Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Okay. So my last post was peevish and petty. But let’s start over with this one.

It’s a question.

The presentation of a dilemma.

I’ve been trying to write it for several days, but it keeps faltering. So, let me get straight at it, without further ado.

I have a walking-partner who happens to be a classmate from school. We weren’t friends at all way back then. The only thing we shared was a propensity for being painfully blunt, and squeaky ‘good’ [uggg]. He was an ever-so-slightly prissy boy, and I was an ever-so-overt Amazon girl. The other thing we shared was a most embarrassing experience.

We were in the 12th grade, at that renunciatory stage in school-life when you must behave like an ascetic chasing the illusory after-life of a fearsome board-exam. Our prefect ties had just come off a week ago, the baton of upholding moral conduct had been passed on with ceremony. Perhaps it was the relief of stepping off the pedestal, or a certain recklessness that comes with having tasted power that drove us to expand our experiential horizon right then, in one last fling before it was all over…

To cut a long story short, the boy and I, along with two other 12th graders were caught trying to ‘bunk’ school. Two days of suspension, and a compulsory meeting-between-parents-&-principal later we were back and everything died down soon enough – the excitement, admiring glances from the bad-boys of junior school, hushed whispers in the corridor, the staff room etc. But that’s not what embarrassed us.

It was the clumsy blustering-ness of it. We could’ve easily gotten away with it. But that’s what happens when four goody-two-shoes try to be cool. We walked out of school without our bags in the last period, and were caught trying to re-enter four minutes before the last bell rang. Four geeky ex-prefects hanging their heads in a perennially frozen frame that screams LOSERS. Throw in a few angry acne spots, un-plucked eyebrows, unshaved face-fuzz and you have the picture.

Hmm. Well. This was a backgrounder on the walking-partner and I. So you get a sense of who we were then.

Over the years Fate dealt Her hand. The boy went abroad, got more logical and rich with his electronics engineering education. He also learned to be Manly. The girl became more conscious of her outward girliness, but in her head she became more steely and Amazonian than ever.

In all his years abroad that were focussed on Ivy-league College, top job, high salary, green card, the boy had time to like only one girl. The girl went through a series of assorted men, learning many things about herself and the people around her, flitting in and out of jobs and job profiles, running high and running very low on money.

Then one day a baritone-voiced, firm hand shaking, America-returned professional looking man came and looked up the girl. She was thrilled to meet an old acquaintance and soon included him in her casual daily life.

People didn’t comment on the frequency with which she met him, because she was already seeing someone quite seriously, and there was a solid stability about it that was certainly not going to be threatened in anyone’s heads.

They went for walks in the morning quite often. Sometimes they went out for a drink or two, and an occasional film.

She never saw the boy as anything but an old acquaintance who’d become a casual, comfortable sort of friend.

Until one day, the girl found herself quite single again. Suddenly dynamics in people’s heads changed. The boy himself, who’s still quite unaware of the girl’s single status [she’s protected it very fiercely, ha ha] started giving her strange uncomfortable vibes. For him the mathematics of it is quite simple. I’m a man, you’re a woman, you spend time with me and seem to be at ease with the whole arrangement. I’m a settled, well-paid ‘good’ person, and there should be no reason why you shouldn’t want to follow the laws of nature by trying to at least explore this side of our relationship. Besides, you’re a woman with no fixed profession, you might consider needing me.

For others too the mathematics is plain and clear. He’s a man, she’s a single woman and they spend time together. QED. There must be something in it.

But. They forgot to ask me. PISSANTS.

He’s a sweet chap. And they are lovely well-meaning people. They’re my family after all. But hold on a minute here people, isn’t this unfair?

I mean what am I supposed to do about this? Stop meeting him; deprive myself of a walking partner and a general hang-around-bum friend? I won’t cry if I don’t meet him really, but why should these things have to be so cut and clear?

