I sent this to our hostel's yahoogroup after Dhanya sent a mail about being at Arvind's place in Bombay right now and putting hazaar fight to get along with her in-laws. Of course, I continue to maintain that any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental!
TIPS FOR PATAOFYING TARGET IN-LAWS(inspired by a fellow bady player's woes; also for the cause of general welfare and a more harmonious society)
1. Convert religion, caste etc. asap to fit the required specifications.
2. Learn the mothertongue of the would-be. If not that, atleast, be fluent with the mother's tongue, i.e. target mom-in-law's native language. Dads tend to be more rational and less prone to being impressed by such stunts!
3. Meet a kundali consultant to ensure that rahu-ketu and other calamitous entities are not obstrusting your "happy ever after" dream. If they are, bribe him and make the required alterations. Or just buy a compatible kundali instead!
4. When visitng his house, go to the kitchen to help, and ask profound questions like "is the chhonk enough?" or "have you put tadka to daal?" If you're a smooth liar, you could also make statements like "Till a while back I used to believe that my mom is the greatest cook in the world, but you've really opened my eyes to the reality that it was far from the truth!" And for heaven's sake, sound credible!
5. While helping, even if you can cook, don't go overboard and screw things up or end up seeming like one with a know-all attitude! At the end of the day mom-in-law is God! So, just indulge in supplementary activities like peeling potatoes or pomegranate(like I did!)
6. Claim to have 12 years of training in classical music. You could choose between carnatic and hindustani depending on which your target in-laws have relatively less fundaes on! But, believe me, this is a trump card and will get you a lot of brownie points(I say from a good friend's experience), so throw it in even if your surname is "Sing" and your middlename is "don't" and despite the fact that when you begin to croak, even frogs are embarrassed!
7. Now the all important dress code! Dress strategically like the women in the saas-bahu soaps! "Indian" is in, goes without saying! But, if you can't carry off sarees etc., wear not too drapey salwars, revealing important assets very matter-of-factly! A little bit of oomph is essential in order to impress, so low necklines, cut sleeves, short kurtis, tight churidars and all chalega! Aunties have a very distorted view of fashion trends, and these really catch their attention, especially if they're in bright colours, which our gult friends can elaborate further on!
8. We're concentrating too much on mom-in-laws. Although they are the mightiest in the family, donot ignore dads and siblings! Brush up on the latest in politics and sports, and find out in detail about their occupation. Then have an intellectual discussion with them, nonchalantly flaunting your knowledge, but again, always be fundamentally on his side! Even if you have to contradict your guy, team up with dad-in-law against him. If there's too much of an ideological conflict between what you actually believe and what you're saying(like if he's a great fan of Narendra Modi!), either bite hard or put your views across as subtle questions posed to dad-in-law and NEVER as loud,rebellious statements!
9. No sarcasm (they're probably too old to catch it!). No jokes on them or their home interiors, or their pets, or their trees, or anything else they're touchy about! Jokes on their son are allowed! Jokes on yourself are most welcome!
10. Ok ten is a good number so I'll wind up with this one! Last but not the least, when you're in their premises, don't be caught with your pants down! And I mean it literally. You're projecting an image of the shy one! So, refrain from any form of contact with your guy. You have your whole life to indulge in such immoral activities! Pre-marital display of affection is absolutely unaesthetic from the point of view of your in-laws, no matter how "cool" you or your guy think they are!
Agony Aunt Vineeta
P.S. Follow the advice at your own risk!P.P.S. All non-Dhanya entities(I'm sure she's not in a very steady frame of mind!), kindly ratify the points. I am contemplating a career as a Delhi Times Page 3 correspondent!