Monday, January 22, 2007

The Holy Grail

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, is she the one, after all?"
The mirror did not reply and I got the answer. But that led to another question, “if not her, then who?" I had asked this question to the mirror 4 times in as many years, and had got no reply.
Ok, fine, mirrors don't speak, and to be true I knew that deep inside. I asked this question, because I did not want a reply. I was not ready for a relationship. The two sacred words, "I do", were too precious to be told to all and sundry. They are meant for the perfect one. But where is the perfect one? She is like the Holy Grail, of which most have written, but none has found. May be I did not want to find her. May be....may be I am scared of commitment.
Yes, that may be the answer to a lot many questions. But why am I scared of commitment? Is it about me, or is it a general phenomenon with men my age?
A friend of mine was also facing the same predicament. He liked this lady, but was scared of committing to her. I asked him, and he gave a very interesting reply. He said, "Commitment is like having the same drink for the rest of your life. And I love mixing my drinks." Well, that lame duck example said a lot. Commitment means an end to variety. And variety, they say, adds spice to life.
He had evaded commitment by funny yet very poignant replies. She had called him asking three reasons why they shouldn't be together. He had told her this,
1. I am a Vegetarian, and you are a non-vegetarian.
2. My family is Vegetarian, and yours is non-vegetarian.
3. You love Chicken Tikka Masala, and I don't.
The lady had huffed off the room.

Another interesting anecdote from one of my graduation friends was equally enlightening. He had recently started seeing a colleague of his. Together, they made a good couple, photogenically at least. So after seeing a latest picture of theirs, I asked him, "So have you gotten to holding hands now?"
"Why?? I don't wanna have babies now?” he replied.
I spilled my glass of coke at this. He laughed, and continued, "Oi mate, see I haven't lost my touch yet. Yes, we are holding hands. See my nails are all clean now." And he burst out laughing again.
The truth is that neither he, nor I, nor the most of men my age are ready for a commitment yet. We are laughing at the most important questions of our lives. We are running away and don't want to stop. Because stopping would mean, committing, and for that none of us are ready.
But inherently the problem is even deeper. Everyone has rings of privacy around us. And depending upon our feelings for a person, we give him or her access to inner rings around us. The ring closest to us is the ultimate ring of privacy. And access to it is only for parents, and the person you are committed to. Parents are there in that ring since birth, so that leaves only her out of it. And to bring her into your perfect world, she needs to be perfect. And perfection, my friends, is a relative term. The more we look, the more we find faults in even the best of them all. So we continue our never ending search.
The only truth, I have realized, is that the Chase is always better. March On People!!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Cupid Returns

Well, I am back. It took a great noble prod to get me back to writing. I had decided not to write for a few months, but somehow, couldn’t afford to let myself follow my own decision.
This time, its not me am going to talk here about. My story, as complicated as you can imagine, is still there. But, it’s about a friend that I want to talk this time.
I have known him for over 6 years. And in all this time, he has for once not spoken about a girl. Not that I have doubts on his preference (although our friends always thought there was something fishy about the way we used to stay together.....well that’s for another time), but he was the staunch pillar of orthodoxy.
“My parents would find a girl for me.” He used to be so emphatic in his thoughts that when he spoke about someone he met at a wedding for 3 long minutes that I fell off my chair. And this 3 minute monologue of his made me decide, “I have to help him.”
To be truthful, I am no great at matters of heart, but somehow, I still have a better knack of what women like and dislike (as you must be aware from my earlier sojourns). So, I became Cupid, a fully clothed one at that! And instead of the bow and arrow, I had my words and the most powerful tool of this century, the telephone.
Well, they both are pursuing the same course, and live a few blocks away from each other. And, it took them 500 kilometers and 29 years to meet. Strange world, eh!!
So, they hit it off well at the wedding. Exchanged numbers and decided to take it up once back in town. And back in town, he didn’t have a clue as to how to move ahead.
We decided to give a honest chase. So, he messaged a joke, and got a joke back. And then, she messaged him a joke, and got a joke back too!! Well, we were working on getting them together, not making their jocular vocabulary better. Something had to be done....and that to fast.
A day after the joke marathon, while all set to cross a road to my house, I held him back. Told him, he would not enter my house or cross the road, if he didn’t call her up. You should have seen the look on his face. On a cold January evening, he was shaken and stirred to sweat. But I was adamant, and he after much cajoling and threatening, finally gave in.
The call was made under my supervision. He spoke, and interjected, exactly the way I told him. A little joke here, a compliment there, and a longing silence in between. The idea was to break the ice, and get on to the next level. And to him, crossing the road, was as good as graduating to the next level. I wrote notes for him to use on that call, and he did that well. They agreed to meet, and chatted some more. And when the conversation was getting too long for the comfort of a first call, that I asked him to shut up. His reaction was of horror, as if Cupid now had long teeth and the look of a devil. So, as per instruction, he repeated the next day venue and time, and clicked off.
Now, he was jumping up and down in terror, as a child would after breaking a window. He was terrorized. Didn’t know what to do, and was in a way hating me. I had to calm him down. And once calm and relaxed, I asked him, what he was worried about, calling her up or meeting her the next day. His answer said it all. It was all about meeting her the next day.
So while sitting at the dinner table at my home, while mom cooked dinner for us, I told him to think he is at the coffee shop to meet her, and I am her. So what will he talk? How will he greet and meet her? We had to finalize everything lest he bungle up a golden chance.
It took us 2 hours to finalize the show details; how not to be early or late, but just in time. How to greet her and which coffee to order. He was shifting a lot in this mock play, so that had to be corrected. And with minor changes, that too was taken care off.
Finally, our man was ready to go. Next day, so as not to let his tempo breakdown, I and a few friends spoke to him. Confirmed that everything was fine, we crossed our fingers and let the cub go for his first kill.
Well, Sidney Sheldon would agree, the Best Laid Plans always develop a hitch. Our plan also developed a snag. That day, there was a big traffic jam, and the meeting was postponed. So as not to let him get jittery, we had to speak to him a lot. Once, calmed and ready, we sent him to the venue.
But lo behold, there was another unforeseen hassle here. There was Birthday party happening at the coffee shop. Wow!! And our man got confused. He, rather I, had visualized a empty looking coffee shop and had planned that way. So here, our man got cold sweat. Instead of pushing the door open he tried pulling it, only to be corrected by a staff.
Once, inside he simply could not handle the crowd. Suddenly, as if all resolve was breaking, he did the unthinkable. He forgot her face!! And went ahead to meet a “similar looking” girl.
But as he was about to say hello, someone shouted at him. Shaken already, he was jolted back to reality, as he his lady sitting on the last table, and waiving. He took his already extended hand back and moved it thru his hair, and slowly, walked towards her.
“Thanks for coming. I somehow lost you in this crowd, and then you waived”, he said.
“Oh, I was calling the waiter, but never mind, so we finally meet”, she said.
And so the conversation went, till they decided to move to relatively quieter joint, and spoke for two hours.
Once back, our man was thrilled, and so was I. The lady had sent positive signals. And much to his dismay, I did not let him message her or talk to her for the next one day. But after about a day he messaged. A subtle and probing message.
No prompt replies were expected, at least by me. But he was nearly heart-broken. Finally the sweet sound of the mobile jingled and mended what ever cracks had developed in his heart. She had responded three hours later with a guarded yet positive reply. She had shown intent to play. And friends, the game was finally and officially on.
Cupid had finally hit home!! So get ready for a New Season!!