The Mad Momma

The days are long but the years are short

The Mad Momma

The engagement tag story

Noon tagged me for my engagement story and I am positive that everyone knows everything there is to know about the OA and my filmy affair. The running away, the tears, the fireworks… but never one to shy away from a tag I shall do it all over again.

I was in the midst of a break up with CB (college boyfriend) and the relationship just wouldn’t end.  Each time we sort of called it quits he would just turn up the next day smiling his huge smile and I’d sigh and figure that maybe there was something left to work on.

Now the OA was my shoulder to cry on through the breakup. In fact he just missed falling into the safe friends-zone (oh come on – the one Joey warns Chandler about?!)!! He patiently listened, didn’t advise or argue. He just bided his time dating other random women and acting like he wasn’t in the least bit interested in me. Or so I thought. He now says he was waiting for me to wake up and realise that he was the man of my dreams. So full of bullshit, isn’t he?!The rest of our office however couldn’t believe we were spending so much time together and still not an item.

The thing with CB finally ended and I was rather shattered. I don’t care what people say, I believe that even if you are the one to ultimately call it quits on a relationship, you are still rather devastated. You invest so much in a relationship and then suddenly one day you realise it isn’t working. You can either cling to it like a leech or have the sense to let it go while the memories are still good. Left single and sad and alone in the city, I hung out a lot more with the OA who was busy studying for his management entrances after office hours.

I was used to colleagues teasing me about the OA but after his impassioned avowal that he would never marry someone like me because I didn’t cook, I naively believed I was off the radar. I looked up to him since he was pretty senior in the food chain at office and was basically such a good guy. I don’t know when idol worship changed to love. It just happened.

The rides to and from office I would say, were where it all began and ended. Since I was the first he generously picked up each morning I’d sit in front while the rest slowly and sleepily piled in to the backseat along the way. We even discovered our very similar taste in music on those long rides.

Some days I’d get ready earlier than usual and so walk down to his place instead of waiting for the kind man to come and get me. Now he shared a flat with three other guys and with my Victorian upbringing I didn’t want to go in there alone. I was definitely not interested in catching some guy roaming around in his undies. So I would send him an SMS telling him that I was waiting at his door. He’d rush down, socks in hand and apologise. So I began to muster up the courage to go in because I hated having him rush down and then I’d sit on the edge of a chair in the living room and primly look away while he shoved his feet into sneakers and rushed around brushing his hair. (yeah okay, laugh all you want!) I think I realised the growing closeness when instead of the usual ‘I’m waiting downstairs’ message I began to send him just this – ‘Goodmorning 🙂’ to indicate that I had arrived. He later on told me in a rare moment of mush that the moment he saw the smiley in the message he’d see my face smiling up at him. He has a good 9.5 inches on my 5’3″ so even after the metaphoric looking up ended I continue to look up to him.

Truth be told my mother told me he was interested in me, long before I figured it out. I’m a little slow like that. Practical and worldly wise, she didn’t understand why a young boy who could be getting in a lot more sleep was leaving for office half an hour earlier so that I could catch my shift, and coming out of his way to pick me up and hanging around after office in case I got late to give me a lift home so that I could avoid the dirty, crowded blueline buses.

I told her she had a dirty mind and didn’t understand platonic relationships. She told me she’d lived long enough to know a man in love. I ignored her. Now I eat my words. Mother. You are always right. Well, mostly right, if not always. Throw these words in my face and I will ban you from my blog.

So anyway, mother visited me, caught the OA as he dropped me off, offered him a cup of tea and left, satisfied that even if I did end up falling in love with him, he was a decent guy. She went home and told my dad that she could see it in his eyes but that I was too blind. And of course there was nothing she could do to keep me away from him, because as far as I was concerned she was being an orthodox old lady and there was really no reason to ‘keep me away’ from him. I stubbornly (so whats new?) kept meeting him and ignoring her because she was just an old fuddy duddy, see?

