Saturday, November 21, 2015

24 Carat Cupid!

Malare ninne kaanathirunnal
Mizhivekiya niramellam maayunna pole
Alivoden arikathinnanayathirunnal
Azhakekiya kanavellam akalunna pole

Miles apart I am sitting on a couch singing relentlessly in a cottage that I had rented near the valley. The next day I have a business pitching to do, presenting the expansion plans of my online gifting portal to one of my potential investors in the U.S. It’s crucial that I have an American footing if I want to go global dealing with products from different time zones and handling multiple currencies. I am quite confident that I could pull it off.

But pitching a Malayalam song with my Tamil accent to a mallu girl isn’t going to be as easy as that. It’s almost half past 10 here in California and I have about an hour and above before it dawns in Kozhikode, Kerala, India. It’s her 24th birthday. I believe the time is ripe for us to our relationship to the next level and I’m not going to miss out on this opportunity.

Hello guys! Am Karthik and I am truly, madly and deeply in love with Jessica Nair. Let me narrate our short love story real quick.

I’m not the conventional type who goes by family circle, matchmakers and matrimonial very particular about the blah blah blah (you know what I mean). At the same time am not the ultramodern type like one of my friends who got hitched with a Japanese girl at a Manhattan speed dating program for singles.10 men and 10 woman will do a musical chair swapping partners to sit across each other at each bell ring without speaking a word. The jury will be capturing the longest glance a man and a woman shared without a blink or turning away and would exchange their contacts at the end of the session. I wanted something in between.

Right from the days of yahoo chat rooms to fropper and dozens of other online chatting sites I have reached a stage in life where the reason why I subscribe to a matchmaking site is beyond the frivolous scope of flirting, chatting and dating. I have been seriously thinking of settling down ever since I turned 29 this year. My profile looks all green and rosy in the traditional matrimonial sites. But I am aware of the impending storm when my valuation will take a nose dive when I turn 30 eventually. It’s a social taboo in this part of the world. I told myself am not going to hurry. Also, I ‘m not going to become desperate trying to socialize with every good looking girl I have acquainted.  As a rational netizen of the internet era, I was quite confident that some online solution will democratize niche areas like matchmaking in a culturally sensitive country like ours like we have gotten used to buy books, dresses, and electronics and book tickets online. In fact there are now sites where you can buy anything from grocery to jewelry online. So I am a firm believer that it’s just a matter of time you find your ideal partner online.

That’s when I first came across her profile in an online dating site- Truly, Madly, Deeply. I was really amused with the concept since it was very different from the traditional matchmaking sites and I really wanted to give it a try. When you subscribe the questionnaires captures your diverse attributes and interests and you have to upload pics which depict the kind of person you are the lifestyle you lead. The app will screen matches based on your interest preferences and proximity and it won’t expose any personal information like name, location or contact number unless and until there is a poke from both the concerned profiles.

First, I was very choosy to start with. I poked profiles only from Tamilnadu. Since many of them were not reciprocated I widened my search criteria. At one point I started to give interest to all the profiles mindlessly and one fine morning I had got a reply from girl called Jessica Nair from Kozhikode. To be honest, I didn’t even notice her name or look at her pics before I selected her profile. My heart skipped a beat when I learnt that she has expressed interest in my profile. Needless to say she was a cute looking damsel. How else would a Jessi from the Gods own country look like.

 I was curious to know if she also flipped past my profile just like that or she really looked into it and got genuinely interested. That adrenalin rush and that little tingle at the bottom of my stomach hit me again almost a decade after my teen hood for the first time when I pinged her hi. Those impatient minutes I waited for reply, praying that the suburban train rush wouldn’t impede my network connectivity reminded me of my college days when I had a Nokia 1100. Two minutes after I said hi there came a notification showing a tick mark with an R, means she has read it. These fancy smart phones only add fuel to the fire, I thought. Then came the 3 dots which meant she was typing and the world around me came to standstill. The palpitation was so high when the 3 dots kept blinking for a long time. I was wondering what she was typing. Then came the petulant hi.  My shoulders drooped. All of a sudden, I felt the breeze around had stifled to become suffocating when my co-passengers pushed me front and back rushing in a hurry to get down or grab a seat. I tried my best to curb my natural instinct and my prejudice getting the better of me in judging how this conversation was going to head. I was not going to beat round the bush since the agenda is already clear that we have both subscribed to a dating site. So I asked her for mobile number so that we could talk and whatsapp. 

