Dear Anu Lentils: Advice for the second generation

DEAR ANU: I'm tired of the dating scene and have decided that I'd like to have an arranged Ask anu

marriage, but my parents insist that I have a love marriage. They don't want me to end up like them. "A love marriage may not last, but at least you will be happy for a short time," my father said. "With an arranged marriage, you may be unhappy forever."

I cried and pleaded with them to arrange my marriage. Finally, my mother said, "Okay, then. We will arrange a love marriage for you." They want to arrange it with the son of my father's dentist. They want me to date him for six months and try my best to fall in love with him. "He is a good boy," my mother said. "He will not expect you to sleep with him on the first date."

I just about screamed when I heard that. "I'm saving myself for the right man!" I said. My father, who happens to be a banker, smiled and nodded his head. "Saving is good," he said. "But boys these days, before making any investments, they like to do some checking."

Please help me! I don't know what to do. — SoConfused in SoCal

DEAR SO CONFUSED: Yours is a common complaint I've been getting from the younger generation. Many parents aren't totally happy with their arranged marriages and want something better for their children. But the children have been through the dating process and want something better for themselves, something that doesn’t involve being dumped.

I think the idea of arranging a love marriage is a good one, but so is falling in love with an arranged marriage. The important thing is to end up with the right person, someone who will love and cherish you, someone who's interested in a long-term investment, rather than a quick withdrawal.

DEAR ANU: I've been searching for a good Punjabi man to settle down with, but my mother is telling me not to limit my options. "Punjabi boy would be nice," she said, "but you should also look at Tamil boys and Bengali boys. And what about Mexican boys and African-American boys? Someone like Will Smith would be nice. He is so cute.”

I just have one question: When did my mother become so freakin' open-minded? She is making my life too complicated. This is all Obama’s fault. My mother fell in love with him, voted for him and now wants to have a son-in-law like him, even if she can’t move into the White House with him. I want a husband with whom I can share the same culture -– and I don’t mean yogurt.

Please tell me if I’m being unreasonable. –- Punjabi Princess

DEAR PUNJABI PRINCESS: You are not being unreasonable. It is important to share things with your spouse. Some couples share culture, while others share calling plans. A few even share razors.

If you want to remain a princess, you may want to find a man who’ll share the most important thing with you –- shares in Microsoft.

DEAR ANU: I recently gained admission to medical school, but when I told my parents, they were very disappointed. They want me to become a stand-up comedian.

“Why can’t you be like Paul Varghese?” my father said. “He is a good Malayalee boy. And so funny too. He even makes Americans laugh.”

“Listen to your father,” my mother said. “Anyone can become a doctor, but only if you are like Paul Varghese, you can talk about your mother's cooking on TV.”

“I like Paul Varghese,” I told them, “but I want to be like Abraham Verghese. Medicine is my calling.”

“I am sure everyone is calling Paul Varghese,” my father said. “They want to find out if they can introduce their daughter to him.”

Please help me, Anu. My parents are obsessed with stand-up comedy. I don’t want to disappoint them. –- Aspiring Doctor.

DEAR ASPIRING DOCTOR: You don’t have to disappoint your parents. Just tell them you’re going to medical school so that you can be the medical correspondent on The Daily Show.

As Paul Varghese would tell you, comedy can be a very rewarding career. You can always do medicine on the side.


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If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. LOL!

  2. he he..

  3. Egyptian_Guy says:

    Does that Anu really exist? Or is it one of Melvin’s inventions?

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