What is the Good Indian Girl doing on Valentine’s Day?

Do you guys remember me obsessing over Kavish’s Nindiya Re (Coke Studio) some months ago? In fact I wrote long emails to her of the elephant loving fame (just like the Bean!) obsessing over the way he formed the words and how beautiful his hands looked as he strummed. Yes, okay, judge me, I’m human. Anyway, I got over him (hah!) and then got back under him (anyone get the reference? anyone at all?) recently.

Which made me ponder ( I do that sometimes) and wonder, and scratch at my beard (okay maybe not) and puzzle over why a bleddy lullaby would make my toes curl and make my knees go weak. And finally it struck me that it was the combination of a warm, masculine voice singing a lullaby that bowled me over. How rare it is to find men singing lullabies, and yet isn’t that what most women look for in a man when they’re ready to settle down (Research says that, not me!)? One who will make a good father. And what says Β good father better than one who will take time out to sing his precious spawn to sleep? Yet, it is rare that you come across lullabies being sung by men. Why is that? Because it is the good Indian mother’s job to sing loris, not the father – no sirree, his job description clearly states hunter-gatherer.

Speaking of Good and Indian in the same breath, have you read Annie Zaidi and Smriti Ravindra’s The Bad Boy’s Guide to the Good Indian Girl? (Click here to join the Facebook page.) I was privileged to attend the Gurgaon event some weeks ago and have really enjoyed the book. It tells it as it is and I loved the style of writing. Eighty per cent fact, the book is based on numerous interviews that the authors worked into a smaller set of characters to avoid it becoming unwieldy. It’s easy to recognise yourself or your friend or your small town or big city upbringing in the stories. The not-being-allowed to wax and most definitely wearing a slip under your school uniform, the skirt length two fingers below your knees, the not smoking in front of people you know, the girl whose phone number all the boys had but nobody had ever really dialled, the doing everything but IT, because you know, it’s important to be a virgin. Who is this Good Indian Girl and what is she made of if not a bundle of contradictions? Is she necessarily the opposite of a Bad Indian Girl? To find out, pick up a copy.

Or you could just answer this question and hope to win a copy of the book being given away by Zubaan books (the publisher). The three best answers will be chosen by the authors, so take it away girls (and boys!) – What do you think the GiG (Good Indian Girl) did on Valentine’s Day? Go on, be as witty, honest and creative as you can.

As for me, I’m home with an asthmatic Bean so although I’d love to be out dancing, we’ll instead be in bed watching Sherlock Holmes and pigging out on something calorie rich. But what I can do, is tell you about aΒ rather funny GiG experience back in the good old day when I was a small townie. The then boyfriend showed up at my place on Valentine’s Day with the requisite cards but went unnoticed by family because I came from a Christian family (*Gasp* they drink and their women wear short skirts and smoke) where girls and boys alike were allowed to visit. All the very busy working members of my huge joint family didn’t even remember or care that the usual bunch of kids was hanging out in the garden and raising Cain so the exchange of cards that denoted we were ‘seeing each other’ was accomplished without much fuss. At this point friend B who had a carefully selected card for his sweetheart tucked into the back of his jeans and hidden under his tee-shirt, begged me to help him get it across. Hers was a Good Indian Family and boys were not encouraged to drop in uninvited, definitely not unless they came as part of a group. And she was most certainly not supposed to have a boyfriend, dear God no!

I phoned her and after much debate it was decided that I’d give the matter legitimacy by coming with him. So my brother (always my chaperone) and the two guys and I, begged the car off my parents and headed off to her place on this very important mission. Her parents weren’t home and the idea was to get it all done and out of the way before they returned. She let us in and we all stood at the door awkwardly staring at each other. The rules were clear, it was just not right to leave a boy and a girl unchaperoned in a room and we weren’t going to be encouraging it. And then I don’t know which one of us buckled and walked out, the rest trailing behind, leaving the two of them alone. I’m not sure how much later we heard a gasp from the room and we all panicked. THIS is why boys and girls should not be left alone in rooms was the look we gave each other as we rushed back in. Only to find out that the crisis wasn’t as large as what we’d imagined. It was larger – the card had been full of little tinsel hearts that fell out and scattered across the room the moment she pulled it out of the envelope. Innocent problem, yes, big problem – damn yes!

The 5 of us were on our knees in seconds, frantically crawling around the big old room, collecting the red shiny hearts when we heard her parents’ car pull into the driveway. It won’t be an exaggeration to say I began to say my last prayers. Bollywood style, we collected the last heart the moment the front door opened and were the picture of guilt the moment they walked in, although they couldn’t really have guessed what it is that we were looking so guilty about. Excuses were made and we left as soon as possible, getting into the car, getting out of their driveway and parking on the road to laugh and cry hysterically at what might have been the biggest disaster of our hitherto uncomplicated lives.

I’ve spent many romantic Valentine’s Days since, but this one lives on in my memory for the way it exemplifies GiGness. So then, how about joining the fun and telling us what you think the GiG did on Valentine’s Day. Contest closes on Friday so hurry!

And Bangalore boys and girls, here’s yet another giveaway. The super-talented Monika Manchanda of Sin-a-Mon Tales is giving away a hamper of cupcakes – champagne infused or red velvet (slurp!). Head over to her page for details.


41 thoughts on “What is the Good Indian Girl doing on Valentine’s Day?

  1. OMG what, the bean loves elephants too?!
    :O You must let her and me meet, and have a chat. Clearly we have something very deep to bond over!

