A couple of weeks ago, I watched this year’s sleeper hit Sonu ke Titu ki Sweety, a well-made and enjoyable film. Yet, the misogynist core (and the cringe-worthy picturization of the otherwise peppy songs) was rather jarring and hence this sort of sequel to the movie. But I hope it also works as a standalone story, which as usual became longer than I intended it to be. Hope you will be (as usual) be kind enough to accompany me on this journey as well – a f
ive six part story (so far!)
Chapter 1: A Lovely Noose
The entire gang had gathered in the sprawling drawing room at Ghasitaram’s behest. Unlike his earlier devil-may-care attitude, the Sweety fiasco had made him realize the importance of the kind of person who was going to be his grandson’s wife. That Sweety hadn’t even been married to Titu and she had already cleared the kitchen of his staple non-vegetarian diet and got her talons on the family coffers had given him the jitters.
“This time there will be no mess ups,” he declared, “for I will choose the girl.” He shook his finger at his grandson Titu and practically brother Sonu, “You boys better watch your step. I don’t want any hanky-panky.”
“Yes,” agreed the beleaguered Titu, “Sonu, this time you better not mess up,” warned Titu, “I’ve had enough of these roller coaster relationships, I really do want to settle down.”
“What?” Sonu was incredulous. “I don’t believe this! Are you blaming me for your woes? How is it my fault that you always manage to attract the wrong sort of girl?”
“But you are the one who created all the drama,” Titu’s mother handed him a cup of tea. If only you hadn’t put a spoke in the wheels, today Titu would have been married and I would have had grandkids on my knees.”
“But for me,” jeered Sonu, “you all would be out on the streets and Titu would be playing nanny to someone else’s child. Come on Mummy, who has a kid within three months of their wedding?”
“You know what I mean,” Mrs. Sharma was unfazed. “Don’t leave everything until the last minute. Speak up well in advance. We are modern family with a progressive outlook, but still it is embarrassing to have our son’s wedding called off during the jayamala ceremony.” She looked at the two boys. “You have no idea of the kind of snide remarks and comments I have had to deal with since then.”
“Not to mention all those accusations Sweety leveled at Titu. Of dowry, of initiating physical relationship on the promise of marriage and then breaking the promise, ” Mr. Sharma picked up the thread, “Only I know how I kept Titu out of jail and the court cases are still going on.”
“You don’t worry about that Uncle,” Sonu lolled about on the sofa, “The list of guys who were similarly lead on our Sweety the Great is growing longer and longer. She will be the one behind bars and very soon,” he promised.
“Yes, yes Sonu,” Titu folded his hands and bowed to him, “We are eternally in your debt but could your instincts kick in a bit earlier than for the absolutely the last minute?” He pleaded. “I still have nightmares, that I am married to Sweety. He shuddered. “This time I will see the girl only after you give the go ahead.” He clapped his friend on the back and turned to his mother. “Okay Mummy?”
“How can he do that?!” Mrs Sharma objected. “What if he likes the girl?”
“Mummy!” the boys chorused in protest.
“I saw a tele-film,” Mrs Sharma waved them into silence with a flick of the knife she was wielding, “Somebody sent his friend, who liked the girl and then he lied that the girl wasn’t good, with the intention of bumping off his friend…”
“Oh please Mummy, what awful serials you watch!” protested Titu while Sonu was up in arms, “You seriously think I’m going to steal Titu’s bride? Fine! I won’t say a word! Better still I wont come to see the girl.” Sonu got all worked up and emotional. “I won’t come for the wedding. I’ll go off to America…”
“Bye.” Ghasitaram rolled his eyes at Lalu who jerked his thumb towards the door. Ghasitaram nodded and raised his hand, “We are going tomorrow to see the girl. Whoever wants to come, can come and give their opinion otherwise hold silence forever and ever.” His eyes pierced Sonu before exiting with Lalu.
“I don’t believe this!” Sonu was frustrated, “I save you all from that controlling maniac and instead of being grateful and appreciative, everyone is blaming me? What &^&%&% nonsense!” he kicked a chair and yelped as he got hurt. He limped he away.
