Thursday, August 31, 2006

Nice Malayalee Girls Like Me

My Uncle Pepe is a triumph of hope over experience.

He calls to wish Julie for her birthday. And gets me on the phone instead (Julie being engaged in performing her ablutions at this time). So he compliments me on my ahem, professional MC performance at Eve's wedding. I thank him of course, in the usual Malaysian self deprecating manner: "Nolar Uncle, so-so oni, nothing greatlar and that's the first and last time anyway..." and he says, no, no, you should consider doing it more often, you were very good, and your partner was very good, etc, etc, etc...."

He evinces a distinct interest in my "partner", Mary Zack. So I tell him a bit about her. Then he asks how old she is. I wonder where this is going. After all, I can hear his wife, my aunt, in the background. Surely, my venerable uncle is not thinking of having an affair at his advanced age.

"She's 50 this year, Unc."

"You're bluffing. She cannot be more than 30."

"Aiyo Uncle, I'm sure she would be flattered but she's 50lar." (Mary wouldn't mind because she is like me. We neither of us don't bother to hide our ages).

I hear my aunt break into peals of laughter in the background. She pulls the phone away from Uncle.

"Jenny? Your uncle was thinking of matching her with Santosh. Nice Malayalee girl, tall and pretty and all. He thought it would be a nice fit."

Santosh is my cousin. A kid of 32. The only one of his siblings who is as yet unpaired. His eldest brother is engaged to an Italian. His second brother, married to a Tamil. And his only sister going out with a German. All nice people but, as my aunt points out, not one of us.

"Your uncle wants a daughter-in-law who can make putu."

Note: I am Malayalee. Pukka. And I can't make putu to save my life. Or aviyal (I don't think I spelled that right which just goes to show) for that matter.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I was the loudmouth who had to announce to all and sundry at my cousin's wedding that we (Jenn, Eve and Mary) were the infamous 3K Production, 3K being both Tiga Keling and Three Keralites. Keralites being Malayalees. Malayalees being the partners of choice for other Malayalees. At least where their parents are concerned.

My aunt stays on the phone and asks me (very nicely of course) to put out feelers for Santosh. A nice Malayalee girl. From Malaysia, not India (because if she's from India she cannot work for a few years while they try and sort out her papers and Santosh doesn't want a stay-at-home wife). I laugh and rhubarb non-committally because I don't approve of arranged marriages and don't even attend them as a matter of principle.

Uncle Pepe doesn't stop there. "So Jenny, when is your big day?"

"Um, never Uncle."

"Don't talk like that...is there anyone now?"

"Nope. No one."

"Never mind. It can happen in a second. I pray every day for your big day." (I ask you, with four children of his own, how does he have the time to busybody with his nephews and nieces?)

And that's not all. Apparently I will get together with a nice Malayalee boy. And have nice Malayalee children. And why stop there? I will also probably array myself in silk sarees and make putu and aviyal for adoring in-laws.

As I said, hope over experience. Truly.

I need a drink.

20 comments:

hot coffee girl said...

I have to back you up on the arranged marriage thing, Jenn. I don't like most of the sweaters my parents buy me for Christmas...how could I trust them to pick out a mate? Hell, I'll take it one step further and say that I am not entirely sure about marriage altogether-one that I arrange or otherwise.

I will, however, pray for you...that you may find a good drink.

Jenn said...

Haha, thanks HCG. My response to this used to be I don't approve of marriage. But am too tired to make it now. And how do I be nasty to an uncle who persists in loving me no matter how bitchy I get?

lakeside ling said...

This hits too close to home!

I suggest tequila. I've downed many shots with friends post parentally-arranged blind date. My mom and dad seemed to always pick the UGLIEST guys...I think in some unconscious way to preserve my virginity for all time. "Just marry him, don't need to see if you can kiss him." Yiiii!!!

Jenn said...

Hello Ling, welcome to my blog. None of them have dared as yet to "introduce" me to anyone. My parents response to suggestions of these sorts is: "Please, don't make her angry."

QuillDancer said...

