Singing Vs Almirah Assembly

There was a point in the past week when we found ourselves assembling and lifting a huge almirah. Beads of sweat creased the forehead and the lip curled in concentration as the husband and wife duo drilled through the wood and clasped and shoved the pieces of the puzzle together. The beauty of creating something is always exhilarating even if the real genius is the guy who designed it that way. Have I gushed about Ikea before? I must have. I love that store.

Anyway, I don’t want to waste words praising somebody else in a post that the designer is never going to read. So, I shall stick to the point and go back to huffing and puffing with the almirah. I heaved and ho-ed. The floor bore it well, the bones did not. By evening, we looked like scraps of wood that could be blown away with a mighty huff and a puff.

Give any two engineers a task of moving an object into a space, and they will discuss strategy. We did too. Over coffee. Finally, we were ready. Shoulders squared, jaws set heavily, we pulled and shoved and pushed. The range of noises went like this


Grunt                           heavy breathing                 undecipherable loud noises

Just as I almost placed the darn 350 pound thing on my foot, I put the thing down clumsily and burst out laughing. That rankled the husband, since it upset his sense of balance. He somehow managed to save his toe in the nick of time and grunted like a mole under a mountain.

I am not an almirah-upsetter usually, but this time I was wondering about the age-old tradition in South Indian arranged marriages. There are a number of frivolous parameters used to gauge acceptance from the girl. After the social, economic and moral angles are suitably dispensed with, they come to the girl and ask her to – hold your breath – sing! Yes sing, of all the almirah-assembling tasks in the world, they ask a girl to sing, to see if she can handle the pressures of life?! It caused my father great tension in my youth, because even if I could sing, I was showing every inclination of pelting “Now, why don’t you sing a song?” people with stones.

If you ask me, they should have asked the fiance and fiancee to assemble an almirah and lift it and place it somewhere to see if they would be compatible. My spirit hovered over-ground and as I saw the sweaty saw dust covered couple trying to lift 300 pounds, this tradition tickled me in no small manner.

We laughed ourselves silly at the thought and suddenly the load seemed lighter to bear. The new almirah is ready and I have a new tradition for South Indian arranged marriages. How much better could it get?!

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