The other day, I was having an extremely profound conversation with a friend. Or rather, if one were to be more accurate, my friend was attempting to have an extremely profound conversation with me, while I was contributing very little. I often find it difficult to make a dint in profound conversations, possibly because of my vapidness and irreflectivity.
Be that as it may, my friend was asking me if I planned to take a year off after my Masters' to broaden my horizons by travelling around the world. I spent a few minutes explaining to her that us citizens of the so-called Third World (or as we like to call ourselves these days in India, Second World citizens) have not the option of spending a year in the sticks, hunting for iguanas in Nepal and polar bears in Papua New Guinea (or even the other way around for that matter).
The primary problem would be money, and equeally importantly, I would not relish the thought of a job interview after a year possibly spent consorting with Bangkok's comfort women. It was then that she decided that I was a terribly materialistic person - materialistic enough, in fact, to be an American.
Which I do not deny. My creature comforts I relish. However, she started within me a series of deep thoughts as to where it would all lead me to. I began to tell her how I saw my life at the age of 40.
By the age of forty, I realized that I would desire to be saddled with a home with a two-car garage, a beautiful (and hence, vacuous*) wife, one or two snotty nosed little kids, a nice little SUV, a sports bike, and a credit card that would allow me to buy something more than second-hand underwear without overrunning the limit. Maybe a Play Station XVI that I wouldn't let my children touch for good measure.
At which point, I pointed out to her, when life was looking all rosy, I could afford to make the hike to Machchu Pichchu.
As my cogitations continued, I soon realized that the life of an SUV, sports bike and home owner married to a hot woman would not be as wonderful as it seemed to be at first sight, because:
(a) I would be too tired, overweight and careworn to hike to Machchu Pichchu. Besides, my dyspepsia and my diabetes wouldn't allow me to step out of home.
(b) In order to have earned enough to buy myself these little dainties, I would have had to spend most of my youth hunched in front of an LCD screen, leaving no time to hunt for a beautiful wife. Besides, which beautiful woman would want to go out with a geek with thick glasses who incidentally has a paunch bigger than her breasts.
So, I would have to rely on the age-old method that every Indian engineer ultimately falls back upon when he realizes he's not going to get any by virtue of his wit, good looks or charm - ask mum to tap the family network to find that perfect girl.
The 'perfect girl' whom I would find thus would be (a) A Warrier, and (b) Either a hill-billy whom I wouldn't have spoken to under less desperate circumstances, or somebody who would have considered herself too cool to talk to me if we were at uni together, and would have preferred the company of a sociable Rahul Singhania in his dad's air conditioned Tata Safari to the company of a Siddhu Warrier with minimal social skills and a ten year old hand-me-down Kawasaki 4S Champion.
(c) So, by the time I'm 40, I would be too overweight to ride my sportsbike, prefer to have a chauffeur drive my SUV, and have two spoilt brats begotten by a wife whom i can't stand.
(d) And then, to forget about it all, I'd enter into a relationship (if one can call it that) with an 18 year old hooker, and try to kill myself with an overdose of sleeping pills when she runs away with my credit card and buys the Democratic Republic of Congo and two other African republics with it.
(e) But just before I died of an overdose of sleeping pills, my wife would e-mail me to tell me that she had been sleeping with the milkman all along, and that all the hours in front of the computer screen had pretty much sapped whatever little virility I had to start with.
(f) So I'd end up in a funeral pyre at 40, in spite of possessing a house, two of the milkman's children, a sports bike, an SUV, and three African republics.
Cheerful little view of the future, ain't it?
Considering my visage, my minimal social skills, and the fact that I had actually been stupid enough to tell a pretty woman what I thought of other pretty women, my friend didn't disagree with my prognostications at all, except on one count.
She thought that my future wife was more likely to beget the plumber's progeny than the milkman's...
*I expect to be pilloried at the stake by most women for the correlation I drew between beautiful women and their IQs. And therefore, before any pretty woman I know decides to carve my insides up, may I put my hand up to loudly protest that this whole post was just a joke.