I want to talk about two people I know of; one a very close friend and another a rather distant one. What’s common between the two is that they both got married at quiet an early age. Both managed to trap the woman of their choice in their nuptial webs and seems extremely happy today.
But there perhaps ends the similarity.
This close friend let’s just call him ‘A’, used to be my roommate a few years back in Bangalore. And the other buddy, well now that ‘A’ is already taken, let’s call him ‘B’, I met him during my stay in Delhi some years back.
This particular post is about two different paths these two men took towards a common goal and ended up achieving it.
At different points, at different places, completely unaware of each other, their common link in this mortal world being little old me, these two men, fell in love with two different women. Both claim it to have been love at first sight. Both are today married to those women.
It was winter in Delhi. Rain hung in the air and the streets behind the University were particularly dark that evening. B had his CAT (Common Admission Test to the IIMs) in another week. I had my b school placements starting in a few days. Christine was my classmate and it was through her that I met B around a year back. I took to him, his flair, his comedies, his style of living. Mostly it was his simplicity that I liked. He didn’t know what it meant to hold his tongue. If anything was on his mind it was on his tongue too.
Every time we felt like we needed a break from the sheer pseudo professionalism and pretences of the b school campus, me and Christine would rush to B’s place. The Delhi University area is a virtual beehive. It’s buzzing with activity. The crowds at the food stands, the book shops, the bus stand, the metro station all merge to form one spirited cacophony, and the biting cold of Delhi never quite able to shut it down.
In Delhi during the winters the sugarcane stands give way to chai shops, jalebi walas, omelette and momo stands. B had the habit of having six glasses of chai in a day on an average. That day the atmosphere practically yelled out asking for you to have some piping hot masala chai. And when B stood up from his bed and stretched his arms, Christine and I almost simultaneously suggested that we go out and have some chai and pakodas.
The three of us were sharing pakodas from a single plate when I noticed at the next pani puri stand stood a group of girls. Not wanting to attract Christine’s attention I motioned to B with a quick lifting of my eyebrows and a fleeting of the eyes in the particular direction, that something over there merited his attention. And he did get what I was pointing at. But B wasn’t ever the one to be discreet about anything. Least of all girls. He immediately poured out his contribution that those girls were from ‘Miranda House’ and that one girl in the group goes to his coaching class and swore that she had a crush on him for sure and went on about how he was the star of his coaching class. Well something really ticked Christine off and she started confronting him, saying that he’s just a ‘fattoo’ who should actually go up to the girl and ask her out, instead of cooking up stupid imaginary stories. The sher-e-Punjab that B was could never back out from this challenge.
The happenings from then on, is something I remember very clearly as these discrete actions and reactions.
B walked up to this particular girl in the group and started talking something to her ….
She gives B a queer look, much like those deserved for crazy retards and stray dogs…
He takes out his wallet and shows something to the girl….
The girls starts shaking her head…
He turns around and points his left arm towards me and Christine….
The girl’s again shaking her head in disapproval…..
(At this point we were sure that he was going to earn a nice tight slap in his face.
And then to our extreme surprise…)
The girl starts laughing her heart out.
B just stood smiling his cute smile, one hand on his head, the other on his hip and then turned and came back running to us.
Christine pounded B with a barrage of questions, her voice raised to an extreme high shrill and barely understandable as about a hundred questions were shot in a space of few seconds.
Me, I was struggling to keep my eyeballs from popping out of their sockets.
He wouldn’t say a word about what he talked to the girl until we were back in the room and then he opened up. He had walked up to the girl and immediately opened up his wallet and showed the picture of a small boy and asked her if she had seen him anywhere. Then said that the boy was mine and Christine’s child and had gone missing. At which point the girl was shaking her head to say that she had never seen him. That’s when B came to his elements and said that, “Dekhegi kaise, yeh to meri bachpan ki photo hai, cute hoon na mein”. Which roughly translates as “How in the world would you see him, this is my photo as a child, ain’t I cute?”. I roared with laughter but Christine just stood glaring at him for some time, before she too burst out laughing.
“A” was with me in Bangalore. We joined Infosys Bangalore in the July training batch. Fresh out of college, first time away from home, dreams were many, hopes were high. No wonder the summer heat which to me felt worse than what I was used to in Kerala, didn’t even seem to bother A as we were sitting on the park bench at 12 in the noon. Whosoever said that Bangalore is cool year round must have been binge drinking in one of its pubs the previous night, I thought. In half an hour we needed to be inside the computer lab in time for the afternoon attendance. I was in no mood to skip my lunch having already skipped the breakfast because I was late reaching the campus in the morning.
Pushing me down to the park bench A started talking hesitantly. “Err, Vinu, you are friends with Anjali aren’t you?”. I said “not really, she sits a couple of seats next to me in the lab. Do you know where you get mallu food in the campus?”. A’s face seemed to drop for a moment but again lit up. “Vinu, my man do me a favour will you. Err I was thinking of what to speak to Anjali. I think I’m in love with her. No no not the kind of that you talked about yesterday night when you were drinking. I think this is of the other kind. Pure”. I was ready to throw up, but good thing my stomach was empty. He continued, “Vinu, I have written down a couple of topics that I am going to speak to Anjali and there are two jokes I downloaded from the internet yesterday too. You’re a funny man aren’t you, please help me with the delivery of these jokes”. I couldn’t believe what he was talking. Actually preparing for a conversation with a girl and practicing lines for that, how can people be so stupid? But really on a bit of paper was something which looked like a script of a small play, word by word dialogues of what A was planning to speak to Anjali that day. He was the butt of our jokes during several drinking sessions during the Infosys training days. But then at the end of the four month training Anjali was to the utmost amazement of me and my booze buddies, going steady with A.
B was a natural, while A worked at it. Both got to their goals. But this goes out to the vast majority of men who are stuck in the middle, calling out to get their acts together.