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Romance ही romance
Posted By sidin On April 5, 2009 @ 9:40 pm In Afteryouth,DesiPundit,Featured,Miscellany,Rambling,Round and About,Satire | 91 Comments
When we first met and got talking, it sounded just like another one of those coffee-shop mouth-off sessions with Pastrami. (No. Not that Pastrami. This is about the other one. Different business. Same complicated personality.)
Every couple of weeks Pastrami, the missus, a few other mutual friends and yours truly get together to, by and large, make fun of each other. Take each other’s trip. Now you might be forgiven for thinking that this sort of routine gets lame after a while. How much fun can you poke at the same people fortnight after fortnight right? Right?
Pastrami and I once spent an entire overnight train journey  making fun of a particular female friend’s nose. Five, maybe six hours of purely nose-based humour.
It was quite a remarkable nose of course. Long, pointed and with a mid-stream course correction that made it hook downwards, and slightly to the left hawkishly before ending in a well-tapered, not at all chunky point. It was not a freakish nose. Some people could have pulled it off. Alas our friend was not one of those. And when extreme boredom struck Pastrami and me minutes after leaving Aurangabad station, we quickly converged on the nose for amusement:
“So does it echo a little bit when you sneeze?”
“Can you touch your tongue with the tip of your nose?”
And the classic:
“How can you possibly head-butt anything at all?”
Alas this particular evening Pastrami had other things to talk about. Which, if I had known about, I would have made up some random excuse, something marriage related perhaps, to avoid meeting him.
Let me explain.
As soon as we settled into one of the tables in the corner at the Costa(lot for) Coffee at Connaught Place, Pastrami squirmed a little uncomfortably in his chair, as men do in such circumstances. And then he said: “Sidin. I have fallen in love. I have asked her to marry me.”
I kept scrolling through Twitter updates on Blackberry hoping that the moment would pass and Pastrami would move on to something else. But he did not. He repeated: “Dude! I am in love. I have asked this girl to marry me! Dude. Listen!”
And so I had to.
Now in most cases when a close friend falls in love and decides to propose to someone, this is a cause of great joy for the entire friends circle. And naturally so. Aren’t we all glad to see a friend find that someone special to spend the rest of his or her life with in love and affection, till some form of gaming console or broadband connection do them apart?
Not exactly. In reality there are several base, negative and downright selfish reasons why we are glad to see a friend hook up with someone.
For instance married men love to see single male friends hook up because there are really only so many times you can laugh off other people’s bachelor exploits before slowly crying yourself to sleep on your side of the double bed. Single men also love to see other single men hook up because, thanks to the weird probabilities that govern male life, your friend is going to date some smoking-hot Anjana Sukhani look alike. A babe who is SO out of your league that she is in some completely other sport if you know what I mean. (Anjana will then fool around with you because you are harmless and call her “bhabhi” all the time, when your actual mental train of thought is more along the lines of “slutty nurse”.)
I am not one to hypothesize how women’s minds work. But when a girl decides to hook up with a guy, I believe her female friends’ mental flowchart is as follows:
1. Wow she is going out with someone!
2. The bastard better agree to marry her…
3. Because she would look so AWESOME on her wedding day (leading to the most important and critical next thought…)
4. AND THEN I CAN GET MEHNDI DONE!!! WOO HOO!!!
But in Pastrami’s case things are not so. When Pastrami tells me he is in love, my train of thought is along the lines of:
This is because, for all the years I have known gentle, sensitive, prone-to-auto-accident Pastrami he always, without fail or exception, falls for the MOST CRAZY ASS WOMEN in the world.
I do not jest. These women are freaking night-mare inducing, restraining order generating insane. Stark raving. And that is saying something for that gender.
For instance there was the one that would always drop in, to say hi and possibly make out a little, by barging into his room without warning Kramer-like. Initially this was a cute quirk that temporarily suspended Pastrami’s “I will be naked when I am alone” habit. Later we discovered it was because she wanted to know if he was ever with any other women in person or on the phone.
Then there was the one that, in her spare time, wrote jolly comic verse about people who wanted to commit suicide.
And who can forget that crazy girl from Goa who’d break up one day, drop in for the night the next, then break up again. And then sex chat with him on Google Talk only to break up again and then make up again and then sex chat again all in the space of a brief afternoon. She left poor Pastrami a mess of mixed messages and hair-trigger emotions for weeks. I’d ask him if he wanted to do coffee and he’d ask, reflexively, if it was because he’d ”screwed up something again without knowing.”
And in each of these cases Pastrami wanted to marry them immediately and have children and a house in the hills. Alas it would be left to his friends to pick up the pieces and console poor Pastrami and nurse him back to sanity. Largely by making jokes about unrequited love around him till his sorrow was spent and he laughed along.
So when he sits in a cafe and breaks the news that he is in love yet again, ideal responses would be to talk him out of it, hit him over the head with that humongous cup at Costa and hope he develops retrograde amnesia, or stab yourself in the throat with that ridiculous cheese twisty thing they serve there and then die a slow death. Anything but the crazy woman you’d have to handle for him.
Alas I was just in the middle of Retweeting something on the Berry and, before I could pick up an ornamental polished marble ball from the potted plant, Pastrami blurted it all out.
The young lass was well-known to all of us having been a year junior to us in college. She was of sound mind and had a penchant for some emotional poetry. And a looker to boot. So prima facie there was nothing to suggest a mental imbalance other than the usual womanly foibles. (Stuff like “You just like Yoda because he talks funny.”)