And so it went on. The OA wisely waiting. Me blithely ignorant. Or was I? I am still not too sure. All I know is that I saw him almost every waking minute and it just seemed right. He took a few days off from work and that is when it all began. The frantic SMSes. Willing the phone to ring or beep. Sending messages that you know you wouldn’t send a friend but still not sending anything that could be read as too flirtatious. How many times a day will you message a friend saying – ‘What you up to?’ I mean would you really care to know what a friend, even a best friend is up to, ten times a day, every single day?!!! How about – ‘Had dinner?’ Err… who cares?

A friend who took the ride to office with us called me aside and warned me – ‘I notice the look on his face in the rear view mirror. He’s nuts about you so if you’re going to break his heart, this might be a good time to tell him you’re not interested.’ Break his heart? What did I have to do with his heart? What the hell was wrong with the world and why were they all ganging up against me. Yes, I’ve always had a persecution complex!

Finery and liquor can do a lot to push a relationship to it’s culmination (I’m a teetotaller!). An office party happened and as usual he was picking up and driving a whole bunch of us there. The party was rocking but suddenly it struck me that this man I was spending most of my day with looked really hot when he cleaned up! That he danced like a dream and made interesting conversation. And that when the music came to an end, I didn’t want to stop dancing with him. Yes, you could call me slow. Why on earth was I insisting on setting him up with my best friend when I was single and ready to mingle? And my sales pitch to my friend – he’s cute and terrific husband material! So why was I selling when I didn’t mind buying?!!

I tore myself away and went and sat in a corner to sort my head out. Was I really interested or was it just the atmosphere and the fact that about 200 other people had been throwing us together? My phone beeped and the screen lit up..’What are you doing in that corner when you should be dancing with me?’

I looked across the lawn and he was standing with a bunch of colleagues and listlessly sipping his drink. I replied…

And so we kept at it. I don’t know if anyone noticed that we were sending messages for an hour. But it made me self conscious. When you’re in love, or when you do something you shouldn’t be doing, you do end up rather self conscious. You think everyone knows what you are up to. And to my mind the whole office knew and was probably reading our messages as they floated across the lawn with the music and the conversation. Finally he sent me a last one…’Let’s get out of here..’

But we couldn’t. We had to give 3 people a lift home. All looked rather disgruntled that we were leaving just as the party was warming up. But nobody wanted to fend for themselves in the wee hours of the morning so they knocked back their drinks and joined us.

We dropped two of them home and only my flatmate and I remained. The tension in the car was thick enough to cut with a knife. I wondered what lay ahead. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and see them dashed, neither did I want to make a fool of myself. And what exactly was he planning to say to my flatmate? How were going to get out of that?

But I needn’t have worried. My husband is a simple man and even then he had a simple solution. Turning to my flatmate he said he wanted to get out of the office party because it’s hard to enjoy a party when you’re concerned about getting drunk and making a fool of yourself. That he wanted to go to a real party now… ‘Want to join us? I’m taking MM to dance with me. She works too hard.’

Flatmate who was no fool and could see the sparks flying, mumbled an excuse and left. And there I was..alone with the OA in the car. Now I’d been alone with him a thousand times before. But it was never like this. I sat there in the darkness of the parked car and knew that the next answer would make a huge difference to my life.

‘Wanna go dancing?’ he smiled gently and now that I look back I can remember the distinct lack of enthusiasm in the voice.
No, I mumbled, wondering again if I’d misunderstood what were simply friendly or maybe mildly flirtatious messages.
I was dressed to the nines and my stilettos were killing me and I knew I couldn’t have danced if I wanted to, so I told him I could barely stand.

‘Coffee then? Drive?’
Sure… I replied hesitantly. What if I were found raped and dead the next morning, huh? I am nothing if not suspicious!

And so he drove and we chatted. And at some point he asked me to marry him. I kid you not. I have no recollection of what he said or how he said it. Simply because I was rehearsing my acceptance speech in my head. And perhaps because on the other hand I was also not expecting this to be the big night. I thought he’d perhaps confess undying love. Who in this day and age proposes marriage without dating for at least a while???!!! My honorable husband obviously.

