The month of December is a special month for the whole Sindhi community as families from all over the world congregate in Mumbai in hopes of finding a match for their young, while simultaneously enjoying all the festivities. Local Mumbai-ites have begun preparing for the traditional flood of NRIs that is about to plague their bustling city. The number of Sindhi’s that are expected to populate the paan stained streets of Mumbai will shatter all records of previous years and the sales of Johnny Walker Black Label will be unparalleled!
As Uncles and Aunties world wide attempt to book out whole AIRCRAFTS for family and friends at the obvious discounted rate while convincing the ground staff to allow double their weight allowance, their offspring cringe at the thought of being displayed at what they perceive to be a ‘Meat Market’. Still, one can’t deny that the hopes of finding a suitable maitee will be high within the community. Parents will be well prepared, especially those that have embraced technology to give them an extra edge. One can expect colour-coded Bio Data’s and certified chatis being shared via flash drives and Blue Tooth PDAs. Mothers will be walking around pretending to talk on their camera-enabled mobile phones only to stand with the lens pointed at your oblivious self and click away. The reflection of their diamond bracelet, necklace and anklet will provide enough light to procure a clear picture and before you’ve even blinked, some chokro/chokri in Karachi’s machi market is checking out your image on their Nokia. The men on the other hand will be at the bar relying on well honed skills as they engage in business discussions where they’ll attempt to gain as much information while simultaneously revealing as little as possible.
With standards becoming increasingly higher and quality eligible folk on the decline, competition promises to be fierce. Parents have spared no expense in preparing for this December, and have enrolled into vigorous training programs that include speed walking in a sari while being under the influence. Other regimes include rapid chati matching and the ability to have 360 degree peripheral vision so as to keep abreast of the goings-on. Some aunties have even invested in corrective eye surgery enabling them to possess the vision of a hawk for the sole purpose of scoping out a room in a split second and spotting the most suitable catch for their spawn.
Google has also begun to prime itself to handle the increased traffic and searches anticipated in the month of December, as parents ‘google’ all the potentials for their son/daughter. You can bet that before you’ve even finished your first thumbs up, an aunty in the room knows you failed colouring in kindergarten. From there a rumor will spread, and by the end of the night the world of Sindhis will believe that you are mentally challenged.
The younger adults will be equally as resolute as they prowl through the human traffic and watch their prey from a far, studying their every move and gesture before gliding over to their side. They’ll stand proud as they parade their body on which they spent two vigorous months working out. After getting an initial feel (and your name) he/she will head over to their parents to drop off the information as they head towards the next unsuspecting victim. In the meantime, the parents are sure to get cracking on the grunt work and within thirty minutes they’ll have answered every question on their checklist including if you’re manglik, thalassemic and your bank balance to the penny!
The search for romance, temporary or permanent, will overflow onto the intense party scene as youngsters will keep tabs on the ‘happening’ spots, and by side stepping the ever roaming cops, they’ll manage to crash a private party and find their love (for the evening). Numbers and promises of a future will be exchanged, but names will be forgotten the next morning, only to be followed by the couple falling in love all over again the next night.
As daunting as the wedding season may seem (and even though most feel that December in Mumbai is nothing more then a drunken debauchery), one can’t argue that most NRIs truly enjoy themselves. In some cases, new unions are born as life partners are introduced by chance or in most cases, by design. Before the trip is over and done with, agreements are made, engagements are announced and jewelry is exchanged (and in some unfortunate cases, they’re returned later).
New friendships are spawned and experiences shared, leaving individuals anxious for the year to roll by swiftly so they can repeat the cycle all over again. In the meantime, they relive the trip by broadcasting their adventures to friends for the next eleven months, enticing them to join in on the fun next year. After all is said and done visitors depart Mumbai with both a smile and a slight sense of melancholy. For those, remember, there is always next year!
About the author:
Born in Africa, Chandru grew up between Nigeria, India and the UK. With a Masters in International Business from the University of Westminster, he moved to New York where he worked as a Business Development Manager for three years. In 2002, he returned to Nigeria where he currently resides and runs a trading company. Chandru has been writing for Beyond Sindh (www.beyondsindh.com) since 2004 and has published numerous articles in the quarterly publication. His story entitled ‘The Love Letter’ won the Mirage Book short story contest and was published in an anthology titled Inner Voices in January 2009. His short story ‘Zero’ is scheduled to be published in the anthology Indian Voices towards the end of 2010.
In December 2009, Chandru’s first novel, ‘The Journey of Om’ was published in India by Cedar Books.