Monthly Archives: September 2005

"Excuse me…"

A friend of mine asks what is the best way to get to know a strange girl. I’m sure I don’t know. When I say I don’t know the best way, I mean that I don’t know any real way to get to know a perfect stranger.

Yet, I have been approached, propositioned, ‘hit upon’, asked out, wooed, chased after…and all the other things that are done as a prelude to the human mating dance. I’ve dated and had boyfriends and to be sure I wasn’t born with a little black book and all their contacts in it. Each of them was a stranger at some point of time. So how did they get to know me?

*Brows furrowed*
Was it an introduction by someone else? A common purpose or forum like college, workplace? Na….not quite…

*Staring into space…..oops the guy across the road thought I was ‘making eyes’ at him*

Still no clue…

I do remember the first converations I’ve had with most people who are anything in my life (yes and that includes the bottom-of-food-chain species a.k.a ex-boyfriends).

One of the memorable ones is the one with this great friend of mine. I noticed him at a college cultural meet when I heard him on stage and later I walked up and asked him whose words he had been spouting.
He said “My own”. Then he paused and said “I like to write”.
So I said, “Great…and I like to read!”
And that was that. With some people you just don’t need an introduction…the conversation flows like it had never ended before and never needed to be started up.

Another memory is the time I was introduced to ‘da dude’. Our preferences are probably defined and set in concrete during our teens, based on the ‘coolness’ learnings we get. This guy swaggered up and introduced himself and proceeded to say “I know” to everything I said about myself…name, birthday, interests, college, course, address. He really did know since we had common friends and he had taken the trouble to find out and what’ s more…didn’t find any reason to hide that fact. Moreover, ten minutes later, when the silly ragging started, someone hooted “So when’s the wedding?”. He shot back “When we decide we’ll send you a card.”
Definitely worth continuing the conversation with.

Then again, there are the others..
One morning in the bus, on my way to work, I was rudely interrupted from my dozing by an eager male voice asking if I’d move over my bag. I must have snarled at him and moved my bag wherein he slid into the seat next to me. Early-morning flirtations aren’t necessarily my favorite way of kick-starting a working day. About half an hour passed, during which I was subjected to a frequently ringing cellphone and detailed descriptions over his work, punctuated frequently by “I’ll be there in ten minutes and I’ll show you how to do it”. After a bit, I took out a bottle of water and had a sip. Mr.Very-Important-Job-to-do put on his suavest manner and blurted..”Is that rum?” I shot back, “No, its vodka but don’t tell anyone..its a dry day.”

Nasty? Yes, perhaps. As a woman travelling alone in the city I have to build some defenses and nastiness is one way to ward off unwanted attention. Just what about this guy turned me off? Well…I guess I took one look at him and knew I wasn’t interested and after that nothing he did would have seemed right. And then too, I was testing him to see if he was genuinely witty or just in possession of some pick-up lines. Since he had no witty comeback, I assume he was one of the kind that prowls bookstores for “100 new ways to ask a woman out”

Also, like a lot of women I know, I’m not impressed by men who try to impress me. Or at least…try so very obviously. It is an instant turn-off to have to keep listening to yarns about the guy’s long list of admirers (well, why don’t you go deal with them…don’t let me hold you back..) or how indispensible he is at work (really? how come you’re here talking to me? what if there’s a fire or a flood? what if the phone rings? what if they need someone to think?). Yes, I do like confidence….but so many people don’t realise that showing off is a sign of low confidence, not the opposite.

Obviously every woman has her unique preferences. A friend of mine likes nice guys. Polite, courteous, god-fearing types. She can have them all….they’re the kind I avoid like the plague. So she’s the kind who’ll smile back only at the guy who apologizes for bothering her and asks if she would be kind enough to direct him to the airport. (While I would be likely to say “If you can’t read the signs, however will you manage in a foreign country?”

Another friend only looks at men who ‘take the effort’. This includes dressing right, holding doors open for her, bringing her flowers….*yawwwnnn* (wake me up when the Mills n’ Boon is over). Now tread carefully here, polish your shoes and pour on the charm with a light hand.