‘Huh? What?I beg your pardon?’, I jerked upright in my seat.
I’d just heard him say… ‘…. when we’re married…’
Us? Married? Did I just miss my own proposal? Obviously. So full of yourself MM, that you miss your own proposal because you have other things going on in your head…
Apparently I’d just been proposed to. And then the womanly wiles kicked in and I made him sweat. Made him say it all over again. And again. And again. ‘You mean you’re in love with me? So why can’t you say it that way? Will it kill you to say the word ‘love’?’
From the way he changed gears I had a feeling I would be killed if I didn’t stop trifling with him!
‘Well if I’m talking marriage, obviously I am in love with you, right?’…
The age old thrust and parry of mating rituals.
‘Yes, but can’t you ask me properly? What makes you think I feel the same way? Have I said I want to marry you?’
He turned and looked me in the eye with a confidence that gave me my answer.

We had coffee at a 24 hour coffee shop and just sat and grinned foolishly at each other. I was finally at peace. I knew this was what was meant to be. There were no edges. Everything felt like it fitted. I can still see us in my mind’s eye. I in my black trousers, blue silk top and he in his beige trousers and black shirt ( He gave that shirt away to the guard recently and couldn’t figure out why that upset me so!). But for the life of me I cannot remember a single word of the conversation we had.

Sometimes the most significant moments in life catch you off guard. You imagine that when you are proposed to, violins will play in the background. That you will remember the scene and the words exactly. But that’s not how it happens. All I can remember is the dark highway stretching ahead, the glow of the instrument panel in the car and the strong hand that hesitated a moment before reaching out for mine.

I swore that I’d make him go down on his knees but we went through so much hell after wards that the whole knee thing seemed so trite and pale. When a man leaves his family and everything else that matters just to be with you, solitaires, poetry, roses, champagne and romantic dinners are just what Hallmark uses to sell cards. I never did get a proper proposal. I don’t think I care for anything more.

We had a huge engagement party in my hometown. He missed the train even then and came sleeping in the luggage rack of a passenger train but that is a story for another day. The engagement ring was beautiful. A square cut diamond with pink diamonds on either side. And since nothing conventional stays with me, it broke. A train door slammed shut on my hand and the ring saved my finger from breaking. But was squashed and damaged beyond repair. I didn’t get it repaired and I don’t remember the engagement date either. It’s either the 21st or 22nd of December. I must ask him.


81 thoughts on “The engagement tag story

  1. Hi MM
    Have been reading your blog from a long time. Tried commenting a few times but somehow didn’t work out. I know lot of them say that you write so good and its so good readiing you etc etc . I just want to say that in your own stories of everyday we find our stories of life woven somewhere here and there. I have a daughter who is 3 years old and in so many ways your blog has made me learnt how to be a parent and mostly a mother. Yes I am not kidding. Those simple moments of conversation with your kids, your enthusiasm of being a parent and carry it off so coolly, you and OA, your stories really makes me smile and not to say the least today,s stories brought back the days when I was in college and had a CB too. And yes we too had a break up:-) keep writing I really love reading you and someday when my daughter grows up I will make her read your blog too.

  2. Now I know where the Brat gets all his gentleness from – his dad sounds exactly like him! I’ve read this one before, but it was as good as reading it the first time. Hugs, Mad Family. 🙂

  3. I remember reading this and I was impressed with your mum. Her answer was the first thing that rushed to my mind when I read the note above the post 😁 I hope your mum and G’pa are well.

  4. I remembered this story so well, it surprised me. I loved predicted each paragraph. My favourite part was picturing the OA rushing down with socks in his hands. What a delight it was to read this again.

    I’ve said this to you before, but I am saying it again. I sorely miss your old blog.. Please, please put up old posts more often?

