AI for the Indian Girl

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The wedding was loud, just like the bride’s makeup, with one too many relatives to avoid.  What Sowyma needed was a blocker, that would automatically seal the mouth of any woman greater than 45 as they approached her, especially with questions of her own mariagge, and why it had no signs of materializing.  But Sowmya would have to make do with what she had.  She adjusted her glasses, and whispered as if to herself, “Anjali, can you tell me the list of hot non-losers at this wedding?” The voice cackled at her ear piece, before Anjali’s sweet Mallu accent flooded her ears “16 long-term possibilities, 4 possible flings, and seven to keep away from.  All seven in the custody of Priya auntie. Safe distance from auntie recommened.” Sowmya grinned. That accent could keep her rolling through this day.

“Ok, show me the nearest Nair available that has something more than Television for a hobby? Oh and Anjali…make sure he is good looking…no…wait, just…give me the pictures.”

Her eyes flitted as if to a distance beyond the hall, adjusting her glasses, she asked“Wait. Wait…who is that? Far left.”

“Rahul,” replied Anjali’s mallu accent.  “Menon. No green card. But 75% horoscope match. Hobbies include Reading, Travelling and… ”

But Sowmya wasn’t listening. Her eyes and ears flitted nervously back to reality. Yes, she did want to know how to get to Rahul. Which auntie owned him. Etc. But Danger was near, in the shape of a giant mass of green, gold and Kanjeevaram, approaching her at the speed of  of a wedding crowd marching to the lunch door after the Muhurtham. Who was that?  Whoever it was, her mother, was tagging along. Which could only mean instant trouble. Her mother’s eyes were severe, the ‘don’t embarrass me’ glare sprayed all over it. The unnamed lady had slipped her ringed hand over-familiarly into Sowmya’s, and smiling she said loudly. “Sowmya dear! You have grown so …”  the auntie paused awkwardly in search of a suitable adjective, “So Big since the last wedding. Do you know who I am?”

Sowmya bit her lips.  The name flashed on her glasses, and the knowledge did little to soothe her. “Priya auntie right?” Priya auntie looked sufficiently perplexed as Sowmya continued, “Yes, You know me from when I was this small.  How is Vikram.  Still happy with his wife in Houston? How is the weather there?”

Priya auntie, had the expression of a cow that has stepped in its own dung. Her mother looked equally surprised, that Sowmya knew so much. But Priya auntie however recovered dramatically from the loss of her first torture point, “Hmmm” said the auntie, “Very good. You wear glasses now. “I thought you had done laser last year?”

Sowmya’s felt the sweat collect under her glasses. These women knew more about her than her technology ever could.  Facebook and tied to google glass, could not beat the auntie network.  Sowmya fiddled with her glasses nervously. “Yes, auntie.  Some headaches.”  Sowmya had to find a way to deviate attention from herself.   Or she’d be stuck with the seven losers that auntie had lined up for her, one after the other.  Everyone but Rahul. Sweet Rahul.. He looked so cute in that picture.. Like the camera embarrassed him. Where was this boy? And would she ever meet a sweet interesting guy like that?

“And what is this?” said Priya auntie, wrenching the ear piece from inside her ears.  “Are you listening to music while talking to us?” Priya auntie looked traumatized, like Sowmya had worn torn jeans to the temple.  Sowmya felt a wave of heat flush through her.

“ …auntie..just…its so loud here…and…” Sowmya stuttered, the sweat now dampening her blouse. She tried again.  “Mother tells me that you are into gardening these days? Roses, isn’t it?”

The effect of the detail was instant. Priya auntie preened like a peacock on ecstasy. “Oh, yes! They are marvelous. Everyone at my flat is so jealous. Would you like to see some photos?”

Sowmya did not mention that she could already see them on her glasses. Instead, she politely oohed and aahed at the single flower splashed on Auntie’s iphone 8 screen,  in twenty different angles and light perspectives. Finally, Priya auntie looked up at her approvingly, patting her on her arms.  Her mother looked at her hopefully, even proudly, as Priya auntie said, “So Sowmya, have you met Rahul? Rahul Menon? He loves to read, just like you!”



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