“….(A half-bald, kinda fat man sitting in the loo working on his laptop. A newspaper, a floppy and a coffee mug lie on the floor.)
That’s my guy!
‘What an incongruous pair!’, my friends tell me.
‘Workaholics make a lot of money!’, experienced married women concede.
‘He must be sleepy in bed.’, ‘guy’ friends caution.
All this and much more… Sounds clichéd?! Well… that’s him. Like him or leave him. Even more clichéd?! Now… Before you think I am a desperate wannabe trying to make it big in the ad world through catchy one-liners, let me tell you more about him in not-so-clichéd terms.
We have been dating for five years. And he has been, well, a half-bald, sort-of-handsome man never found without his laptop, a copy of ‘The Economic Times’ and a mug of black coffee (as you can see in the picture). Even on a hot Wednesday afternoon when the newspapers told him about a Delhi Bandh and I told him about this competition. (My cell phone is not switched off in spite of the rules of this competition.) He hasn’t called as yet. He forgot to wish me luck-again!
Then why do I stick to him, you may ask. A man whose work is his passion is bad news… well… most of the time. But ‘he’ is different. There!… I commit another faux pas, another cliché!
Half-an-hour of clichés. Are you bored already?
Should I tell you his ‘story’? Why is he a workaholic? Why is he a stockbroker cum software engineer when he wanted to teach all his life? Is it relevant that his mother died without a treatment they could not afford? Will you be interested in knowing his favourites apart from black coffee? … Or should I tell you the more juicy about our first rendezvous and the clandestine (and not-so-clandestine) evenings that followed? Or should I be more futuristic and tell you our ‘plans’? Do you want to know more about him?
‘What’ is he? And what am I? His friend philosopher guide? girlfriend? soul mate? sex goddess? would be wife? Do labels matter to me?
Now- why is my piece sounding like a diary entry when I am supposed to be telling you a story?
An hour-and-a-half gone! No sign of the story… Let me try…
So where do we begin? I mean… you and I, not he and I. I told you he hasn’t called. You may have guessed that this is not the first time that he kept me waiting. And that’s where our story begins- with waiting. Okay… now don’t get ideas! This is ‘not’ the existential dilemma of a ‘Waiting for Godot’, I was actually waiting. For my X standard results. That was the time when I didn’t know that a guy could be interested in the size of my bra and it was not so unusual for comps to conk off. We were waiting for the engineer, my results were going to be declared at midnight. So… well…‘He’ came and fixed it. And by the by also taught me some Microsoft Troubleshooting… He left his card.
And the story wouldn’t move forward if I hadn’t called him and we hadn’t met again. He said no. I was too young, too naïve, perhaps. And he had nothing to offer me. I persisted. We dated (my story!) or met (his story!) for two years. I used to dress well (I think!) and he didn’t notice (I know!). I had fallen in love with him (or as wiser friends tell me- I was in love with the idea if being in love…). He never got any presents. Sent me only an e-card on my birthday. Talked about Windows updates, the importance of hard work, the value of money and bullish and bearish trends of the stock market. I listened. I looked up to him. I was in awe of him. He was so… different. My schoolgirl eyes could have taken him for their Greek God. I tried to impress him.
Two hours gone. What happened next?
Then came college. Things changed. The subjects of hush-hush all-girls’ conversations were now discussed (and laughed at) in the open. They asked me if I had been kissed. They concluded that he was gay. Second conclusion- I was too chicken to chase (and hook) a real ‘desirable’ guy. ‘But what about love?’… No, I couldn’t ask them that. But I decided to talk it out with him.
It’s a mirage.
I decided it was time to move on. He wished me luck, for the first time.
My friends were still on the boyfriend hunt as I read the newspaper the other day. The company he had invested in had suddenly gone big. He had made a profit of 60 grands! I called him. Was the newspaper report the only reason? No comments.
Hi… Its me… I just read the… Congratulations!
How are you? (It sounded like he actually expected an answer)
Ten minutes left… Where is the story headed?
‘I really love you, you know’. He smiled. And I thought, things weren’t so bad after all…
He has already started counselling me about options after graduation.
It doesn’t matter! Just say once that you love me.
Does that matter?
There goes the bell, and my two and a half hours of glory-of talking, of writing, of speaking my mind, of being heard…