  5. Delurking to say what a lovely post, each line is beautifully written. Specially agree that the best moments are usually what catch you off guard and what you always remember is how they made/ make you feel and not what was said! Love real life love stories, keep smiling

  6. Aw. I hadnt seen this one before, so it was rather heartwarming and made me grin wide. Nothing like warm fuzzy feelings on a rainy afternoon, especially from reading a rrrreal llouwe story!

  7. oy vey! diabetes dena hai kya mujhe itni sweet story bataake:) Remembered it from the first time I read it at your old home. Loved it then,love it now. And here you are now having added two love bugs to mad house to make life ekdum jhakaas!
    I especially love how polite he was ask your roomie/flatmate if she/he wanted to join you’ll in the post party (faux)dancing jaunt.

  8. I’d read this post so many times on the old blog and this time I read it with a new kind of excitement. I knew what was coming next, I knew that characters involved, I knew the dialogues by heart too. It was like reading a much loved, old favourite 🙂 Sigh! God bless you guys!

  9. Yes I had read this too..but loved reading it again. Not only is the story very sweet, but the way you write it, makes it absolutely delicious 🙂

  10. Oh MM, great./.am so excited!!!! I do not have access to your old have not read your story ! Thank you for posting it.. let me read it now !!!

    • Oh so sweet and lovely !!! then they lived happily ever after with 2 awesome kids !!! MM, my respect for OA went up several notches..
      GOD bless u both dear …

  11. So beautiful and so simple! They make the best love stories. Thank you for sharing this MM. You make me want to document my love story but doubt I’d be able to give it the finesse you have. Please do share your older posts as and when you can – Love, the pesky, nosey but not so young reader! 😉

  12. This was so heart-warming! I sort of recently got a similar kind of proposal so I could sort of feel it all. Loved it! God Bless your beautiful family.

  13. Lovely !Touchwood!

    But feels like I want more. Like to learn the completely story. About the dating, shaadi n all the good stuff. Know what I mean? Its like you know the beginning of the book and the present but are missing a whole bunch of chapters in between. You keep referring to your days when u were preggo with Brat…would love to read those stories too.

    And what you say about memories of the most important moments in our life being mostly hazy memories and not distinct n clear, like one would believe they would be, is so darned true!

  14. It was nice to read it again – Reminds me why I have been reading you for so long. Keep them coming.

  15. I’ve read this post so many times before and it still managed to reduce me to mush. Definitely brightened up a rather dreary Thursday morning.

    Bless you and yours! May the love you share continue to deepen with each passing day

  16. Loved reading this! Especially the bit about you almost missing your own proposal 🙂 I’m trying to remember the time line…This was 2003, right? And of course, half the office was speculating about you guys – I don’t think i was particularly close to you, and I was usually clueless about office gossip, but even I knew you were an item!

      • Yes ok, right. I’d quit by 2003…can’t believe it was all more than a decade ago! And yes, I agree with the commenter below who wants to hear his version of the story 🙂

  17. The OA Should do his version…
    His side of the romance, How you swept him off his socks…

    Here is the title for that one –
    how I met the bean’s mother…

    The headline for yours _ how I met the brat’s father.

  18. Oops.Did I reach the end of your reply thread?

    Thank you ! The celebration is on me.. When the story comes out…
    I am fedexing goodies from chennai… A nice plump carton.

    • haha! Well junta doesn’t know your story but we do. We know exactly how romantic you are. Although i have to say I don’t think of ours as romantic in anyway.
      all the action and drama and romance came once the parents got involved.

  19. I read this in the old blog and it was sweet then, remains sweet now – I did think then that the tactic of supporting-the-girl-through-a-breakup seemed rather unusual but chalked it up to my age and the fact that all the love stories I knew were the conventional type 🙂 But just recently heard all about the progress of another love story, that seems to have followed exactly this route – so looks like you were trendsetters! 🙂

      • This is what I should be writing in the mail I am yet to send (sending it right away). Had I not known any better, I would have chalked it up to tactic, but from whatever little I know of him (and all the wonderful things I know of your son), I know this is who they are! 🙂

  20. Loved reading this post…. So heart warming and also comforting knowing I wasn’t the only one who missed the whole proposal thing 😀