Nobody is saying anything. They just leave it in the air, thick and heavy for me to battle with. But why should I have to be subjected to this unnecessary kind of discomfort?


n.g. said...

hmm hmmm hmmmmm.

i think you need to have a chat with boy. tell him clear cut whats in your mind. hell with everyone else. if you guys want, you can remain walking and movie and drinking friends forever. as for him sending out those uncomfortable vibes, maybe he's suddenly woken up to the fact that everything is so perfect, boy's sorted and girl's single, ek rasta do rahi type. so, no fault of his, human nature. if the awkwardness continues even after chat, then its a cause for concern, considering walking movie drinking partners are well appreciated and loved but not indespensible.

houseband00 said...

Hi H,

Discomforting as it may all seem, friendships between two people of the opposite sex sometimes reach that point wherein the relationship is subjected to a scrutinizing second look.

Yeah, I know guys sometimes get ahead of themselves. Just goes to show how "far" we males have really progressed from single-celled animals. We are usually emotionally-confused idiots wherein we always believe something like "feelings" can be rationalized.

Some call it braggadocio. I just call it chutzpah.

H said...

My two favourite people-on-the-net! NG & HB. :-)

Nish [I like NG] Nooo. But that’s the problem. Nothing’s been said overtly for me to speak with him about. I mean, as far as he’s concerned, I’m still seeing someone. He developed this habit of getting in my physical space in that unpin-able uncomfortable way one fine day over beer and fresh lime. It happened again soon after, one walking-morning when he kept sidling into me and at one point gave me a little nudge. So I turned to him and said I’d thrash him if he did that again. I guess it’s the way I talk that made him think I was joking. He has no idea how serious I was. Then he’s developed this dumb habit of playing silly games, like if I’m unable to get to my phone on time and miss his call, he won’t take my call when I call back. Whatever. Anyway, I’ve already cut down my walking schedule with him. In fact we haven’t walked in over a month.

HB, you’re probably right about the opposite sex thing. But there must at least be some sparks for a person to be encouraged, right? Actually I don’t think it’s so much to do with men. There are many women like that too. It’s about conditioning. That chap’s been conditioned to think in terms of fixed-asset security. By saying this in no way do I mean to scoff at this perspective. It just happens not to fit with the way I’ve lived so far. And I am well aware that at some point in one’s life it is a very stable way to live. But not every relationship to things, experiences and people subscribes to that kind of solid tangibility/ logic. And I know he just can’t think that way. The problem is that he is so practical and well meaning and honest. If he were even a small bit slimy, I’d have been extremely sarcastic with him by now [ie. demolished him].

Anyway, he isn’t important at all. This thing is annoying precisely because it’s so inconsequential, and people somehow just don’t let you be in these simple relationships especially if you’re a woman well deeply into [and probably coming out the arse end of] ‘marriageable age’.

n.g. said...

sheesh i just read the 'indespensible' bit i said earlier. i didnt mean it. i wouldnt want that to happen to me, ever. but hmm, what you're saying is even clearer now. when the thing is there hanging in the air, but yet its not there on concrete ground. trick-ky. playing the devil's advocate, do you thing there's a possibility of him doing the sidling and nudging bit in friendly nonintetional bantering manner without agenda? i dont know, just thinking aloud. i might be wrong, i mean, i usually am.

houseband00 said...

Yes, I agree, there should be sparks from you (from him. it's obvious) in the first place.

Just tell him about how you feel about him and if he can't take it, then it's his problem.

H said...

NG, I hope you're right. Shall eat my words happily. I wouldn't like this to go that way at all. But you know you're so completely on the spot with dispensable. We're all dispensable. Let alone as friends, but as parents, spouses, siblings... it's just a matter of time. It’s a depressing thought, but it's true. Which is why James Dean is such a star still. haah. I challenge you to connect that one.

HB, I really don't feel like speaking with him about these things. Perhaps I'm being over-imaginative as NG suggested. Perhaps I’m construing it my head all wrong. But certainly, if ever he does something concrete, I shall take your advice and open my God-given mouth & spew forth. :-)