It was the winter of 2009. October 9th, to be precise. It had been a busy week of practice with my band (which included me and 3 other idiots who were convinced that I could play a steady beat for 3.5 minutes because I had taken ‘music lessons’) for a performance at another medical college. After a mediocre performance and a round of applause from the audience(which included my own juniors who were threatened into attending and female fandom of the vocalist because women find him cute), I saw someone in the audience. It was the moment of my life that modern poets describe as ‘Ladki beautiful, kar gayi chull‘.
The initial few conversations went fine, and in my head the reason was my humor and the fact that I was a drummer, and hence had some cool quotient. It was soon established that she found my jokes weird and it was obvious that I was an amateur at any form of music, and it was only sheer politeness on her part that she still gave me her number after a trial of desparate excuses and persistent use of the word ‘please’. Being the super-smart dude that I am, I sent her a few hundred texts including good wishes for festivals I didn’t know existed (Happy Ganga Mahotsav and Shubh Kartik Poornima) and cheesy lyrics of songs which, in hindsight, could’ve guaranteed that I would die a bachelor. A few extra ‘please’ and a promise not to embarrass her in public later, I got her to go on a date with me.
I was fairly confident that I could make her laugh on the first date. It was her birthday, so that was an opportunity to shamelessly save money by asking for a treat, and to impress her with a gift. I discovered that I do not look good in any of the clothes I had, and then 2 hours of panic later, borrowed one size smaller pullover from my friend and showed up at the date with my insanely thin wrists and forearms exposed. I stayed hidden at a distance to notice her first. She was radiant like her name while I was dirty brown like the water in the open Shahdara drain. I did what any guy would have done: sprayed 6 puffs of deodorant over my collar, chanted a few lines of Hanuman Chalisa and went to see how bad Murphy’s law can prove for someone on a first date.
One of the major issues in getting her to like me was language, because O Punjabi bole na, tey main English wich ardaa si. It was tough for me, because myself from West Delhi area, and we could talk to our English teacher in Hindi too. It was a long and tough process to first think in Hindi, translate it, run a quick mental scan for grammatical errors and possible better vocabulary, only to realise it’s already too late to reply and then change the subject to “how’s college and everything?” and hope for the charm to work. Well, she’s lived through that and contributed to my posts as an unpaid editor. No, she didn’t know what she was signing up for.
We continued dating, our favourite date being coming from our hostels to CP for early morning coffee and sandwich. She likes it because it a nice, fresh time of the day to meet, but I just wanted to find out how cranky she was without her early morning coffee. If I could tolerate her at that level, then surely this was meant to work. Maybe she grew fond of me, may be other guys in medical profession were worse than me, or just may be it’s the fact that I am willing to say sorry and get her chocolates after every argument irrespective of who was at fault, but she has stood by me for few years, last two and a half of which included long distance.
To be honest, our long distance wasn’t any kind of ‘twist-in-the-tale’ as it is shown in Bollywood movies. I was happy on getting to go to Mumbai to see her, she was happy expecting me to finally put more thought in gifts for her. There were a few awkward moments though, like the argument that we had over the fact that she won’t allow me to shout “Mumbai ka king kaun? Bheeku Mhaatre!” at Marine drive, or the incident when I tried to greet Marathi strangers on the road in their language without knowing that ‘Taacha Maayla‘ meant ‘Teri Maa Ki‘. About 6 more months to go, we are going to make it through, hopefully without me being beaten to a pulp by an angry Marathi.
I have spent the last 7 years answering the question “How does she tolerate you?” unsatisfactorily to almost all our mutual friends and even some strangers who read my posts on Facebook. I am yet to confirm from her if she actually takes anger-management classes or is it neuronal damage due to overdose of medical literature that she ‘tolerates’ me, and then I might make a public statement soon. Till then, I think I should focus more on the fact that she is brave indeed, and it’s about time I should put a ring on it.
If you’ve survived through the full story and reached here, chances are I might have already put a ring on her finger and signed away every shred of freedom in my life, forever.
I’m happy, actually. Wish me luck. 🙂