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Love, elopement, and all that

  • Published at 06:31 pm February 11th, 2018
  • Last updated at 11:00 am February 12th, 2018
Love, elopement, and all that
Let’s start with my own first Valentine Day experience which, I must say, ended on a rather surreal note. Well, that’s putting it in mild terms. In fact, it was a debacle. Sometime in the late 80s, I bought a card, wrote something schmaltzy, and gave it to a batch mate, who seemed a bit bemused by it all. It was the 80s, society was still rather conservative. Prem, or love, mostly existed in movies, with high school romance always kept a secret. Anyway, the woman in question made it very clear that we could be friends and nothing more. Point taken. Since this week will be a profusion of love everywhere, let me share three fascinating real-life love experiences with you. The body is chained, not the heart At my grandmother’s home, we had a tenant in the mid-80s with two daughters, the younger one a little junior to us. Shatteringly pretty, the girl always had a very intoxicating gaze, mellow yet piercing as a knife. And, she was kept imprisoned in her room. Naturally, our group of intrepid adventurers was intrigued by this. “She is chained to her bed,” their chauffeur confided in us one day. What? Chained to the bed? We lured the girl to the window playing Feedback’s “Janala” and after some titillating long-distance eye contact, she made gestures with her hand communicating to us her need for cigarettes. A woman smoking 30 years ago was revelation. We got into action. Packets of Wills Kings were passed. Later, she wanted booze. We complied. The enigma grew. Codename: VAT 69, we decided to term it. Who was her mystery lover, we spent hours discussing/analyzing, perhaps agonizing too. In time, it was discovered that the man in question is called White. Is that a name? Naturally guys in my group were puzzled. The window-to-window flirting went on, supplies were provided, and one day hearing commotion downstairs, we went out to find that she was eloping. “Palaitase, palaitase,” reverberated across the neighbourhood. White had arrived in his chariot, taking away his princess. We were left high and dry. The car stereo blared “Part Time Lover,” the girl didn’t even look at us. A rock and roll kazi The bland tone of the mobile phone woke me up. It was the turn of the century, I was a full time journalist. The voice on the other end sounded edgy: “Toto Bhai (my nickname), I need to get a kazi and a witness to get married in secret -- you are my only hope.” Well, sleep faded immediately at the whiff of an adventure. Always followed and still follow what Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond said: “Never say no to adventure. Always say yes.” The guy, a doctor, came to me on his bike and we were out searching for a kazi. The best idea would be to track down our school religious studies teacher, also a maulana. Off we went to Eskaton Garden mosque. Hujur, as we called him during our school days, was in the village. “But his trusted disciple is here,” said the guard. And out came a young man, smelling divine, wearing Armani sunglasses and a Guess watch. The doctor was impressed. Can he help us in marrying the two desperate lovers? In a convivial chat the young moulana transpired to be a 007 fan, so ... The time was fixed, the kazi was brought to a disused apartment in my grandmother’s place with the girl placed in another room, to protect her identity. The moulana was unperturbed, carried out the task, and went away happy, with the fee and a bottle of Davidoff Cool Water. “A little alcohol in perfumes won’t bother me or God.”
It was the 80s, society still was rather conservative. Prem, or love, mostly existed in movies with high school romance always kept a secret
Everything done, I told my doctor friend not to leave anything lying that may arouse suspicion. All this frenzied activity was followed by a young teenager working at my grandmother’s home, who half sensed what was going on and turned snitch. In the evening, my better half appeared at the scene, by then vacated by the couple. “Why is there a religious cap on top of the VCD player?” “Oh, someone must have left it there” -- a valid reason. “Why are there empty biriyani boxes in the kitchen?” “Ahh, perhaps the workers ate” -- still sounding confident. “Let’s go to the toilet!,” she said. Opening the, door, spotted “something” floating inside the commode. “Ahhha, this diarrhea is killing me, I blurted out -- come after I am done.” Sat down on the commode in a hurry, closed the door, and flushed out the incriminating evidence. The doctor is now happily married, with a daughter. The girl’s father is in jail Just a few months ago, another young guy who plays with me at the university came up and said: “My girlfriend wants to elope, the girl’s mother does not like me.” “Right, can I have the details,” I asked, “where is the father of the girl?” He was in jail, taken in by the law enforcement agency for being one of the accused in a hacking case, but now out of prison. Ok, maybe you should think before getting involved with this girl, I responded -- thinking, perhaps Ian Fleming should have actually said: “Say yes to adventures, but do think twice.” The guy was reasonable, he listened. Well, till some other person calls me up, asking for help. Happy Valentine’s Day to all my readers. Towheed Feroze is a journalist working in the development sector.
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