I set store by my instincts especially about the liking meter for people I meet the first time. It isn’t scientific but it takes just a few seconds to know whether you are going to like the person or not. Nearly all of my friends are people I just felt drawn to the first time I saw them, and they to me.

In reply to his question I guess, I can only say keep trying and keep your fingers crossed. You can’t deny that one good start-of-something is worth a hundred other botched-up beginnings.

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“Excuse me…”

A friend of mine asks what is the best way to get to know a strange girl. I’m sure I don’t know. When I say I don’t know the best way, I mean that I don’t know any real way to get to know a perfect stranger.

Yet, I have been approached, propositioned, ‘hit upon’, asked out, wooed, chased after…and all the other things that are done as a prelude to the human mating dance. I’ve dated and had boyfriends and to be sure I wasn’t born with a little black book and all their contacts in it. Each of them was a stranger at some point of time. So how did they get to know me?

*Brows furrowed*
Was it an introduction by someone else? A common purpose or forum like college, workplace? Na….not quite…

*Staring into space…..oops the guy across the road thought I was ‘making eyes’ at him*

Still no clue…

I do remember the first converations I’ve had with most people who are anything in my life (yes and that includes the bottom-of-food-chain species a.k.a ex-boyfriends).

One of the memorable ones is the one with this great friend of mine. I noticed him at a college cultural meet when I heard him on stage and later I walked up and asked him whose words he had been spouting.
He said “My own”. Then he paused and said “I like to write”.
So I said, “Great…and I like to read!”
And that was that. With some people you just don’t need an introduction…the conversation flows like it had never ended before and never needed to be started up.

Another memory is the time I was introduced to ‘da dude’. Our preferences are probably defined and set in concrete during our teens, based on the ‘coolness’ learnings we get. This guy swaggered up and introduced himself and proceeded to say “I know” to everything I said about myself…name, birthday, interests, college, course, address. He really did know since we had common friends and he had taken the trouble to find out and what’ s more…didn’t find any reason to hide that fact. Moreover, ten minutes later, when the silly ragging started, someone hooted “So when’s the wedding?”. He shot back “When we decide we’ll send you a card.”
Definitely worth continuing the conversation with.

Then again, there are the others..
One morning in the bus, on my way to work, I was rudely interrupted from my dozing by an eager male voice asking if I’d move over my bag. I must have snarled at him and moved my bag wherein he slid into the seat next to me. Early-morning flirtations aren’t necessarily my favorite way of kick-starting a working day. About half an hour passed, during which I was subjected to a frequently ringing cellphone and detailed descriptions over his work, punctuated frequently by “I’ll be there in ten minutes and I’ll show you how to do it”. After a bit, I took out a bottle of water and had a sip. Mr.Very-Important-Job-to-do put on his suavest manner and blurted..”Is that rum?” I shot back, “No, its vodka but don’t tell anyone..its a dry day.”

Nasty? Yes, perhaps. As a woman travelling alone in the city I have to build some defenses and nastiness is one way to ward off unwanted attention. Just what about this guy turned me off? Well…I guess I took one look at him and knew I wasn’t interested and after that nothing he did would have seemed right. And then too, I was testing him to see if he was genuinely witty or just in possession of some pick-up lines. Since he had no witty comeback, I assume he was one of the kind that prowls bookstores for “100 new ways to ask a woman out”

Also, like a lot of women I know, I’m not impressed by men who try to impress me. Or at least…try so very obviously. It is an instant turn-off to have to keep listening to yarns about the guy’s long list of admirers (well, why don’t you go deal with them…don’t let me hold you back..) or how indispensible he is at work (really? how come you’re here talking to me? what if there’s a fire or a flood? what if the phone rings? what if they need someone to think?). Yes, I do like confidence….but so many people don’t realise that showing off is a sign of low confidence, not the opposite.

Obviously every woman has her unique preferences. A friend of mine likes nice guys. Polite, courteous, god-fearing types. She can have them all….they’re the kind I avoid like the plague. So she’s the kind who’ll smile back only at the guy who apologizes for bothering her and asks if she would be kind enough to direct him to the airport. (While I would be likely to say “If you can’t read the signs, however will you manage in a foreign country?”