“We’ll wait for you tomorrow.” Dadi called. He turned to grin beatifically at her. “Only you understand my value Dadi,” he swore reaching for her feet.
“Okay okay fine fine.” She sniffed. “Be ready on time.” She waved him away.
Suited booted, primped and polished, they left the next evening for a prospective bride viewing. “I know the family very well,” Ghasitaram, informed them on the way, “Lallan and I were in school together and would have been in the same college also but for the Partition.” He looked at Titu and Sonu, “We were like you too, inseparable.” He sighed. “We met again after decades at the hospital where he is admitted.”
“Haww,” Mrs. Sharma commiserated. “What happened? Hope nothing serious?”
Ghasitaram shook his head. “Things look bleak. He’s had stroke and he’s paralyzed from one side. His wife is also a patient of diabetes and high blood pressure. They are worried about their granddaughter and her marriage and want to make sure everything is settled before any eventuality.”
“So you offered my grandson as a sacrifice?” Dadiji snorted.
“It’s not like that,” Ghasitaram denied, “I’d stake my life on my friend Lallan and I’ve met the girl. She is biddable, decent, polite and well mannered.”
“A killjoy for sure,” mumbled Sonu to Titu under his breath, “and boring.”
“Yeah I want to party have fun and enjoy with my wife not sit and read the newspaper while she shells peas,” Titu grumbled.
“Life is not only about partying and enjoying,” Mrs. Sharma said, “it’s about settling down, taking responsibility and you like matar paneer don’t you?”
“Uff Mummy please!” both Sonu and Titu groaned. She laughed and shook her head. “You know what the problem with you boys is?”
They shook their heads. “You don’t know what you want in life. No matter how modern you may pretend to be, ultimately everyone wants a wife who will sit and shell peas for you.”
“Right.” Ghasitaram agreed. “Partying is for girl-friends.”
“Exactly why I didn’t get married,” Lalu kaka added.
“Don’t lie,” Ghasitaram leaned towards him, “you didn’t get married because she wouldn’t have you.”
“Shush!” Lalu kaka cast a pleading glance at his long time friend and brother-in-law.
“Oops!” muttered Sonu to Titu and hung back letting the others move on ahead. “Quite a contrast from your kind of girl isn’t she?” He surveyed the prospective bride as she went through the traditional motions and decorous greetings from the safe distance.
Titu seemed tongue-tied as he stared at the girl.
“Lovely is not so lovely eh? In fact, quite the frump.” He nudged Titu. “And you are already besotted? Snap out of it man!” He rolled his eyes. “At least get to know her first.”
Titu shook his head. “That’s your department. I just want to settle down with whoever you give your thumbs up to.”
“That’s crazy!” Sonu protested.
“Is it?” Titu asked.
Sonu looked away guiltily.
“Mummy is right. I don’t know what I want.” Titu sighed. “In any case, this time I don’t think either of us has any choice or say.”
“What do you mean?!” Sonu was taken aback.
“Mummy warned me that this meeting was just a formality. Grandpa has his heart set on this marriage and this meeting is just a formality.”
Sonu whistled. “Since when did he start taking so much interest in your marriage?”
“Grandpa apparently got the jitters when Sweety cut off the kebab and chicken from home. Ever since then he’s been having nightmares of my future wife cutting off his daaru and kicking Lalu kaka out of our home.”
“Serve the old geezer right,” Sonu snickered. “If I hadn’t spoken up in time,” Sonu said in self-congratulatory tones, “this is exactly what would have happened. Mark my words.”
Titu nodded glumly. “This time he declared he wasn’t going to let any girl but the one of his choice to enter his house.” He took another look at the overdressed, caked slightly plumpish girl wearing a thick oily plait. “You think I could ever be besotted with that…that…” words failed him. He looked reproachfully at his friend. “You don’t know me at all if you think this is my ‘besotted’ expression. I was just trying to imagine myself tied to this woman for the rest of my life.” He shuddered.
Click here for Chapter 2: A Lovely Surprise