Friday, March 13, 2009

Stuck in the middle…

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.


mathew said...

awesome daa...really got me probably more an "A person" the beta version of it and not still deployed.;-P

apart from that on a serious note..i think i agree completely with you..most guys are stuck in the middle..unsure about themselves..forget abt the fear of commitment..many of us dont know whom to commit too..

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Nice post! Enjoyed the narration too.

You mentioned how the similarity was in the ending. But to me what is startling and what has often baffled me is the similarity in the beginning - love at first sight! It is something I can never understand, but I know multiple such cases myself. And they are all happily together presently. So perhaps it doesn't really matter who we pick as how determined we are to be with whomever we pick.

silverine said...

Very nicely written. But I did not get the ending for A. Did he marry the girl he showed his kiddo photo to? Anyways here is my two cents on the topic. Most guys start courting a girl they fancy right from the beginning. That I think is the wrong approach. I would say befriend the girl, get to know her and let her get to know you too and then if you are sufficiently confident of the other person, make the next move of letting her know of your interest. This gives both enough time to get to know the not so nice facts of the other person too. Just my thoughts...most girls find over eagerness a little of a put off, as they feel the guy is really not interested in her as a person but just as a girl! Sorry for the long comment!

silverine said...

Sorry I meant B. My bad!

VMJ said...

@chekku - got exactly what you said. This is for that vast majority of us who nobody speaks about. They dont have stories for people to write about. But yea a vast majority.

@Karthik - i think nobody realises at that moment that it was 'love at first sight'. I'm sure if you really think about it an average guy falls for that L@FS at an average of ten times a day. But once one of them matures into a full blown relationship he often thinks of that one particular first sight as THE ONE 'love at first sight'.

@ Anjali- both of them ended up getting married to the girl mentioned here.
I would agree completely; but in an ideal world. But sadly you are talking from a girls perspective, and you would never have felt that theres any shortage of guys around and that is without even having to make an effort. For average Johns like us its a totally different story. infact something related was something i started writing on some time back. Cant really enunciate all that i have to say in a comment :)

Neena Padayatty said...

I’ve come across a variation of the situation u've mentioned. Two of my colleagues got engaged recently. One to her childhood friend belonging to a different religion and the other to the one her parents chose for her. However the happiness and excitement they display are almost the same. The former glows with a sense of triumph, of having fought against the odds, while the latter is enjoying the first steps of 'licensed' courtship. That leaves observers like us, in your words," stuck in the middle”. Good post :)

VMJ said...

@ Neena: Good to see you Neena..but whens the next post?
Exactly..theres no one way to achieving things in life. Whatever it is. Whats important in the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit. Otherwise it would have been something like a happening of happiness. Again, why be a mere observer? :)