Another friend only looks at men who ‘take the effort’. This includes dressing right, holding doors open for her, bringing her flowers….*yawwwnnn* (wake me up when the Mills n’ Boon is over). Now tread carefully here, polish your shoes and pour on the charm with a light hand.

I set store by my instincts especially about the liking meter for people I meet the first time. It isn’t scientific but it takes just a few seconds to know whether you are going to like the person or not. Nearly all of my friends are people I just felt drawn to the first time I saw them, and they to me.

In reply to his question I guess, I can only say keep trying and keep your fingers crossed. You can’t deny that one good start-of-something is worth a hundred other botched-up beginnings.

On the sacred knot

So what really happens after? After romance and pursuit and seduction and proposal and marriage, what next? How does ‘happily ever after’ look?

I seem to have gotten preachy recently. And I have zero experience in such matters after all. Hence for a change, I will put aside my wild theories and replay other people’s experiences (with a few nasty comments on the side…what the hell, I am a story-teller!)

Two of my friends are getting married (to each other!). I call them the Barbie n’ Ken couple because they are just so flawless plastic-picture perfect. Of course I’m being catty….they’re a great couple…..oh forget it, let me just get on with the story! I wonder how they’re going to sustain this marriage, especially the ‘quality time’ and ‘bonding’ and all those things self-help books propound. Ken doll is on board a ship for a large part of the year while Barbie works for a BPO and we all know these beings work on a different time-cycle than us lesser mortals….I wonder when they’ll have the time to get hitched. Anytime now I expect to receive a wedding card that reads …

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Sailor-Ken and BPO-Barbie.

Be there on time or be a missed-it-when-I-blinked guest!

Then again, I think of another couple I knew, both call center employees on different time schedules. Apparently they used to wave to each other from buses. Naice, romance flourishes across time and distances.

One of my classmates married his long-time girlfriend from college. She works in Pune while he graces the island city. According to him, he feels ‘even less married’ than earlier since they meet on the weekend (just like teenage sweethearts….how sweet, the romance will live on….*violin music*)

Dinner with an old buddy last month proved to be a delightful experience (as it always is)! She was full of stories about married life. She said “I call him BICYCLE”. “Why?” I inquired incredulously. I never saw anyone who looked less like a handlebar strapped to a frame on wheels. “Because” she said “I ride him and he’s got tyres” Whew….so marriage hasn’t rid her of her sense of humour, what a relief!

Here’s what an older-and-much-married-and-hence-wiser friend has to say about the sacred knot. “Lay down the rules on the first night itself. You’ll never be able to change him later. Everything thereafter will be compared to the first few weeks. That said, sometimes its just easier to get it over with than having to listen to how this relationship isn’t working” This, from the female half of one of the most sorted-out couples I know.

From soon-to-be-hitched to newly-wed to ‘celebrating-a-decade-together-and-still-alive’….I’ll refrain from any more jibes. The only thing that keeps running through my head these days is

Marriage is finding that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

Since most people annoy me, but not that much, I think I’ll settle for a boring and peaceful existence *Meow*

The filmi story of my life

‘Kuch kuch hota hai’ was on TV yesterday. One of the early movies that made Karan Johar into a brand name.

I was in college when I saw this movie. Of course I couldn’t say I liked it…it wasn’t cool to admit to liking this sort of popcorn-n-plastic fare! But the truth was that I watched every single rerun of it that ever appeared on the idiot box thereafter. I could really see myself in the story. Not in the incomparably flawless Tina but the rough-n-tumble tomboyish Anjali Sharma.

I lived in jeans and sneakers and short hair. I hung out with the guys and bickered with them for good measure. And yes, my best friend was the alpha male, the cool dude with a roving eye. Like in the movie, life was a crazy, colourful fun ride till abruptly realization dawned about things like love that I’d only watched others jump in and out of.

I didn’t like the movie because of its underlying message that a woman was only loveable when she was all dolled up and feminine. I didn’t want to believe it then…it would have been too scary. But now I think it is true. It happened just the same way.

Unlike the movie, ‘he’ didn’t even notice when I left, let alone try to stop me. He did come back though and much faster. It didn’t take time. It didn’t even take effort. All it took was a different hairstyle and a new attitude, for him to melt into a puddle of open-mouthed admiration.

