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September 16, 2003 16:13 IST
I reached the office at 7am after a three-week vacation to India, still jetlagged. The first person whom I met was the Spanish guy who occupied the cubicle across mine.
"So," he said, "did you get married?"
I was a bit taken aback. I had never told him I was going home to get married, so why the question?
"You are Indians, no?" he said. "You find a girl and get married within a month."
I managed a wry smile. I couldn't blame him; my fellow Indians -- read H1Bs -- amaze me too.
They seem to research forever to decide on a car, and invariably go for a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. They collect all the coupons for Vons and Ralph's, look for deals for TVs, apartments, you name it.
But somehow, when it comes to marriage, all they need is a month -- to see the girl, arrange the function and even squeeze in a little honeymoon. The time taken to decide whether to marry the girl or not: less than an hour. That is less time than they spent arguing which movie to go for on the weekend!
I am like my fellow H1Bs in most respects, except I am choosy about whom I want to marry. (I also have a car different from theirs). I want to marry someone whom I love or at least someone whom I know for some time. And some time, in my book, is a lot more than one hour.
Unfortunately, my romantic credentials are nothing to boast about. It starts and ends with proposing to one girl twice. I would have proposed some more had she not stopped talking to me. Barring that, my interaction with the fairer sex is infinitesimally small, tending to zero.
I always wonder whether the average Indian woman have such feelings. They don't seem to be worried too much about it; at least they don't look as desperate. Or maybe the Indian crowd in the US has the supply-demand equation worked out to its advantage.
In any case, I have always felt Indian guys are at the bottom of the dating chain. Barring one in a thousand incident, I have never seen an American girl falling for an Indian guy -- and that too only if the guy resembles a Greek god.
A couple of months ago I became painfully aware I am on the wrong side of the 20s. Time seems to be ticking faster these days. Strangely, this feeling is a bit familiar. It is like an India-Pakistan match and India has to make 20 runs off the last over with only one wicket remaining. You hope India will win even if all the odds are stacked against such a miracle. Only, in my case, there is no second match.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh