As I look forward to matronhood, relatively confident that the days of men throwing poorly-composed love letters at me, requesting me for “frandship” and sending me anonymous Valentine’s Day gifts (to what end, I wonder) are now done with, my brother reminds me of how fortunate I am to be a four-year cycle ahead.
“I am supposed to pim…I mean…uh…,” he holds out his mobile to me, as my mother pretends not to have heard, “read this.”
“Machi, plz mingle wt hr as a fren…or better, a brthr. N gt her no. 4 me. Thx, da, machi.”
“This girl he likes,” my brother grunts, “she got placed in my company.”
“And you’re supposed to mingle with her as a brother? Why, exactly?”
“Read the next message.”
"Now she thnk I m porukki, da. But u r Peter. She wl gt impress I m ur fren.”
“But machi, plz dnt be 2 Peter. Thn she wl gt feelings 4 u.”
"So you’re supposed to be posh, but not too posh, because this girl who thinks your friend is a wastrel will fall in love with you,” I translate to myself.
“Deepak!” my mother can’t contain herself any longer, “what work are you doing?”
“Why does she think he is a porukki?” I ask.
“Because he is. She got her brother and father to call him up and threaten him.”
“Did you remind him?”
“Machi, gurlz always say no 1st time, da. U nt seen n e tamil film-aa? What, u r that much Peter-aa?”
“Best of luck getting out of this,” I tell him, as he soulfully wears his software-giant ID card and sets out on his mission.
This is the new breed that is taking over the world. The ones who get their machis to lull their stalkees into thinking they are as good as their friends. And I thought I’d seen the worst in a guy who called me twenty times during my three-hour radio show, and then waited outside my house to introduce himself to my father.
I wonder what the next step to this new methodology of courtship is. What do they do when they get hold of the numbers (which were changed because of them)? Do they make the mingler the third person in the relationship, interpreting their advances into something more gentlemanly? Do the mingler’s duties include befriending the father and the brother? And what if it backfires, and the minglee decides the mingler is like his friend and therefore not worth mingling with?
The last was the loophole my brother was hanging on to. Executing his counter-plan, he texted his stalker-friend, saying the stalkee was not interested in mingling. Bang came the reply:
Machi, frm tomorow sit near her … Talk wt her , try to know about her …. If she insults means , tolerate it…tell me what lunch she eats, machi…I want all news abt her…even silly news…plz start working for me.
An email outlining the plan followed the series of messages:
Sub: plan to correct my luv
- Gt 2 knw her well, machi. She must trust u fully.
- Start sayin’ gd things about me. Eg. I dnt drink, no smoking etc.
- Tell her some gurl is after me. She wl gt jealus
- Tell her u will convince me to come after her
- U r invited to my mariage, machi!
The day after he received this five-step plan, my brother changed his number. Apparently, a common friend of his and the stalker’s has been trying to mingle his new number out of him.