Back when I was single and looking, one of the criteria I had with respect to the potential partner was that she should be willing to indulge in what I would call as “arbit conversations”. Arbit conversations can be about any subject, and the only rule is that it need not make sense.
So you can reply to anything with anything. Digress like crazy. Crack stupid, and potentially offensive jokes. Talk nonsense. Complete nonsense all the time doesn’t add value, of course, but some amount of nonsense can make the parties laugh, and keep things happy.
My love for arbit conversations started with my favourite hobby from the time I started working. It initially began on Orkut where I’d occasionally leave nonsense scraps on friends’ walls, and they’d reply with more nonsense. Prior to that, of course there was the “.:Arbit:.” discussion group in IIMB, which was created with the explicit purpose of talking nonsense.
And then sometime in 2006-7, Google decided to add all Orkut friends to your GTalk list, and soon Orkut started getting spammed by “franship seekers”, and my favourite hobby became opening a number of conversation windows on GTalk and simply talk to people, irrespective of whether the conversations made sense.
When I told some friends that I was looking for someone “who can make arbit conversation”, I’d already started talking to Priyanka, and she was of course one of the people with whom I’d indulge in such conversations. So when I declared her as a “super common minimum program“, I already knew that she was capable of arbit conversations (in hindsight, I realise why she was a “super CMP”. I used to talk to her so much that I’d anchored my expectations of a potential wife based on what she was like. In that context, it’s obvious that she’d ace it).
What I didn’t know, and was delighted to find out later on that she can also be “Dabba”. Now, this doesn’t have a good synonym in English, so I continue to use the Kannada word. It’s hard to even describe what being Dabba entails, but both of us are Dabba and we love each other for it.
Being Dabba means you don’t take everything too seriously, and are willing to see the lighter side of things. Being Dabba means finding some random stuff funny, and laughing endlessly about it. Dabbaness can sometimes mean talking in a strange accent, or pronouncing words wrongly, on puropse.
Being Dabba also means that you are willing to tolerate some amount of shit, and not get disgusted by it (if we don’t train her properly, Berry might grow up being disgusted with our Dabbaness). Being Dabba also means occasionally acting far less polished than we’re capable of, just for a few laughts. And so forth – hope you’re getting the drift.
If you’re a Dabba person yourself, it’s hard to reconcile with someone who’s not as Dabba, since you might get disgusted and feel let down at times. In that sense, I feel incredibly lucky to be married to someone who I think is at least as Dabba as I am. There are random things that Pinky finds funny. We have many inside jokes, especially related to 1990s Kannada popular culture, that makes us burst out laughing at times. There are words we pronounce in a particular way, to the extent that we pronounce them that way even when we don’t intend to.
Both of us being Dabba allows Pinky and me to connect better to each other. There are so many subliminal things we “get” about each other that we wonder if we’ll be able to get along at all with someone else. And of course, another thing that we should keep in mind is that we’ve been training each other for the last 7-8 years, effectively merging our respective brands of Dabbaness!
That’s possibly a great way to describe a relationship – where you train each other on your respective Dabbaness, and over time become so similarly Dabba that you’d find it hard pressed to be Dabba-compatible with others!