  21. I am one of them young and nosey readers 😀 have been waiting for this story since a long time.. you and the OA are the cutest! xoxoxo

  22. Another young and nosey reader! 😀 Such a fuzz inducing story! The post-crush pre-dating phase is just the cutest – the hestitation, the excitement and all the subtle hinting and flirting 🙂

  23. MM – you have the most dreamy life – straight out of interesting novels! 🙂 On rainy days, with a cup of tea in hand I am going to read the book you are going to write about your life. And please MM – you have the perfect stories right there in your life and you have the words – just get going and write that book already. You can be assured it will be a best seller. So many many people are writing books these days…and you of all people are refusing to write a book!
    Btw – I feel like I am part of this romantic movie just from having “noon” mentioned in this tag line! 🙂 Bit role! 🙂 Photos will be uploaded v soon and sent your way btw!

  24. What a sweet story it is. Your love for OA exudes from every sentence you mention him . I read it for the first time and read it twice over non stop.
    You really write very attention catching.

  25. M so glad to read ur love story,Mad Momma and love every word. It’s too beautiful. It must be made into a novel and will be a sure shot winner and best seller on the shelf. Love it..the drama, romance and, of course, his way of proposing. Epic:)

  26. Just to add, how on earth you failed to gauge all the signs and ur momma is wise before the event:) I mean who is the guy who wil hang around if he is not the least interested..hehe

  27. Read , re- read and it brought back memories of all those office days and the party! Not to miss the drama that followed!

  28. Have been following your blog ever since I became a mother and no points for guessing that I absolutely adore it.
    Just like you missed your proposal, I missed mine too. When my family wanted me to meet some XYZ for marriage, my friend (by then) asked me if I can wait for 2 years to get married as he will be well-settled by then. I kept wondering what is the connection between me getting married and his financial settlement. Only after he left with a disappointed face, I realized what he meant by that.
    Still remains one of the most memorable (and foolish) day of my life.

  29. MM darling, I am an old reader as you know, I have read this post gazillion times and still want to read it :). Your story is a lot similar to mine, especially the proposal bit and how this guy never professed his feelings to me directly and asked me to marry him. But, mine didn’t end in a marriage as his mother played a perfect vamp and emotionally blackmailed him to marry her best friend’s daughter. Well, I met my knight in shining armor a year later and married him and am now a mom to 2 beautiful kids, you have seen the picture of one already :).

    Love your old posts, please post them. Prayers to chota nana. Hope, he recovers soon.

  30. Reading this must have made your husband realize how you’ve always noticed the small things that he did for you back then?
    Ha. You have such a terrific way with words man.

  31. Resurrect your old blog Mad Momma, I want to know you before you were a momma too, just your mad self 🙂 I love your writing. And this particular made me smile and reminded me of my first brush with my husband. You really are something!

  32. I think I am the “young and nosey:p” commenter who originally asked for this, and I am so glad that you posted it! It was so sweet and funny, though I hope to goodness that I don’t miss my own wedding proposal. I’m going to expand my noseyness even further and ask for another old post-perhaps about your college or school days?

    • Yep – it was you 🙂
      And I think I did lots of school and college dates. For now I must run to catch a train. Its raining cats and dogs and we just missed the train on Easter. Can’t afford to do it again.

  33. I remember this post very well…. especially ur Ma’s words and the drive to the coffee shop part… and its a cute story MM…..

  34. You write so well MM!! I really felt I was sitting on the back seat of the car that night.

    College love happened with me too. Several times. Luckily the (lucky) girls never came to know about it.

  35. Sigh. This post makes me fall in love with the OA. You hardly write about him and when you do…well…sigh. No need to be creeped out Ok. Am fat and have 2 children. I’m allowed my indulgences.

  36. Only a year after I asked for this, you finally obliged! Never mind, Der aaye, durust aaye and all that. 😛 Seriously though, it’s such a lovely, heart-warming story.

    Now, I remember a certain post on wedding videos? *Cackles evilly*

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