"Why waste time texting here when we mutually agree that we are interested in knowing about each other."

“No! Let’s first talk here and see how things fare. When I am confident enough I can share my number” She said.

Fair enough I thought. But I couldn’t hide the fact that I was pissed off. It showed in what I asked her next.

“What is that thing which impressed you about my profile?”

“Your height” she replied in a flash with a cursory smiley.

We spoke for a month through the app before she grew confident enough to share her fb id and mobile number. We spoke about our interests, our families and our career aspirations and slowly started to like each other’s company.

She knew I was travelling this weekend on an important assignment and may be thought that she shouldn’t disturb me. Or is she waiting for me to take the silence as a cue and surprise her on her birthday. Anyways it was worth a try! After all am into the business of providing gifting solutions. I knew that much she s a kind of person, who doesn’t like a show off, wouldn’t expect or entertain extravagant gifts. There is a high probability she will return it and she can be a real snub at times. I took time to handpick my hamper to convey what she meant to me. I attached a little letter giving a little excerpt of which item meant what and how they make sense together. The letter goes like this:

Handbook -I was not sure if you have a habit of writing a Diary .But still I thought you could mark or write some short notes of good things in every day. When you look back you will have a nice collection of memorable events. May the year 2016 be full of joy, success and well being for you J

A  Gift Hamper of Books- Books has been the placental part of our Friendship. Since you read so much I was confused to choose the one that you have not read. So got a gift hamper. You can buy online alsoJ

Pencil set-I know it has been long time since you drew some thing. Before I leave for India I wish I see you drawing again. If you feel like drawing you must draw one for me J

Piggy Bank-Saving is one habit I admire in you. It is a token of remembrance. You will save enough to build your Dream house. That’s why I chose a house shape. Every day drop a small amount towards something you wanna buy for the month. At the end of month you can collect it. Or you can do small charity. But there will always be one Rs5 note that you will never take out. It has an ambigram of our names on either sideJ

You are always with me. A Wrist watch as a symbol of the time we spent talking. Time always value more than moneyJ

Buddha. - A messiah of peace. A great man who practiced what he preached. When you see him meditating eyes closed, no matter how stressed you are, I hope you feel relaxedJ

In case of emergency. I was always concerned about the days you walk alone late in the evening. If you find someone following you I thought you could blow this Whistle to draw attention. Otherwise u can also play with it. Might look funnyJ

Rest your mobile right in front of your eyes (Airavat). I thought of giving a pouch that you can put it around your neck. You don’t know how people at the other end feel when you keep it somewhere and be busy in your own worldJ

Tea spoon.-I wish you always use this to add sugar to Ur cup of coffee. If you don’t have a sugar bowl I have attached a supplementJ

Hanger and a Tray- A small hanger to put your ID card or any other accessories and a Teddy tray to drop your loose change or just empty your pocket J

Diya-This is one among the numerous habits of you that I like very much, it’s very girly. I dint know if you have any specific lamp that you light. But you can use these candles in case of power cutJ

A Key chain set-A pair of cute key chains. Don’t use it separately. You can probably give one to your Hubby. Also there is a key chain purse. There will come a time when you run a family and you ll have a bunch of keys. It will be handy J

Yellow Gladiolus - symbolizes strength of character, faithfulness and honor. The Gladiolus flower signifies remembranceJ

Just to cover your eyes-While travel or if someone turns on the light in your room and are talking, but you want to sleep, you can use this blindfold to cover your eyes and ears. If not you can use it as a headband while washing your face J

Eat healthy. Drink plenty of water-Water BottleJ

Stole-I thought of buying you a dress. But I am very poor when it comes to choosing dresses for a girl. So I thought I could have a safe bet with a stole which will go well with any dress you wearJ

