There’s a fairly large-ish park across the road from our home. As is a common sight in Bangalore, it’s usually swarming with SCs (Senior Citizens), aunty-jis-with-bachchas in tow, laughter club enthusiasts and the occasional Nike-sporting-plugged-in runner on a regular basis. Evenings especially.
In the increasing summer these days, one tends to go for a walk around dusk, when the dust of the day has had a chance to settle. It is during such solitary perambulations that one encounters the Curious Case of the Three-On-A-Date.
Girl # 1 – Lead Female, does not make eye contact with Boy # 1. Directs all conversation to Girl # 2.
Girl # 2 – Female in Supporting Role. Flirts with Boy # 1 on instructions of Girl # 1.
Boy # 1 – Semi-bewildered expression; anchors secret hopes of losing Girl # 2 under a passing TATA truck.
Boy # 1 encounters Girl # 1 through Social Network/ Girl # 2/ random cousin-thrice-removed’ wedding. Boy # 1 gets talking to Girl # 1 through said channels of communication. Usually this involves Girl # 2 – in various capacities such as enabler of communication situations, carrier of Notes as well as counsel to either party on What To Say.
When this scene plays itself out for about six months or so, it is now time to meet.
Enter – the Community Park.
Scene – Dusk. Shadows play across the hard cement seats, warmed all day in the sun.
Girl # 2 is seated between Boy # 1 and Girl # 1. She giggles, with the occasional elbow-dig-into-Girl # 1 for good measure. Girl # 1 furiously types away on her cellphone. Occasionally participates in conversation by addressing Girl # 2.
Boy # 1 has the erstwhile mentioned semi-bewildered look.
For a long time, yours truly did not figure out the dynamics of this unique menage-a-trois. It took a lot of walking – and a couple of re-runs of Chameli ki Shaadi to start gleaning the situation.
It seems it is improper for a Good Indian Girl (aka GIG) to be in communication with a Boy unless he is (a) a Brother (Brotherhood of the Rakhi will suffice to establish this particular form of relationship) or (b) her “would-be” (only arranged by Papaji-and-Phamili). Any Male of Adult Nature who is neither of the two mentioned hereinabove is automatically a serial assaulter and also a blot on the reputation (aka khaandaan ki izzat par dhabba) of said GIG.
And hence, we have Girl # 2. She of the vital link between Lead Female and Boy. One wonders how this pans out – for instance, is the Boy to pay for the chane that Girl # 2 also wants? How about her travel/postage bills for ferrying communication? Also, what about her reputation? Or is it that by virtue of being Girl # 2, it doesn’t count as much? Maybe the khandaans have a hierarchy on who’s daughter gets to be Girl # 1 and who’s doesn’t. Complex!
The final absurdity was a chance reading of a back – issue. Gruha******. (In defence of yours truly, there was nothing else to read at the dentist’s waiting room!) Anyways! The article had such nuggets of wisdom for a GIG as a Bride-To-Be – including – Yes! You guessed it right! – “always take your girlfriend with you when meeting your would-be. This way, you can protect your reputation and yet, spend some time getting to know each other.”
In India, where the one thing in abundance – apart from political insipidity – is the human populace, it seems three isn’t a crowd.