Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Cut, Carat, Color and Clarity

I have been observing a phenomenon for a while now. It started with my being invited to more meetings than I care to attend or need to. It comes free with the job description and makes me long to be a programmer left alone to mire in the cesspool of my own code.

Coming back to the meetings. I get bored after the five minutes of these hour long jamborees. With nothing left to do I survey the people seated, talking, gesticulating, making inside jokes that I don't quite get because of my unfamiliarity with TV sitcoms and Hollywood blockbusters.

It is amazing that almost all humor is derived exclusively from the aforementioned sources. The Indian equivalent would be laughing over Kader Khan histrionics from a popular Bollywood flick. It's a cultural niche not to mention an acquired taste.

Anyways, my survey took an interesting turn when I started to analyze trends in my random observations. Most of the younger women (from the late twenties to the mid thirties) wore identical diamond solitaries and wedding bands. Different colors of gold an occasional platinum. The diamonds were almost always impressively sized but lacking in all the C's that count.

Big is beautiful seems to be the mantra. So when hands (left significantly more often than right) gesture from different parts of the conference room, the stones seem to claim "My marriage is the bigger better deal than yours. Proof is my rock is bigger" As an outsider I watch the display with much interest. Since when did marriage turn into a competitive sport ?

The first thing to strike me as interesting was uniformity. Conformism and total lack of imagination. The prescription wedding and engagement ring sets. No one did anything different. Maybe the marriages were pretty similar too but I can't vouch for that.

Over the years I have also seen that the older women are ring less or may at best sport an engagement ring - here today gone tomorrow. Sometimes going through several different ones in a relatively short period of time.

In general a woman with a ring is imbued with a sense of superiority over one without one. Even an engagement ring does not quite cut it. Even if the rock in question is a stunner. The band and the rock together defines Nirvana - it probably proves indisputable ownership of a man.

I am an outlier in more than one way. I am in the age group that is married and proudly flaunting it, oblivious of the ominous older, ring less fingers all around them. Yet I do not have a wedding ring ; I am not the same color or race. They view me as a cultural anomaly that piques their curiosity but not for long. After a while I turn into the fly on the wall and get a chance to absorb and assimilate.

While in America, I have lived and worked in the South and the North East. The number of divorced southern gentlemen in a random sampling at the work place was fairly high. I remember one instance when five out of the seven men in a group I had gone out to lunch with were without wedding bands. In the North East (in my conservative neck of the woods at least) almost any male in the group is likely to be married.

The real disparity is in the number of older women who are divorced as compared to the older men. These women appear fated to be ring less because the men their age are inevitably balled and chained to another. That is a real pity. These older woman find themselves hitting clubs and bars on a Friday even only to be accosted by freaks who have had too much to drink.

Sometimes, younger girl-friends such as I hear those horror stories on Monday during lunch hour. When they ask me "Why don't you go out and date ? You are young and attractive - you should be able to find someone easy." I am left speechless. To explain to them the dynamics of the Indian dating going on mating deal is a task more daunting than I am willing to undertake over a Caesar salad and V8.


Chay said...

Very well written, indeed. Articulate and liquid!! I share so many of your thougths here.
I suppose the fact that the US is so media driven really comes out when one actually listens to an American speak in a casual atmosphere. Regardless of where or who you speak with, they all derive their sense of humour and general direction for life from TV... sad eh!! Lollz at the CCCC...so true. Very poignant and precise. The same 'theory' of 'conformism and total lack of imagination' applies to just about every facet of their lives - clothes, shoes, make-up, hair styles, cars, houses, gardens, social lives.... Makes me wonder about the whole 'man is a social being' deal. Does being social mean conforming?? As I thought of it, it gave me a bigger jumpstart than my coffee...reminded me of my deepest fear...that I might become like everyone else...:-))))))

vikasgupta said...

This was a nice read!

Caesar salad and V8: latest additions to my knowledge/vocabulary!