And then Pastrami began to speak of how they’d been in touch for a long time over email and chat—the lass works abroad. And how after a recent visit by her to Delhi he’d decided that they were meant to be together forever:
P: “Sidin, she came all the way to Delhi just to meet me. For a few hours. From XXXXX!”
S: “No shit. Did she say that? Did she say she came JUST to see you?”
P: “Well not in as many words. But she has no other friends. No other family. Only me. ONLY ME! DON’T YOU SEE! IT IS FINALLY HAPPENING!”
S: “Are you’re sure she did absolutely nothing else at all in Delhi?”
P: “There was this friend’s wedding. But otherwise every minute of her day was Pastrami-time!”
S: “Oh shit.” (Reaches for cheese twisty.)
And if that wasn’t weird enough Pastrami then narrated, in great unnecessary detail, about all the conversations that they had and all the subsequent insights into her personality.
For instance he was going to propose to her in Paris (The city. Ha!). Because that’s the place she’d got on her “Which is your favourite city in the world?” quiz on Facebook. Also he had discovered that her favourite poem in the entire world was Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning . So he’d asked for her hand in go-out-ship by quoting the “Grow old along with me, The best is yet to be.” lines from that poem.
Pastrami also said that the few moments they’d spent together in her hotel room was heavy with sentiment and emotion. They had hugged at some point and according to Pastrami it felt “just right”. And even the woman said that she “loved the hug”.
So far things seemed normal. Apart from a penchant for poems that are over 190 lines long, our lass seemed largely harmless. And then, just when I thought he’d finally found a sane woman, Pastrami said:
“Just yesterday she called me at 4 in the morning and asked me to write a poem for her on the spot. It was magical Sidin. This despite the fact that she is yet to come to a decision whether she loves me.”
Completely unlike the CBI, I was stunned by this new evidence. What? She did not love him yet? She was still making up her mind? Extempore poetry at 4 AM? WTF?
Apparently, Pastrami explained, our girl was still coming to terms with the fact that someone was in love with her. Apparently she did not know if she was ready to reciprocate. She was still not getting “goosebumps” when she thought about him. Also it seems she was sill trying to find out what the “concept of love” really meant to her.
Pastrami asked me if I got goosebumps when I thought about the missus. Because the missus was sitting with us at the time, I told him that in many parts of my body the skin was permanently goose-bumped, like a durian, from intense affection. I then asked Pastrami how HE knew that he was in love. He said that the magical moment had been when he had escorted her to Delhi airport.
They’d reached well in advance of her flight and he’d taken her to that shady south Indian restaurant near the terminal for a coffee. After snacking and chatting, presumably about weird poetry, they got up to leave. Both of them approached the cash counter and she’d insisted she’d pay. Suddenly her mind went blank calculating her bill, she fumbled for her wallet and, according to Pastrami, “she just looked so darned adorably silly fumbling with a simple bill.” Pastrami immediately swooped and picked up the tab.
She said that her brain was suited more for poetry than mathematics while Pastrami’s mind was so analytical and fast. Never to let a moment like this go waste, Pastrami uttered a line that has never been used between a man and a woman in a romantic setting before:
“Darling I just love to see you doing silly things. And fumbling with math. Frankly my dear, I think my left brain is in love with your right brain…”
She was left speechless. Also all of us and one passing-by Costa waiter.
It was clear that Pastrami was quite pleased with his monumental pick-up line. He sat back in his chair at Costa and smiled smugly. He asked me what I thought. I told him that it was a great line. And then made a joke about how Pastrami and Poetry Babe had at least one good brain between the both of them.
The rest of the night all of us just sat and mostly made fun of Pastrami’s brain. Or the left half in any case.
As for their love story it progresses gradually. The lass is still waiting for her moment of epiphany when she suddenly gets goosebumps and realizes her passionate love for good old Pastrami. Pastrami spends most of his nights, pen in hand, ready to create magnificent poetry for her at a moment’s notice. This is what he wrote that day at 4 in the morning:
To understand a love that is unrequited
Consider a candle that is, at one end, ignited.
If you respond that it’s the standard way it is conflagrated
Wait! I’m not done. Let me make it a little more complicated.
This one-side-lit candle, further, balances about a delicate axis
and, as one side wanes the other, relatively, waxes.
And this creates an imbalance which, as we know, Nature abhors.
But what is to be done when one party is indifferent while the other adores?
And the only thing keeping this world from going completely crazy
is that while A loves B, B loves C all the way through till Y loves Z.
Though the As, Bs, Cs, all the way through till the Ys will complain
that, with one-sided love, imbalance is, only, a minor pain.
And when A speaks of B
you can clearly see
that B’s mere presence
justifies A’s existence.
But when B speaks of A
suffice to say
from how A is derided
Love is, clearly, one-sided.
Unrequited love also, it seems, makes the skin thick.
Words from B that would, earlier, have cut to the quick
no longer seem to affect A in any way.
Also rendered ineffective is any passion A might display
What A and B fail to realize
is that as each candle diminishes in size
A and B, inexorably, draw near
and where A ends and B begins becomes unclear.
And while B is resisting and A is pining
even this dark cloud has a silver lining.
Let the Lovers and the Loved always recall
that ‘tis but one wick that connects us all.
Yes. Pastrami is really, really in love.
Article printed from Domain Maximus: http://www.whatay.com
URL to article: http://www.whatay.com/2009/04/05/romance-%e0%a4%b9%e0%a5%80-romance/
URLs in this post:
 entire overnight train journey: http://www.whatay.com/2006/03/22/the-gasket-and-the-hole-in-the-ground-part-1/
 Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning: http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/295.html