How to elope in 5 easy steps

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Everyone’s out to get the two of you. Krish Ashok plots your escape

1. FIND SOMEONE TO ELOPE WITH

First, find someone to elope with. If you are a guy, desist from using your genitals as a substitute for your brain — do not follow the first skirt that flutters welcomingly in the breeze. Our parenting, education and culture are designed to discourage people from the opposite gender (or same gender for that matter) from making social contact, so the odds are stacked against you from the very beginning. What you can definitely do is stop being your ‘mother’s beta’ and learn to be sensitive to women. If instead, you are a girl, learn from the women around you who are stuck in dysfunctional marriages with abusive, neglectful husbands. Observe how they ignored their careers to pop out babies and waste their many talents for a life of thankless servitude to their husbands and in-laws. Once you have observed and learnt from them, move on to righteous outrage. Now, find a boy who is not like the husbands of these women.

2. ESTABLISH COMMUNICATION

Once you have found each other, establish secure communication channels. No, mobile phones do not qualify. ‘Swt ltl nthngs’ lovingly typed out via SMS can and most certainly will be intercepted by the enemy. Get out of your cave and find a computer — email, chat (both text and voice chat) are much better options. With commonsense, you can safely enjoy the heady rush of that first romance. If you have siblings, remember that they are highly likely to read your email and chat transcripts (they can’t help it. It’s in their nature). Most nontech- savvy lovers do not understand the importance of cookies (no, we are not talking about the one you lovingly shared over a cup of coffee at Barista), so after using email, locate that ‘logout’ button and press it with the intensity of your local ironwallah on a cotton saree. You can encrypt your messages (for advanced techies) or delete chat history.

3. THE FINE ART OF PRETENCE

Once you have filled cyberspace with love-bytes, the desire to meet in person (less tastefully, but more aptly known as ‘meatspace’) grows stronger. Before you throw your clothes and caution to the wind, beware — the enemy is on the prowl. Policemen are not your friends. Neither are old uncles on their evening walks or religious nuts. Defenders of Indian Cultural Knowledge (D.I.C.K) are most definitely not on your side. After exhaustive research, it can be concluded that Indian culture does not tolerate physical contact between the sexes before marriage (except in the epics) and therefore, the logical solution is to pose as a married couple. It is important to rehearse a bit at home, get the details right (ring, mangalsutra, fake photoshopped marriage certificate). Explain to inquisitive cops that you live in a joint family and hardly get privacy. Smile sheepishly. Note: If you look 15, don’t try.

4. FIND THE ENEMY’S WEAKNESS

The enemy must be studied for chinks in the armour. Scope the potential magnitude of the eruption that will follow your confession of undying love. Drop subtle hints. Read the CIA manual on plausible deniability if you must. A particularly effective trick is to hint at homosexual tendencies. If you are a boy, start wearing an earring. Indian parents have progressed from “Is she from our caste/community” to “religion”, to “nationality”, to “race” and are now under the rubble of “She is a girl only, no?” over the years.

5. MOVE TO MUMBAI

If your family is the type that is likely to threaten you with suicide or sharpen scythes for honour-killings, more careful planning is required. Cosmetic facial modification surgery is always an option, but it may be slightly expensive. If you are from north India and have to deal with murderous Khaps, rejoice! Remember, an enemy’s enemy is a friend — move to Mumbai and ask Raj Thackeray to help you out (learn Marathi

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