Some things aren’t simple. Its never easy to forget your first love and its even harder to forget your first heartbreak. He’s around now and he treats me very differently from way back then. I don’t feel that way about him anymore. But I can’t forget that he never felt that way about me. And most of all I can’t forgive the fact that he let go so easily…of me, of all the camaradie and security and comfort that a close friendship brings. When you don’t matter even to your best friend, what is the worth of friendship and love?

I don’t really miss him in the sense of waking up with that gnawing emptiness. There have been others…friends, best friends, co-conspirators, boyfriends, companions. There have been others…who were..just others. There just hasn’t been another him ever.

Life isn’t a Karan Johan movie. Sometimes I almost wish it were, though.

All kinds of funny notions…

I read an article in the Mumbai Mirror today titled “Find the missing comic”. It listed all the finalists of ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ and surprise, surprise…they were all male! The article went on to ask people whether women had a sense of humour or not.

Of course we have a sense of humour. It’s a human trait…I do believe the ability to laugh and see the funny side must be located somewhere between one’s ears, not in the plumbing region of the body…which rules out the idea of humour being a gender-driven trait.

I, for one, am one of those who loves laughing and making people laugh. My sense of humour swings between ridiculous slapstick and sophisticated satire and quite often tiptoes into the raunchy. One of my favorite declarations goes thus:

The trouble with men is that they always think with the wrong head

HAHAHAHA! Very few people seem to find that statement funny. The men are too busy snarling and mumbling about feminists while the women are busy being ladylike and turning up their noses at such ‘offensive behavior’ or playing sweet-n-dumb.

My best friend is a cool, dignified lady who rarely smiles. Of course in all these years of friendship, I’ve discovered what tickles her funny bone but I also know that the poker-face mask hardly ever goes down in public. She’s the kind who can freeze you with a glance, with the atmospheric temperature dipping to record lows with the degree of raunchiness. I envy her. In all the good advice that she’s given me, the one thing I just can’t seem to take is this lesson of ‘not being funny’. Her belief is that jokes apart, men really don’t respect a girl who kids around a lot.

I hate to admit it but I think she’s right. I’ve been ‘the buddy’ for so long, I almost forgot I was female. My male friends, those amazingly wonderful specimens of humanity….while they’ve taught me so much about life, the universe and everything, conveniently forgot to mention that…oh, laughter increases your fun quotient and dips your general sex appeal. I think laughter is a great ice-breaker and I’ve used it freely in all these years as a conversation starter. Is it a coincidence then, that people like conversations with me, but not dates?

Then again, the men I am usually drawn to are humourous, whacky, intelligent and aggressive. They’re loads of fun to be with (like me!), full of energy and ideas (ditto here) and they hate to share the spotlight (*sighh*….yeah that too). A sense of humour is a great people-magnet and its possible that they don’t like being upstaged or even competing with me. Does that sound arrogant?

When I was in college, I participated in a JAM session. It was the first (and only) time I’ve ever been in a talk-a-thon. The predominantly male panel (and audience) looked at me curiously as I signed up. Rather indulgently they explained the rules of the game to me and told me not to worry, just relax and enjoy the game. I did. As I picked up the prize at the end of the game, my jam-master said “Pretty good…for a girl”. I said, “Really? I wouldn’t have stood a chance if this panel was all female.” I wonder if he did get the point. When I got home and proudly showed off the prize, my dad didn’t bat an eyelid, when he said, “Why is it so great? You’ve been practicing ever since you started to talk.” Leave it to a man to have the last word on the funnies….

I am full of awe for people who are funny. Okay, okay Mr.Nandy…coming from me, read that as a compliment! I totally admire people who write witty posts. I have tried but somehow I can’t quite match the standards set by Sagnik, Apoorva , Rumpelstilskin, Bird (and several others!) Notice please, there aren’t any women on this list. This post is so much me, me, me….I honestly couldn’t find another woman to write about (blogger or otherwise) Sighh…..alright, alright, I concede. Humour is gender-specific. I still won’t buy the notion that we’re born with a lesser sense of humour than men but it is the conditioning that makes us less able to express the funny side.

In the meantime I’ll continue my solitary crusade for the Female Funnies.

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