Jenn, I had some lovely Kahlua bon bons I would offer to share with you, but I forgot to turn the air contitioner on this morning and now they are little foil wrapped Kahlua shooters .... want one or four?

Jenn said...

Thanks sweetie - I'll take two and you can take two and we can make a toast to hopeless romantics and bottoms up.

Grey Shades said...

LOLLLLLLL!!!!!! The last para was so you lady! :) BTW what was that 'girls in cars' thing on mine mean?

lakeside ling said...

Jenn, I love your stories. And thank you for your kind words. I am linking thee, if you don't mind.

On relatives and arranged dates/marriages: filled with good intentions, I'm sure. Just VERY difficult to NOT explode when they say things like "you're not getting any younger, so why don't you go out with [in my case: insert appropriate Spanish moniker attached to genetically-challenged face.]" So I went and married a (very kissable) man my parents considered vastly inappropriate and completely out of their sphere of influence. We are quite happy. They have yet to get over it. :p

Jenn said...

Grey: I would have explained yesterday but I had just driven about 400 kms to JB and was, in consequence, very, very tired. Besides, Mom, who hadn't seen me in like four months, wanted to fill me in on all the gossip (she doesn't mind that I'm reading a book while she's talking). She made the best chicken rice. Yum. I love my Mommy. OK Girls in Cars was a song from the 80s, I think. Anyway, when I read your post, it started playing in my head, so I repeated it ad nauseam. OK?

Ling: Hey! Thank you for linking me. It's an honour. Will link you too...just cos I liked your list...haha...also, because you married the man you wanted to rather than the one your parents thought was "appropriate"...they usually get over it when the first grandchild comes along (am talking from experience here...my cousins' that is)

QuillDancer said...

Meme tag -- you're it. Check here for the rules. Enjoy!

Jenn said...

Hey Quilly: Have already done this tag (first Nancy, then Grey tagged me)...and I listed not one, but SEVEN! Hehe...that's how weird I am...

http://as1waspassing.blogspot.com/2006/03/tagged-and-weirded.html

Grey Shades said...

Got it! So essentially you were not listening to mommy :( So hows the stay coming along?

Jenn said...

OK. Mom likes to sit by me and talk. She was just reciting bits from Henry V. I told her I couldn't understand a word she was saying, which means she was not good at reciting Shakespeare. She said...Jenneeee, it's been 40 years and I only remember bits and pieces.

So far, OK. Made vindaloo today. Yum.

Grey Shades said...

Nice nice... so its been an easy and leisurely stay eh? Ah i wish...

QuillDancer said...

Jenn -- while mom was talking you missed a cat post.

But what I actually came by to say is -- where's Nessa? Do you know? Is she well?

Jenn said...

Grey: Sleep. Eat. Read Jane Austen. Or Agatha Christie. Gertrude Stein. Also some Joan Didion. Rain in the afternoons. Zee TV (which just started over here on August 31, is it just me, or has Bollywood become incredibly skanky - Dance Like a Punjabi, hehe).

Quilly: I know what you're saying. She seems to have disappeared. Will email and see if I get a reply. Nessa, if you're listening, please check in and let us know you're OK.

that girl in pink said...

:) i'm particularly tickled by your uncle's clear instructions on the girl he wants for his son: "malyalee girl from malaysia who can make putu"

gosh, there are so many things wrong with that sentence!

goldennib said...

Hi Jenn: Sorry to worry you. I took a small break.

I used to always get the when are you going to get married thing. When I did actually get married, everyone was a little shocked as I picked someone who was not the marrying type. Definitely not someone my parents would have picked. Thank God, as I'd be divorced by now.

Jenn said...

Pink: Tell me about it. I'm just surprised that my cousin is going along with it. He really doesn't seem the type.

Nessa: Yay! You're back, you're back, you're back! God is in Her Heaven and all is right with the world.

A thinker said...

It's amazing how persistent some people are in ribbing you about your singleness and wanting to pick out a mate.

I guess they're trying to be kind, in a way. But it usually ends up being rather annoying.