Sim Card- I know you might think am getting really ambitious here. But what I intend is to cut down the calling charges. I have taken it on an exclusive offer. 10-pm to 10am we can talk for free J

Ink filler- I thought these will come handy in feeding your little kitten. Please take care the mother doesn’t find out from the smell that someone has touched them and she would abandon them J

Chocolates - A box of your favorite Ferrero RocherJ

A birthday cardJ

Nail polish. This particular shade you told you could never find in the lakhme store near youJ

A pair of pebble likes magnets. I remember you used to like playing with it as a kid and lost it while shifting house. Wish I could bring back a small bit of your childhood J

Ice pack- You play throw ball at college and sometime get badly bruised or bloodclots. This will be usefulJ

Here comes the final hurdle. The final gift on the list must pack a punch. I felt it would be perfect to choose something classy and can express that I am serious about her. But it immediately gave me jitters if it would in some way remind her of her dad. She sees all the jewelry that her mom has as a trophy that stands testimony to a bitter fight between her dad and mom. Every time after a fight, he would cajole her mom giving a costly piece of jewelry. Now that he is no more her mom doesn’t wear them and Jessi doesn’t want to inherit any of it or the memories attached to them. She wanted to start a life afresh.

I took time to think about it. I felt delicate to go to a jewelry shop and explain all this to a salesperson and end up buying something flamboyant. That is when I got reminded of an on online jewelry portal that Mr. Mahadevan mentioned about when I met him in the IYONS summit. He has been a huge pillar of support in writing my business plan for an online gifting portal. He was the one who asked me to think on going global-making a bouquet of gift items from different parts of the world and he asked me to take a look at this jewelry portal that he is a part of. I was raking my memory to recollect that name. I knew it was started by a 5th gen entrepreneur from the NAC family.

Touchwood. That is when I saw the CBC announcement in my newsfeed about the Stylori story concept. Was it destiny? I got excited and browsed through the site. A chat window popped up. I spoke one of their representatives explaining my requirement. Mr.Tanveer from Stylori suggested me a ring and pinged the catalogue. I liked the piece named Karma Connection which precisely captured what I wanted to say.

But the previous occasions when I bought a piece of jewelry or ornament to my mom or sister and how they turned out to be unpleasant and embarrassing experiences flashed in front of my eyes.  I had bought bangles for my sister from Charminar. She had to wait for 3 years before she grew plump enough to wear it. Thank God it was made of gun metal. A piece of necklace I bought as a birthday gift for my mom didn’t fit. We tried to go for a replacement but it ended up in a dispute. Later mom got it melted and made a nose stud out of it.

When I expressed my predicament to Tanveer he guided me through the portal which helps us find the exact ring size. I vaguely remember her once saying that she could roll a band aid two rounds round her ring finger when she had a cut while cooking. Using a band aid as a placeholder I followed the instructions to find the ring size and arrived at it.

I got it customized with a 24 carat gold ring instead of platinum with the same diamond stud (SI IJ). Tanveer told that with stylori there is a lifetime exchange offer. So it was worth the risk.
I had kept the 24th letter pending which completes the phrase HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA NAIR till I bought the ring and wrote this.

Ring- Last but not the least. Let’s cut the crap Jessi. Will you marry me. If it is a yes. Wear it for me and come online at 12 am IST
Note: In 24 hours of a day, when you use any of these 24 items, it will remind you of meJ

With Love                                                                                                                                   


She came online exactly on time. I started singing  even before I realized that she was crying ..
Malare ninne kaanathirunnal
Mizhivekiya niramellam maayunna pole
Alivoden arikathinnanayathirunnal
Azhakekiya kanavellam akalunna pole

I went down on my knees. She started blushing and showed up the ring for me. It just looked perfect. The 24 carat cupid did the trick. Thank you Stylori for making it a memorable moment! Thank you CBC for persuading me to write it out!

I vow to exchange those unpleasant trophies that Jessies dad has left behind in to treasure troves with stylori exclusive exchange offers.