gentle?”
Me: “Um, OK. I did set your hair dude!”
Him *to the others*: “Is my hair set now? Did she actually do anything?!”

By this time, the other friend was clutching his stomach in agony, trying to suppress his laughter. I had fixed dude with a beady-eyed look, because REALLY?

He finally looked at me again, and reiterated: “Are you sure my hair is set? I could barely feel your fingers!”

To which I said, not with a little menace: “Come here. I’ll do it again, and this time I’ll make jolly sure you feel it!”

And he beat a hasty retreat.

I do bring it on myself, don’t I? Sigh.

XY Denial

There is no real background to this story, although now that I think about it, I remember vaguely being called a ‘dude’ by my friends from college. Maybe my old blog has a post about it, but I don’t immediately recall any incidents.

However, AP took the cake this time. Literally and figuratively.

At most Indian weddings (Hindu, Jain, and Muslim that I know of), alcohol is a definite no-no. So there is almost always an unofficial daaru [booze] party organised by the young male members. In popular culture, this is depicted as a minibar set up in some enterprising young man’s car boot. The word spreads in whispers around the event, and soon enough there is a roaring do happening in the car park.

At AP’s wedding, we – his old colleagues – knew off the daaru party well in advance. He announced on the group that he was setting aside two bottles of whisky for the clandestine event. I am the only female on that group, so I messaged him privately asking whether there were any other girls going to be there. He said there would, seeing as his other group of friends were mostly married, and wives were around.

For the record, I was in the middle of a group of my pals, all of whom are ridiculously afraid of girls overall. And for some reason, absurdly protective of me – someone at least a handful of years older than the oldest of them. So I wasn’t worried about the dangers of being in a group of guys who were drinking, but more about the boredom factor. But since girls were expected too, I heaved a sigh of relief and let it go.

On the night of though, the official festivities ran incredibly late. And the daaru party participants were already in bed (at 2 am) by the time the groom was released by the wedding party. He, not having any of this, stomped into rooms and roused his friends, while we waited in one of our rooms patiently. [We had the illicit booze.] The wives refused to come. I was the only girl. Sigh.

After rousing and rounding up his friends, AP commenced proceedings. We had all been introduced to each other briefly before, but this was a more congenial, more relaxed environment. So he reintroduced everyone, adding a rider about each one’s personality:

“This is X. He has OCD.”
“This is Y. He is crazy.”
“This is Z. He is <insert insulting clause here>.”

You get the drift. Then, it was my turn. And as usual, I always seem to draw the short straw. Because:

“This is Karishma. She’s actually a guy, but she’s in denial.”

I may have thrown an empty water bottle at him, but he jumped out of the way at the last second, and it went whizzing past harmlessly. Damn that idiot.