    That said. I bought the book. Read it. And found myself, fellow class girls, best friends, my mom even (!!), and every other girl and her grandma, in some part or the other. I too liked the style, which felt like they real-world stories told with that aura of a story which made them fun to read. Also it was a breeze, and given my current phase of not finding enough time to do anything i really want to, this was a blessing πŸ™‚

    As for me, I plan to go out with a girlfriend tonight. Because Im a bit nauseated with all the pink hearts balloons and confetti all over the place. But, OMG, the bean loves elephants too. I’m sorry Im not over it. I gasped for real when I just read that!

  2. Been sneaking in here pretty frequently looking out for new posts, still waiting for the post on ‘Pork’. πŸ™‚

    From your review of it, looks like I’ll love the book. Placed an order on Flipkart, not sure when I’ll read it though… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    And, wishing you and the OA a happy Valentines day!

  3. So the husband has given me vouchers to go crazy in Landmark for my upcoming birthday. And I’m already compiling a list of books I am going to buy then. And this is on my list.

    Oh, and that scene you described – it brings back so many memories of small town teenage life. Such drama in our young lives those days! My favourite V-day memory consists of how our mess workers tried to make the day special for all of us (who weren’t going out for romantic candlelight dinners) by decorating the mess with balloons and ribbons and serving (their own version) of ‘special food’. ‘Mexican rice’ on V-day anyone? We did have ice-cream and bownies though.

  4. Hi MM

    Really glad to see you after a loong loong time. Yes, I too was looking forward to the chicken and pork story. One understands and respects your reasons for blogging less frequently. But, when you do post something new, it is a treat indeed!!!.

    Loved the Valentine day story with your friends. Too cute for words.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you.

    Warm wishes


  5. The GiG is surely not making eye contact even with any guys, most definitely not that guy she wants a tinsel heart from, and she will show that she is GiG and hang around with girls and go out in a girly bunch of GiGs only!

  6. That’s such a cute story. Reminds me somehow of the song ‘Aankhon mein tera hi chehra, dhadkan mein teri hi yaadein’. πŸ™‚

    Would love to read the book that you mention. Lemme go check out the FB page! Thanks for letting us know!

    I have entered Monika’s giveaway too! πŸ™‚

    I love elephants too, and pick up everything with elephants on them. πŸ˜€

  7. so did the DIL PHENK couple
    or no wait for it
    Jinka Piyar (and Bahut Saarey) Hearts UMADD UMAADD Rahey Thay get married?
    “A Good Pakistani Girl’s Question”

  8. This GiG wished her hubby and son in the morning, slogged in office, went back home, watched the little one play, read him stories until he fell asleep.

    Thanks for the reco…I need to get hold of this book.

  9. The GiG rejected the card and the roses heavy heartedly, fearing the society and her reputation, only to find the entire small town’s walls scribbled with “girl’s name” + “boy’s name” !!

  10. And a Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to you πŸ™‚

    I fully intended to have a drink with the husband, but we ended up working on a presentation that I had to make this morning. We did share half a whiskey though. It was very romantic.

  11. This is what the back then GiG did 8 years ago when she was in a girls’ hostel with no escape route. She and her crazy li’l friends flicked the kitchen keys from the locker room, then stole candles and matchsticks from the kitchen cupboard, turned on the radio in the lowest possible volume (yes,even radios weren’t allowed in the hostel) and while listening to the most romantic songs being played by the RJ (Man,didn’t he have the huskiest voice ever!:) ), lit the candles and wrote out hers and her then sweetheart’s names with the hot wax using her finger. And ended up with a painful,swollen finger for a week. The pains we GiGs go through for love! πŸ˜›

  12. The Good Indian Girl took herself for a movie and bought herself a card in 1990, in 1991 she had crossed over to the other side and was Bad,

  13. I’m not married, or anywhere close to wanting to be married, I certainly don’t have kids or a home to make pretty…I cant really identify with the things you write about (travel tips with kids and so on)..But I stumbled into your blog, I’ve been reading it on and off…I’m a student, a month away from turning 23..Its a Saturday night and I can hear loud music from my neighbors and my a$$’s vibrating thanks to their big bad speakers…But here I am reading your blog and being entertained!

    You have a way with words..Its a gift, it really is..And you sound like a wonderful mom, fun and positive..and your parenting (tricks?) seem to resemble the ones my Led Zeppelin loving folks used on me and my brother… and we turned out pretty okay πŸ˜›

    ..Someone told me when I had started to blog that its not the writing that is difficult, its taking the mundane everyday things and making them blog worthy, with nothing but words on your side..

    Congratulations on the uber successful blog!

    ps: If you guys ever end up going down south to Kerala for an extended Holiday, try and check this place out… http://www.sundaramahal.com/ .It was my parents retirement plan, which they preponed by a decade..But I have a feeling they’ll love to have someone fun like you over πŸ™‚


  14. I have been wanting to lay my hands on that book, but being so lazy about it 😦 may be this is a good chance.. I dont know win anything ever but one can try

    to what GIG was doing… may be out to a date with her girlfriend πŸ˜‰

    and thanks for spreading the word about my contest… muah

  15. The GiG vehemently refused to give the day any more commercial backing than it already has. She spent the evening with 2 girl friends making salads at home and discussing everything that is wonderful (or not) about life. Her husband cooked for himself at home and chilled out on his evening without the wife.

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