Ever a sucker for a good old-fashioned Bollywood romance, I was probably more thrilled than the newly-weds themselves when my childhood friend and his college girlfriend pulled off the star-crossed wedding of the century. Parents were threatened with suicide and fasts-unto-death and chronic spinsterhood, names were called, motives questioned, even a stray pistol or two fired in the air before the two would eventually immerse themselves in the masochist waters of holy matrimony.
Since we moved to different cities- and later, countries- after school, I was unable to play my dream role of Friend & Facilitator (I never get to facilitate anything; stuff just happens to me) while all the drama was going down, but I always felt part of the proceedings, thanks in no small part to my friend's email updates at every stage of the relationship. But before last weekend, I'd waited some six years to finally meet this woman who had launched a thousand auto-rickshaws, and finally made an honest man of my brotha-from-'notha-motha.
As we all know, the woman of your bro-from-'notha-maw (there should really be an abbreviation for that) is as off-limits as it gets. No matter how short a while you've known her, she's automatically a girl-bro: someone you can go shopping with and whine to about woman-trouble and generally just be one-of-the-girls with without actually going under the knife. And my bro sure picked a winner- I liked her immediately, and we all got along like a happy house on fire, sipping our brewskis and reminiscing about school days while Green Day moaned tepidly about tattoos and memories on a CD none of us would admit to having plopped on the stereo. Nineties kids, all.
I'd never had a girl-bro before, so I was really excited to see how far I could push the boundaries of propriety. An off-colour joke here, an MD anecdote there, hell I even squeezed in a racist joke about Hindi People. She didn't seem to mind at all. I'd finally found my Gro. That's when my friend's parents dropped in, balked at me for a second as though experiencing a particularly nasty bout of deja vu, and quickly departed after dropping off his 2-year old son with us.
The kid was a real people-pleaser, going round our circle handing out head massages like an overweight teenager with low self-esteem hosting her first house party. I was just settling into one-more-and-lunch? mode, when things took an unexpected turn. My friend, who had disappeared into the kitchen with the baby, reappeared wearing a distinctly dour expression I remembered –but couldn’t place- from our kindergarten days. “What’s wrong, buddy?” I asked. “Oh, nothing,” he muttered, and stole a glance at Wifey. Holy Miley, they were doing that weird transference thing couples do and in a couple of seconds she wore the exact same expression as him! Suddenly, looking at the two of them and their toddler who had just sauntered in naked, trailing a stray diaper and the definitive waft of poo behind him, I knew. Oh shit, this is what happens to people after they have babies. The words were out of my mouth before I knew it: “bro, did you just poop your pants?”
He hadn’t, of course. Turned out his son had a habit of swallowing assorted non-edible objects, and my friend had just found the key to his gym locker in the latest poop bouquet he had been presented with. Which in his shock and horror he had subsequently dropped in the pot of biryani that was supposed to be our lunch. “I’m sorry I accused you of hiding the key,” he said and gave Wifey a hug. “Why would you think she’d do that?” I asked, “and go boil your hand in acid or something.” I pricked my ears for the sound of water running as he went back inside. “Oh he’s got it into his head that I don’t let him have any alone-time out of some kind of new-mommy spite,” Wifey explained cheerfully, and patted her son’s bottom, “look, why don’t you go through the menu and we’ll order in some Chinese?” I wasn’t sure if I could eat for a couple of days yet. “Your problems are so different from mine,” I said, “AND WHO THE HELL CHANGES DIAPERS IN THE KITCHEN?” Wifey smiled patiently. “Relax, bro,” she said, “everything you’ve touched in this house has been pissed, pooped or puked on. Repeatedly. Now order some fucking Chinese before I make him swallow your balls.”
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