It was chaotic. M Mani is nice. I like her. She is very soft spoken. In fact, her voice is so feeble, that one can’t even hear it. That played a big part in why the marriage happened. My family is so loud, it gets embarrassing. Actually, most of them are deaf. So they are left with no choice but to raise their voices. A soft spoken M Mani is exactly what the family needs.
T Anna and M Mani were in touch through emails for a few months. Even though, M Mani was from the hated Koushika Gothram, we decided to go on with the case. After all, T Anna was getting older and bald.
When he landed in Madras a month and a half ago, we were shocked to see him. The erstwhile broad forehead (that we attributed his high JEE rank to) had now become a completely bald patch of head. The good thing was that, T Anna had lost some weight along with hair.
Paati wanted to know, why T Anna had become so dark? NRI’s are supposed to be fair, she said.
Pitchu Maama, who is Amma’s Maama-cum neighbour cum senile relative (that each family must have) recommended that we take T Anna to – Fair and Hair Clinic on Lattice Bridge Road. After some debate and a smallish tantrum from T Anna, we decided against it. What I and S would like to know is ,why is Pichu Maama Thatha visiting such places?
There were actually two girls that T Anna saw. It would be insulting Bharadwaja Gothram and Brilliant Tutorials if he had to decide whom to marry after seeing only one girl.
So there was M Mani and another girl - G.
G was the preferred choice of the clan. However, T Anna was always more pro M Mani. But being the good boy that he is, he agreed to meet G first. There were many things that worked for G:
1. Her family lived in T NagarHowever, two things worked against G.
2. She was very tall
3. She was very thin
4. She was the only daughter
5. She was learning paatu from Suguna Purushottam, an artist that amma had heard at Vani Mahal some years ago. G was most proficient (allegedly) in Ahiri Raagam. (Nope, we didn’t make her sing. Amma felt that - given that we were a modern family with NRI boy, this would be unacceptable)
6. Her family had sent us a studio photograph (as opposed to M Mani who had a photograph taken at her home. That too with her head tilted too much, smiling too much and sitting on a posh sofa)
1. Her mother spoke too much. She was presumptuous and she seemed to assume that T Anna was on her side. Amma’s maternal instincts hollered and she got territorial.We told G & Co that we would get back to them, but I think they had guessed by then.
2. G was too much like us. Amma and T Anna figured that she will get us very quickly and easily. That is never a good quality for a new daughter-in-law to have. In fact, she must not get us at all. And when she does, it must be too late.
We came home somewhat dejected. Meeting with M Mani and Co. was scheduled for next day.
While we liked M Mani, we were not sure if she would fit in our family. Their house had a sofa set. They had curtains. And they had lots of polished brass lamps around. The biggest reason why we didn’t like M Mani was because her family had sent her photograph in an envelope that said – BHEL.
Why get your daughter-in-law from a family that steals office stationery?
However, T Anna liked M Mani. He was sure that she would get a job in US. He thought that they shared the same wave-length (whatever that meant).
When we came back home, periappa and family, both thathas and paati and Vaithi Maami were there. Vaithi Maama is thatha’s friend, philosopher and guide. When Vaithi Maama says something, it rules.
A detailed analysis involving the pros and cons for both G and M Mani was undertaken. Differential weights were attached to each variable. The fact that T Anna liked M Mani more was given a higher weightage. After much analysis, M Mani was chosen as the-likely-to-be-better-member of the Asal Tamil household.
This was because:
1. M Mani was a software engineer – will get job in USA. Will be intellectually compatible (read: geeky) with T Anna.It was concluded that, ability to identify raagams correctly was a more appropriate quality for a daughter-in-law to have, than her ability to sing the same.
2. M Mani did not make it through JEE. She had studied in obscure engineering college in Kancheepuram. She will be grateful for having landed herself an IIT boy.
3. While we were doing some small talk initially, amma mentioned that she had spotted M Mani and family at the Tarangam Music Festival held at the Narada Gana Sabha. Everyone got excited and started talking about concerts that they had attended at the last year's music season. Amma is a Nityashree fan. Amma likes pedigree. So when M Mani said that the she thought Nitaysahree’s Nilambari rendition at one of the concerts was brilliant, amma was converted.
Vaithi Maama also said that, Ahiri raagam if sang at the wrong time of the day could result in major trauma. Nilambari on the other hand, is the raagam that is sung to put the gods to sleep.
T Anna is god. And so, M Mani won. I think.